Saturday, April 28, 2007

Managing Stress & Learning Patience

On Friday, 27 April 2007 came the phone call, "after loooking at your mammogram, a couple tests need to be done right away". Words that strike terror into the staunchest of women. Okay - perhaps not the staunchest of women. Perhaps better written: words that strike terror into those women who suffer dramatically over a paper cut. At any rate, I'd have much preferred the call from the dentist to let me know "we're still waiting for you to come in for that root canal". Interestingly enough, I picked up on the "right away" theme. Those who work for doctors whose job it is to call patients and let them know additional tests are needed - practice this please: "I will not use the words 'right away' ever" before you make that call. And if you do happen to slip and use the 'right away' phrase - don't soft peddle it with "oh, sometimes these things just need a little extra test or two". It just doesn't work to relay that feeling of comfort & ease - trust me.

Of course the mind goes into overload and starts putting out the message: cancer. Now don't think it doesn't - even to women who can laugh off a papercut or a broken toe (neither of which I have been able to do successfully).

Two women in my office are dealing with breast cancer - each with her own story. One had to deal with chemo & radiation; the other, a masectomy. Naturally, being the curious sort, I learned a lot about cancer. Cancer is not kind nor is it easily dissuaded from taking what it wants to. Better yet, I've learned that we - not just women - can step up and take whatever life throws at us and come out the victor. And it is true - God never gives us more than we can handle. While I recognize this truth, I recognize it for others (smile). Yes, both these women confided that it wasn't a walk in the park - and they had this in common: moments of anger, grief and despair. But both of these ladies did what was necessary....they chose life and they fought and will continue to fight. I know that I will invariably chose one of these women to confide in when the time comes - and I already know the sharing will be met with a hug and "I'm there for you".

So while I go through these stages - anger, grief and despair - well ahead of even the appointments (one must prepare oneself!) - I hope to learn something that's worth passing on to whomever reads this. I know I have caused grief to my husband who, no doubt, feels there is nothing he can do that will help. How do you help a deranged woman who suffers mightily with a paper cut and tends to overreact ? Better to just smile until the teeth ache and just hope for the better - and buy her ice cream & give foot rubs until the tests on Wednesday.

Now there is no doubt to anyone who reads this knows why I write such helpful advice: my husband does read my posts.


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