Freeman Health System Buddy Check 16 — Mental Health

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JOPLIN, Mo. — They’re three words that can seemingly come out of nowhere and flip your world upside down — “you have cancer.” But, guidance from a mental health counselor can help ease so many of those unnerving feelings.

We learn what that means for breast cancer patients in tonight’s Freeman Health Buddy Check 16.

Dr. Arlene Sadowski, Freeman Health Hope Springs Licensed Psychologist, said, “Life, as you know it, changes at the point of diagnosis.”

A breast cancer diagnosis affects so many aspects of life. Dr. Arlene Sadowski with Freeman Health System’s Ozark Center Hope Spring facility says anxiety, depression, and fear can set in.

“That’s more associated with uncertainty. She doesn’t know what’s ahead of her, what the treatment’s going to entail.”

A breast cancer patient may feel like their body betrayed them.

“The body’s just turned on the person. ‘How can this happen to me?’ You know, anger. You know, ‘Why me?'”

And, when those feelings become overwhelming, a therapist or counselor is a simple solution.

“I think it’s after the primary treatment is finished or about-finished that a person can begin to think, ‘Well, what else do I need?’ You know?”

Dr. Sadowski explains there’s a lot a patient has to come to terms with.

“That’s where being able to express whatever she’s thinking or feeling is important. And that’s where therapy comes in or counseling comes in.”

Practicing mindfulness is often a helpful tool. She also encourages self-calming strategies.

“Learning how to relax. Learning how to reduce anxiety, because you can always think more clearly when you’re in a relaxed state. Also, the body heals when it’s in a relaxed state.”

And, that breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be all bad — there’s a bright side to the fight, as well.

“And then, when they come out the other side of it, they can feel very good about that and they have a sense of purpose and accomplishment.”

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