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Chemo and Radiation: 5 Ways to Make Sense of the Emotional Impact

Cancer patients who undergo chemo and radiation treatment have to deal with a lot all at once. While these treatments are designed to kill the cancer cells, they impact your body in many negative ways as well.

Chemo and radiation can make you feel weak and sick. For many people, hair begins to fall out. You’ll likely start to notice other uncomfortable symptoms, too.

Most people tend to focus on the physical impact of chemo and radiation. Yet, it’s also important to recognize the emotional impact of the process.

To put it plainly, these treatments are difficult to go through. Not only are you dealing with a scary disease, but the treatments for that disease can be just as troublesome.

Thankfully, making sense of the emotional impact can actually make chemo and radiation easier to get through.

Let’s take a look at five effective ways you can manage that emotional impact.

1. Understand You’ll Have Ups and Downs

Just as some days you’ll physically feel better than others, your emotions may be all over the place, too.

Some days you might feel happy. Others you might feel angry, sad, or frustrated.

Accepting the fact that your emotions can change quickly is an important part of getting through your treatment. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel rather than getting down because you can’t always control your emotions. Ups and downs are part of the journey. 

2. Learn Your Triggers

One thing you can do to help you make sense of your emotions during chemo and radiation is to identify what might be triggering the negative ones.

When you have an idea of what changes your outlook from a positive to a negative one, you can take better control over it. Then, the emotional impact doesn’t seem so powerful or as extreme.

3. Identify What’s Really Bothering You

One of the best things you can do to make sense of the emotional impact of these treatments is to find out what’s really bothering you.

This is different from what triggered the emotions. Instead, you may have several things going on all at once aside from treatment—household duties, work responsibilities, relationships issues—causing you to feel overwhelmed.

Furthermore, you may hold onto those feelings for too long, causing the negative emotions to rise up. When you figure out the underlying cause of those negative emotions, you can focus on it, and work on strategies to get through it.

4. Don’t Go Through It Alone

Having a strong support group is invaluable when going through any type of treatment for cancer. The emotional impact is often too much to handle on your own. Plus, you shouldn’t have to!

Making sense of your emotions doesn’t have to be something you go through alone. Talking to someone you love about those emotions can actually make a big difference.

Surround yourself with people who support you and will be there for you. They can lift your spirits and provide a comforting ear to listen. Simply talking through your emotions with someone can help you to make more sense of them.

5. Counseling for Cancer Patients

Along those same lines, some cancer patients benefit from seeing a counselor or therapist. If you’re really struggling with how to handle your emotions from chemo and radiation, a professional can help you to work through your feelings and learn to manage them.

There is absolutely no doubt that going through these treatments is one of the most difficult things to endure. The physical, mental, and emotional toll it can take can feel crippling.

Being able to talk to someone who can give you the tools you need to get through it can make a big difference in your overall treatment.

When you better understand your emotions, you can put a different spin on the entire treatment process.

While chemo and radiation will always be difficult to go through, knowing how to make sense of your emotions can lessen the overall impact, and motivate you to stay strong as your body fights back.

If you’re ready to make sense of your emotions as you navigate the chemo and radiation process, I would like to help. Please, contact me today. Or, visit here to learn more about how I can help you.

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Cancer & Medical

Counseling Medical Patients

Counseling Medical Patients

Are Medical Treatments Or Procedures Causing You To Feel Down, Depressed, Angry Or Anxious? Are you struggling to feel healthy and whole while in the midst of cancer treatments or following a surgery? Are you beginning to wonder if you may be suffering from some form of medical trauma? Perhaps you recently had heart surgery and are suddenly experiencing depression. Or maybe a succession of cancer treatments or a recent kidney or liver transplant surgery has you questioning if you can live a normal, healthy life. Have chemotherapy treatments worn you down, making it difficult to cultivate energy, hope and joy? Are you tired of feeling like a victim, stuck in suffering? Do you wish you could let go of negative thoughts and feel positive and focused on a healthy and effective recovery? Counseling medical patients can provide the help you need to move back from merely surviving each day to really living your life fully.

Medical trauma can affect anyone experiencing a life-changing medical issue or who has undergone invasive surgery. Prolonged physically and mentally intensive treatments and post-operation recovery can feel overwhelming and sometimes frightening. And, when the physical body is in distress, it’s not uncommon to neglect the needs of the emotional body and the mind. Depression, anxiety and cumulative stress can take hold and erode at emotional and mental well-being. You may want to find your way back to emotional strength, but feel too tired, stressed or confused to. You may also wonder if you will ever be able to lead a normal, healthy life and worry about how your medical condition is affecting the people you love.

Counseling for cancer and medical patients

What Is Medical Trauma?

Medical trauma can be caused by medical events, such as cancer treatments, organ transplant procedures or heart surgeries that create heightened stress or fear. While in the midst of cancer treatments and following invasive surgeries, many patients experience trauma symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, mistrust and relationship issues. Transplant donors and recipients can experience major anxiety and depression that can inhibit the patients from following their doctor’s medical advice. Even family members and spouses of patients undergoing cancer treatments and surgeries can experience changes in behavior and mental well-being.

If you’re suffering from medical trauma, you are not alone. Forty percent of all heart surgery patients suffer from some form of depression within six months following their operation, and up to 25 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer experience clinical depression. In families of patients, 20-30 percent of spouses of cancer patients experience some form of psychological distress and behavioral change.

Medical trauma can affect anyone who has undergone, is about to undergo or is currently receiving medical treatment. The anticipation of a diagnosis or the inevitable decline of a loved one’s health can elicit racing, anxious thoughts and cause patients and their families to feel helpless or even hopeless. While symptoms can sometimes be obvious, at other times, trauma goes unnoticed due to prevailing concerns, such as taking care of the family, maintaining a job or trying to heal yourself. Dealing with those external factors can create more stress and even slow the healing process.

Whether you are apprehensive about an upcoming diagnosis, fearful for a loved one’s future or are dealing with the effects of invasive surgery, there is hope and help. An experienced and compassionate therapist can help improve your sense of well-being and manage traumatic stress.

Counseling for cancer and medical patients

Counseling For Cancer Patients And Medical Trauma Can Help You Process Trauma And Experience Relief

Impermanence is frequently at the core of the fears and anxieties we experience when dealing with medical issues. The loss of mobility, energy and ability to participate in everyday activities can create symptoms of anxiety and depression and further complicate an already complicated situation. The idea of the impermanence and the possible decline of health or death can rattle even the boldest and most spiritual of people. The good news is that even in the midst of a difficult situation, it is possible to work through challenging thoughts and feelings, cultivate a positive perspective and feel more at peace.

In safe, confidential sessions, we can work through your medical trauma by addressing fears around impermanence, attachment, loss and grief. Using a combination of Western medicine practices and Eastern philosophies, I will create a mindfulness-based approach and help you cultivate courage, strength and happiness in the midst of the uncertainty you face. I can help you manage this sensitive and vulnerable time by approaching your unique situation with compassion and openness. It is my privilege to work with people at a most sensitive and vulnerable time, and I always endeavor to preserve dignity and honor trust.

While many people undergo similar diseases, symptoms and procedures, the experience is never the same from one person to another. I understand that each of my clients is unique, which is why I will tailor-create a therapy strategy that best addresses and supports your specific medical condition, needs, history, personality and therapy goals. In medical trauma therapy sessions, I can help you identify and re-frame negative thinking patterns, learn relaxation techniques and find grounding and perspective in the present moment. By re-contextualizing your pain and suffering I can help you find joy and peace within the moment.

For over 23 years, I have been counseling medical patients; providing guidance and support to people experiencing medical trauma and their loved ones. I understand the challenges that can come with invasive medical procedures and the mental and emotional toll they can take. But, I also know that there is always help and hope for healing. With support, guidance and an approach tailored to meet your specific needs, you can work through feelings of uncertainty and cultivate happiness, confidence and a sense of peace.
Although you may understand the benefits of counseling for cancer patients and medical trauma, you still may have questions and concerns about the process…

I’m too tired and taxed to add anything—even therapy—to my schedule.

Constant visits to doctors and treatment centers can be emotionally overwhelming and physically difficult to manage. It’s understandable that you may not want to visit yet another office, especially if you’ve been poked and prodded and fear exposing yourself even more. That said, counseling for cancer patients and medical trauma can help you process trauma and work through challenging thoughts and feelings. We will work at a pace that feels comfortable for you, which can keep you from feeling overwhelmed in sessions. Also, often when clients let go of heavy thoughts and feelings, they often experience increased energy and a more positive perspective on their recovery process.

Counseling for cancer and medical patients

I’m not mentally ill. Why do I need therapy?

We like to think that we can tackle the world by ourselves. The reality is, however, that humans are meant to live and heal in community, and we can all benefit from help. Seeking help is a sign of strength, and I find my clients are ordinary people trying to navigate extraordinary circumstances. Furthermore, a healthy mental outlook is a critical part of the healing process. Elevated stress and apathetic feelings can interfere with your ability and desire to follow your doctor’s orders and can even affect your body’s response to surgery or medical treatments. An experienced therapist can help you manage your mental health, process trauma and feel more empowered in your recovery.

My loved one is suffering medical trauma, and I’m struggling to cope. Can this kind of therapy help me, too?

Those who are supporting another through a medical crisis are often the ones who benefit from counseling the most. It’s not uncommon for spouses, family members and friends of those suffering from medical trauma to feel afraid, frustrated and overwhelmed. If you are struggling to understand or process your loved one’s medical situation, trauma therapy can provide you with guidance and support. In sessions, you can focus on your personal experience and work through challenging thoughts and emotions. When you feel mentally and emotionally balanced, you’re best able to care for yourself and provide care for the people you love.

You Can Live With Greater Ease And More Joy

You don’t have to navigate this challenging time on your own. I invite you to contact me at (713) 489-3329 for a free 15-minute consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific needs and answer any questions you have about counseling for cancer patients and medical trauma and my practice.

Counseling for cancer and medical patients

Call Now (346)-493-6181

Ben Carrettin is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He is the owner of Practice Improvement Resources, LLC; a private business which offers an array of specialized counseling, evidenced-based clinical consultation, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and targeted ESI-based services to individuals and businesses.