Coping with the side effects of cancer treatment, for instance hair loss, tiredness (fatigue), changes in weight, along with how disrupted your life may appear – all contribute to the stress. Everything related to cancer can be stressful. It is normal to be worried and upset about it, and as such some amount of distress is naturally expected when you come to know that you have cancer. However, sometime the normal distress levels can increase to the extent that they start creating problems with your treatment, make it difficult for you to cope up with the disease, and affect most other aspects of your life.
You should not consider yourself as weak in case you become highly distressed and are not able to perform even normal activities. Here, we shall try to describe the various distress levels, ranging from the normal to high levels. We will then offer you specific ideas on how to manage your feelings so that they may help you cope in a better manner.
To cope with distress, you first need to have a doctor and health care team with whom you feel safe and are comfortable with. You need to talk to them about your feelings. Usually, they can guide you to the help that you may require. Keep in mind that they are treating YOU, and not just the cancer, and they expect that you will keep them informed about your experiences and feelings. Understand that only you can do that.
Although most of the information provided here may appear to be meant for cancer patients, it can also be useful for the partner and family members of the person with cancer. Loved ones are an important source of support, and it is necessary to care about their well-being as well. In case you are a partner or family member who is feeling distressed, you can freely inform the health care team that you require their help with your distress.