“It doesn’t look good man” was his answer. I had just asked the surgeon for a prognosis.
He referred me to an Oncologist. After seeing her, she said to me, “You probably have a year, maybe 18 months. It’s hard to say definitively. If you would like, I can sign the paperwork for you to start Social Security Disability benefits”.
My world had just started to crumble around me. Time stood still.
What do I do now?
What’s the use of going on?
What have I done with my life?
These are just a few of the questions that ran through my mind. A whole set of other crazy bizarre thoughts did as well. Some too crazy to state here.
But some major themes stood out. Some best forgotten, some a “must deal with”. Such as:
- Beating This
- My Family
- Magic Cure
- Unsolicited Advice
I’ll share my thoughts on Denial today, the rest in future installments of this story.
Perhaps some people who are diagnosed with cancer don’t ever slip into denial. Maybe some do for just a fleeting instant, and then get their heads back on straight. Others, never seem to emerge from the deep dark cave that is denial. Me, I retreated into that cave for a not so pleasant period of time. Even now, almost three years later, I shudder to think of it.
Back then, at first, I curled up into a ball, and screamed silently for the world to go away. Plain old paralyzing fear, self pity, this can’t be happening to me kind of stuff. You name it. I felt it. Deny, deny, deny.
Denial seems to be the psyche’s natural multi purpose coping mechanism. It’s not logical. Far from practical. Totally irrational. But, it is real. Oh so real. There’s no denying denial…
Facing and conquering the state of denial is the absolute and most necessary first step in dealing with the big C. Denial never got me anywhere, anytime for anything. And as my rational mind began to wrap this head around that, I began to slowly crawl out, then stand up and walk, then finally run out of that cave, never to return.
If you find yourself in denial after a cancer diagnosis, not able to move, looking around, in that cave, not able to muster the strength and wherewithal to beat back your psyche, get help. Or call or write to me. I’ll help you. Do it. You can’t afford any of your precious time in that deep dark cave.
To be continued…