Healthy Living

5 Tips on Living with Lung Cancer

All about taking control of your life and staying one step ahead of the C word

5 Tips on Living with Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor depicted by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body.

The following are 5 tips on dealing and living with lung cancer:

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1.  Open up to your loved ones

You need to be tough and determined to overcome the challenge that cancer represents, even as it completely redefines your life. A person suffering from cancer may continuously feel angry, hopeless, and frustrated, but that’s part of being human. It will hurt like hell, but you shouldn’t hide your pain or nurse negative emotions. It is always advised that you voice how you are feeling to not only your loved ones but also your doctor, who will then prescribe you the best medications and exercises that will help in releasing your pain. Never keep your loved ones in the dark about the seriousness of your illness. Your closest family members have stood by you through thick and thin, and will stand by you when you need them to walk that extra mile. As you open up and confide your fears and innermost concerns, not only will your burden become bearable, but you will also begin to tap your most valuable resources – the affection, love, and understanding of those nearest and dearest to you.

2.  Reorganize your life, restructure your priorities

When the final diagnosis is out of the bag and the C word has been uttered, you cannot waste a second blaming your misfortune. Be courageous, and refuse to buckle under pressure. You have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Seize the moment, and make every single day of your life count in ways you never deemed possible. Shed the tyranny of routine, and become the king-emperor of good times by reorganizing your life around a new set of priorities. Blow away the dust on the bucket list of things you always dreamed of doing, but never had any time to pursue. The best cure lies in how you yourself handle the disease and what could be better than to start off with a positive outlook towards life. An optimistic mind does wonders for one's health that no medication could ever do!

3.  Never ignore the hands that help you

Family, friends, well-wishers, caregivers, and even complete strangers will be falling all over themselves with generous doses of warmth, love, and assistance. Do not trivialize their well-meaning gestures by allowing false pride and ego to blurt out, “No thank you, I’ll be OK.” In that computer of your mind, chalk out the simple things, the most helpful errands, the craziest needs, and spell them out lovingly. You’d be surprised at how quickly the help flows in, and how happy people feel when they realize they are making a real difference in your life and well-being. Simple soft-spoken requests like, “John, can you pick up the groceries?”, “Paul, could you help out with the storm drains?”, “Emma, can you bake some strawberry tarts?”, or “Josie can you accompany me to the clinic tomorrow?” become commands that draw an immediate response, and make your life more livable. The secret mantra over here lies in the fact of how you handle the situation and spread happiness around your habitat.

4.  Link yourself to caregivers and support groups

You are suffering an ailment that is affecting millions of others. There is a wealth of information out there on techniques that could help you cope better with cancer. But you won’t know until you ask. The social services division of your hospital would be the best starting point. They provide a lot of information on support groups that are active in lung cancer outreach. The Lung Cancer Alliance also provides listings of groups that you can access. Or, you could simply go online and get involved in groups that are prominent in your area. Indulging in such activities will not only divert your mind but will keep you busy with things that will later benefit you in life.

“Buddy Programs”

A hospital or cancer center near you could set you up in a buddy program where you are paired with a veteran that survived the same ailment. That’s a cozy way to get invaluable guidance. You will be told what to do before and after therapy or surgery, and where you can source more personalized care. Some reports have stated that many patients have felt a drastic change in their health when they have indulged in such programs; it is because of these interactions with patients who already suffered from the same disease that they felt a ray of hope to boost their own condition.

“Patient navigators”  

There are well-trained professionals who can help you throughout the entire lung cancer journey including three of its scariest zones by:

  • Medically helping you decide on the best treatment options, and insurance plans tuned in to the best healthcare facilities. They will also schedule your appointments, especially if you are covering a long distance to get to them.
  • Legally assisting you through the maze of paperwork that is unique to the U.S. health sytem, and
  • Financially guiding you to make the best use of your financial resources, especially if they are limited. They also link you to community programs that source invaluable financial assistance.

 5.  Draw deep from the well of positive thinking

You know deep down that a five-year stretch is like a marathon for the lung cancer patient, and there’s no guarantee you’ll reach the finish line. But that may be all the incentive you need to make the journey pleasantly memorable. Learn the gentle art of putting a humorous spin on the most depressing events in your life (chemo and radiation therapy, for instance), and those around you will love you for it. Positive thinking is widely appreciated as a survival technique that will see you weathering the toughest storms with strength and grace. When you are positive and cheerful, it makes life much more bearable for those that share your pain. Try opening your arms to strangers for a hug; it could one day become an indispensable part of the healing process.