When diagnosed with cancer, we have to learn to fight the disease but with that comes stress due to family, financial, emotional and many other contraints and how do we deal with that? Then we add into the mix, depression and often I see patients that are so deep in a depression that they don't even know they are there and have less motivation or need to try to get out of it as it has become their mode of operation. One study I recently read related patients with symptoms of depression with late stage renal cell carcinoma and that was associated with an increased risk of death...University of Texas, MD Anderson Center.
Emotional factors can impact biology. If you don't believe that, follow me before I need to give a presentation or go to the dentist office for a root canal. So with all that in mind, what can we do. Suggestions that come to minge to fight loneliness and disease is: meditation, yoga, tai chi, guided imagery, walk a dog, get outside, talk to people, watch a silly movie and allow yourself the opportunity to step away from the stress and depression you are carrying.
Another study that I came across from Carnegie Mellon University, found chronic stress causes the body to lose the ability to regulate itself and teh stress hormone cortisol. This is now something I look seriously at as I am one to always be in high gear and then I hit zero. Regulating my day seems to be one of my biggest stumbling issues. When I was teaching, I was definitely aware of it as you look across a sea of faces that you need to impart some knowledge on, keep them awake, and interested... you had to hit the overdrive button for the class periods you were teaching. Like now, I would come home at the end of the day with an empty vessel. I give to my patients and audience when I do presentations, my all and again the vessel is empty so this time it is the time old adage ,"physician heal thyself." The first step is awareness and then next is addressing it and that is where I am now.
All of this is extremely hard to research and even harder to control but no doubt we need to monitor out stress and try to reduce and we also need to find ways to manage our depression and if that takes therapy and medication and more then do it, what more have you got to lose but this dry, empty feeling you are carrying around or anger or however you are presenting. There are few things in life that we can control, learning how to deal with that is the clue. We know that working on these things will and does improve our quality of life and we need healthy ways to do so.