Saturday, August 05, 2006

I Pity the Fool!

Hey homies,
I found this great article, and it rang so true to me, I thought some of you might enjoy it, too. It's short, too, for you remedial readers and slowskies out there.

Word to your mama!

What Happens After the “Cure”
  • July 16, 2006
  • 5:15 pm

At the time of diagnosis, often times a patient becomes very emotional, or very detached (of course there are degrees in between). Many people tend to take their diagnosis at face value, and place their treatment in the hands of a doctor. They are often too emotional to take charge.

The detached will start forming a game plan. They research, ask questions, and become an active participant in their treatment. They also tend to unconsciously put emotions on the back burner. They are so incredibly busy “staging the battle” that the thought of dealing with emotions doesn’t even cross their mind.

As part of “staging the battle”, many patients also rally the troops. Patients find themselves surrounded with family and friends. All of them relaying stories about their great aunt, Uncle

Joe, and their cousin’s boyfriend who went through the same thing and were just fine. Sometimes, the opposite is true, and people will shy away because they do not know what to say or how to act. This is a very precarious time, because the way you respond to your family and friends is the way they will respond back to you when you need them the most.

It seems that in the diagnosis stage of an illness, there is a lot of confusion. It’s a little like putting together a puzzle. A puzzle that is written in medical terms, and the lay person does not understand it. Everyone is hearing terminology that they have never heard before, and nothing seems to make sense. Once those pieces of the puzzle start fitting together, there comes a sense of acceptance.

The treatment phase of an illness is the busiest time. This is when the patient’s support team

becomes invaluable. The patient has doctor visits, possible surgeries, children to take care of, meals to cook, and medications to take that may not allow them to do these things. New issues arise such as how much to tell the family. The consequences of not telling them the whole truth may create new problems later on. Patients may feel the need to force themselves to do too much, which not only delays the healing process, but could also give off the impression that they are doing much better than they actually are.

Anyone who has ever gone through a serious illness has probably been told that they are “so strong,” when in fact, that strength has been mistaken for a patient’s need to not inflict any more emotional pain on those surrounding them. As a result, the patient might find themselves telling people less and less of what is happening, causing the people around them to back away.
For some, treatment may go on for years, and dealing with it is a delicate balancing act.

After the so called “cure,” the “troops” start backing away, going back to their regular lives. All the emotions the patient unconsciously left on the back burner during treatment are now coming out ten fold. This is the point where the patient discovers the toll that the illness has taken on their life and their family.

Before and during a treatment, the patient has so many people by their side - doctors, family, friends.. but afterwards, they can be left feeling isolated and alone. Add that to the fact that the so called “cure” might not be, and you have a recipe for major depression. Life does not necessarily resume. There may still be medical issues that require treatment, and there is always the possibility of failure.

Dealing with an illness of any kind requires a multi-faceted approach. The patient must be treated as a whole including mind, body, and spirit.

Executive Director of TMJ Friends


Anonymous said...

Hey Miss,
Look, your friend and fellow Smart Ass is commenting! (How did you know that is Brian's favorite nick name for me?)
A lot of this article is so true for me too... I found it really hard to tell people about my recurrence...just didn't want to see the look on their faces. It's so nice to have people love you, but it doubles the hurt if you worry about them having to worry about you. Something became astoundingly clear at that point: A)there are people who love me and B) I love them back!
That's twisting some good out of the bad, isn't it?
Love, S.A. in Birmingham

Sarah said...

Still haven't told my dad or brother about my recurrance and haven't (won't) send out a group update email like I have many times in the past since first dx. Can't deal with others' disappointments on top of my own...

Stacy said...

Thank you for your comments about my article. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm hoping to continue writing about this subject and have a post coming soon about the different emotions that go along with chronic illness.
Great site!!


I'm Too Young For This!