Facing a cancer diagnosis is difficult. It stops us in our tracks, makes us re-evaluate our priorities, sometimes our whole life. It changes our daily routine, our relationships and work commitments. How can we live through it and face surgery and treatment ahead?

Gather information: Prepare for your appointment with your doctor. Make a list of the questions to gather as much information as you can so that you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Surround yourself with a good support system: Cancer treatment can be challenging and it might put you out of action for a number of days. Plan ahead who could help with housework, cooking, helping kids with school work. Neighbours, family and friends might be very willing to help out if we allow them to.

Seek professional help if needed: Cancer and its treatment can create a roller-coaster of emotions. At times these emotions can get out of hand and we find ourselves bottling up all not to worry those around us. Talking to a qualified counsellor can help us understand better our emotional journey.

Exercise and eat well. Adjust exercise and diet to your current needs. For example you might not be able to go to the gym everyday but can manage a 20 minute walk three times a week.

Facing cancer and its treatment is not easy. However let’s appreciate every day that is given to us and the blessings and gestures of kindness we encounter along the way…

– Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on anna@willingness.com.mt