Often a cancer diagnosis has been preceded by significant medical imaging and other exploratory procedures, followed by tense periods of time waiting for results. Even when we have had a sneaking suspicion, actually being diagnosed with cancer can be a terrible shock and can fill us and our loved ones with fear. It can be difficult to take in all the information which is being provided at this time… and hard to decide who to tell/how to tell them/and how much information to share – especially when young children are involved.
Everyone copes in different ways as our primitive “flight or fight” response kicks into gear. Some may feel completely overwhelmed; some will have been socially conditioned to “put on a brave face” and avoid thinking about it; others become adept at distracting their thoughts by keeping busy; yet others might feel like everything is a little surreal and that they are functioning on autopilot.
It can be very helpful at this time to have a compassionate professional to speak with about how you are feeling and to learn some techniques for staying grounded in the here and now and reducing anxiety.