What I Wish I Had Known

Dallas Morning News staffer Mary Dunklin offers 10 tips for patients in her article, What I Wish I Had Known Before My Cancer Diagnosis. 

First, Dunklin's conclusion: "Healing is much easier with a network of support...The entire experience is a learning process in dealing with fear, pain and mortality. And, sometimes, the best lesson of all is remembering how to appreciate being alive."

That last sentence captures the essence of Healthy Survivorship: dealing with your medical challenge in ways that enable you to make your life the best it can be.

Now, here are five of her tips and my comments:

  1. Your Life Isn't Over.   Cancer is an illness--not a death sentence.
  2. A Support System Makes Things Easier.  The Rambo approach may get you through, but asking for and accepting help makes the experience safer, easier and less frightening.
  3. Movement Will Make You Feel Better.  Unless you are unconscious in the ICU, you can probably do some movement, such as chair exercises or stretches in bed. Short walks, if you are able to do them, may make a big differences. NOTE: Clear your exercise routine with your physicians.
  4. People Will Say the Wrong Things. Teach your loved ones what helps and what harms. Learn to let it go when casual friends and acquaintances say the wrong things.
  5. You Are Not Your Disease. Hold onto the roles and parts of you that are not a patient.