Living with Lung Cancer and Support
Living with lung cancer is like living with any other type of cancer – it’s tough.
Lung cancer is a very cruel disease. It silently creeps up on you and develops over a long period of time. When you receive the diagnosis you may not even be suffering any symptoms so being told you have a life threatening illness is a huge shock.
As the diagnosis sinks in there may be feelings of anger as you question “why me?” You may be resentful and you will more than likely be frightened and confused about the future.
Lung Cancer and feelings of guilt
And then there is the guilt. Ask anyone who has had, or still has, cancer and most will probably tell you that they felt guilty after being diagnosed. Was it caused by something they did? And in the case of lung cancer, which is largely smoking-related, smokers inevitably feel responsible for their own fate.
But let’s face it, when all’s said and done you can’t do anything to change the past. Blaming yourself for having smoked or blaming others after having worked in a smoking environment won’t achieve anything other than anger, frustration and utter misery.
If you are a smoker you may feel other people are pointing the finger and smugly saying “serves you right.” However, how other people react to your illness is really their issue. At the end of the day not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer and even people who don’t smoke can get it.
What is important is how you and your close family and friends deal with it. Cancer is a tough enough illness to cope with as it is without carrying a burden of guilt as well. Feelings are all part of the process of dealing with cancer and whatever you or your family feel is neither right nor wrong – it’s very personal and everyone is different.
Information is a powerful tool in dealing with cancer
For many people the best coping tool is knowing their enemy. Finding out everything possible about lung cancer is, in a perverse sort of way, very comforting to some people. They suddenly know what they are dealing with, how it will affect their lives and those around them and what the future could hold.
This helps people think ahead, making sure they have the support at home to cope with a serious illness. Advanced lung cancer causes breathlessness. So simple things, like moving your bed downstairs to avoid stairs, and having a cordless or mobile phone can prevent over exertion, which could make the breathlessness worse.
Cancer, Social Services and Support Groups
There may be a time when, because of the illness, you are unable to work. A lot of developed countries do provide financial help in the form of disability benefits and it’s worth checking with social services to see what’s available.
Joining a support group is a huge help for many people. Suddenly you are not the only one with the illness. Just talking to others who are in a similar situation and may be able to offer valuable advice is therapeutic.
Also your family and close friends need to know how you are feeling so they can understand how they can help you best.
Healthcare professionals are also there to help you deal with your illness. If you are depressed because of it don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stand up for yourself and your needs.