Spring of 2020 is creating ... for anyone who’s been through it or near it ... a wave of emotional carnage that is very much like having cancer.
My own experience is more than a decade in the rear view mirror. But a few things immediately leap to mind from that era, as they are tips I given other cancer adventurers over the years. And they seem to be way too appropriate to not share.
1) Don’t do independent web research: This was one of the first things my oncologist told me, and it holds true today. Steer clear of a deep dive into the virus-rumor bowels of the Internet. Stick to the basics.
2) Avoid statistics: Focus on health, not numbers that are out of your control.
3) Perfect the art of waiting: During a cancer adventure, you spend a remarkable amount of time waiting. Waiting for an appointment, waiting for results, waiting for surgery to get scheduled, waiting to heal, and so on. The art of killing time is one that most of us have lost in the era of instant gratification, but it’s one worth rediscovering. During my time in the cancer spotlight, i discovered binge watching old TV shows (Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, Rome, etc etc). I rediscovered golf. I wrote and worked a ton. And I found that any sort of mild activity was enough to push my brain out of the negative and into a happy neutral.
4) Know that the constant buzzing in your head will eventually fade: When you (or those close to you) are in the midst of cancer, it’s all you can think about. It feels like that thought is in your brain all day, every day. I used to refer to my cancer as an “uninvited houseguest” … one that wasn’t asked to come over, but has to decided to stay indefinitely. And the reminders of their stay seems to be everywhere. But, eventually, that constant refrain that keeps replaying in your head will eventually fade. You’ll think about a little less, and then even less, and then hopefully so little that you only call on it when you need it, like to remind yourself to not sweat the small stuff.