An Insight of Processing When Newly Diagnosed
After receiving my diagnosis of cancer it was so easy for me to get caught up in the how and why. I had to take a step back and take a deeper look inside of me to understand what was taking place. Processing my cancer diagnosis was so tricky but it was super important and beneficial for my wellbeing. It did not happen overnight and to be transparent, the first week felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.
From the internet to my doctor
One of the first things that I did after my diagnosis was an internet search for ovarian cancer. At some point, I'm sure we all turned to our friend, "Google". I tried really hard to stay off the internet but seriously I was setting myself up. I had to know what information was available.
Let me just say, I did not find what I was looking for online. Sadly, there just isn’t a ton of research available online. What I did find was a lot of myths and negative information. Needless to say, my search left me with even more questions.
I did not receive the information that was pertaining to my specific form of cancer until I went to see the gynecological oncology team in Houston for my second opinion. I will say the doctor did a tremendous job explaining the medical side but I was missing the social part. The part where I figure out how to continue to live my life with cancer. And also my feelings, I needed to sort those out, as well.
Finding an angel in disguise to be my cancer mentor
So I found a Facebook group for individuals experiencing ovarian cancer. I actually joined two groups; one I did not stay in long because I did not enjoy the experience. But when I found the group for women with mucinous ovarian cancer, I knew I had found my tribe.
In this group, I connected with a fellow social worker and she was an ovarian cancer survivor. She became my mentor and literally held my hand as I processed my diagnosis. We met on Facebook video for six weeks and she coached me through my emotions and we worked on different tasks that I could do to help with my new life. For example, one of the tasks was writing a letter to cancer and learning how to say out loud what I was afraid of.
Honestly, she was an angel in disguise. I am not saying that a cancer coach or mentor is needed but it worked for me. I am a thinker by nature, so this helped me process things. After our time was up, I truly felt that I had a chance at continuing life.
Accepting my journey made me a warrior
Processing looks different for everyone but once those feelings were exposed it became manageable for me to talk about what I was experiencing. I gained my voice once I faced my fears head-on and I knew that I was too resilient to be defeated.
Also, I really did experience every step of the grief process: anger, denial, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. I can truthfully say I accepted my journey and I became a warrior on the battlefield.
Looking to connect with others and share your experience?
What stage were you diagnosed with?