Those Three Dreaded Words

By Guest Blogger:  Shirley Trotter M.S.

Shirley Trotter M.S.

You’ve got cancer.

The year was 2012; the date was Friday, March 13th (yes, Friday the 13th) when I heard those dreaded words. It was after the colonoscopy exam when the physician came in to the recovery area and dropped the bomb. You have a colorectal tumor, about the size of a golf ball, and yes, I do believe it is malignant. His manner was calm but I could see he didn’t want to be delivering this news to me.

Upon hearing those words I felt a rush of adrenalin. Immediately after my body and brain seemed to shut down. I felt like the walking dead going to the car. A dear friend had driven me to the exam and she was trying to say all the right things in order to be supportive. Not much sunk in except her words saying: “You are coming to stay with me for your recovery”. Sigh of relief; I wasn’t alone in this.

Over the following days I went through sadness, anger, and self rebuke because I didn’t get those strongly recommended colonoscopies when recommended. I allowed fear and denial rule my decision of not taking care of my health. I remember saying to myself; “Cancer doesn’t run in either of my family lines, if I have any serious illness it will be a stroke or a heart attack. That’s what runs in my family.”

Oh, those tricks our defense mechanisms play on us. And, I should know about them as I have worked as a psychotherapist for over 20 years.

The tumor was removed and all seemed clear. Fast forward, 2015. A nodule was found through a CT test on my lung. Some sneaky colon cancer cell squirmed its way into my lymph nodes and took up residence in my left lung. Surgery has removed it and now chemo has been strongly advised.

So here we go again; TRAUMA….at least that is what my body and mind are experiencing.

That is the reason I am writing this blog. What do you do with the fear, the emotions that jump up and grab you by the throat, that leave you depressed, exhausted and anxious. What if they don’t subside? What if they linger after treatment has concluded?

I am here to say there are interventions you can take to lessen these short or long term reactions. I will be providing you with resources you can apply within the comfort of your own home. Simple to understand how-to’s. And, know that while you are applying these helpful interventions I will be applying them myself.

In the next blog I will present information about how you can recognize whether you could be a candidate for developing a lingering psychological/emotional reaction to the path you are now taking because: YOU HAVE CANCER.

Bless you all until my next blog.

Shirley Williams, M.S.