Editor’s Note: This store is part of our feature “Living With Cancer: Lessons and Advice from Kris Carr” which was originally printed in the Special Report “New Answers for Cancer” from Scientific American.
Rather than surrendering to despair and impersonal medical treatments, growing numbers of cancer patients are empowering themselves with information and control over their therapies. The trend is finding acceptance in mainstream medicine and helping people with cancer lead healthier lives.
The experiences of author and filmmaker Kris Carr, who was diagnosed with a rare, incurable malignancy, illustrate how successfully one can manage cancer as a chronic disease.
The following resource guides offer tips on developing a strategy for managing the illness, asking the right questions of physicians and getting the right professional and personal support.
1.You Have Cancer: Now What?
Diagnosis: cancer. Your head is spinning, and you feel like the wind has been sucked out of you. In a split second, life as you knew it is gone. “Getting diagnosed throws your entire universe into a free fall,” Carr writes in her 2007 book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips. “There’s no sugarcoating it: cancer is a devastating blow, one that takes time to process.”
The first things you should do (after taking a deep breath and trying to chill):
- Find the best doctor for your disease: Be willing to travel and always get second, third and even fourth opinions to make sure that you’re getting the best treatment.
- Design a healing plan: Pull together a team of Western physicians as well as integrative doctors (to teach you how to build up your immunity and spiritual grit) to create the best get-healthy recipe. Ask family and friends to chip in and scour the Internet and bookshelves for information. “If you want to heal, you have to take initiative, have a voice and use it,” Carr says.
- Focus on lifestyle changes: “The only thing that you can control is what you eat, what you drink and how you move,” Carr says. She recommends exploring healthy diets, exercise and alternative therapies such as massage, yoga and meditation to boost and maintain your physical and emotional well-being.
- Create a support system: “Nobody understands you quite like another cancer survivor,” Carr says. “There is incredible strength in that.”
- Live! “Don’t wait for permission to live. Just because you have cancer does not mean that your life is over,’’ Carr insists. “Start living. It’s that simple.”
… Cancer As Inspiration for Career Changes. … cancer patient in New York whose life is changing; … into change. It’s typical for cancer patients to want …
Emotional Needs In Cancer Patients. … Being diagnosed with the Big C is often a life-changing … They don’t want to get out of bed and just cocoon themselves in …