So You Have Just Been Diagnosed with Bladder Cancer... What Now?

You have just had THE most awful news you could ever possibly imagine! You will be stunned, in shock, overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, where do you go from here?


Your mind is going to be filled with so many different thoughts, with such a huge range of emotions. You may even be in denial... there is no "right" way to deal with it. However you deal with it, it is the right way for you.

Give yourself a little time, take a moment, take a really big breath... slowly breathe it out...  do this a few times. It isn't going "instantly" take away everything that you are feeling, but it will, hopefully, calm you for that second.

Your thoughts are going to focus on everything you have ever read about cancer, all the sad, heartbreaking stories. You are going to wonder if you are going to die, or how ill will you may become. Or how your family and friends are going to cope, all these thoughts in a split second.

Riding the waves of emotion

You will have waves of these emotions taking over your day. One minute you will think that you are dealing with it, and the next minute you will be overcome and suffocated with emotions. You have to ride these waves, there is no way around them.

When I was first diagnosed, I drank to block out those feelings. I would drink so much that I would pass out. The bad news is that every morning, I would wake up, feeling awful, and there they still were, those overwhelming and helpless feelings. However, they had grown, and now I had to add "guilt" to the pile.

I remember feeling that I was scared to cry because I thought I would never stop, especially when it became a terminal diagnosis. Or if I did cry, how would I be able to "cope" with all those emotions, how bad would it make my heart ache? I didn't think I could stand the pain it would bring me.

You are enough

When you are ready to to face up to the situation, you will, I promise, no matter how hard it feels. You have got this, you are strong enough, you are brave enough, you are enough. And when you have faced the worst thing ever to happen to you, you will deal with it, the same way you deal with everything else in your life, with courage.

Those first few weeks and months are the hardest. You will feel in limbo, you won't know if you are coming or going, you will have moments of clarity and moments of sheer hell. It won't help as there will be scans and appointments everywhere.

Feeling consumed by cancer

You will feel "consumed" by cancer. You will notice all the advertisements on the television about cancer, everywhere you go there will be reminders of "cancer". I remember going to Tesco (a UK grocery and drugstore) a few days after my diagnosis, and there was the good old "bag for life". It nearly sent me over the edge.

You will be waiting to hear back from one Consultant or another, you will feel that that's all you are doing is "waiting'. It can feel really frustrating, but you see life goes on... For us, although we were devastated, we tried to continue with everyday "normal life". This was so difficult, especially for Tim and Ashleigh (my Hubs & Son). I don't know how they managed to carrying on.

Something other than cancer

The day I was told it was terminal, Ashleigh was taking his driving test. He passed, and he said it was almost a relief to be able to concentrate on something else other than "cancer".

You may even find yourself being angry at others who are laughing and joking in the supermarket. You may find that some people don't know what to say to you so would rather avoid you than having to confront their feelings. That is their issue, and in time they too will deal with it.

You may find yourself blurting it out to someone at the bus stop and feeling so guilty afterwards that you have burdened that person with all that emotion. Or you may go the other way and become withdrawn and quiet. No matter what, it's important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to react.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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