About the Author
Vladimir Lange, MD, has 30 years of clinical and multimedia experience with his Be a Survivor book series. A Harvard Medical School graduate, he is considered an authority on cancer patient support, and his respected Lange Productions books and videos are utilized worldwide.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Facing Colorectal Cancer When your physician told you that you had colon cancer, you were probably flooded with a host of emotions: fear, anger, confusion. You may have felt crushedor in complete denial. You probably didnt remember anything your physician told you, and have no idea how to begin dealing with your situation. First of all, realize that a diagnosis of cancer is not a death sentence. A lot of progress has been made in the field, and survival rates today are higher than ever before. Right now your first task is to make a decision that you will do everything you can to be successful in your battle against the cancer. Your positive attitude will be your best ally throughout your treatment and recovery. So, where to begin Here are the initial steps you need to take to get control of the situation: Acknowledge your feelings, realize that they are normal, but dont let them affect your judgement. Assemble a network of healthcare professionals, friends and peers to help you deal with the situation. Learn all you can about the disease and the different treatment options. Most importantly, become an active participant in your treatment. Understanding Your Feelings The first few weeks after your diagnosis may be the hardest to handle. You may spend hours dwelling on questions such as Why me or Will the cancer kill me Or you might find yourself feeling blue and depressed to the point of not caring about the outcome of your disease. You might snap in anger at friends or loved ones. This confusing roller coaster is natural. Dont be too hard on yourself if your emotions slip out of your control every once in a while. You dont need to be in perfect balance all the time. The best approach is to find someone you can talk to about what you are experiencing. This should be a mature, welladjusted person who can listen without passing judgment. Very close friends or family members may not be the best choice, because they can be too involved in the situation to remain objective. Ask your doctor, nurse, or social worker for referral for professional counseling or to a local support group of cancer survivors who meet regularly to offer mutual support. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers can be very helpful with problems such as depression, panic attacks, feelings of isolation, and other issues that concern you.