Getting the news that you have cancer is daunting at any age. It is especially difficult when you are in your 20’s. During these years, you are already faced with
- Leaving home
- Completing your education
- Becoming financially independent
- Forming relationships
- Figuring out your interests and passions
Although cancer is not a common issue that people in their 20’s normally face, you are by no means alone. Many share the same concerns, challenges and struggles.
Blogger Suleika Jaouad writes:
Cancer has forced me to pause my life at a time when my peers are just beginning theirs.
Where cancer is concerned, it’s safe to say there’s no such thing as good timing. But having a life-threatening disease in your 20s carries a special set of psychological and social challenges. It defies our very definition of what ought to be. Youth and health are supposed to be synonymous. If only I could sue my body for breach of contract with the natural order of things.
Cancer magnifies the in-betweenness of young adulthood: You aren’t a teenager anymore, yet you’re not fully ready to live in the adult world, either.
Finding better ways of managing and coping during and after your cancer treatment is KEY.
7 Key ways of helping you through this Journey:
1. Exercise and Mindfulness
Being mindful means being in the moment, conscious, present, careful and cautious of your thoughts, feelings, wants and needs . A lot of research and researchers have shown the significant benefits of living mindfully The key is realizing your mind is not a separate entity from your body.
Carolyn Gregoire in an article for Huffington Post wrote about the benefits of mindful meditation:
Mindfulness meditation is known to have a positive emotional and psychological impact on cancer survivors. But some groundbreaking new research has found that meditation is also doing its work on the physical bodies of cancer survivors, with positive impacts extending down to the cellular level.
Practicing mindfulness meditation or being involved in a social support group causes positive cellular changes in breast cancer survivors, according to researchers at the Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary.
Lead researcher Dr. Linda Carlson of the Tom Baker Cancer Center said in a statement, “We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology.”
In a detailed study, Carlson and her team found that telomeres (DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes) were longer among a group of breast cancer survivors who had a mindfulness practice or participated in a support group, compared to survivors who didn’t utilize such outlets.
2. Stick to Your Medication and Treatment
Adhering to medication and your prescribed treatments is absolutely crucial during your treatment and after. Thankfully in the western world we are blessed with having better medication and procedures for those having cancer.
3. Keep Your Life as “Normal” as Possible
Being flexible is key in life especially when you are faced with cancer. As they say “you need to have the roll with the punches attitude while going through cancer. During your treatment period and some time after the sense of normalcy you previous had will change. There are times when you will feel better or worse. Its would be beneficial during the times you feel better to do some of the “normal, norm’ activities you enjoyed before your diagnosis. Like keeping in touch with friends, family, exercising, take part in clubs, classes (or online classes) and other social outlets you enjoyed before your diagnosis.
4. Find Your Life Passion
Having hope and purpose can yields great energy anytime in your life. Avoid negative thinking; live for today. You may not be able to join your peers on the traditional college path (in person) but thankfully in today’s date we can pursue our passions and hobbies online. You can take college classes, learn new skills with online courses like Udemy or Skillshare. You can build a career online, perhaps to become a freelancer. Learn to adapt and continue to find work and learning opportunities where you can.
5. Take It Day By Day
It’s key to cease thinking like you are dying and start thinking like you are living. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and weighed down by negative thinking. Take things step by step, day by day. Every day, work towards building small habits that could help you cope. The progress over time will be increasingly beneficial.
6. Join an Online Support Group
The emotional and physical stress of managing cancer can be challenging for the person and their loved ones (caregivers). Its key to get support outside of your own enviroment. Support groups have always provided a place for people sharing the same issues and concerns to help each other and to feel less alone. At time it can be difficult–even impossible–to attend a in person support group meeting when cancer leaves you exhausted and over-scheduled.
aGroupforME.com provides online support groups for those going through cancer or in remission. There are also groups geared toward caregivers of cancer patients. From the comfort of your home, you can attend regularly scheduled meetings and express your struggles to those who can empathize. Meetings are intimate, with just 8-10 members, and are hosted by a vetted moderator. aGroupforME.com makes getting support easy and convenient.
7. Take Every Opportunity to Be Grateful
It can be difficult to find positives when you are diagnosed with and are going through cancer. They say having gratitude at all times makes life better especially during challenging times and situations. Living in the western world and having more access to modern medication and technology has doubled our life span and the amount of care we get.