“It is often not as bad as they imagine, and this helps them create a plan in case they do get negative results.”
She also suggests gathering support from family and friends, as well as finding out information about a potential diagnosis to feel empowered.
“Illness reminds us that we are vulnerable and truly dependent upon our bodies,” Garcia-Arcement said. “This can make us feel scared and powerless. Doing things that remind us that we are in concern or have some control can help reduce distress.”
Elissa Ashwood, the creator of the website www.33dresses.com/ is a breast cancer survivor who is currently going through treatment. She also used to be a consultant for McKinsey.
“A cancer diagnosis takes weeks and months to fully unfold, so it's really easy to spend all that time waiting,” Ashwood said in an email.
Instead of focusing on the waiting, she has three main tips for people who are waiting on a final diagnosis.
1) “Think like a top management consultant,” Ashwood said. “Consultants come up with their best answer today based on all the facts, and they run with THAT answer until the next update. So on Day 1, they use the Day 1 answer. And they don't worry that they don't yet know the week 1 answer or the last day answer yet. This way they are empowered by having a working answer at all times.”
“With cancer, I focused on the answer I had,” she added. “It's very empowering to realize that you have an answer, that you aren't really waiting for anything. Once you get an update, you'll have a new answer, but that doesn't mean you don't have an answer now.”
2) “I also looked at the cancer treatment in chapters, and stayed focused on what I could do for each chapter,” Ashwood said. “I set up my client work to be completed during the periods that I knew I would not be having surgery or treatment.”
3) “Live your life no matter what the diagnosis is,” Ashwood said. “Cancer is not my life, I have life over cancer. For example, I'm currently having 33 radiation treatments, and I decided I would wear 33 dresses to these treatments to give me something to look forward to.