Thursday, February 12, 2009

5 Stages of Grief

Okay. Here’s a test. No peaking ahead now. Can you name the 5 stages of grief? Go ahead, stop, write them down. Did you stop? Did you write them down? For me, as with most things in life, I had to Google it.

They are 1) denial (this can’t be happening to me), 2) anger (why me), 3) bargaining (I’ll do xyz if you undo abc), 4) depression (frustration, hopelessness), and 5) acceptance (which is different from resignation).

So, how’d you do? 5 out of 5? Bravo! I never paid must heed to this. The reason for not paying attention to this is that I never went through stages 1, 2, or 3 (denial, anger, or bargaining). However, now I find myself in stage 4, depression. I’ve done some recent research and have come to find out, not too surprisingly, that this is pretty common for cancer survivors. I know I’ve written about depression in the past, but I seem to be struck in this state longer than seems right. I began some counseling recently which I think will help in the long run. It appears that until I accept the new me, the new “normal,” I’ll be struck in stage 4. So, if I really want to move on with my life, meaning, if I want to live life to its fullest, I have to accept who I am today and leave behind who I used to be. It may sound a little corny, but it is embracing who you are and not who you were. Since, adaptation, is my middle name, I don’t know why this is so hard. Anyway, that’s what I’m working on. I suspect that until I can get to step 5, I’ll be wasting time and energy in step 4.

As to my physical health, I’m pretty good. I had a non-invasive procedure done on my right shoulder which gave it back almost full mobility. I had an x-ray yesterday and my lungs are clear, so no signs of lung cancer (always a concern for H&N cancer victims). I’m half way through a 10 day course of antibiotics to fight a sinus infection. I’ve had no evidence of cancer for 16 months. So, there are no new physical complaints worth mentioning. My next check up is in about a month. I’ll keep you posted.

One last thing, my new favorite song, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), by Green Day, 1997. Here's a version of it with lyrics on youtube.

Thanks for checking in and take care of yourself.