Being properly unwell is life changing. It seems obvious, but it’s not. I spent at least 12 months post—diagnosis in denial, assuming the whole thing was happening to someone else. As a result, I failed to look after myself properly; and by this I mean I tried to work, live, love and generally operate as I had done when I was well. This was a very bad idea, it created expectations in others which I couldn’t possibly fulfill and probably led to some of the more unpleasant twists and turns the illness has taken. So, accept the diagnosis but don’t give in to it.
Expect nothing and everything. People will never stop surprising you. Those who you have held close and dear and always thought you could count on will walk away. Particularly those for whom you have been present during their own moments of severe grief and serious illness. No matter. Because in their place will be people you thought were passing acquaintances, work colleagues, or frankly people who didn’t like you or care about you that much. They will show up physically, spiritually or professionally and HELP. This is huge.
People who suggest green juicing are quantifiable idiots. I’m not talking about changing your diet. That can be good, but really, lady at the dinner table whom I’ve just met; you think kale is going to help me through the nausea inducing, violent sledgehammer ripping through my body and destroying everything in its path that is chemotherapy? GO AWAY.
The medical profession doesn’t always know what it’s doing, but largely it knows more than you. As a Type A control freak I’m the worst patient imaginable and as my family will attest, I always have a new theory or a new idea gained via our best medical friend and a doctor’s worst medical nightmare: THE internet. Do your research and keep doing your research. Things change all the time. But if a doctor tells you to do something, then, in my experience, with notable exceptions at least give it a try.
Walk don’t run!
Start a revolution!
Be your own best advocate! Be seen and be heard!