Managing Your Emotions

Donna McNutt on Living With Cancer
Those first few moments, days and weeks after you’re told, “You have cancer,” can be some of the most difficult a person can experience. What many find is that going through cancer is not just about fighting to survive the disease itself — it is about surviving the flood of emotions you don’t expect will overwhelm you after diagnosis.
On Easter morning in 2015, after months of exhaustion and crippling pain in her ribcage, Donna McNutt sat on her bed, sapped of all energy and unable to move.

“I sat on my bed and literally could not even get clothes out of my closet to put on,” said McNutt, 55. “And I just said to my husband, ‘Can you take me to the hospital because I think something is wrong with me?’”

That hospital visit led to a whole series of tests and scans. McNutt says testing on her blood revealed around 85 percent of her cells were cancerous. Multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, had so infiltrated her system that several of her bones and organs were damaged. She was in terrible pain.

“I remember being so sick, literally hunched over on a bench, not able to lift my head or even make eye contact with anybody,” said McNutt about the period just after being diagnosed.

“In my head there was one part of me that was like, ‘Oh forget it,’ and another part said, ‘No, I’m still in here. I’m not going to forget it. I have to get up and walk,’” said McNutt. “It’s that fight we all have.”

Stay connected

Staying connected with your loved ones and keeping the lines of communication open with your support network can make a real difference in helping to cope with the stresses brought on by diagnosis and treatment.

At City of Hope, our integrated, interdisciplinary supportive care cancer programs are designed to provide emotional support to assist you and your family, no matter what stage you are in your cancer journey.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Having Anxiety or Depression

Find Supportive Care 

Supportive Care Medicine is here to help in dealing with emotions, stress, anxiety during cancer treatment and beyond. Please talk to your health care team about finding support for emotions, anxiety and depression with Clinical Social Work, Psychology or Psychiatry. Supportive Care also brings you Support Groups, both virtually and in-person to help with finding emotional support with liked minded people going through the same thing.

You may also find other supportive programs and services at the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center.

Additional Information