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Compensation, Survival, and Acceptance Modes

Anonymous user (not verified)

I spent 5 years in compensation mode with moderate to occasional good results from chemo always keeping my mets in check.  On Sept 9 when my last PET scan indicated significant carcinometosis with reactivation of many of my liver lesions, the para-aortic lymph node, and new lesions in the peritoneum, omental fat, and a lymphnode near my pancreas, my onc told me he had nothing left for me except genomic study and a referral to a research center for trial drugs.

I started slipping into survival mode, but maintained hope for the trials.  6 weeks later after an interview and blood work at the research center I was informed that a problem with a certain value in my blood workup excluded me from any current trials. In the mean time of waiting 6 weeks I had begun looking for referrals to another onc for a second opinion for conventional chemos that I have not tried.  All the time slipping deeper into survival mode which has been emotionally draining me of hope. No help from the new onset of abdominal discomfort, irregularity in BMs, and unresolved pain from degenerative lumbar disc disease.

I have an appointment with a new onc on Dec 3rd.  A few days ago after reading most of the posts (mostly about denial or survival from many of our regulars here) I have come to the conclusion that I cannot manitain emotionally in survival mode.  I must be either in compensation mode or acceptance mode. Until I see if the new onc is willing to try Zeloda, Zaltrap, or Vectibix I have opted for acceptance.  At least I can still have hope that there will either be an option for chemo, or I can live out the rest of my life relishing in the realization of family, love, the wonders of God's world of blessings which are both tangible and intangible, and in my own state of psychological well being.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.    Dan    

BusterBrown's picture
Posts: 221
Joined: Mar 2005


Hey Dan,

Compensation or acceptance?  I hope whichever decision you make brings you peace of mind.

Take it easy Dan...


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

for yourself, at this moment in the journey.  It's not an easy path we walk, and I have found that there is no one right way to walk it.  We will all of us reach the stage of the journey that requires acceptance, and it takes wisdom and courage to get there.  And if the path bends again and takes you back to a different stage, then you seem to me like the kind of person who will make the most of it!

I hope blessings and wonder are yours for a long time to come.


Anonymous user (not verified)

I keep coming back to this board. The understanding and support of all of you who have the experience of living with the emotions that the ups and downs can bring. I want to be clear that acceptance is not the same as giving up. It's taking the path where others are blocked.  Other turns may be down the road, we just have to keep walking and making decisions along the way.  For me, survival mode is like trying to crawl up a mudslide.  It's not only emotionally draining, it's physically exhaustive.  I've felt a lot better the last few days since most of the discomforts I've been having are exacerbated by anxiety.  I have more energy and am willing to take that extra step to open a new door.  Thank all of you who contribute supportive and unbiased comments.


devotion10's picture
Posts: 631
Joined: Jan 2010

it seems you are involved in actively listening to your own heart.

I can share with you that for my husband, the difficult limbo status of being treated for incurable stage four cancer for five years was very challenging.  He was extremely grateful to buy time with treatment and also leave open the possibility that his situation would somehow turn around ... but ...

I witnessed him being the most happy when he finally stopped treatment and accepted that he would pass from his cancer in due time.  He actually felt better, was able to exercise, focused on healing therapies like massage and accupuncture, we travelled as a family, had incredible talks while we knew we could, and he worked on some final art sculptures in his Studio.

Within each heart lies the answer and I wish you all the best in your decisions ... whatever they may be.

Peace to you,


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

You have to assess your future and that is what you are doing whether you are looking at it as survival or maintaining or just living.  I'm hoping that your new doctor gives you some other options and is willing to work with you.  I'm so glad that you have your faith and you can see His wonders in all that is around you.  I'd love to know how your doctor's appointment comes out on the 3rd.


Posts: 306
Joined: Jan 2010

My wife went to counseling. She told me about it, but didn't share what they talked about. It was for her, and she lived and loved fully until the end. Maybe you can seek a counselor that you are comfortable and compatible with to help you with this.


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