Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools is an honest, and sometimes humorous account of Tako's process. It features tips for emotional health to foster positivity, no matter where patients are in their personal journey to conquer cancer. The book is a useful tool for family members, friends and caregivers to provide a better understanding of the cancer experience and how they can help.
I had a chance to interview her to learn more.
1. How did this book come to be written?
I didn’t want to write it! No one wants to get cancer. When I got breast cancer, it propelled me to write the book I wished someone could have handed to me to help me through the emotional aspects of cancer—the fear, isolation, stress, sleeplessness, and, especially, the uncertainty that a cancer patient struggles with for the rest of their life.
2. Why did you turn your journal into a book?
I wanted to share everything I had learned to help me cope with cancer with other cancer patients. I also wanted to be brutally honest about what having cancer feels like. I did this so other cancer survivors would feel less alone with their diagnosis and so the people who love them can read to better understand what the survivor is going through.
3. What advice do you have for someone newly diagnosed with cancer?
My book is full of ideas to help, but I begin with these thoughts: Recognize that this is a major life-changing event and a huge shock, so be gentle with yourself (Moms generally do this for others, but not always for themselves). Go to your safe place, whether that’s your chair, or bed, or favorite end of the couch, and get out a soft warm blanket. Second, let your loved ones and your faith community leaders know what has happened to you. In addition, start writing down your questions and concerns. Get them out on paper instead of stewing about them in your head.
4. What advice do you have for someone further out from their cancer diagnosis who is still struggling with what happened to them?
Do not do this alone! I would strongly encourage them to reach out to others who have been through the same experience. Find a fellow survivor, and, if possible, a cancer support group. I would also suggest seeing a professional oncology psychotherapist. Cancer is a huge life-changing event and it makes sense to seek experienced help to cope with it.
5. What are some of the coping tools that you share?
I encourage fellow cancer survivors to pick and choose what tools work for them from my book. There are a variety of tools in the book, depending on whether you are newly diagnosed, in the middle of active treatment, or trying to process it all afterwards. Depending on where you are in your journey, things like journaling, meditating, and finding distractions can be helpful.
If you'd like to enter the giveaway, leave a comment with how cancer as affected your life or the life of someone closer to you. Deadline is February 10th.