Cancer Diagnosis
 
Introduction by Dr. Rick Boulay
 
You have heard the words that nobody should hear—"you have cancer." Your heart races; your mind goes numb; and the bottom drops out of your stomach. If you could, you would run outside screaming, "oh, s***. It is not fair! I do not deserve this!" The quiet in your mind is deafening. You are lost, alone, and terrified. It seems like the end.

 

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it is about learning to dance in the rain."

 

In fact, this is the beginning of your journey through cancer survivorship: the road less traveled. It is the journey that you can and must make, but it is a journey without road maps or signposts. It is a journey that is uniquely yours and different from all others. It will be challenging physically and emotionally, and you may have some missteps along the way.

How can you start a journey when you do not know where it will end?

Start with a single step.

This section on cancer diagnosis will anticipate some of your needs and questions. Let's face it, high school biology was more than a few years ago. You may not know what cancer is or what it can do. You may not even know how to tell someone your diagnosis and the test. What are you going to have to endure?

We have been through this before—many times. We can help. For pillars of wisdom to get you through this very difficult time, read through this section. 
 
What Is Cancer?
Explanation of cancer, cancer’s terminology and definitions, and the goal of oncology
How Did My Cancer Begin?
Discussion of genetic diseases, gene abnormalities, sporadic cancer, carcinogens, and genetic instability
How Did I Get Cancer?
Discussion of gene abnormalities, environmental agents, dietary deficiencies, genetic changes, and adaptation to the environment
What Can Cancer Do To Me
Cancer will change everything—your choices, physical body, relationships, fear, spirituality, isolation--positively or negatively; cancer will re-energize you towards your life’s long-term goals
What Cancer Cannot Do To Me
Discussion that cancer cannot change who you are, cannot define who you are, cannot take away hope, cannot take away love
Emotions
Draw on your strengths prior to your cancer diagnosis