Finding out you have cancer can feel like the end of the world, and in the grief that comes with a mesothelioma diagnosis, many people forget that life can be joyful no matter how much time one has left. It’s no surprise. Anger, sadness, and frustration are natural reactions to a cancer diagnosis because the disease forces you to undergo a dramatic change in outlook. Getting cancer means putting your life on hold. It can cause a great deal of physical and emotional pain. And being diagnosed with cancer may mean re-examining how many years are still in front of you.
But a diagnosis of mesothelioma doesn’t have to mean that darkness and depression automatically overtake your world. In reality, no one truly knows how many hours, weeks, months, or years they have left, and for some, cancer has an awakening effect. A real look at one’s own mortality can be a staggering experience, but also an intense reminder that life is to be lived, savored, and embraced with all of the energy one can muster.
Here are four tips to help you stay upbeat after a mesothelioma diagnosis that will also come in handy when the treatment you’re undergoing seems unbearable.
Make Time for Fun
Fun doesn’t have to be taxing, so even those who are undergoing more invasive mesothelioma treatments can make time for fun. Maybe it’s a card game with your grandchildren if you’re experiencing more low energy days than usual. Even a telephone call with someone who makes you laugh or watching a silly movie can be a great antidote to the stress that comes with cancer. On better days, going sailing or working in a hobby garden can make your days seem richer and your life feel more fulfilling.
Relaxation Can Sooth the Soul
Science has not yet discovered all there is to know about the mind-body connection, but what is known is that mental stress can cause or worsen physical maladies. Feelings of anxiety and depression can not only cause minor health problems like insomnia, headaches, and stomach problems, but also interfere with treatment by slowing the healing process. Relaxation techniques and gentle exercise like yoga can help you cope with stress while you undergo mesothelioma treatments. Many people battling cancer find joining a support group helpful and even relaxing because it allows them to spend time in the company of individuals with an in-depth understanding of what they are facing.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes Can Lead to Happiness
After a mesothelioma diagnosis, it may be tempting to chuck healthy choices right out the window. But making healthy lifestyle changes can augment your cancer treatments and help make your life in the present more joyful and happier. Eating good, fresh foods, getting as much exercise as you can tolerate, and spending time each day doing healthy activities that you enjoy can give you the energy you need to spend time with your loved ones and continue doing whatever it is you enjoy most.
Live for Today
As mentioned above, no one knows how much time stretches before them. Cancer, though heartbreaking, can also be a reminder that each day should be lived to the fullest. Treat every new day as an adventure – try something new, learn a language, read all the books you’ve been waiting to read, or take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t let the little things make you sad, angry, or worried. Focus on your loved ones and everything you love about life.
Is choose happiness in the today you DO have always easy? Absolutely not. But when a diagnosis of mesothelioma makes you feel like your life is out of your control, sometimes deciding to be happy is the one and only decision that you get to make.