Feb 14, 2013 - 5:20 pm
This was a question asked by a male member, about 70, in my in person support group. Almost everyone looked at him like what are you talking about. The facilitator jumped in with "when your loved on passes". I said that I think he means for us! Then the man said he has gone through all these emotions that fit the 5 stages of grieving, but he does not know when he will get to acceptance. He was moved to my state, he lives in independant living in an apartment, but they also have a nursing home and a building for assisted living. He had to give up his home, his car, having friends close by, and all that was familiar as this was the closest facility for him to get the treatment he needs. He then asked me as I was one of 2 who knew what he was asking.
I said that for me the grieving started the day I was diagnosed with mets and knew my world as I knew it was changing and would never be the same. I hit denial, isolation and depression, anger, sometimes acceptance and the gamit of feelings can be any of te above at any time, but it mostly hits me when there is something that I always did that I can no longer do! Something as small as needing to put on socks when no one is here and I can't do it myself, or dropping keys and I can't bend down to pick them up, or wanting to go somewhere and knowing I can't. It is also accepting that I have changed. My outlook on life has changed, what I value most is still family and friends, but I do find that things that I use to enjoy are not as important to me as spending time with friends and family. Longtime friends say that I have changed, (not to me but to others). I agree I am not the same in someways. I do not enjoy going out to dinner so much (food just does not taste good, and I am on a fixed income), and I decline more invitations to lunch and dinner. I would rather rent a movie and watch it at home, where I use to enjoy going to a movie (it is uncomfortable to sit in the chair for 2 hours). Just many little things, like taking a bath, carrying in groceries, travelling.....
The third person who got it, is a 50 year old man who was diagnosed stage IV 3 years ago and since has been diagnosed with 4 additional 'new' cancers. He has 2 boys 10 and 14. He understood and started crying when he was talking about all of this. Then he made a statement that really made me think. He said he was having a really difficult time. He felt he could not be whole until he got back to where he was before cancer. His therapist told him that was where most of his depression was coming from. That he is never going to be the same physically or mentally. That you cannot be given this diagnosis and expect to to ever be the same. He said at that point he realized that the way to live was to find what new things he could try to do and do them with his wife and kids and start new traditions and hobbies... (he was really active in outdoor sports, now has trouble walking). He said this was the turning point in living again. He said he was beating himself up physically and mentally trying to be the 'strong man' and thinking that was his goal that he was loosing site of what was really important, and since then he is constantly trying new things with his family that he can do, and he feels alive again. He will always miss being able to hunt, weight lift and run... but he once again has a very fulfilling life.
I just wonder how many of have gone thru this grieving process and what we did to get through it.