Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Share your voice

I just took a Faces of Metastatic Breast Cancer survey. It’s interesting, because as you answer each question, it gives you a chart with percentages of all of the answers from all who have taken the survey.

In answer to the question “Which word best describes how you feel during “good” moments?”, respondents said:

35% thankful
27% hopeful
26% optimistic
5% encouraged
7% other

I wasn’t sure if the majority said ‘thankful’ because they were thankful for the ‘good moment’, or if they felt thankful in general. I wonder if being thankful contributes to the ‘good moments’ or even sometimes creates them. I think gratitude for all of my blessings is important and contributes to the quality of my life. Some days I have to dig deep, but there’s always something to be grateful for.

In answer to the question “Which word best describes how you feel during "bad" moments?” respondents said:

27% frightened
23% overwhelmed
14% isolated
15% discouraged
12% other
9% angry

I answered ‘overwhelmed’ but I was surprised that ‘angry’ was so low. I think we all experience anger, but I guess you just can’t stay there for long (or your head with explode!) so maybe that’s why it’s not a emotion that ranked high for this question.

In Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s book ‘On Death and Dying’ she outlines the 5 stages of grief of someone who is facing death as:

1. Denial and isolation: "This is not happening to me."
2. Anger: "How dare God do this to me."
3. Bargaining: "Just let me live to see my son graduate."
4. Depression: "I can't bear to face going through this, putting my family through this."
5. Acceptance: "I'm ready, I don't want to struggle anymore."

I’m not sure where it fits but I’d add “Panic and desperation” to the list. I felt panic for the first time when I found out that the loss of my voice was from cancer and not just larangitis. Dr G said it was because it was the first time I actually had a symptom from the cancer. Before that, any ‘symptoms’ were just side effects from the treatment. As for desperation, I find myself looking for information online on foreign cancer clinics, bone marrow transplants, alternative treatments and anything else that might help me to become one of the miracle stories that we’ve all read about.

Of course, the percentages will changes as others take the survey. You can take it yourself at http://facesofmbc.org/?tr=y&auid=6699537

What I’m grateful for today: All of the leftovers in my fridge from a wonderful potluck dinner last night with friends. I think I hear a cob of fresh corn and some cheesecake calling my name!

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