When my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer over a year ago, I had no idea if I would be able to handle any of this… Seriously, where do you even start and who has time to “deal” and process all of this stuff when getting help for my dad is the most important thing.
Not only have I handled every single thing cancer has thrown at me, but there are a few personality traits that have helped me excel throughout this journey.
You have to find the silver lining in this situation or you will lose your mind!
There is an emotional toll that descends on you when someone you love has cancer, and it is super intense. For me personally, I can’t “live” in a constant state of despair. I’ll go crazy. So, I have to find and follow the brighter side of the situation.
When “shit gets real” … it’s important to remember that
- You will get through this.
- Everything will be ok. Maybe not right now, but eventually.
No matter what happens, things will work out the way they’re supposed to.
I truly believe that. But, I also know how hard it is to remember that “in the moment” when everything starts getting crazy and overwhelming.
If positivity is not naturally one of your top personality traits….
Find the Bright Side. I have NEVER had a negative experience that didn’t have at least a small bright side. Sometimes you need a magnifying glass, but if you look hard enough you will find it.
Have Faith. Give it to the Lord. None of this is in your hands. And, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to (whether we like the outcome or not).
Last week, my sister said to me, “you are really amazing at this cancer thing”.
Obviously, no one aspires to be “amazing” at cancer, but what she meant was I am really good at crazy, chaotic and “rolling with the punches”.
And that is exactly what helping your loved one battle cancer is… It’s a response.
The ability to roll with whatever gets thrown at you, will help you immensely on this journey.
Whatever comes flying at me is my new mission. It could be an emergency situation, a last-minute trip to Sloan, a missing medication, a horrible side effect…Whatever it is, you roll with it and work it out.
If adaptability is not naturally one of your top personality traits….
Work on being flexible: This whole situation is crazy intense and really stressful. Sometimes reworking your priorities is necessary to the overall mission. Cancer doesn’t follow a strict schedule, neither can you.
Work on being open to change: Helping your loved one win this battle is going to require you to step out of your comfort zone. Breathe… it’ll be okay. Cancer changes all the time, you can too.
No matter what happens, I am not going to break.
My father says that ever since I was a little girl… I was headstrong. I always chose the hardest path and If I couldn’t get through an obstacle, I would just keep trying until I figured out how to break through.
You can knock me down, but you will never, ever break me.
No matter what happens from this moment forward…
Be resilient: This is one of the most important personality traits for any cancer situation.
You will not allow this experience to break you. Cancer has a reputation for destruction, but you cannot be destroyed. You are too strong and too determined to let cancer beat you.
This journey is going to be hard and there will be moments when you’re exhausted and you’re not sure you can keep going. But I promise, you can keep going. In fact, you are going to ROCK this. Whatever happens next, you can handle it.
I totally understand that venting your frustrations is important and that it helps to get that stuff off your chest. But, don’t let that be the end of it. Once you have unloaded all of the things that are driving you crazy… figure out how to fix them.
Identify the problem that is making you frustrated and then find a solution.
You know the people that complain about everything under sun, but they don’t do anything to fix the problem? Don’t be one of those people.
Do something to address the problem and figure out a solution.
If solution minded is not naturally one of your top personality traits….
- Identify the problem.
- Brainstorm possible solutions.
- Choose a solution.
- Try the solution.
- Determine the results.
Focus on the Mission:
Don’t get derailed by all the non-important stuff that is stressing you out and grabbing at your focus. Determine the mission, and then ascertain how to carry it out. Once you’ve figure that out—stay focused and don’t let your attention waver.
From my perspective, this past year has been a series of missions:
- Figure out why all these crazy symptoms are happening.
- Get Chemotherapy.
- Get established with Sloan.
- Start Radiation…
Broken down into its simplest form, it may not look like much, but we have had one mission after another since the beginning.
Take away all the “fluff.” Figure out the important stuff and get it done.
If focused on the mission is not naturally one of your top personality traits….
- Figure out what needs to be done.
- Break it down into tasks.
- Determine the order in which the tasks need to be done.
- Do each task (in order).
It still surprises me how many amazing things have come out of this. I never would have guessed how the worst journey of my life could have taught me so much! But the things that I appreciate the most about this whole situation is where we’ve been what I’ve learned, and how I’ve managed to survive.
The truth is…I had some help.
Are you curious which personality traits you excel at?
P.S. If you’re overwhelmed by all this cancer business, we can relate!
The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used for organizing medical information.
Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. And, the best part it’s FREE…
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