SUSPECT THE DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER
PART III OF IV
The first few days of daze is to be expected. Confusion, upheaval, immense sadness and disbelief, anger and crisis of faith that can be challenged and thought lost or in some cases, galvanized.
A powerful sense of loss of control and even greater fear of that ensuing is common place. This is something Oncologists may assume up front and address directly with the facts as they become evident and the reasoning behind diagnostic or treatment algorithms in advance of crossing those bridges.
Empathy builds trust and greater patient engagement in the process; It must real, not feigned and not dispensed off to clinical staff (the norm) as the emotional bond of therapeutic alliance is best with the physician. Patients trust less empathetic providers less and not being capable of being their own Dr they are left to themselves, not a satisfactory situation for anyone
You may think it is the worst thing to have ever happened to you. It may not be. But anxiety paralyzing you from action would be the worst. It is very therapeutic to have anger and it is very therapeutic to fight. However, it is soul sucking to roll over before fully informed and well-reasoned decisions can be made.
Turn anxiety into fear, fear of the known through knowledge and never stop learning all you can, as that knowledge is power in your fight. God has hard wired you for heroics; unbelievably. I have not seen a cowering cancer patient yet who totally collapsed refusing to being informed
It is a myth that in life or oncology any meaningful portion of your decision must be made spontaneously with no time for reasoned reflection and rational thought.
It is not a myth that it is unhealthy to rant, rave and react angrily. I see plenty of reason to be very angry whether it be at altered life’s plans, unhealthy personal behaviors leading to this or sheer damn bad luck as in why me. You have my permission, and I am confident God’s, to be simply pissed off.
It is very real to be shocked and reeling from the blow is natural, normal, and expected. Retreating from life or retreating from the fight before all the information needed to make wise decisions once calm or just giving up the ghost is not O.K. Your life is your own and it is to be honored, not discarded when frightened most. Even if you seem most alone, and rarely anyone is, let knowledge be your friend and counsel.
You also must eat, exercise if possible and attend to the activities of daily living as you are very much alive and the journey has barely begun. You need not go right back to work unless you know you cannot; there is no rule.
If you need a little time, take it. If you need family, get them involved right away and if you need alone time, take iit but get knowledge and the team built asap.