If you or someone you love is facing a cancer journey after a recent cancer diagnosis, it’s likely that you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with how you’ll handle cancer treatments, medical expenses, logistics like child care, and more. A cancer diagnosis is already hard enough. Adding layers of stress that come with the specifics of how to tackle a cancer diagnosis doesn’t make it easier. The good news is that there are many resources out there for cancer patients unsure of where to begin, how to juggle out-of-pocket costs, or who are struggling with health insurance issues. If you’re new to cancer treatments and need help with locating resources, read on for four things to consider.
1. Obtaining Financial Resources
One of the most stressful things about a cancer diagnosis, like leukemia or breast cancer, is the expense of active treatment. Whether you need surgery for myeloma or are struggling with the financial burden of paying for prescription medications, getting your finances in order as a cancer patient can be a great weight off anyone’s shoulders.
Some cancer patients make the decision to opt for cancer financial assistance in an unconventional way. These savvy patients sell off their life insurance policies so that they can take the financial burden of paying for large medical expenses off their plate. For example, American Life Fund offers viatical settlements to the terminally ill. They will buy your life insurance policy and give you a lump sum payout, so you can take care of end-of-life expenses.
Whether you decide to do a Go Fund Me drive, a fundraiser, or to work with a hospital social worker and your insurance company to be sure you have the financial support you need, it’s a good idea for any cancer patient to speak with a financial counselor early on in their treatment to reduce the stress that comes with how they’ll pay for treatments.
2. Seeking Spiritual Guidance
Getting through a cancer diagnosis, recovery, or even making end-of-life decisions can be incredibly challenging for anyone. Even when your finances are taken care of, it’s a good idea to have people and beliefs to turn to for mental support. The reality is, the better your state of mind and whether you have hope could make a difference in your overall treatments and physical wellbeing. At the same time, it can be hard to feel spiritual when things aren’t going well.
Maybe religion has always been important to you, and you still have a VBS Bible from Cokesbury but need a boost to encourage you to keep praying in these challenging times. Even if you take the time to order those rosary beads, a new leather Bible, or something else that could remind you of a spirituality that’s pulled you through other difficult times, you might find you feel better. The same way your family and friends’ support can make a big difference in your mood, returning to your spirituality might help, too.
3. Designating Advocates
It’s important to be able to identify the people who understand what you’re going through and know you best. Whether this is finding a healthcare provider who takes the time to listen to you, working with a hospital social worker, or hiring a licensed therapist, it can be helpful to have a professional advocate in your corner. An advocate is someone who will remind you of your goals for recovery and honor your decisions along the way. In identifying people outside your family unit, they’ll have the ability to be more objective, too.
4. Building a Support Team
The best advocate won’t be able to replace your family and friends. If you’ve recently received a cancer diagnosis, it’s a good idea to let the people you trust know what’s going on as soon as you’re ready. While you might have concerns about how your diagnosis will impact them, they’ll be able to be an invaluable resource to you through your cancer journey. Start by having an honest conversation with the people who love you most. Set boundaries, and be willing to both ask for and accept help. Keep in mind that your family won’t be perfect. They’ll be hurting too. At the same time, knowing they’re on your side will make a huge difference in your state of mind.
The road ahead will come with many challenges, victories, and setbacks. In having solid resources to help with challenging days, you or the person you love will be in a better position to focus on health and recovery instead of things like medical expenses. Do yourself the favor of building a great support team and resource collection now, and you’ll put yourself in the position of having better peace of mind and quality of life as you battle cancer.