One of the most frightening conversations you may ever have with your doctor is the one where you hear that you've been diagnosed with cancer.
This can be especially traumatizing if you are not experiencing symptoms. One minute, you think you are healthy and the next, you are faced with thoughts of your mortality. Beyond the diagnosis, there is the treatment that is generally filled with doctor’s appointment and hospital visits.
Emotionally, the entire process leaves you with moments of feeling vulnerable, helpless, angry, overwhelmed, confused, or all of the above. This feeling can ripple through your circle of friends and family as well.
After weeks and months of going through treatment you get the fantastic news that your cancer is gone! It is all over and you can go back to your normal life.
So do you just forget about everything that you went through and simply go back to your normal life?
The memories associated with handling a life-threatening diagnosis don’t just go away. So it is important that in addition to all of your medical doctor appointments, you need to get mental and emotional help and support as well.
If you don't the memories, thoughts and fears about your well-being can impact your health long after your tumor has been eliminated.
If you are like most people, then you may not be aware that some cancer patients suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after hearing their cancer diagnosis.
PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Persistent mental and emotional stress occurs as a result of severe psychological shock.
This mental and emotional stress releases hormones and other chemicals in the body that impact blood pressure, heart rate, liver function, and alertness, along with other bodily functions, each time the event is relived.
Some of the symptoms involve sleep disturbances and constant vivid recall of the experience, and dulled emotional responses to others.