What does it take to walk through the fire of cancer emotions?


The courage to show up authentically to our grief, our pain, our fear and our loss. And, never, never, never doubting our right to say “fuck off” to positivity when that’s the way we feel.

As Psychologist Susan David says,

“(B)eing positive has become a new form of moral correctness. People with cancer are automatically told to just stay positive. … It’s a tyranny. It’s a tyranny of positivity. And it’s cruel. Unkind. And ineffective.”


2 thoughts on “

  1. I am really struggling with my diagnosis You have cancer! 2020 the height of the Covid 19 Pandemic, Januay2020 I have Lymphoma completed my treatments.
    Sadly, this diagnosis broke up my family. One evening inarch 2o20 my oncologist called me told me we have Hold your treatments. As the hospital was filled with Covid patients. My treatments required 2days in the hospital. I thought it would be held for 1-2 wks. By wk 8 it’s so filled with fear, anger as I had no control over my care. I cried, screamed I banged things my family was upset my actions. They never came around again to check on me. My outburst my son / daughter told me I need to Apologize to them for acting out of control. I have not seen them or my granddaughters. I’m so heartbroken đź’”with my life. I care for my husband who has Parkinson Disease my 87 yr. Dad and work fulltime . I’m overreacting to my situation.
    I never thought I would have to go through this only. I do!
    Sadly, I work in Oncology I’ve heard stories of families falling about when a family member gets sick. I thought I had all the tools I would need to make sure it wouldn’t happen to me.

    Cancer than Pandemic all treatments held was to much for much. I crsshed!! If thus has happened to you I could use advice. I tried to contact the kids they are you g adults no avail!


  2. Hello Diane. First and foremost, I want to validate that what you are experiencing right now is extremely hard. There’s no getting around it and there is no excuse for anyone, including you, for minimizing it. You’ve been diagnosed with cancer, which is hard enough by itself. But you’re doing the gut wrenching reality of cancer, while Covid is raging. Plus, you’re a caregiver to your husband, your dad and work full time. That’s a lot by anyone’s standards. So, if you have a bad day and throw some stuff (which I also did) than I say forgive yourself even if your family members cannot. You are not overreacting to your situation. You are reacting day by day, minute by minute as best you can under unbelievably difficult circumstances.

    That being said, it would help immensely, as it did for me, to seek out support and therapy. I experienced exactly what you are going through now: fear, anger, being out of control in my own life. It’s crazy-making. I got free therapy from my cancer center and I can truly say that it saved me. It helped me deal with family members who didn’t understand, and helped me deal with all the stuff I didn’t understand. It gave me someone to talk to who not only understood clinically what I was going through, but who I didn’t have to worry about. I was not responsible at all for helping her through this, she was there to help me. She was the only person who was truly safe to talk to, because I had no responsibility to her as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc., etc. You can’t believe how liberating that is until you experience it.

    Yes, your family is “broken” right now, but so was mine and we eventually got through it. The best thing you can do right now is get the support you need. Put on your own oxygen mask first, as it were. Please seek out support at your cancer center (support groups, individual therapy, etc., etc.) You can also call the Cancer Hope Network at (877) 467-3638 to speak to a survivor volunteer on the phone. It’s amazing how much it helps to speak to someone who went through what you are going through now. Look into the Cancer Support Community (https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/). Check out Cancer Care, which offers professional oncology social worker support (https://www.cancercare.org/services) There are a lot of services out there now for survivors. Go get it!

    You’re in a horrible situation, but don’t wallow. Get the support you need and you will create a safe space to improve your reality. I did it and I know you can too. Good luck.


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