How To Fight Cancer With Sport Psychology:
Twenty One Tips For Patients And Caretakers
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.
For almost thirty years, I have coached some of the top athletes in the world from a wide variety of individual and team sports. You name the sport and I have worked with an athlete who participates in that sport-frequently at a high level.
Recently, my wife, a fine athlete and outstanding figure skater, was diagnosed with a very serious brain tumor.
After getting over the initial shock, fear and terror, I realized that some of the mental toughness skills that I have taught others and used in my own life would be helpful to both cancer patients to their family members and caretakers.
I have decided to write some blog posts dedicated to the above topics.
In addition, I will be running a support group for people who are being impacted by this challenging disease.
On a regular basis, I will outline some tips that I believe will be helpful.
- Get good at staying the present and taking life one day at a time.
- Better yet, try living life one breath at a time.
- Surround yourself with a team of doctors and health care professionals who you like and who know what they are doing.
- Accept the support and generous offers of friends and family members.
- Don’t go into hiding about the situation. Being open and candid will alleviate stress and help to get the support you need.
- Be sure to take care of yourself if you are a caretaker: eat well, sleep well and exercise often.
- Make contact with nature.
- Spend time with your pets.
- Cancer is a reminder that life is precious. So, make every day count.
- Use humor as a way of coping. Some funny things do happen during the course of treatment.
- You will meet some amazing people in this world. Embrace your contact with them.
- Avoid extensive contact with people who are negative and pessimistic. You need positive, but realistic advice and tips.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor anything.
- If you are a spiritual or religious person, utilize your faith. It certainly can’t hurt. It seems like there are now thousands of people praying for my wife and my family.
- Search for any sliver lining with the grey clouds. This is not always easy, but is very important to find these linings.
- Expect some peaks and valleys as you or your loved one goes through treatment. Try to discover what helps you and your loved one to be resilient.
- Fighting cancer and managing the health care system can be very challenging. Break this complex down into small steps.
- Develop a daily routine which allows you to manage work, family, leisure, treatment and caretaking.
- Do at least one fun thing every day.
- Talk with a good friend every day.
- Keep a journal about your feelings and your experiences.
I have also decided to start a support group for patients and their families. If you are interested, call me at 201 647-9191 or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.