What a shock it is to hear that you have been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer!
You feel frightened. You might feel like you are having a nightmare and want to wake up. You feel alone.
As survivors, we felt that way, too. But what we have learned is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Your Team. Start thinking of your healthcare providers as your "team". They are there to do everything possible to fight your disease and you need to learn to communicate with them. If you feel that you can't communicate with your health care "team", find one that you can communicate with. This is very important! Find local Gynecological Oncologists.
Education is power. Learn about ovarian cancer. The unknown is usually much more frightening than knowing who your enemy is. Once you start learning about the disease, you may start feeling less "out of control".
Beware of Statistics! Be gentle with yourself when researching ovarian cancer on the internet. Some women have been unduly frightened by reading ovarian cancer web pages. Remember that statistics reflect a large number of people; statistics do not tell us how the individual will do. As an individual, you have as good a chance as anyone else of being in the “good results” group! Also, some statistics are out-dated; the 5-year survival data continue to improve.
Surround yourself with support. This might mean family, friends or other survivors. Sometimes those closest to us are too upset to support us in the way we need them to. This is where support from other survivors might come in handy. Consider a support group or the on-line community of survivors to support you. Another option to consider is making an appointment with a professional mental health practitioner. Anyone with a new cancer diagnosis is going to face an intense emotional roller coaster. Many social workers, psychologists and counselors specialize in issues related to cancer. Also helpful for many of us is medication to help get through these difficult times. Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication can be very useful to regain some sense of equilibrium. Don't be ashamed to ask your physician about it.
Consider Complementary Medicine. Another area to research is complementary medicine. Complementary therapies are defined as adjuncts to surgery and chemotherapy. Many women have been helped through the rigors of chemotherapy by practitioners of acupuncture, naturopathy, and massage. However, always discuss any complementary treatment with your doctor first!
Live for the moment. Try not to think too far ahead. It's easy to say this, but it does help. Thinking too far ahead, especially when you don't know all of the in's and out's of ovarian cancer and its treatment, isn't helpful. Focus on the "now" and how you can take care of yourself RIGHT NOW.
Believe it or not, you will get your life back. Yes, it is forever changed, but you will feel much different than you feel now. Remember, you are not alone!