Saturday, August 24, 2013

The guilt factor

This is a less discussed issue relating to cancer diagnosis and treatment - the guilt factor. Sometimes its not even mentioned, while other times it is just brushed off as something you need to learn to live with.

Guilt is what got you to do what you were supposed to when you were a child. Guilt is what your morals use to keep you in line.

But then we feel cancer guilt which is different. Why didn't I get it and they did? Why did they have a recurrence and I didn't?

The more cancer friends I have gained, I have also lost some. I have the little list of in memorium blogs I used to follow, the group of friends on Facebook that are no longer here and are in memorium, there are the phone numbers in my phone that I know don't work any more. And when they do again, it will be a stranger's voice on the other end.

It seems now every month or two, or even more frequently, someone I know either has just learned about their stage IV diagnosis or I learn about their funeral arrangements.

Each time, there is a double dose of emotions the little tiny - "I'm glad it wasn't me" which is immediately followed by the huge "how could I even think that?" and then followed by cancer survivor guilt.

Sometimes the guilt lurks in the back ground and sometimes it emerges up front. It gives us down days but then we stuff it away and we learn to cope again. But its always there.

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