The word ‘metastatic’ refers to a cancerous tumor that is either in advanced stages, or has spread to other areas of the body. Needless to say, a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis often invites uncertainty, fear, and hopelessness; especially since Pakistan has the highest incidence rate in Asia.
Although metastatic breast cancer may be a life-changing event, it doesn’t have to be your last. Follow this guide on how to balance your emotions with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis:
1-Take Some Time to Self-Process:
Be it a late diagnosis or a metastatic remission, give yourself some time and space to process the situation. It’s ok to not begin treatment the day after your diagnosis; being emotionally prepared is necessary to ensure effective treatment.
Also, instead of letting your diagnosis invade your everyday life, keep things as normal as possible, and continue to go about your daily activities. This will help bring much-needed certainty and stability.
2-Find the Right Healthcare Team:
First, find an oncologist who you are comfortable with, and who is willing to listen to your concerns without judgement.
Moreover, treatment-related anxiety is one of the greatest causes of stress in someone with metastatic breast cancer. So, assemble a healthcare team that fully comprehends your emotional requirements as a patient, and helps minimize any treatment-related stress.
Whenever the anxiety strikes, close your eyes, inhale slowly to the count of 4, then exhale even slower to the count of 8; and repeat 10 times. This will help instill a sense of control, and help ease the tension.
Regularly practicing yoga or meditation can also help reduce mental and emotional fatigue, and improve overall life quality; facts that are also backed by a 2014 study on women with breast cancer.
While decelerating your life and resting when needed are essential for energy conservation, too much rest can lead to muscle weakness, reduced range of motion, and even, loss of body function.
Regular exercise for even 10 minutes daily helps alleviate stress and anxiety by metabolizing and discharging the resident stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. Moreover, it also helps combat fatigue, improve sleep, and reduce other treatment-related side-effects. Moreover, it also
5-Take Care of Yourself:
Instead of always focusing on your condition, indulge in your favorite activities in your free time. Watch a funny movie, make a lunch date with friends, anything that distracts you from ‘cancerous’ thoughts.
Self-care not only improves our mental state, but also bring our body back from its fear response to its relaxation response, hence alleviating stress and inducing calmness.
6-Let Go of The Guilt:
Your diagnosis is neither your fault, nor anyone else’s. While feelings of guilt will come and go, they don’t necessarily have to consume your life. Try to stop thinking about ‘what if’ scenarios, and instead, focus on the positive things in your life that make you feel grateful to be alive.
7-Bring in More Friends:
Sometimes, all anyone with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis needs is a friend. In fact, the American Cancer Society reports that people with more social support have better life quality, and feel less anxious and depressed.
So, rekindle older friendships, spend time with those close to you, go to social gatherings, or join a support group. Metastatic cancer doesn’t have to be a solitary sentence. Think of it as a road-trip on rocky terrain with friends and family.
Sometimes, a little extra help is needed to overcome the emotional burdens of a metastatic cancer diagnosis. So, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional aid, to ensure that you get the best out of your life.
You can also book an appointment with a top Oncologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your emotional health concerns.