Re:And Life Goes ON: Daily Support
Monday, June 18, 2012 6:53 AM
Hi all, I found this posting on a cancer blog and, at least for me, it spoke right to my heart. Credit goes to a lady named Stacy. I'm passing it along here - even though it's lengthy - b/c it might speak to others:
What Happens After the "Cure"
At the time of diagnosis, often times a patient becomes very emotional, or very detached (of course there are degrees in between). Many people tend to take their diagnosis at face value, and place their treatment in the hands of a doctor. They are often too emotional to take charge.
The detached will start forming a game plan. They research, ask questions, and become an active participant in their treatment. They also tend to unconsciously put emotions on the back burner. They are so incredibly busy “staging the battle” that the thought of dealing with emotions doesn’t even cross their mind.
As part of “staging the battle”, many patients also rally the troops. Patients find themselves surrounded with family and friends. All of them relaying stories about their great aunt, UncleJoe, and their cousin’s boyfriend who went through the same thing and were just fine. Sometimes, the opposite is true, and people will shy away because they do not know what to say or how to act. This is a very precarious time, because the way you respond to your family and friends is the way they will respond back to you when you need them the most.
It seems that in the diagnosis stage of an illness, there is a lot of confusion. It’s a little like putting together a puzzle. A puzzle that is written in medical terms, and the lay person does not understand it. Everyone is hearing terminology that they have never heard before, and nothing seems to make sense. Once those pieces of the puzzle start fitting together, there comes a sense of acceptance.
The treatment phase of an illness is the busiest time. This is when the patient’s support team becomes invaluable. The patient has doctor visits, possible surgeries, children to take care of, meals to cook, and medications to take that may not allow them to do these things. New issues arise such as how much to tell the family. The consequences of not telling them the whole truth may create new problems later on. Patients may feel the need to force themselves to do too much, which not only delays the healing process, but could also give off the impression that they are doing much better than they actually are.
Anyone who has ever gone through a serious illness has probably been told that they are “so strong,” when in fact, that strength has been mistaken for a patient’s need to not inflict any more emotional pain on those surrounding them. As a result, the patient might find themselves telling people less and less of what is happening, causing the people around them to back away. For some, treatment may go on for years, and dealing with it is a delicate balancing act.
After the so called “cure,” the “troops” start backing away, going back to their regular lives. All the emotions the patient unconsciously left on the back burner during treatment are now coming out ten fold. This is the point where the patient discovers the toll that the illness has taken on their life and their family.
Before and during a treatment, the patient has so many people by their side - doctors, family, friends.. but afterwards, they can be left feeling isolated and alone. Add that to the fact that the so called “cure” might not be, and you have a recipe for major depression. Life does not necessarily resume. There may still be medical issues that require treatment, and there is always the possibility of failure.
Dealing with an illness of any kind requires a multi-faceted approach. The patient must be treated as a whole including mind, body, and spirit.
DX June 20, 2011
IDC, E+P-, HER2-, Ki67 49%
Lumpectomy 7/26/11 & 8/23/11
Lymph nodes clear!
Stage 1, Grade III
1 2 3 4
33 Rads completed 3/16/12
Start Arimidex 3/17/12