There are so many things we’re told to do if we have cancer, yet there are also things we shouldn’t be doing.
Don’t worry. This isn’t a list of things to add to your “should have/could have/would have” lists that make you feel crazy. In fact, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the things that you should stop doing if you have lung cancer.
1. Stop Trying To Go It Alone
None of us wish to drag our loved ones with us into a situation like cancer. We want to spare them the roller coaster ride. We have no choice but to take this journey ourselves, and we feel guilty imposing that journey on others. But that is the voice of our ego speaking. People want to help. People want to be with us. And not only is that their desire, but their lives can be enriched by sharing our journey.
Another way to look at accepting help from your loved ones is to realize that accepting their help is a way of honoring those people who want to be near you. If you don’t let them play a part, you are denying them the opportunity to experience not just the lows that go with treatment, but the highs that can only be experienced fully if you’ve been there for the lows. Open your heart and mind to let people take this journey with you.
All of that said, it takes a village to help someone with cancer, and one friend or spouse can’t do it alone. In addition to that, there are things that only someone who has “been there” can truly understand. Finding a support group and reading the stories of others who have lived with lung cancer is a good start.
2. Stop Tolerating Pain
Pain not only affects us physically but can lay a shadow over everything we say and do. The physical pain of cancer affects our whole being—body, mind, and spirit. Amidst that shadow, we are often called upon to make serious decisions about our medical care. It’s hard enough facing those decisions and discussing them with loved ones when we are pain-free. Throwing pain into the equation can make a difficult situation seem insurmountable at times.
But you don’t have to live in pain. Many people who are tolerating pain are living that way because they didn’t ask—or ask again—or again. Your oncologist wants you to talk about your pain and wants you to be comfortable. A common concern is that using pain medications can result in addiction but in the setting of cancer that is actually very rare. More and more studies are showing that the total amount of pain medication used often ends up being less when people stay on top of their pain.