An Insight of Processing When Newly Diagnosed
Last updated: April 2023
After receiving my diagnosis of ovarian 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 me to understand what was taking place.
Processing my cancer diagnosis was so tricky, but it was super important and beneficial for my well-being. 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.
Processing an ovarian cancer diagnosis
So I found a Facebook group for individuals experiencing ovarian cancer. I actually joined 2 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.
Finding my tribe
In this group, I connected with a fellow social worker who 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 6 weeks, 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?
Do you have things that helped you cope through your ovarian cancer journey?