How Thrivers + Caregivers Can Relinquish Control After a Cancer Diagnosis

Posted: March 7, 2022


Mental Health






Music isn’t the only thing that makes us lose control (lookin’ at you, Missy Elliott). When a cancer diagnosis rocks the world of thrivers and caregivers, it can feel like the universe ripped the steering wheel out of your hands, and the breaks don’t work. The vehicle is heading 90 mph down an unpaved road. What do you do?

It’s natural to wonder “Why?” Or perhaps you’re scared of something you did to deserve your diagnosis. Cancer isn’t your fault, bud. 

Even the most self-assured people struggle. A lack of clarity can create a downward spiral of Googling and answer-seeking.

Come to terms with the reality that you can’t control your cancer. Focus on what you can handle. 

You can’t control your diagnosis. 

You can’t control your treatment. 

You can’t control the twists and turns of this season.

But you can control your mindset and small wins. 

"To be a patient is to relinquish control—to your medical team and their decisions, to your body and its unscheduled breakdowns. Caregivers, by proxy, suffer a similar fate. But there are crucial differences between the two. More than ever, I wanted to walk away: from the changing treatment protocols and timelines, the exhaustion and the humiliation of having to ask for constant help. But as a sick person, I was bound to the mess of it all, to this wretched marrow of mine." -Suleika Jaouad, Between Two Kingdoms

Trust the medical experts, not the Hallmark ones.

Your doctors are there for a reason--they are medical experts who have studied oncology (and spent a lot of money doing so) to help cancer thrivers and their caregivers. They are your first go-to resource for any questions you have. Stay away from Dr. Google and “positivity pushers.”

Positivity pushers are people who say things like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or “At least you didn’t lose your hair!” We have just one thing to say to these people: F*ck off.

Go check out this post for more on these annoying people: What are cancer muggles and positivity pushers, and why are they obsessed with “the bright side” of my dark situation?

Accept that there are limits to how you take charge. 

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