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The “Cancer Emotions” Are Still Close to the Surface

I’ve probably mentioned once or twice (okay, more than that) that there will never be a day when I do not think about cancer due to a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes I can and do go for minutes, even hours without thinking about it. Even then, I am often rudely awakened and quickly brought back to my new reality as I now know it, my post-cancer-diagnosis life.

One of those times of rude awakenings happened recently when I was doing some holiday shopping at the mall. There I was casually and innocently (no cancer thoughts what-so-ever) browsing through the various calendars for the new year in the temporary kiosk that is set up every year, and that’s when my cell phone rang.

And guess who it was from?

It was from my oncologist. I wondered how many people get phone calls from an oncologist while doing their holiday shopping at the mall.

Talk about being abruptly pulled back to reality.

That call quickly brought back memories about a different cell phone call from a different doctor on a different day not all that long ago; the call when I heard the words, you have “a” cancer.

And by the way, the fact that I receive calls from an oncologist still feels very weird to me.

But the strange thing this time was not the call itself. I have had five oncologists after all and have talked on the phone with all of them. No, the strange thing this time was my reaction to it.

That’s what surprised me.

The reason for her call was to deliver some unsettling news about my bone health. I don’t choose to go into that here, but it was upsetting news for me to hear. No worries, nothing too serious, but yet serious enough to shake me up more than a bit.

After trying to find a private space and finishing up that phone call, there was to be no more shopping for me that day. I realize now I probably should have called her back later, but honestly I didn’t even think of that I was so rattled. (Tip for doctors – when calling patients, first ask them if this is a good time for them to talk). I headed straight for my car and drove home.

Cancer’s ongoing grip on my new normal felt a bit tighter that day.

That evening, just like I usually do after getting unpleasant cancer-related news, I completely lost it with hubby. He patiently listened (again) to me rant and rave about the injustices of a cancer diagnosis, as well as the injustices of treatment-induced ongoing side effects. And yes, there were more than a few tears shed and more than a few choice words spoken.

That’s how I process through cancer shit stuff. I receive information, I hold it together til I find a safe place, I rant, I rave, I share with Dear Hubby, I absorb, I pet my dogs, I absorb some more, I cry a bit more, I accept, I make a plan, I move forward, I write about it and eventually I feel better – at least somewhat.

It’s a process.

And this kind of processing requires time, emotional work and patience with one’s self.

My advice to you is this:  allow yourself time to process unpleasant information in whatever manner (within reason) works best for you.

Finally, once again I realize all the “cancer emotions” are still very close to the surface, perhaps even closer than I thought.

Do your “cancer emotions” remain close to the surface?

What’s one way you process unpleasant news?

The #Cancer Emotions Are Still Very Close to the Surface #cancersucks #breastcancer

Sunset on Lake Superior



Thursday 2nd of April 2020

I think you spoke to me first with these words Nancy. These words took me and led me to you and so many of my cancer tribe. I thank you with my deepest gratitude.


Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Ilene, Aw, what a lovely comment. Thank you.


Thursday 7th of August 2014

I just found your blog today and really love it. I love the way you write and think, I relate to what you said about how you deal with bad news. I too will find a safe, quiet place and then cry and rant to my hubby..God bless their patient hearts. It is a process and one that we each go through at our own pace. I don't cry as much now, yet little things still set off some tears. I swear chemo's made me more emotional. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for the blog. I just started one too and find writing can be therapeutic.


Friday 8th of August 2014

Debbie, Welcome! I'm glad you found my blog and I appreciate that you let me know about it. Processing all this stuff is just that, a process and each of us has to do it in our own way. There's no doubt about it, chemo does a number on your emotions. I was the same way and sometimes the emotions still rise to the surface unexpectedly. Thanks for reading. I'll check out your blog soon. You'll love blogging.

Dawn Stratton, LCPC

Wednesday 20th of February 2013

Nancy, I love how you explain how you process the cancer "stuff," and your advice that each person should process in their own way. Very wise.


Thursday 21st of February 2013

Dawn, Thanks so much. You're very kind.

Susan Zager

Sunday 10th of February 2013

Nancy, I really get everything you wrote. I think you were so caught off guard as your mind was concentrated on your shopping and suddenly you were hit with more bad news related to the cancer you were able to get out of your mind as you were shopping. But the phone call pushed it right in front of you. The bone issues do matter. I know how bad mine are from breaking so many. I am like you where I take the news in and then I think about it later and I am suddenly full of emotion. Thank you so much for sharing this.I send you tons of hugs and XoXoXo - Susan


Monday 11th of February 2013

Susan, I thought of you when I got this news and when I wrote this post. Thanks for "getting it," Susan. And thanks for the support and hugs.

Beth L. Gainer

Monday 4th of February 2013

Oh Nancy, I'm sorry about this not-so-good news from your oncologist. It never does end, I think. I'm 12 years out from diagnosis. And not a day goes by that cancer isn't on my mind.

I'm scared a lot, and with each negative medical setback, it's harder and harder to ignore the cancer beast.

Just know there are many people who care about you...including me.


Tuesday 5th of February 2013

Beth, I realize my news wasn't that horrible in the big scheme of things, but still it was very unsettling to me and yet another reason the "beast" cannot be forgotten about for long. Thanks for caring and for understanding. It means a lot.

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