Living with cancer blog

Tips on finding "normalcy" after cancer diagnosis

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. October 27, 2009

I can honestly say that I'm both overwhelmed and humbled by the numerous comments in the first couple weeks of the blog. I will admit that I wasn't sure what to expect, or whether viewers would find it helpful. But each of your testimonials is a powerful reflection of the fact that this forum was long overdue.

Some of you have asked "how to put one's life back together" after a cancer diagnosis. Because each of you has a unique experience, it can be hard to know exactly what to suggest. But a few of the tips that I've heard shared among the cancer community are captured below:

  • Keep a journal or calendar of how you feel and what you eat each day. This may help you recognize your patterns or triggers.
  • Search out support. Hopefully you can connect with a support group in your community to meet others with similar experiences. A variety of national support resources also exist, including:

    • American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivors Network
    • Cancer Hope Network
    • Cancer Care
    • Imerman Angels
    • Livestrong
    • National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

    In addition, you can locate many online disease-specific support groups by searching under your cancer type and support group.

  • Create a to-do list and graciously accept help from your friends and family. Even letting them help mow the yard or shovel your driveway will help them feel connected to you.
  • Seek spiritual support. Many of the cancer survivors I've met share that spirituality takes on a whole new meaning during or after cancer treatment.

What about you? What have you found helpful while defining a new sense of "normal" after a cancer experience? How can you use your personal cancer experience to help empower you in your life ahead? I'm curious to know what works, and I'm assuming that others could draw from your experience as well.




Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Oct. 27, 2009