Navigating Your Cancer Diagnosis: Ten Ways a Cancer Coach May Help
“You have cancer”
Three words that immediately make your heart stop while your mind loses its ability to process anything. While you sit there – numb, the doctor, with all good intentions, begins to overload you with “next steps”, “to-dos” and a pile of resources for you to utilize. In addition to the “non-processing” of mind, you can now add “overwhelmed” to your current reality. And, while conversations continue around you, your own mind is a broken record, “I have cancer” … “now what do I do?”…“I have cancer”… “will I be okay?”… “I have cancer”… everything is incomprehensible.
It is only when the fog begins to lift ever-so-slightly, that you begin to move into practical “doing” mode. Anything more than that right now is just too tender. While you sort through the plethora of materials, you may wonder “where should I start?” One call you may consider is reaching out to a Cancer Coach.
While a relatively new field, a Cancer Coach can often serve as a neutral resource whose sole purpose is to ensure YOU have what you need to navigate your own cancer experience. There are no competing agendas, be it the medical team(s), insurance companies, family or friends. Instead, a Cancer Coach will be fully present to dialogue on how you want to show up for this experience. By partnering with a Coach you tap into what is most important to you and begin to create the road map forward that aligns with you and your needs. Such dialogue may focus on the practical items, as well as mental/emotional, physical and spiritual concerns. Throughout the entire process, you are the driver with the coach as your partner in maneuvering the somewhat unpredictable road ahead.
By including a Cancer Coach as part of your core team, you can expect him/her to partner with you in some of the following ways:
- Assist you in being with and moving through the initial shock of a diagnosis.
- Facilitate understanding of pathology reports and medical “speak”; including research of various treatment options.
- Dialogue openly about what you want and how you want to show up in this often chaotic space.
- Build lists of questions for doctor appointments, both clinical and relationship-focused, based on your potential need for deeper understanding.
- Accompany you to various medical appointments as a neutral “second pair-of-ears”, providing further ease and clarity of current options.
- Provide methods for coping with the overflow of feelings, be it fear, anger, despair, or confusion.
- Create a holistic plan for healing and navigation forward, encompassing practical items such as meals, daycare, inner circle of support; as well as physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
- Hold safe space to explore everything that comes up throughout this entire experience.
- Educate and facilitate available resources within your community and on-line.
- Be the one “go-to” partner that is with you throughout the entire process, from diagnosis, treatment, post-treatment, survivorship, and even end-of-life, should this be imminent.
Benefits for you, by engaging a Cancer Coach, may include feelings of pure relief, stability, and hope. Heightened awareness, comfort and clarity, while tapping into a sense of calm presence. And, at last, feeling respected, heard, and in control, all of which enhance your own healing process.
Thus, in summary, Cancer Coaching is a strong partnership between you and your Coach built on unbiased objectivity, trust, curiosity, compassion, deep listening and mindful facilitation, which creates a heightened awareness and authenticity for you to explore your own mind, body, spirit and practical relationship with your cancer experience, enabling you to be grounded and clear on how you want show up, in this moment, in your life – now.
If you or someone you know may be interested in engaging a Cancer Coach, please reach out to The Cancer Wellness Center at (512) 701-0515 to schedule an introductory session.