Denial ain’t so bad…

Kathy LaTour, an editor at Cure Magazine, blogged recently about a story in The New York Times about a doctor who headed up a palliative care unit at a major healthcare facility, advising patients about their options, when they’re at the end of their options.  When the doctor in her realized she was dying, she went into complete denial.  I think I remember reading that she even knew she was doing it, and that was fine with her.

Reading that story was an “Aha!” moment for me.  That same degree of denial is, to a great extent, the reason I’m doing so well.  It’ll be five years in July that while taking a shower, I noticed my breast had a big dent in it; I knew I had cancer.  I was Stage 4, metastatic, with REALLY bad odds attached.  But I never had a single doubt that I was going to beat The Bastard.  I was so mad I didn’t have room for any other emotion.

Anger seems to have served me well.  I took a PET/CT this week, and I’m clean.

And I don’t think it’s coming back, either.  That’s what’s known as classic denial in the world of medicine, where statistics forecast how long we’re scheduled to live after diagnosis.

What that doctor did when The Bastard really put the grab on her, has given me a template for my future.  She showed me it can be done, you can keep going all the way until you can’t go another step.  You know on some level you’re dying, but you refuse to stop living, even adding more and more into your life — and all the while, fighting the fight of your life.

She drained every drop she could from life, before she let go.  I don’t know if you can consider a dead person a mentor, but I bow to her.  I’ve only known one person like that.  His name was Neil, and he was the love of my life.

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