B’s neurologist talked to us about the typical stages that people go through when diagnosed with a serious illness. He said that these aren’t always linear and many can be experienced at the same time. We’ve given a bit of thought to them.
This one is pretty understandable. It’s our favourite stage. Although it’s unproductive we still find ourselves saying ‘I wish this hadn’t happened’ and ‘I wish things were as they were before’. Even though the tumour still existed then, we just didn’t know about it. I say ‘still’ bearing in mind it’s only been 5 weeks. Somehow B is supposed to go from thinking that everything is completely normal, to thinking that having brain surgery and chemotherapy is a good idea – within a few weeks. So yes, denial is popular.
We don’t really get this one. I think it’s for religious people. As we’re atheists, there’s nobody to be angry with. The world? ‘Why me?’ We’re too logical for that. ‘Why NOT me?’ Some people have to have the brain tumours, don’t they? As the cause is unknown B can’t blame it on too many sausages or mobile phone calls. He’s led a healthy life, so he can’t be angry at himself for not doing things differently.
Another one for the religious. There’s nobody out there to bargain with!
Our second favourite stage. It breaks the ‘no moping’ rule, but a bit of wallowing is inevitable at times.
This is still a way off, as we’ve only just learned the details of what we need to accept, and B doesn’t even have a treatment plan yet. Stand easy, Acceptance.
I’ve also added my own stage, which I like to call Transference, or Wishing Ill Upon Others. I fantasise that I’m able to take B’s tumour and give it to the distasteful celebrity of my choosing. There’s quite a hit list, but I know I’d give it to Russell Brand, Sarah Palin, Mel Gibson, Theresa May, Tony Blair or Jeremy Clarkson without a moment’s thought for their loved ones, who probably don’t like them all that much anyway.