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Emotional Support

Dealing with Blood Cancer

  • Anger: Anger is a common emotion experienced by people undergoing treatment for cancer. Anger may be felt toward multiple targets: the disease; the unfairness of having cancer; family members and friends for not acting the way you want them to in this situation; yourself for making choices you feel may have somehow contributed to the cancer. Anger can be expressed in many ways and sometimes may be misdirected. Please see the Anger handout for more information on ways to cope with feelings of anger.

  • Cancer Services and Resources: See the Cancer Services and Resources handout for information regarding cancer services and resources available through University of Colorado Cancer Center. These resources include counseling and emotional support, physical rehabilitation, nutrition support, smoking cessation and cancer survivorship.

  • Resources for Caregivers: Caregivers are often under much stress as they provide valuable care to their loved one while managing multiple other life roles. Please see the Resources for Caregivers handout for a list of resources for caregivers including websites, local support groups and books you may find helpful.

  • Caring for a Loved One: Caring for a loved one with cancer is often demanding and stressful. Caregivers tend to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how best to care for their loved one. Care giving involves a large amount of responsibility that, at times, may leave you feeling worn out. It’s natural to feel multiple emotions as you care for your loved one, often at the same time (e.g., glad you are able to help AND overwhelmed). Please see the Caring for a Loved One handout for tips on how to keep yourself well so that you are healthy and able to provide good care to your loved one. Also, please refer to the Resources for Caregivers section for more resources.

  • Coping with Loss & Change: Cancer often disrupts the many roles we have in life (e.g., parent, partner, friend, employee). Treatment may impose limitations on your ability to do things on your own or in the way you do things. Some people may feel like cancer is forcing them to put “my life on hold” because they can’t do the things they are used to doing. Our roles in life give us a sense of who we are and when these roles are disrupted it is common to experience lowered self-esteem, guilt, worthlessness, anger or frustration. You may also feel grief as you cope with change and loss. Please see the Coping with Loss & Change handout for more information on grief and how to cope with loss and change.

  • Depression & Anxiety: Sadness, grief and worry are normal reactions to cancer. At times during diagnosis, treatment and survival, you may experience consistent worry, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, despair, sadness, guilt and racing thoughts. If these symptoms persist for long periods of time you may be depressed and/or anxious. Please see the Depression & Anxiety handout for more information on symptoms of depression and anxiety and ways to manage these.

  • Self-Care: Self-care is personal health maintenance. It is an enjoyable activity that prevents/treats disease or improves/restores overall health. There are many ways to engage in self-care. If feeling fatigued or if your time is limited, it is important to know that you don’t necessarily need a lot of time for self-care. Taking short breaks of 15 to 20 minutes during the day can help you feel more refreshed and energized. Please see the Self-Care handout for tips on how to engage in self-care.

  • Spirituality: Spirituality refers to the ways we seek and express meaning and life purpose. It also refers to the ways that we experience feeling connected to what is happening to us, to our relationships with ourselves and others, and to the sacred.  Spirituality and faith can be an important source of support and comfort when dealing with a diagnosis such as cancer. Please see the Spirituality handout for more information on how to contact a University of Colorado Hospital Chaplain who can provide support around coping with spiritual issues.

  • Talking With Your Children About Cancer: Parents are often concerned about how to talk with their children about cancer and how much to tell their children about their cancer. There are no absolute “right or wrongs.” A guiding principle when communicating with your children is to tell the truth in a way the child can understand. Please see the Talking With Your Children About Cancer handout for more tips on communicating with your child.

  • Young Adults & Cancer: Young adulthood is a particularly challenging time to be diagnosed with cancer since it corresponds with many important developmental milestones (partnerships/marriage, having children, becoming established in a career, dealing with aging parents’ needs, etc.). It is extremely normal to experience a range of emotions throughout the cancer experience: anger, frustration, depression/sadness, anxiety/worrying, guilt, fear, grief, loss, loneliness, and feelings of unfairness. Please see the Young Adults & Cancer handout for some tips of how to cope with your feelings and experiences.