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Fighting Cancer With... Joy?

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Unfortunately, today's statistics tell us 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will hear these words during their life: "You have cancer."

With over 1.5 million people being diagnosed in the United States every single year, we all can think of someone we know right now who is facing cancer. That's why cancer support is so important.

And of course, the huge problem when you get diagnosed with cancer is that you're not feeling joy, happiness, or really anything positive.

I know this first-hand. Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 my life was forever changed when my cancer diagnosis (stage four!) was confirmed... at the young age of just 33!

I can tell you from my personal experience what I felt in that moment and shortly thereafter was all negative from this paralyzing fear of dying to sadness. Others report feeling anger, and even depression.

So how do you get unstuck from the negative emotions as you or your loved one goes from diagnosis through treatment?

At this point I've been in multiple hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and surgery centers seeing many people going through cancer. Most people are fighting cancer without Joy, but no one wants to!

That's where the cancer support I offer comes in:

Since my name is Joy, I have found my life's purpose in helping others fight cancer with Joy, literally and figuratively!

I help them discover how to transform that paralyzing fear of dying into happiness! Because given a choice, would you rather fight cancer with Joy or without it?

To fight cancer with Joy I truly believe you need three critical things:

1. A comprehensive list of resources. This includes "dos and don'ts survivors know" at your fingertips so you can save your valuable time (and energy!) not to mention money!

2. Cancer support. We all need support because when we share our burdens they become much easier to bear,

En"courage"ment. Reading funny stories of how I and others fought Cancer with Joy inspires you to also fight differently realizing, "If they did it, so can I!"

That said, my #1 "do" is "Do get a second opinion!" Save your time searching for a list of the top-ranked hospitals and cancer treatment centers -- here's the U.S. News & World Report list so you can see the highest ranked cancer treatment center close to you.

Another "do" I suggest that speaks to getting support is "Do talk to someone who has 'been there.'"

I volunteer with and recommend Imerman Angels. They provide free 1:1 cancer support. They connect cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers.

A couple other really great resources I know of for caregivers include Young Cancer Spouses, and Caregivers4Cancer.

A "Don't" during this challenging time is "Don't try to handle everything alone." This is truly a time when you need Lotsa Helping Hands!

What I discovered during my battle against stage four cancer (including the complete loss of my shoulder-length hair in six weeks!) became this theme for Cancer with Joy:

No one is happy they have cancer.

But you can have cancer and still be happy! ... What a comforting thought.

To encourage you and give you "courage" in one chapter of my book, Cancer With Joy, I provide stories from others on how they faced cancer.

There's someone in this chapter for everyone to relate to -- men, women, young adults and older, Ms. Senior America, moms, and even a woman who was pregnant with her fifth child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The story that kicks off this chapter is titled "Just Because Cancer Enters Our Lives Does Not Mean Joy Has to Exit."

I want this unique idea along with all the resources, support, and encouragement I share to give you hope that you too can have cancer and still be happy!

Join us in the movement and Fight "Cancer with Joy!"

This post originally appeared on www.rational-optimism.com

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