The first 4 to 6 weeks after my book release, I was bombarded with a lot of questions. Some professionals wanted to know how I managed to complete a self-help memoir, while others (the majority) eagerly wanted to learn about the experiences I went through caring for three of my loved ones with cancer.
Those questions were asked via emails, Facebook, Instagram, phone, and other possible ways.
With my commitment significantly raised, I am still able to handle all these things with a smile.
Being bombarded with a massive load of information is one of the traumas we face when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. If not handled properly, it can and will cloud our minds, making decisions seem harder than usual. I remember missing a few turns while driving, simply because there were a lot of things on my mind at the time.
If I can miss a few turns on my normal driving route, I surely will forget to take meals and vitamins, and do other important daily chores.
I talked about how I handled and overcame those information overloads and mental exhaustion.
One way is to stop the information temporarily. It is a lot to take on: biopsies, chemotherapy, admission, follow–up, side effects, lists of blood tests, imaging studies, and outcomes. Basically, you will be given a whole lot of treatment options, most probably in one sitting. Do not feel bad if you have to stop the attending doctor from talking. He or she will understand. It is better that than giving the impression that you are absorbing all the information. It is totally acceptable simply to say, “This is a lot to take in.” Even with my medical background, I felt the same way during all three encounters.
People assumed that since I am a physician, I know how to handle mental block. I am a human being. When information is accompanied by bad news, any sane individual will feel some degree of mental block.
Another way is to write things down. When something is written down, it is cleared from our brain to have to think about. It does and really helped us. Remember that you have to make a list before going grocery shopping? The same goes with this. A long list of decision–making is much harder to process than a long list of groceries to buy.
Remember, when information hits you like a tidal wave:
Stop it if you can’t handle it, and write things down.
My best wishes,
Dr. Azlan Kamalludin ( Dr. K Azlan)
Title: Three Cancers in Ten Months: When Doctor Becomes Caregiver