Life After Diagnosis: Navigating the Things You Love with Urothelial Bladder Cancer

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Lean on your support system

Whether it is family, friends, religious groups, support groups, professional counselors, or others, it is important to build a support system to help you cope with your diagnosis, after care, and day to day tasks. A cancer diagnosis can trigger feelings such as depression, anxiety, worry. Therefore, patients can benefit from having people to talk to both personal and professional.

Embracing your style

Women who have surgery and have to wear an ostomy bag following a bladder cancer diagnosis may worry that they will no longer be able to wear the things they love. It is important to do what works for you. Some options include:

High-waisted pantsShortsSkirts

Wearing loose fitting clothing that isn’t too restrictive, or multiple layers can help support your ostomy pouch. Additionally, bands, belts, and underwear with pockets for your pouch can be worn under your regular clothes for security and comfort.

Exercise

Maintaining health and exercising is just as important after diagnosis as it was before for physical and mental health. Talk to your healthcare provider about which exercises/modifications are best for you.

Eating out

Dining at the restaurants you love is still possible after cancer diagnosis. Strategies include:

Looking at the menu prior to going outEating a snack ahead of time to prevent overeatingAsking questions regarding food preparation and nutritional factsInforming the waiter about dietary restrictions

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for healthy substitutions. Talk to your HCP or a nutritionist about what food options are best for you.

Traveling

Traveling after diagnosis or during treatment is a matter of preparation. Some helpful tips include:

Using ice packs to keep temperature sensitive medications coolGetting a letter from your doctor that outlines your condition and need for any medications and medical equipmentPacking your medications in easily-accessible carry-on bagsLabeling all medications for easy visibility

For those with an ostomy bag, accessibility to supplies in carry-on luggage is especially important along with packing extra supplies for maintenance and packing comfortable, supportive clothing.

Dating

Whether coping with a new diagnosis or going through treatment, it is important to ensure that you are comfortable with this new normal. For your date, choose a location that is casual and convenient for you and only share your diagnosis if or when you are ready. When it comes to intimacy, deciding what you want to say ahead of time and writing it down can help guide the conversation. Communicating about intimacy with your partner can not only help strengthen the relationship, but build trust.

This resource was created with joint support from Astellas and Seagen.

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