I'm Not Dead Yet!

Mary Maycock's War on Cancer

Friends, Family and Accepting Help

The immediate problem after my diagnosis was the feeling of utter hopelessness; there was no wriggle room to allow for survival.

It is only now that I have met and spoken to many people surviving with cancer day to day, living full lives, expecting to be here tomorrow, that I have been able to let that worry go.

Whenever the panic comes back I put on my mask and remind myself to live today.

When my life fell apart I realized I must accept help from professionals. Although my friends did their best and persevered endlessly, they were not equipped to help me deal with the most constant terrible panic and fears, the loneliness and helplessness, the bitter regrets and the horrific anger and grief at what could have been. I was expecting my friends and my family to work miracles, to fix my problems and to bring me back from the brink of despair every day. And my sole reliance on them was wearing them out!

I used to sit in the bathroom and scream and howl; I could see no way forward at that time. It was damaging the very people who I needed so badly.

It hurt my children to hear me, but I was out of control. But exposing my grief gave them the opportunity to hold me. Whatever happens now, my children know they have made a significant difference. Despite the trauma they were put through at the time, they recognise their valuable part in my emotional recovery.

I learnt to grasp every opportunity to consult councilors and psychologists who had the skills to arm me with different approaches, experts who could show me how my life was still relevant and valuable. Until that time I had felt temporary and thus somehow less valid as a person because of my illness.

The following exercise was just one of many which helped me to see the many things that are important in my life and to re-focus, rather than being caught in the persistent cycle of panic and dread of the future.

A friend came over today and was immediately in tears remembering the traumatic times after the diagnosis and coming to terms with everything. It has obviously affected her deeply.

It is so important to mention those who have helped me to get this far. I have written a few notes to try to express what I think could help other people in my position...also the bluebells which represent so many memories with friends, up on Badbury hill.

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