It came to me when reading a book about war. The main character realized that he had not laughed for such a long time; neither had he cried upon losing loved ones.
Some people say that a traumatic event like diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, plus some potentially brutal treatments, can bring on a sort of "post-traumatic stress."
I met a woman recently whose pancreatic cancer has returned, just into her second year. She told me she cried and trembled for days on end in the last year. She went for psychological help and is better now. I almost cried when talking to her. I rarely cry; she is plagued with the opposite.
Laughing. What a gift. I love smart, comedic commentators and funny movies, but I am too serious. I wonder if it's more so since cancer. I know I do not want to spend a key portion of the rest of my life partying or watching TV … well, I never did. Someone wondered a while back if I was "withdrawing" from the world. Some of us in the throes of cancer are good when we are "out and about" in seeming so "normal."
Recently, I did a 2-mile walk to benefit cancer research. I was brisk, sociable … then went home, threw up and retired to bed for the afternoon. Geez … I'm writing in bed now.
My doctors like it when I visit because I never cry, and I can make them smile. I told them how "spunky" I could be to fight this. When I was diagnosed, I was stoic. When they thought (erroneously, it turned out) the cancer was coming back several months ago, well, my face did drop. And I did sit in the car by myself to come to terms with the words I heard. I remember when my mother was dying due to cancer; she kept the pain and the details mostly to herself.
I talk about my experiences to loved ones. I'm writing to deal with it, to share the truths I have learned. And right now, I am more active and living larger.
Share Your Thoughts
What emotions do you associate with your cancer? Have people told you that you've changed? How so? Share your comments below.