But for us, who are fighting cancer, the present is also full of choices to make, in order to use this gift in the best way possible.
The first choice is the attitude you're going to adopt today. Is it one of the famous 5 stages of grief (shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance)? In a bit more detail, it goes like this, maybe you can recognise yourself somewhere:
Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
There are other versions with 7 stages:
Shock and denial
Pain and guilt
Anger and bargaining
Depression, reflection, loneliness
The upward turn
Reconstruction and working through
Acceptance and hope
While dealing with the emotional side of the illness, and the level of pain with can change on a daily basis, it is important to choose the response, that is, the psychological attitude you decide to have today, and each day is a new choice.
While the shock of the first diagnosis is difficult to avoid, dwelling on it is not a good place to be. If there are doubts, you an ask for a second opinion, better and more expensive imaging tests, but at some point the facts are the facts.
Guilt is a bad adviser, we dealt with it in the previous instalment, whatever your life choices were in the past, in terms of smoking, drinking and eating, the main lesson there is how you can change the worst of them to help you through today, each day at a time, and assist the treatments that are being implemented.
Bargaining is a waste of time, cancer has no ears, and will not relent in exchange for any promises to add or subtract to your life. The fight is on, now and everyday, and it's you or him. One of you both will have to go, and it better not be you!
Depression is a dark place to choose to stay in, it is backwards looking, it is lonely and sad. You have friends, family, colleagues who are rooting for you, who are afraid of what to say and not say, because they are also afraid of what would happen to them in case they also fell ill.
The only good places to be are the last three steps, from deciding to look at the positive, working through the difficulties, one after the other, reconstructing yourself in order to avoid a relapse, and hope for the best combination of medical treatment and positive thinking.
An upbeat view of what's going on does wonders, and will largely improve your quality of life.
As well as help you in other minute choices, such as : taking another pain-killer or not?
Going out to meet someone or staying curled up in bed?
It's your life, it's your fight, so start each day in a fighting mood, feed your fight with the appropriate food, give yourself daily pleasures and move the boundaries.
Live long and prosper!
Some references if you want to know more: