Cancer - A wake up call

We all get those times in life when negative situations occur and we do our best to cope and deal with issues. We may change our attitude, our mind and try to adjust accordingly. At least that's what we may try to achieve, a form of a coping mechanism.

Just as one is moving forward, creating or trying to create a space amongst the turbulence of life, the diagnosis of cancer, stares us in the face! There is nowhere to hide, we are challenged with our greatest fears. Like being in a car crash, one feels shocked and 'stunned' by the news. We are but 'naked' with the news of cancer. 

I remember being somewhat 'dazed' as I walked out of the hospital. As I searched the rows of parked cars desperately trying to find and remember where my car was parked, I had this overwhelming urge to simply just 'run'. To just flee! My husband equally shocked, seemed almost invisible to me at this time as he found his car having travelled from different locations and simply said 'see you at home'! 

My thoughts were jumbled, coming fast and furious with rising panic inside me, reminding me to apply the knowledge I give to clients about 'let it come, don't be scared of the thoughts...'

The main question that keeps coming to me is 'why?', 'What if...?' 'What did the consultant say?' 'When is the treatment?' 'What did he mean when he said...?'

The next couple of days were a blur and I was grateful that I used my supervision to talk about how I was feeling. I just had to 'offload', especially as at home it appeared to be 'out of bounds'!

Being a naturally positive person, even for me cancer throws up difficult challenges. I became aware of how on one hand there is the emotional aspect and on the other hand there are the practicalities in life and in these moments they can become confusing and appear to have joined up.

A diagnosis of cancer is a wake up call to all of us as we desperately battle and shuffle around with our new priorities in life. As a true believer in the balances of life, never has this seemed more important than putting this into play. Listening to our bodies and mind is vital to this balance to avoid 'burnout'. Never has the meaning of 'self care' been so important.

It can also be a time when distant friends can be a godsend especially when your husband with his diagnosis of cancer has gone into denial. With his family also in denial and myself having become the person that is the bringer of bad news, cancer can leave the spouse feeling very alone and isolated. I feel tested on every level and just remembering the very simple things in life that give me some comfort in this difficult early weeks of diagnosis really helps. Just a kind word from a distant friend, an email from a client simply saying 'thank you', a cuddle from my very posh greyhound still taking up most of the space on my sofa and the sight of the Hinderclay deer in the early morning walks with my dog, provides some comfort. 

I don't know how the future will plan out but I do know that to me life is special. I know it feels lonely and a shift has occurred in my relationship. No longer will anything in my relationship be the same now as cancer has decided to join us. I am not running away now and I would give anything to not have to wake up in the mornings with this massive challenge ahead but this is another learning curve in life.

I believe and always have done that one should always try to live in the here and now and enjoy 'today'. we should all be grateful for what we have and try to make the most of the simple pleasures in life.

For those who are facing the uncertainty that cancer brings, one thing is certain and that is we all find a new more fulfilling way of living. Our priorities change for the better and we let go of all negativity and surround ourselves with the simple joys that life may offer. It is a time of real change.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Diss IP22 & Norwich NR2
Written by Jill Mitev-Will, Experienced Counsellor and Coach - MBACP and BA (Hons)
Diss IP22 & Norwich NR2

I offer counselling in my home in Hinderclay and from my room in Norwich. I am a very positive person and therefore feel I can help you find a positive way forward with your issues. You will find me welcoming and friendly and I also have a sense of humour. I am a spiritual person and believe in finding a balance in this life.

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