Living with a Brain Tumor

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A brain tumor diagnosis is a life-altering event for anyone. When a brain tumor is diagnosed, it can take away your sense of security and control.  This can be both unsettling and frightening.  Uncertainty is among the most challenging aspects of a brain tumor diagnosis that you will have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. The feeling that your body has taken an unexpected direction often leads to a rollercoaster of emotions.


There will be days when you feel upbeat and positive and other days when you will feel that your world has caved in. Even with the best possible prognosis, you may be left wondering whether the tumor will return. This may lead you to begin examining other aspects of your personal and professional life.


There is no “right” way to behave or feel when you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor diagnosis. Dealing with changes to your appearance – such as losing your hair or losing weight is difficult for most of us.


Keep in mind that your life is not so much “getting back to normal” as determining what is “normal” for you now. Your new “normal” may include making changes in the way you eat, the things you do, even your sources of support.  Living with a brain tumor may mean rethinking your work and professional goals, looking at your life differently, or even experiencing a sense of new meaning.


It’s important to recognize the emotional effects of a brain tumor and to find ways to cope. While going about your daily activities, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Strive to Take One Day at a Time
    Anxiety about the future is natural. Don’t get ahead of yourself.  Try to focus on today.
  • Get Your Family and Friends Involved Early On
    Keep yourself open to accepting support and assistance from those who are close to you.
  • Complement Your Treatment with Exercise and a Healthy Diet
    A sensible exercise program combined with a healthy diet can help you with treatment-related fatigue, improve flexibility, and support you in coping with anxiety and depression.

It may help to know that it is completely normal to feel a range of emotions when your life suddenly changes. Some people find that just having a loved one to talk to when days are difficult is enough. Others need some extra professional help, perhaps a caring member of your health care team, a social worker or a clinical psychologist. Support groups and relaxation exercises may also be useful.


Please feel free to contact our caring professionals through our CareLine at -800-886-ABTA (2282) or browse our website for more suggestions on how to talk to your friends and family and how to deal with the emotional and physical challenges that may affect you before, during and after treatment.


Click here to view our webinar on "Living Well, With and Beyond a Brain Tumor."