When you hear the words, “you have cancer,” even though you have been mentally preparing for what seems like an eternity, you are still flooded with shock and emotions. Your knees turn to jelly as you wonder if you will survive and how you will break the news to your loved ones. How do you react?
Is it joy? “I KNEW IT - ALL THIS TIME I WAS RIGHT!!”
Relief? “PHEW!! It’s about time that the thing I’ve been worried about for the past 20 years came true.”
Sadness - “Woe is me, I’m the unluckiest person in the world.”
Anger - “ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?”
Fear - “OMG, I am totally going to die.”
Resentment - “Why me? Why the fuck me?”
Empowerment - “You’ll never get me, cancer - screw you!!”
Ultimately, it is a combination of ALL of the above emotions. It’s strange how hypochondriacs actually use their fear of illness as a protective shield: “if I constantly think that I’m ill … when I do get ill, it won’t be such a shock, and I will be PREPARED, dammit.”
It’s funny how the mind works. After my personal cancer diagnosis, I felt a strange relief and freedom from the day-to-day stresses. If the worst has finally happened, then things can’t get worse, right? Tears do fall. But fears also melt away. Relief and joy that the thing that has been holding you back; holding you captive in some psychotic abusive relationship / Stockholm Syndrome scenario, can’t get you anymore. You are, all at once, captive and free, bound to no one and everyone through the strange Jedi mind tricks of cancer. Freed at last by the thing that you feared most in your life - your captor.
By: Julie Jarratt