BY Liz Ferris
Getting a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing experience. I should know, it happened to me.
No matter who you are or where you are you will always remember the day you hear the words “You’ve got cancer.”
Before diagnosis when you are not well or well but you find a lump which could be a cancer you have to play the waiting game. This is a terrible experience as you may want to know yesterday so that you can start to deal with what was ahead of you.
Previously a number of loved ones had shared the experience of a diagnosis with me so I knew to a certain extent what was ahead.
For others it can be the same or it can be a blank it out period because you know it is not in your hands.
Your head can say “this is not happening” or can say “this is the end” when that might not be the case at all.
It’s a time when it is hard to stop your imagination taking over and you see your whole life in front of you and how it might impact the people around you.
You wonder how it might affect your finances and how your family will be looked after in the event that you die.
Will I be able to continue working?
Will it be curable? Will it be painful?
Not worrying is a lot easier said than done.
Emotional pain cannot be ignored.
Why is a question we ask ourselves when we get sick.
Did I not exercise enough?
Did I exercise too much?
Did I stay in the sun too long?
Is it my fault?
What could I have done to prevent this?
How will I get through this journey.
And a journey it is.
There are lots of supports out there for patients and families and these supports can help, so find them and lessen the emotional pain that a cancer diagnosis brings.
According to Central Statistics last year, 9,436 people passed away from cancer.
Yet the amount of people battling cancer at the moment is much higher but the good news is that a huge number come out the other side of a diagnosis alive and well.
There are people reading this I have no doubt who are waiting on a diagnosis or maybe have just received one.
Others may be going through the cancer journey and others who have been through it and are cancer-free.
These people are around us; in some cases it may be obvious they are sick but in the majority, it may not be apparent at all.
All I can tell you from my experience is that thankfully there is a life for the majority of people after they have been diagnosed with cancer.
I should know… I am one of the survivors.