Sep 15, 2017 3:00 PM

Author: Amy Horyna, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C


Ernest Hemingway said, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” Cancer can be a life-altering experience for patients and their loved ones. You may be reflecting on how your cancer journey has changed you or your plans for the future. Emotional, psychological, practical, and spiritual changes can impact your life as much as the physical changes you have endured. Recovering your sense of who you are and how you will live your life going forward are important aspects of your recovery and survivorship.

Your cancer does not define you. You can redefine your experience by integrating a few new habits to create a new normal. This process takes time and it can continue after treatment is complete. For some, it may require additional support from family, friends, or a professional. It takes strength to ask for help, but it can lead to the beginning of a new chapter. 

Tips to Help You Create Your New Normal

  • Take it one day at a time and live in the moment. 
  • Join a support group or talk to someone else in a similar situation—you are not alone.
  • Avoid dwelling on what you cannot do; focus on what you can do.
  • Save your energy for the things you value most.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify.
  • Ask for help.
  • Adjust expectations of yourself and others.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Find a trusted person to talk to, whether it’s a family member, friend, member of the clergy, or social worker.
  • Try something new.
  • Practice meditation or relaxation techniques.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Repeat this meditation each day, and when you feel distressed. Choose the words that feel right to you.

May I feel safe (or protected).
May I feel contented (or peaceful or happy).
May I live with ease.

Mindfulness practices such as meditation, relaxation, and guided imagery are skills that require regular practice. They can help relieve stress and anxiety and promote positive emotions, relaxation, and better sleep. A social worker with Patient and Family Support at Huntsman Cancer Institute is available to work with you individually on meditation and relaxation skill development.

Social workers with Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Patient and Family Support team help cancer patients and their loved ones cope with the emotions and life changes brought about by a cancer diagnosis. Contact Patient and Family Support at 801-213-5699 Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Amy Horyna, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Patient and Family Support
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

patient and family support survivorship integrative medicine

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