The Cancer Bubble
Last updated: June 2023
How do you cope when it feels like your life is all about your cancer diagnosis?
It's hard to believe that life could go on normally after you receive a cancer diagnosis. For many people, it feels like their whole life revolves around the disease. Everything they do and think about seems to be filtered through the lens of cancer. It can be difficult to cope with this sense of isolation and intensity.
Life doesn't just stop because of cancer
I know firsthand how tough it is to deal with cancer. When I was first diagnosed, I felt like I was in a nightmare from which I couldn't wake up. Every day was a struggle, and I constantly worried about the future.
But eventually I realized that life doesn't stop just because you have cancer. You have to keep living your life, even if it's not exactly how you imagined it would be. Sure, there will be bumps in the road, but that's okay. You'll get through it as long as you stay strong and don't give up hope.
Emotionally detaching from cancer
I've also recently had to detach from the emotional attachment to cancer. Too many losses in my family have caused me to just stop and not reflect at all. I've realized that if I write or think from a technical viewpoint rather than from a personal standpoint I can cope better.
Or maybe this is my way of numbing myself or of drifting into a subconscious state of denial.
Either way, I feel as though I have to emotionally detach from this thing called terminal cancer or I will be permanently paralyzed with the heavy burden of a bleak existence. So, what do I do? I give myself some grace, and I meet my storytelling in the middle. I merge the personal and the emotional with the nonemotional and the technical.
Tips for coping with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis
With that being said, here are some tips for getting through those tough times:
Take a break
First, try to find some time each day for yourself. This can be difficult when you're juggling treatment and doctor's appointments, but it's important to take a break from the cancer bubble.
Do something that you enjoy that makes you feel good. It doesn't have to be anything big – just something that brings you a sense of peace.
Who is your support system?
Second, reach out to your support system. Whether it's friends, family, or a support group for people with cancer, talking to others who understand what you're going through can be incredibly helpful. It can help you feel less alone and give you some useful perspective.
Take care of you
Finally, don't forget to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Cancer can be taxing on both your body and your mind. Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and take some time for relaxation. If you're feeling overwhelmed or down, don't hesitate to reach out for professional help.
It's important to remember that you are more than your disease. You are a whole person with a rich life outside of cancer. Don't let the diagnosis define you or control your life. With time and effort, you can find ways to cope and even thrive in spite of it all. I'm trying to learn how to do that.
Advanced breast cancer is an isolating and lonely disease.