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What would you tell the new folks?


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RESEARCH....My first piece of advice would be for them to do research. Ask lots of questions. I know so much more now than when I was first diagnosed. Some of my decisions may have been different if I had more information at the beginning. I certainly would have been better informed to ask questions when meeting with the professionals.

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The best advice I could give is to get a small organizer or notebook and write EVERYTHING down. Write down your questions for the doctor before the appts, write down the answers at the appt. Keep copies of ALL test results in the notebook, this includes scans, blood work, etc. Keep a detailed record of all treatments, drug names, etc, as well as all of your appointments.

And maybe even more importantly, if you have ANY doubts in your doctor, never, ever be afraid to get a 2nd, 3rd or even more, opinion!



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You are your own best advocate. *Do all the things mentioned above (all wonderful advice) and remember after youv'e done the research adn asked the questions- you are not a statistic and no two experiences are exactly the same.

You are YOU and there is HOPE.

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1. RESEARCH: Ask questions. PM members at LCSC whose profile indicates a similar diagnosis. Find out their treatment. If it seems a lot more aggressive than your own, ask your dr why.

2. ANTI-DEPRESSANTS: Helped my entire family out a lot. It is normal to be emotional.

3. FIND A GOOD DR: Ask around for the best. Even if you have to travel for it. An aggressive dr can make all the difference.

4. IGNORE STATISTICS: As the surgeon told my mom, her odds were 50/50, either she would make it or not. Each person is an individual. While survival rates may seem scary, there ARE survivors.

5. ASK QUESTIONS & GET COPIES OF YOUR MEDICAL REPORTS: Learn to be your own advocate.


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Seek out other survivors. I always find hope when I could actually talk or visit with those touched by lung cancer.

Bring someone with you to all doctor appointments. You would be amazed how much information that could be misunderstands/forgotten/doesn't hear. Better yet, bring a tape recorder too.


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"The best prescription is knowledge."

-- C. Everett Koop, MD, former United States Surgeon General

Some people believe it is easier to face the reality of a new or scary situation if they learn as much as they can about it. This is especially true when you are dealing with a complex group of diseases like cancer. There is often a great fear of the unknown and uncertainty about what is going to happen. Knowledge can help lessen the fear of the unknown. You can learn a lot about the type of cancer you have, its treatment, and your chances for recovery.

Be your own advocate. Even though people facing cancer cannot change their diagnosis, they can seek out reliable, up-to-date information and talk to family members, friends, and their health care team. Finding good sources of support can help people with cancer take control of their situation and make informed decisions.

It's important to work through your feelings about cancer, because how you feel can affect how you look at yourself, how you view life, and what decisions you make about treatment.

These tips can help you make your medical appointments as useful as possible:

*Make a list of questions to ask your health care team.

*Bring a family member or friend along to appointments. They can serve as an extra pair of ears, help you remember things later, and give you support.

*Ask if you can record important conversations.

*Take notes. If someone uses a word you don't know, ask them to spell it and explain it.

*Ask your health care team to explain anything you don't understand.

*You will not be able to change many things in your life. Focus on what you can change to gain a greater sense of control over your situation.

Other things you can do to deal with your emotions:

Ask for support from family, friends, and others. Just having someone who cares and will listen to you can be very helpful. If friends or family members are not able to be supportive, find others who will. Health care professionals (such as social workers, psychologists, or other licensed health professionals) and support groups can be extra sources of support.

Get spiritual support through prayer, meditation, or other practices that help you feel more at peace. You may want the guidance of a chaplain, pastor, rabbi, or other religious leader.

Pay attention to your physical needs for rest, nutrition, and other self-care measures.

Find ways to express your feelings, such as talking or writing in a journal.

Allow yourself private time and space.

Walk or exercise. It is a good idea to talk with your cancer care team about your plans before starting a new exercise program or activity.

Find out what helped other patients and families cope with cancer, and/or talk with other people diagnosed with the same type of cancer.

Make changes at home to create a healthier environment, and/or talk with your doctor about making healthy lifestyle choices.

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