Being diagnosed with cancer can make anyone feel like the world is spinning out of control. Here are a few tips on what to do to regain some control and get back into the driver’s seat of your life.
You might still be a minor, but you have a right to talk to medical staff and ask your own questions. You don’t have to let all the communication go through your parents/guardians if you don’t want to. Knowing what’s going on can help you feel more in control.
In many jurisdictions, you even have the right to a private meeting with your physician in case you have some private questions to discus that you rather not have your parents/guardians present for.
Seek out other teens like you
You might feel like no one in your current friend group can really understand what you are going through, or you might feel that it is difficult to talk openly with them about your thougts and experiences. Instead of just lamenting this, get in the driver’s seat and actively seek out teens with similar experiences.
- Look for local support groups for teens with cancer or other serious health issues
- Look for online support groups of the same kind
Acknowledge and validate your feelings
Instead of trying to frantically push away any unpleasant feeling, try to acknowledge it and validate it. Explore the feeling and be brave enough to let it pass through you. This can give us a sense of more control since we are not running away from our feelings.
For some, writing down their feelings in a private diary or online blog is helpful.
Control the talk
If you don’t feel like talking about cancer (right now, today, this month, ever), let the other person know. Practise saying things such as:
- I don’t want to talk about my cancer.
- I don’t want to talk about cancer today. Right now I just want to focus on other things and have some fun.
- I understand that you have many questions about cancer, but I would prefer if you talked to a medical professional instead.
- I understand that you are trying to be helpful and look out for me, but I only discuss my treatment plan with my doctor. I don’t think that going vegan/the paleo diet/taking his herbal supplement/eating rhino horn/doing yoga would cure me and I don’t want to have a discussion about it.