Having suffered breast cancer twice, and having been a caregiver for others in her family who have also suffered cancer, Neerja Malik knows the ins and outs of a cancer journey.
She is well-versed with the physical repercussions of treatment, the emotional conflict of recurrence, and the mental anguish of hospitalisation. So, in this episode we ask her to share her tried and tested tips on facing cancer.
The theme of this episode is positive thoughts during cancer. The effects of our thoughts on our physical well-being is a much documented phenomenon. Furthermore, researchers are looking at how our expectations from our treatment might affect our treatment outcomes.
Neerja explains how we can exchange our fear of cancer and cancer treatment, for acceptance. Understanding that all medical procedures are for our benefit, and the doctors, the medical staff, our own caregivers are all working hard to improve our health is a vital part of this process. Looking forward to our treatment, rather than being fearful of it, will help us endure any side-effects better.
Neerja also stresses on the transitory nature of all treatment. Reminding ourselves that the treatment is temporary and is for our benefit, might ease our mind from unnecessary fears. She also highlights the role of humour in relaxation and in improving mental health.
She has some apt advice for caregivers as well. When dealing with a cancer patient, the first thing we need to do, according to Neerja, is to listen to them. She stresses on this as the first step; not giving advice, not providing encouragement, but just listening to them.
Allowing our cancer patients to vent their feelings, helps them unburden themselves of the anxiety and stress that is bottled up inside them. Listening patiently, and understanding how they feel, will help us find the right ways of helping them.
To watch other episodes of The Thing About Cancer, click on the links below: