Dealing With the What-If’s
Every cancer patient will tell you that there comes a point on a sleepless night when the “what-if’s” come to haunt and harass.
No matter how strong the patient, how resolute, how focused in their healing… there’s always a dark night when the following questions come home to roost:
What if I can’t get well?
What if it comes back?
What if I die? How will my family cope?
I didn’t expect to have these feelings, but I did, and usually when I was ultra-tired.
Some Wise Words
I’m a frequent visitor on the American Cancer Society’s “What Next” forum and a nice man from England named Steve Darke had a great answer to this question recently:
“We go through so many emotions when faced with our own mortality but these emotions are shared by many of us… we must put weight to the positive emotions such as hope. If we choose to live our lives in fear then we are mourning away our future happiness, a happiness which is ours by right. I may die from this illness but I won’t let this illness take away my dreams for I believe without our hopes and dreams we are painting ourselves a very bleak future where all the colours find their way to darker shades of black from the tears that we cry.
“At least we have knowledge of the fate that may belie us, there have been many who say goodbye whilst parting and are never seen again; at least knowing the things we now know, we are able to speak the words that are unsaid, and right the things that are wrong. Here is something called ‘Wasted Moments’ taken from my book Reaching For A Rainbow – A Practical Guide to Living Alongside Cancer (written by Steve Darke):
I am neither a spring flower nor a mighty oak, I am just a man with frailty of life, it’s not the time I have but the journey that counts, regrets for the future of what might have been are what the reaper leaves behind as unfinished business, cast aside regrets and trivial things, say the things you have to say, share the things you have to share and live your journey to the end.
Beautiful words, thank you Steve. Steve has started his own blog and here is a link to it.
Some Help For Those Feelings
In order to help you keep the anxiety at bay, I’ll share a couple of things that really helped me.
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – I found a practitioner that helped me work through those feelings early on. Here’s an 11-minute video outlining the technique and you can try it now. Definitely honor where you are now but don’t let fear and anxiety take you over.
- A quote from Louise Hay in “You Can Heal Your Life”: “Invite your fears in, then tell them to sit down and shut up!”
- I just looked Death square in the eye and said I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU. I’M ALSO NOT READY FOR YOU, SO YOU CAN JUST GO AWAY.
- Get a massage or some form of bodywork – it has such a calming effect and can be so healing.
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