Distraction - There is nothing wrong with distraction! Even if your normal style is to focus on confrontation, there are times when "enough is enough"! Here are some ideas for taking your mind off the upcoming test, procedure, or test results:
1) Make a list of "fun friends" - the ones that make you laugh, take you to new places, or bring a "breath of fresh air" into your life. Sit and laugh over tea and muffins. Or, take this time to get to know friends in a new way. Capitalize on your friends' talents and learn something new! Let the artistic one help you add decorative touches to a room. Ask the gourmet cook to teach you a new cooking technique. Learning something new tends to focus our attention outward.
2) Move! If physical condition and energy levels permit, get out and walk, swim, bike, or dance. It will help bring down the levels of stress hormones floating around your system. If your head is still whirling with worrisome thoughts, take along a fun friend or a portable tape or CD player to give yourself something else to think about. Sometimes using pent-up energy to reorganize a room or a closet can be satisfying as well.
3) Make a list of movies and videos you'd like to see. When you're too pooped for exercise, choose some passive entertainment. Most people like to turn to light fare such as comedies, but if wallowing in someone else's problems takes your mind off your own, then go for the drama. Or perhaps this is your chance to rent some of those old classic movies you've been meaning to see.
4) Likewise, pull out that list of books you've been meaning to read. If you can concentrate, you can get involved in something deep and complex, but otherwise, head for the mysteries or other absorbing but light "good reads".
5) Don't feel bad about asking for a little anti-anxiety medication to get you through a difficult time. When your body's natural chemical response to a situation is proving too disruptive, it may be appropriate to seek help in counteracting it.
Getting the News. The Moment of Truth.
1) Speed it up. Time and again, I have seen that a little assertiveness goes a long way. Tell the office staff that it's important to you to get the information from your tests as soon as possible. It's surprising how often this can actually speed up the process.
2) Bring support. If possible, have someone with you when you are told the results. Not only can that person be an emotional support, they can write down what the doctor says and help you to ask questions at a time when your own thinking might not be at its clearest. This can be helpful whether the news itself is good or bad.
3) Leave time to reflect. Whatever the outcome, you have just been through an emotional ordeal. Don't rush straight back from the doctor's office to resume work. Take some time to be good to yourself.
The key point to remember is that life-threatening situations are inherently upsetting. Intense emotional reactions are part of our body's natural response to danger. Happily, our modern lives often allow us to go for decades without encountering any serious threats. But this also makes us all the less prepared for our emotions when a threat arises. This is why it is so important to take advantage of the experiences of those who have been in this position before us, and the coping mechanisms that have helped them.
Internet Support Groups - all these groups have wonderful, welcoming women in them who have been through just what you are going through now!
HPV and Dysplasia Support - Laura moderates this Delphi Forum
Eyes on the Prize List - for all types of female reproductive cancers
ACOR GynOnc List - for Gyn Cancers other than ovarian cancer
ACOR Ovarian Problems Discussion List - For ovarian cancer support
Anxiety Management Resources -
Breaking the Cycle of Fear and Worry - from the Ovarian-news.org site
Coping Strategies -
from About's Stress Management Site
Back to Page One - Confrontive Strategies
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The material on this page and Web site is for informational and educational purposes only, and should not substitute for medical advice. Anyone having questions about the application of information appearing here to a specific person or situation should obtain advice from a qualified physician.