Thursday, May 2, 2013

How we cope

I have always said that unless you have walked the walk, you can't talk the talk. If you haven't had cancer, you have no idea what it is like - you can't shouldn't even pretend to get it. But those of us who have been there know.

So that opens us up to all the emotions of the cancer diagnosis and treatment process again and again as we hear stories about others.

A friend called me yesterday because a friend of hers who just gave birth to a new baby two weeks ago, was just diagnosed at stage IV for a recurrence of a rare childhood cancer. There aren't a lot of treatment options - either chemo or surgery - available for her. She doesn't have a full diagnosis/prognosis yet but it doesn't look good. Its a very sad story that she  will probably not be around to raise her child.

So those of  us who have walked the walk have a good sense of what the treatment will be like. It won't be fun. It doesn't sound like it will have a good outcome either.

But those of us who have walked the walk at every story we hear our emotions take over again and open up and send us down that road again. Now that we have learned to cope with our cancer story, we then need to learn to cope with someone else's story again. Its an ongoing process.

My therapist tells me I am in a chronic state of mourning because of my continually downward spiraling health issues. But as I pointed out to my friend yesterday its like with each story we hear, we need to go through the five stages of coping/grieving/mourning again.

Is it easier each time we go through this? Not really. I think we just adapt our coping mechanisms a little more.

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