It’s all in your head

Hospitals like to set you up with expectations. It’s their job to tell you their best estimate of what to expect. The difficulty arises when things don’t measure up to your expectations. It’s the “Shouldda’s” that get you.

She should have more time. She should live to see grandchildren.

They should not have told us it was a benign tumour before they really knew what it was.

They should have communicated with my family better. The hospital should not be in such chaos.

The first ER doc should have done a neuro exam.

The surgeon should have communicated the bad news with some compassion.

There are so many “shoulds” that pop up. In a situation like this, the family has very little control. It’s so easy to lock on to those “shoulds” and hang on to the anger that makes you feel something more empowering than grief.

I’m not even going to say that one shouldn’t should in this kind of situation. It’s natural to should. You should should. I just try and remember that the shoulds only affect my perception of the situation. Does my mom still have a brain tumour at the end of the day? Yep.

So I try not to should. Should-ing makes me feel tired and angry. I can’t do it. I watch myself rocketing through the five stages of grief maybe once or twice a day, and I try to hang on to the “acceptance” phase. It’s easiest there, less painful.

Things are too hard when you start thinking about the way they should be. That shit’s all in your head, anyway.

You know what does help? Prayer, meditation and yoga. I am so grateful for the skills I’ve acquired (out of necessity) in the past five years. I’m finding the greatest relief, for me, in the little sacred place I’ve carved out for myself in my day. The daily yoga and meditation routine is the most effective coping skill I have. Yesterday, I stumbled on a single-paragraph mention of a laughing yoga technique in an interior design magazine of all things. Here’s what you do:

You stand with your feet comfortably apart. You throw your arms up like you’re going to launch into the chorus of “YMCA!” and you say, “HA! HA! HA!” You say this from your diaphragm, and your smile, because you sound funny.

It’s incredible; this exercise will lift the weight of grief from my heart completely while I perform it, and the effect lingers. I’m doing it six times a day, it helps so much.

So this’ll be me in public places for the indeterminate future:

Thank you everyone for your kind comments and emails. Please keep them coming. You know what I’d really love? Jokes. Especially if they include bad puns and *especially* if they involve making fun of brain cancer. Keep ‘em coming. I love you all, and thank you so much.

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10 thoughts on “It’s all in your head

  1. Courtesy of George (Carlin): “And you might have noticed something else. The sanctity of life doesn’t seem to apply to cancer cells, does it? You rarely see a bumper sticker that says: ‘Save the tumors.’ Or ‘I brake for advanced melanoma.'”

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  2. A woman is diagnosed with Cancer and is told she only has a month to live. Her daughter picks her up at the hospital after she finds out and the two decide that they should go do something fun together instead of spending her final days feeling sad. While out at a bar the woman runs into some of her friends who ask her what they seem to be celebrating. The woman replies “I just found out I’m dying of AIDS, so we wanted to have a good time in my final days” the woman’s friends are very apologetic and sad and finally leave her alone with her daughter again. The daughter says “Mom, you told me you were dying of cancer, why would you tell them you were dying of AIDS?” to which the woman responded “Because now I have a guarantee they won’t try to fuck your father once I’m dead”

    May light and love surround you all.

    ps. reddit.com, search for “cancer jokes”

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  3. Kate- Thank you for sharing such personal, emotional, events in your family. Believe it, or not, there are many going through similar things– on the same, or different levels. Your posts are helping many—(including yourself) Thank you so much! Love and Blessings…. -Kathi

    Sent from my iPhone

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  4. A patient went to the doctor’s office at the hospital to get the long awaited test results. The doctor asked the patient to sit down and said that he had good news and bad news for him.
    “Please tell me the bad news first”, the patient insisted.
    “Unfortunately, we can now confirm that you do have brain cancer”, the doctor solemnly replied.
    “I see, well what’s the good news? Do you have something that can help me?”, the patient hopefully wondered.
    “Yes, why just this week our hospital has been given permission to perform brain transplants and just this morning, a young man and a young woman were both killed in a car accident just across the street and as we have their families’ permission, you can be our first official procedure! Now we would have to act quickly and you can have your choice of the male or female brain. The cost of the male brain is $1000.00 and the cost of the female brain is $300.00.”
    “Okay, I’m relieved to hear there is something that can help me, but I curious doctor, why does the male brain cost so much more than the female one?”
    “The male brain was hardly used.”

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  5. A patient went to the doctor’s office at the hospital to get the long awaited test results. The doctor asked the patient to sit down and said that he had good news and bad news.
    “Please tell me the bad news first”, the patient insisted.
    “Unfortunately, we can now confirm that you do have brain cancer”, the doctor solemnly replied.
    “I see, well what’s the good news? Do you have something that can help me?”, the patient hopefully wondered.
    “Yes, why just this week our hospital has been given permission to perform brain transplants and just this morning, a young man and a young woman were both killed in a car accident just across the street and as we have their families’ permission, you can be our first official procedure! Now, if you agree we would have to act quickly and you can have your choice of the male or the female brain. The cost of the male brain is $1000.00 and the cost of the female brain is $300.00.”
    “Okay, I’m relieved to hear there’s something that can help me, but I curious doctor, why does the male brain cost so much more than the female one?”
    “The male brain was hardly used.”

    Like

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