NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 75

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
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Part 7: Living your life
Going from “your basic American teen (or 20-something
or 30-something)” to “your basic American teen (or
20-something or 30-something) with cancer” can throw
your entire life off kilter. Whatever your plans may have
been before your diagnosis, for the next year or more a
big chunk of your time is going to be occupied with tests,
treatments, insurance issues, and just plain holding
it together.
This doesn’t mean that you have to put your entire
existence on hold. With the right support and a little
planning you can keep your life from being all about
the cancer.
Holding your own
Coping with moving back home
If getting cancer also means moving back in with your
parents or other family members, the shock of your
diagnosis may be mixed with a lot of other feelings, from
frustration at losing your independence to relief at having
the help, to a strange combination of the two.
Although the love and support of your family can be one
of your most valuable assets, it’s important that they—
and you—understand that you’re the one in charge when
it comes to treatment. Parents and other family members
can help you with research, support you during doctor
visits, and offer their opinions, but ultimately it’s your
body, and it is important that your voice be heard and
understood. Although it’s not always easy to ask loved
ones to back off, if you feel that your opinions aren’t
being heard you may need to let people know. Be loving
but firm in setting boundaries, and let your family know if
they are crossing the line from supportive to controlling.
Maintaining a sense of control
It’s not always easy to feel in control when cancer has
hijacked your body. But even when surrounded by
uncertainty there’s plenty you can do to maintain a sense
of control over your life and future.
Get organized.
As noted in Part 2, you’ll be dealing
with a LOT of paper and information on your cancer
journey. Staying on top of it from the very beginning
can save you from feeling overwhelmed and can do
wonders for your sense of control. The Cancer101
Web site offers a comprehensive planner that can
get you started. It includes sections for test results,
research, insurance information, symptom tracking,
appointments, and more. You can order the planner
or by calling 646.638.2202.
Take control of your environment.
If you’re going
to be spending more time at home, you might as
well enjoy it. If your bedroom (or apartment, or dorm
room) isn’t particularly comfortable or welcoming, try
your hand at interior design. Set up a refuge where
you can retreat and relax.
Set your priorities.
This is a good time to think
about what’s really important to you and where
you want to invest your time and energy during
treatment. What gives you satisfaction? Makes you
happy? Makes you laugh? Is there anything you’ve
always wanted to do, but haven’t because you were
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