Maria Menounosannounced today that she has a benign tumor the size of a golf ball in her head. The tumor is in a place next to crucial facial nerves and an area that controls her hearing. At the same time, her mother is fighting Stage 4 malignant brain cancer. Her mother has already had brain surgery to remove her malignant tumor. We wish Maria and her family strength, comfort and healing. She is teaching so many how to deal with devastating, unexpected news.
Here are some lessons from her story:
Keep the Faith. She said she prayed about her situation and her mother’s.
Stay positive. Hold on to what is working and the belief that uou are an overcomer. Cancer loves negativity and bitterness. Falling into a deep depression surpresses your immune system.
Keep your sense of humor. Laughter really is the best medicine. It gives your system a boost of feel good neurochemicals, helps you have energy to keep fighting, and allows you to focus on the desired outcome.
Go to the experts on your conditio. Learn all you can to make an informed decision about your health options.
Surround yourself with a good support network. Someone to listen when you need to grieve the, hopefully temporary, loss of your health or the changes in your body post treatment. That includes family, friends, significant others, your faith community and even your go-to dependable managed care ally.
Keep a record. Take notes at all physician visits, discussions with managed care, and your progress through the journey. You may need to refer to them later if treatments are changed or your develop new symptoms or side effects.
Talk to other survivors.
Talk to a Health Psychologist.
Remember, you are not your illness. Your are more than your “Dis-Ease” as one of my earliest clients taught me.
Dr. Sears is a licensed psychologist with a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. She has worked with clients from 7 to 99. She is the 2013 Recipient of the Psychologist of the Year Award from the Florida Psychological Association and the Past President of her local chapter of the Florida Psychological Association.