Cancer is emotional – and it’s totally normal

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When you are diagnosed with cancer, your world is turned upside down. Everything feels off and you are consumed with many emotions that can include all or some of the following:  denial, anger, fear, worry, stress, shock, anxiety, sadness, depression, guilt, loneliness, feeling out of control, and even gratitude.  Whatever the emotion, it ALL feels overwhelming AND IT’S ALL NORMAL.

You may experience these feelings before, during and after treatment. In fact, some people who have relatively low stress before or during treatment, have high levels of stress and anxiety once treatment is finished. Feelings aren’t wrong. Let yourself feel what you need to feel, honor those feelings and be kind to yourself.

Here are a few tips to manage/reduce stress:

  • Ask for help
  • Join a support group
  • Look for ways to relax
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Keep a journal
  • Schedule social activities
  • Practice meditation, deep breathing or yoga
  • Be aware of your limits
  • Concentrate on things you can control; don’t worry about the things you can’t
  • Prioritize routine tasks

Local Resources:

  • The M. Krista Loyd Resource Center located on the first floor of UofL Brown Cancer Center provides several free services for UofL Brown Cancer Center patients including massage, art and Reiki therapies. Call 502-562-4158 for more information.
  • Gilda’s Club is a free program that includes support groups for all ages, cancer related education classes, healthy lifestyle classes, social activities and resources/referrals. Call 502-583-0075 for more information.
  • Friend for Life Cancer Support Network will match you with a cancer survivor who can provide support and encouragement because they have been there and they understand what you are going through. Call 502-893-0643 for more information.
  • The Livestrong program through YMCA provides free or low-cost customized exercise regimens catered to your individual needs from certified fitness instructors trained in supportive cancer care. Contact your local YMCA or go to

This blog was written by: Kim Williams, LCSW & Sandra Krekel, LCSW

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Article by: Thrive Clinic

This blog originally appeared in the monthly newsletter for the Thrive Clinic at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center. The Thrive Clinic, headed up by Whitney Pitman, APRN, specifically focuses on extended survivorship, which is the period of time immediately following treatment completion. During this time, patients are transitioning from active treatment into active surveillance. The clinic helps patients transition from active treatment into surveillance mode, educating patients on their potential short and long-term side effects of treatment. The clinic focuses on restoring function and improving quality of life. Patients can be referred to the clinic once their treatment is complete.

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