Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Seven Stages of Grief

Originally posted on STUPIDCANCER.COM

I go to therapy once a week to deal with being a survivor. It does help me, and a couple of weeks ago my therapist and I were discussing the 7 stages of grief. Let me explain how that all relates to me.
1. Shock and disbelief Well duh, when I was diagnosed I was in shock, who wouldn’t be? I was in the best physical shape I ever was in my life, found a lump and never even thought cancer. Nothing like calling the doctor for your test results and my doc asking how soon I could get to the office? I was pretty sure it wasn’t for anything good, like hey our receptionist Carla just brought in some extra brownies that she made for her daughters bake sale, would you like some, and we can go over your test results! No, they save the bad news for the office, not on the phone, so you enjoy that long car ride, knowing full well what the news was when you got there. Even the doctor who did my biopsy was surprised, he said that he had been doing biopsys for 20 years and only 5 patients diagnosis surprised him. “Never tell me the odds” I thought to myself, quoting one of my favorite characters Han Solo.

2. Denial Ok we all had those holy shit I can’t believe this is happening to me moments after diagnosis, but once you are fully steeped within everything it is hard to be in denial. It was difficult to deny I had cancer when I had a drain safety pinned to my shirt after surgery and I slept on the couch for a week because it was the only place I was comfortable sleeping. I couldn’t deny I had cancer when the chemo treatments made all of my hair fall out, made my pee turn red, and I was constipated for a week. How could I be in denial? I was too damn tired to be in denial (yep fatigue from the chemo)

3. Anger I had a lot of pent up anger anyway, from not being able to play hockey, so the fact that I now had cancer just added a cherry on top of the anger sundae. Dealing with surgery, chemo, radiation, baldness, fatigue, co workers, family, friends, and just myself in general made me pretty angry. I would get angry for no reason at all, I am sure we, being survivors have all experienced this. Being out of toothpaste would just sometimes bring me into a fit of rage. I would get angry just for having cancer, to have to deal with all of this. Thank goodness for prescription medication.

4. Bargaining Maybe if I swear less, call my Mom more and be a better person in general I wont have cancer, do you hear me God? I tried to make promises, but I still had cancer. Bargaining doesn’t work and it doesn’t make you feel any better, I think I bargained for about a week, and gave up.

5. Guilt I don’t get this one. Why would you feel guilty if you have cancer? Its not your fault

6. Depression Yeah I got depressed, who wouldn’t? I had cancer, and I was trying to figure out the “new normal.” A whole year of my life would be dedicated to treatments, that’s a long ass time. Once again thank goodness for prescription medication.

7. Acceptance I finally accepted the fact that all of this crap happened to me, and I think I am a better person because of it. Would I have liked to become a better person with out cancer? Well hell yeah, that is a freakin no brainer.

Mel is the producer of the Vic McCarty show on Monday through Friday 10am-Noon eastern standard time.


  1. I accidentally came across this site and it explains every thing I am going thru. I thought I was going crazy and about to admit myself in psych unit. Never knew there were stages we went thru mentally and emotionally. Thank you! This has helped me tremendously. See psych dr monday

  2. I wondered if bargaining also entailed making a deal with God, your "higher self," or fate that if they miraculously "de - cancerize" your breasts that you won't ever wear a bra if there is something to that bra - breast cancer link.