Monday, September 18, 2023

Anticipatory Grief: Coping With A Cancer Diagnosis

Understand there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, including anticipatory grief. It’s like the ocean. It ebbs and it flows. There can be moments of calm. But out of nowhere, it can feel like you’re drowning.  ~ Dana Arcuri

A reader writes: I am searching for an online support group for people and/or their loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer. Three months ago, my husband (54 years old) felt a mass in the left side of his abdomen. Through several different physician referrals it was determined that he had massive splenomegaly. His spleen was removed last month. The pathology report stated he has CLL ~ Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. It is said to be stage 3. This week he will be having a bone marrow aspiration, to determine possible treatment options, if any.

He and I talk very openly about the future for him, and for all of us as a family. We have 3 grown children, all in their early twenties.

I am hoping to find someone who might be going through this situation, and is willing to talk about how they are handling their situation, their type of cancer, or just anything they would like to share.

My response: I'm so very sorry to learn of your husband's serious illness; please know that both of you are being held gently in my thoughts and prayers as you travel this difficult journey together. How good it is that you're willing and able to talk openly with each other  and with your family about what is happening in your lives. And good for you to recognize the value of finding and having the support of others who find themselves in similar circumstances.  

I want to point you to some valuable resources, all of which I've listed here: Coping With A Cancer Diagnosis: Suggested Resources. For your convenience, however, I've selected out the ones that I think you will find most helpful. Just click on the individual titles listed, and you will be taken to each of the following sites:

Cancer Care Connection

Cancer Care Support Services

Cancer Foundation: R. A. Bloch

Cancer Support Services: M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy Information

I also encourage you and your husband to consider exploring the healing power of guided imagery, relaxation and meditation. Read more about such programs at these sites:

Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

The Healing Power Within

Finally, here are some books I've read myself and would highly recommend to both of you:

All of Us Warriors: Cancer Stories of Survival and Loss

The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book about Living

Facing Death and Finding Hope

Final Gifts : Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

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