So you have been diagnosed with Cancer, whats next?
You have found out you have cancer, you will most likely have so many thoughts running through your head such as, "why me?", "what's going to happen?". This is normal and everyone reacts to a diagnosis of cancer differently and it is often very hard to take it all in immediately. The good thing is, having cancer does not mean you need to lose hope on life, there are many positive cancer stories from people who have had cancer and many cancers are now treatable thanks to a lot of research done. Make sure you talk to your doctor about what the diagnosis is and how treatable it is.
To help with this process here are some helpful strategies:
- Write everything down!!!
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you when being diagnosed with cancer is writing everything down. Appointment dates, treatment options, questions, answers and anything that seems important to you.
-You are most likely be going to the hospital for a while so make sure you pack a bag with all the essentials such as, clothes, toiletries, pillow, books, chargers and laptop. Scroll down to download our printable hospital bag checklist!
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. After all, the doctors are there to help.
- Find out about the different treatment options available to you.
- Find out the different types of support available. Depending on where you live, there are multiple organisations and charities that can offer you and your family support in many ways. Speak to your doctor or a social worker about some of these organisations!
Packing a bag for hospital:
When you are first hit with the cancer diagnosis, it is easy to forget important details and things you might need during your time in hospital and sometimes it is difficult to think straight. Here are some tips and some essentials you might need.
Download our printable hospital bag checklist here!
When first diagnosed with cancer there is a lot to take in. For a lot of people, you are introduced to a number of new medical procedures, terms and objects/tools. Here you can find a list of some of these so you are able to become familiar with them, what they are, and how they work. This list only includes the things that I was exposed to in my journey and it will not be applied to every cancer diagnoses.
An MRI is an acronym for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI scans the specific part of the human body with the use of powerful magnetic fields that gives doctors and other health professionals detailed pictures of the inside of one's body. This is not the same as a CT Scan (CAT Scan). MRI's can be used to find tumours, bleeds and to keep an eye on the growth of a tumour.
The length of the scan differs from 5 to 90 minutes depending on the reason for the scan. Each time I have a scan it takes 60 minutes for my head and spine. You will be asked to remove any metal objects or clothing for the scan such as jewellery and metal buttons on clothes.
During the scan, there are a lot of loud noises but the radiologist will usually give you headphones and possibly music to help block the sound. You will also be given a button to press at any time if you need help. Often the radiologists will inject a contrast via an IV to highlight certain parts of the body.
Overall, an MRI scan is not painful and causes no harm. The radiologists are always there to assist and can answer further questions.
A portacath is a small medical device that can be inserted through surgery into an individuals chest under the skin. The placement is different for each person but will be placed somewhere on the chest. The portcath is connected to a vein which gives the nurses and doctors access to retrieve blood for testing and to give medication, chemotherapy and other types of treatment.
A portacath usually is put in place when undergoing chemotherapy, however, some doctors and specialists may choose to use a different device such as a central line. To access the portacath the nurses will need to insert a needle into the portacath similar to a canula. If you are nervous and scared of the procedure please talk to the doctors and nurses to see if they can give something like a numbing cream to help with the anxiety.
The portacath will usually stay in your body throughout your time in treatment and possibly sometime after. Once the doctors believe they do not need to give treatment anymore they will schedule a time to go in surgery and have it removed.