Coping with the Stress of a Cancer Diagnosis
When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, your stress can increase. There is the shock of hearing those words; the exhaustion of so many appointments with so many new doctors; the fear of the unknown. During treatment there is the fatigue and other side effects that can be so draining. Even when treatment ends, there are new stressors around the bigger issues of “who am I now?” and “When will I feel better?” While we can’t avoid stress, we can learn ways to manage stress, and hopefully reduce the impact it has on our lives. At The Gathering Place, we believe that every one of our free programs and services can help you with the stress of cancer, it’s just a matter of finding what works for you. That is why we encourage you to try anything that sounds interesting. Your needs may change throughout the journey, and we have enough variety to keep up with those changes, and maybe even anticipate needs you didn’t know you had.
There is no one ‘right’ way to manage your stress. There are as many stress management techniques as there are people! If you find talking helps, you might join one of our support groups or ask for an individual session with one of our counselors. If you need some quiet time, perhaps try a massage, reiki, or reflexology. Each are nurturing, comforting, calming forms of touch offered in a private room by a licensed professional. If you would like a distraction, you might be surprised that you can attend a class at The Gathering Place and forget about your cancer completely while you are busy with an activity like art therapy, horticulture therapy or drumming! If you want practical suggestions you might want to try our drop-in meditation classes. Or sign up for one of our movement classes, like yoga or tai chi, to learn easy ways to relax and stretch.
There may be times in your cancer journey when you are not able to get to The Gathering Place. Rest assured that you can learn to manage your stress even when you are at home or out of town. In our libraries we have a wide selection of CD’s you can borrow. Some are the soothing sounds of nature, some are peaceful classical music pieces, and some are what is called ‘Guided Imagery’ where someone’s voice walks you through a relaxation exercise. Once you find what method is most helpful to you, any place can be your private getaway!