Wise women of the board-please help...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wise women of the board-please help...
16
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 11:33am
I find myself totally numb since the diagnosis of four brain tumors instead of one brain tumor. People ask how I am doing and I just shrug and say fine. I haven't cried or wept since the diagnosis which is highly unusual for me. I usually cry at commercials or at church or in my car and it just has not happened. I heard a story on the radio about a boy that died of cancer which would normally bring on a crying fit and I just listened and sighed.

I guess it is my body's way of keeping it all together. I have just shut down and am going through the motions. Is this normal? How long does it last? I know none of you are psychotherapists but I didn't know if anyone else had experienced this.

Please e-mail me if you don't want to emote all over the board. I am worried that I am so unnaturally calm.

Kristi

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:02pm
It's normal for you, so it's normal.

I think Suzymomm hit on a good point with the possibity that you've already worked thru this in your head. That's pretty much how it was for me when my ex-husband died. Even though it was unexpected, I think I knew it was going to happen, that it was pretty much a matter of time. When it did happen I was shocked, but somehow had a deja vu-like feeling that made everything I did seem perfectly choreographed. I was perfectly calm and knew just what to say and do...it was really strange. I realized later that I'd had the chance to anticipate it, even if not consciously.

THe very last thing you need to be worrying about now is whether you're reacting normally. You will respond the way *you're* supposed to respond when you're supposed to.

Thinking of you lots....

Lauren


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:21pm
I agree with what the others have said, you're behaving in the manner that is letting you get through all of this right now. Don't second guess yourself, just do what you need to do.

You're in my thoughts and I'm praying for you, your kids, and esp. for DH.

Hugs, Christi

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 9:29pm
I'm not wise, but I'll answer anyway.

First of all, take it easy on yourself. You are FINE. You are behaving appropriately. Your reactions are OK. If you decided to handle this by getting out of bed at midnight every night and dancing under the sprinklers, that would be FINE.

You are doing what you need to be doing right now. You mentioned in another post that you focus on the financial aspects of the situation, and seemed to feel as if that was wrong, somehow. It's not wrong. You have a family, and you are trying to keep it afloat. Unfortunately, somebody in your family really does have to pay attention to the bills, to the health insurance, to all the little details that have to be taken care of, no matter what else is going on.

I know that when my DH was in intensive care, I almost felt relieved when it was time to go stand in the corridor with a cellphone and argue with the HMO. It was a mental break. In a strange way, it made the unbearable bearable. I asked the doctors all the right questions, and I had all their names down in my little notebook. I wasn't wrong to behave that way, and neither are you. You're saving your strength. I think it's a self-preservation mechanism. In my case, I was calm and rational and resourceful and clever every day that I was in the hospital. Then I came home, put the kids to bed, and lay between my parents and cried all night. I just compartmentalized things, because I absolutely, positively had to. And it was really OK to do that.

I also think that you are headed for some serious grief and a breakdown of sorts. You sound as if you can feel it coming on, and you're trying to prepare for it. Get your family and friends around you, because you're going to need people to help you.

How is your relationship with DH? Are you guys getting some time alone? The only thing I would worry about is that you are closing yourself off from him, in some attempt to protect yourself (and him, possibly, from having to deal with your pain). Can you see a counselor? Do you go out on dates together? Is he always surrounded by people?

I'm so sorry that you're going through this, and I wish I could offer some real help.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 9:27am
I have been shutting him out and trying not to. I just keep thinking that I will have to learn to exisit without him so I might as well now. For example, there were two huge spiders on the side of the house. I just know they were evil, poisonous spiders and I am terrifed of spiders. Instead of leaving them for DH to handle, I turned the hose on them. Little things like that are happening all the time.

We have found out insurance will not pay for anything. Nothing. My rough calculations are that it will cost over 60,000 dollars if he is in this trial for 6 months. Can you imagine? How could I possibly pay that? We don't even have assets that are worth 60,000 dollars.

I compartmentalize all the time-it is the key to my survival. At work, I work and block it out of my mind. At home, I take care of the kids and wear myself out so I can sleep. I am headed for some serious grief and possibly a nervous breakdown and I just don't have the time right now. The kids don't need to see it and DH can't handle it. If one person tells me I'm strong and I'm a rock-I might just punch them in the nose.

Kristi

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 5:33pm
OK, so here's more advice. If you're going to compartmentalize, then just make sure you do it the right way. For example, can you really do anything about the $60,000 right now? If you can, then great, do it. But if you can't, then stop worrying about it. You will have plenty of time to worry about the money. You may not have plenty of time to hang out with your husband, to talk with him and hold him and just be with him.

So I would just say that compartmentalization is great -- it's a healthy way to manage terrible stress, in my opinion. However, I just think you need to think about what you can do now versus later, and what you can't do now versus later. Do what you can and put off what you can't. Do what you won't be able to do later now, and save what you will be able to do later until then.

I do understand what you're going through, in a way. People always think they're going to be so eloquent and passionate when someone they love is in danger of dying, but it doesn't always work out that way. When I first got to the ER after DH had been taken there in an ambulance, he was lying on a table, comatose, on a respirator. The nurse said, "just talk to him," and walked away. Well, I had absolutely *no idea* what to say. I couldn't say anything. So I just sat there. I felt really guilty, because I thought I should have been saying all sorts of things that would make him live, that would sum up our life together nicely. But I didn't say one word. It didn't mean I didn't love him. You know? You're not a failure because you're having trouble figuring out what to say.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-11-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 8:08pm
It sounds to me that you are unaware of the peace you have in life. The calmness that washes over you is good, welcome it, do not question. You have much to see, life is beautiful EVERYDAY. Shake the shock off! Stranger things have happened! You have someone watching over you always.

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