How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed | Daniel Levitin
More Bad News?! How to Stay Calm With Metastatic Breast Cancer
Take It as Information
Bad news is just that — news. It is informative. If you look at it as information that will help you make decisions, you feel empowered. That is exactly how I felt when my doctor and I reviewed the MRI report.
It certainly didn’t feel good to know there are two large lesions on my spine and smaller spots throughout, but it did mean that I now know what we are dealing with. It meant that cancer was no longer a stealth attacker. I knew what was there, and I could respond.
Once I had the information, I could consider my options. Fortunately for me, I have an oncologist who is open to accessing the best resources and advice before discussing treatment plans. He suggested that I meet with the research doctor at the nearby university medical center who had involved me in a past clinical trial. I also had reports printed to take to my naturopath and to review myself.
After input from these sources, my oncologist and I determined that because the level of cancer markers in my blood didn’t increase, and the recent CT scan showed smaller lymph nodes, perhaps the progression of disease wasn’t as critical as we thought. Perhaps the lesions had been there for the past several months, and present treatment was keeping the cancer at bay. So that meant no treatment changes for now.
Don’t Dwell on It
The Oxford dictionary definition of worry is “to allow one’s mind to dwell on troubles.” My sister and I laugh about this; to us, it sounds so funny.
So the simple solution is: Don’t allow your mind to dwell.
The coaching advice I give is to keep a worry journal. Write your worries down in a book as they come to you. Then close the book and set a time when you will take the book out, read through your worries, and worry. You can even invite friends to worry with you.
I know that sounds silly, but it helps to shed light on the fact that worrying is silly. Really, as it says in the , “Who by worrying can add even one hour to their lives?”
Taking these steps helped me to stay calm and feel empowered. When the outcome of all the tests and discussions suggested we could continue my current treatment regimen, I was encouraged and have to say it was good news.
Bad news is inevitable, but I, for one, am in charge, and I am determining how I will deal with it. I won’t let it deal with me.
Survive and Shine,
Photo: Sami Sarkis/GettyImages
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