An interesting question came up on a cancer board that I participate in… “Do you think that if cancer patients acknowledge that they may die from their cancer their outcome is affected? In other words, should cancer patients avoid talking about their own death?”
Well, this question really hits home with me, because if there’s one thing that a cancer diagnosis makes a person think about… it’s death. And so, I decided that I would share my answer here on my blog. So, here it is:
ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!! But choose wisely! Some people have really gotten onto that “positive attitude” bandwagon, and you’ll get a really hard time if you show even the smallest hint of fear or show signs of just plain having a bad day.
One of my co-workers kept telling me that she just knew I’d “beat this thing.” Finally, one day, I said something like, no- you don’t know that. And she berated me about not having a positive attitude.
So, choose wisely. I hope you have a few close friends and/or family members who are able to let you just have a bad moment (or two or three).
During the early stages of my diagnosis, I was honestly afraid I wouldn’t see my child make it to middle school. Now, I’m nearing the end of my treatment plan, which has gone very well, and I’m substantially more optimistic. But, early on, I was scared to death that I was stage IV and would be dead in months… The usual fears. I didn’t really tell anyone until I had a lot more information…. But I did have a few very close friends with whom I felt safe about showing my fear. That made a huge difference… even though I didn’t feel safe showing my fear with 90+% of people around me.
I don’t know if that helps… I hope it does. I think it’s important to talk about fears… And EVERYONE has bad days sometimes… as cancer patients… we seem to be expected to maintain this magic positive attitude at all times, even when we simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed or someone gives us bad news or whatever. Guess what? We’re still regular people, and we can have bad days too!
SO, that’s my advice – DO talk about your fears of death and dying or even of horrible side effects and surgery …. Just choose wisely in terms of people who CAN listen and keep confidential what you need to say…..
HUGS! I’m sorry you have cancer.