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Tips for You

Hospital Or Hotel?

ISOLATION

Being alone in a hospital room can be difficult.  There is no HBO or room service.
It is too quiet, and too boring. The days can be very long - especially the nights and weekends. I know I was there for over 6 months at once. There is one important rule to follow when you know you are going to be in isolation - you can never bring too much stuff! Even if you think you may want to use something only once, bring it with you. That extra tape for relaxation may be a lifesaver.

ROOMIES

The other side to this coin is sharing a room. If you have a roommate who drives you crazy, you may actually wish you were in isolation!
It can get noisy which can be difficult to deal with.
Even if your roommates are okay, often their visitors are not. Don't be afraid to tell them to be quiet or leave if things are getting out of hand.
While I believe that you have to give a little, if things are unbearable, tell your nurse. Do not, however, get a reputation for being a chronic complainer. One day, when you really need to get out of a bad room, they won't listen to you.

MAKING FRIENDS

It is also important to know who your friends are in the hospital. One of the most helpful of the hospital staff was the cleaning woman who came into my room every day. She wasn't in as much of a hurry as the doctors, nurses and technicians, so we chatted a lot. I remember a few times when she got popsicles from the refrigerator for me, or found the slipper that was hiding under my bed. Mostly, she had a calming influence on me, and I looked forward to seeing her each day.
It is really hard sometimes to be good natured and friendly to the people whose job it is to take care of you. Put yourself in their shoes, though, and think about how difficult it must be to deal with uncooperative and hard - to - please patients. I have always tried to make their lives as easy as possible, and I have reaped the benefits.
I have rarely been treated badly in the hospital.

RESOURCES

Once you settle into your new accommodation find out the hospitals resources. Some hospitals have VCRs and movies to rent to patients. Others may have peer support counseling, libraries, book mobiles, hair salons, snack wagons and many other services.
LONG STAYS
Tip: If renting a TV find out if they have a weekly or monthly rate.
( It's a large savings) The same goes for parking. A weekly or monthly parking pass will help save big bucks.

Attitude is everything!

Because I have come so close to death, I think of each day as a gift.
Some days are better than others just like some gifts are. 
It beats the alternative.
Positive thoughts are very difficult when you are mad and feeling sorry for yourself, so stop it. Easier said than done? Yes, but the "Why Me?" syndrome is self - defeating and it only works against you. You are not the first nor will be the last to have cancer. Get a grip. You are not someone special who those things don't happen to.
Happiness heals.

External Stress

External stress from cancer is something that we cannot control, but we can control the stress from inside our bodies. When you become stressed out your body reacts to it. Your heart beats faster, blood flows at a greater rate, you feel the pain more. Then your body starts to overcompensate for these things. The first thing that is affected is your brain, it starts to race. The harder it races the more stressed out you feel. So the first thing is to slow down your brain.
There are many ways to relax. Meditation, relaxation tapes, prayer and exercise are all good ways to reduce stress. They all have the same effect by making your mind "slow down", your body will follow. You need to have your mind lead your body not your body lead your mind. Your brain is a very strong organ so use it to your advantage. You will find your own way of "slowing down". I truly believe that the mind has its own power to fight illness.

Dignity

DON'T LOSE YOUR DIGNITY.
Doctors parade into your room and throw your covers off to examine you, even when you are sharing a room with other patients you will NEVER get use to it. Tell them to please draw the curtains or close the door.
Losing your self-respect is easy to do, but getting it back is not.
You are not on display.
I think that being in the hospital slowly eats away at your self esteem, so any little thing you can do to keep it is worth the EFFORT.
If you don't like a situation tell someone NOW!!!

Statistics Statistics Statistics

If I had listened to my doctors when they told me my odds of survival I would be living in the great beyond. I wasn't very interested in hearing mine. When I was first diagnosed, I was told that the survival rate for me was about 5 percent. I didn't believe that. Of course, there is a good side to this story - I have now beaten the odds, which were strongly against me!
While you cannot ignore the fact that some cancers are worse than others, statistics are just averages. In addition to this, many treatments available today are so new that there just isn't enough information yet to judge how well they work.
Of course, you have to be realistic. Total denial won't help you much. Accept that you have cancer , and be aware of the statistics, but you do not have to accept that you are definitely going to die. Think of it this way: "Even if your odds are only 20%, why can't you be the one in five who will live?"

Looking Like Hell

Cancer will make you look like hell. Chemotherapy lets your hair fall out and surgery scars you. Radiation burns you. It's hard to feel good about looking like hell, but it is important to try. What you see in the mirror is not pretty but it's you. You are now starting to see in the mirror the changes to your body the cancer has done to the outside. Be proud of you.
Check the webpage for the Look Good, Feel Better program in your area!
If you are in Canada, the "Look Good, Feel Better" program, sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation offers a video for $14.95.
Call them at 1-800-914-5665 for more information. Your hospital or pharmacy may have the video if you want to check it out.

The Canadian  Look Good...Feel Better Website(CDA)

The USA Look Good...Feel Better (USA)

Treat Yourself - Today

Having Vulvar Cancer is no party. There will be days you will not want to do much. Having treatment of any kind is enough to tire anyone out. You will find that there is just not enough time for everything. So you leave out the little things you do for yourself to make up the time.
DON'T You must take a little time to treat yourself. It may be something very small to something in a grander scale but do it.
You deserve it.

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