To get the news of a "terminal" diagnosis can be devastating. One often remembers the questions you meant to ask only days later once the shock has started to subside. Specialist consulting times are limited and often too short to address all the uncertainties.
The first step is do a multitude of tests to determine the gravity of the situation or staging of it. Apart from blood tests, these may include biopsies, MRI,
Each of the above boxes have to be checked before the specialists will decide on the best treatment opsion(s) – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or combination therof.
This time can be frustrating and fearful with all the uncertainties. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (www.ekrfoundation.org) described the five stages of grief many years ago and later experienced them herself ("On Death and Dying"). You may have these all in one day in any order or over a period of time. Some people never move to accecptance and stay in denial until the end. Her described stages are:
Although critizised by some, still helpful to many. She merely tried to generalise certain reactions so we could associate that others also felt this way.
The first question you may have is how long do I have to live? There may be a specific prognosis for that type of cancer given the stage etc, but these are all ESTIMATES based on the evidence of medical studies all over the world. Sometimes these predictions are accurate, sometimes not. You are still an individual with individual risks and your own genetic makeup.
The second big question is why did this happen to me? We have no famliy history of cancer, I have always been living healhty etc. You may search for exposures in the past (such as radiation or asbestos), but without any direct relation or proof of causality. Most cancers can not be explained and this effort of finding out WHY can be exhausting. Think about it, but too much effort is not worth it: the situation is as it is, focus on how to deal with you in it.