So…how do you act when you get bad news? Ride with your emotions? Blubber all over the place? Try to keep a stiff upper lip? Not sure what to do? Yeah, me too.
We got bad news last week. Someone close received bad health news. Not the terminal kind of news but the invasive, nasty treatments and life will never be the same again news.
All of a sudden we are talking about a person’s organs. Their private parts. How they work now and how they will work (or not) after the treatment. Is this an invasion of privacy?
I have another relative with long-term prostate cancer. We talk about his prostate as if it was dinner conversation. What are the numbers? Is it enlarged? That’s just weird.
We all have a need to understand. Do we need to worry? Of course! Why did this happen to this person who should not have been at risk at all?
We all grew up together. We were exposed to the same environmental toxins. We ate the same foods. It could have happened to any of us. Maybe that floating thought drives our need to understand why it was him. Maybe we are at risk too.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn’t talk much about it at first. I didn’t want a lot of questions because my emotions were just under the surface.
After a while, I processed it and was able to discuss it without turning into a heap of mashed potatoes. I was able to discuss my breast as if it were an everyday item that was used to such discussion. Like a spoon or a fork. (So how’s your fork today? A little sore maybe?)
I could talk about the treatments in the abstract as if they were happening to someone else. Statistics. Process. They all flowed from my mouth without emotion.
Finally, I was able to laugh about it. I mostly talked about the OTHER one, the good one. Someone bumped into me once and I screamed, “Oh my God, you dented my good one! I only have one good one left!” It was priceless. I laughed for a half hour while the poor guy was turning all shades of red.
How do you get from “am I gonna die” to “don’t dent my good one?” It’s takes time. Lots of time.
I am hoping we can all get to that point in time. Soon.
In the meantime, here’s hoping that the treatments aren’t as gross as they sound.