The Doc Says: “You’ve Got Cancer!” – So Now What?
Imagine this scenario. You’re in the doctor’s clinic and he says to you: “I’m afraid the news is bad. You have cancer.”
What do you do now?
I imagine some of you will say to yourself: This is the worst news I could ever have. I had been hoping I would never hear those words. Now what do I do? Am I going to die?
You will feel devastated, terrified and lost
So, you will very likely respond by clutching to what seems to be the smart thing – to go ahead and do what the doctor advises. Here is a kind of certainty. He knows his job. All you have to do is submit to his judgement. Above all you don’t have to keep swimming in this sea of uncertainty.
Now, maybe that is the smart thing to do – or maybe it isn’t. But right now you don’t know. You do know that there are a lot of different ideas flying around – but what those ideas are you haven’t a clue. You also know there are lots of books – so presumably there are things to discuss. If all you had to do was follow the doctor’s suggestions why the need for all these books?
So some others of you will say to yourselves: OK. I guess I’d better go and educate myself about this cancer thing. But where do I start? [hint: read my book The Cancer Survivor’s Bible!]
But fast as you read you will feel you are on a treadmill that is constantly speeding up. Everything seems to be going faster than you can go – and much as you want to read and learn, your brain seems frozen with a kind of nauseous panic.
So what can you do?
Well your options at this stage are either to go ahead and do everything the doctor says or to hide away for a month or two with a stack of books and access to the internet and worry that the delay is going to have negative consequences.
Let’s pause here
So let me press the pause button on this and instead of asking you: What do you do now? Let me ask you instead:
What can you do now so that you can avoid being in this situation in the future?
Around one in two people are going to have this “You’ve got cancer” conversation with the doctor. If you value your life and well-being, it makes sense to be prepared now when you don’t appear to have cancer. You aren’t frozen by fear. Your mind is free to think things through in a relaxed manner. If you don’t prepare yourself then at some point in the future you will suddenly be saying to yourself: I wish I knew more about cancer.
Yes, now is the time to do the reading. Now is the time to say: OK if I get cancer this is what I am going to do. That will be my strategy. So when the time comes the conversation with the doctor will go like this.
Doctor: “I’m afraid the news is bad. You have clear signs of cancer.”
You: “OK. Doc. I’ve been expecting that for some time. So, this is what I want to do…”
And you will be wonderfully empowered by being in control.
Of course, we will all want to do different things because we are different people and will have different cancers. But the best decisions – whatever the decisions might be – are based on a clear understanding of the situation and the options.
Just taking the time now to inform yourself could add years to your life and could help you avoid fear, pain and life-long damage. Your fate is in your own hands but you’ve got to act now.
I know what I will do when I am diagnosed. Do you?
© Jonathan Chamberlain 2014
Jonathan Chamberlain is author of The Cancer Survivor’s Bible and Cancer? Don’t Panic! (free download from his website at www.fightingcancer.com