- Question from Marissa: My feelings about my diagnosis and upcoming treatment seem to be all over the place: sometimes I feel strong; other times I feel like crying as I am overwhelmed. Is this normal?
- Answers - Mitch Golant Yes!
- Rosalind Kleban Women often describe dealing with the whole process like being on a roller coaster. Monday, you're positive, you can do it, it's not a big deal. Then Tuesday, you're under the covers, feeling overwhelmed, unable to face the world. The highs are very high, the lows very low. Just when you think you have your emotions under control, the roller coaster starts again. This generally calms down in the middle of treatment, because women concentrate on the details of treatment. The roller coaster starts again when treatment is over.
- Mitch Golant The really interesting part about the question, at least to me, is the question of what's normal. As Roz is pointing out, the experience you're describing is so profoundly similar to many, many others. It underscores the value of being with others. Even this Web site, www.Breastcancer.org, is a chance to be with others who understand what you're going through. [Connect with others on the Breastcancer.org Discussion Boards.] And there are many forums, support groups, and educational programs that talk about the treatment. Cancer isn't just about the biology; it is also about the psychology. Good treatment includes both -- managing the emotions, which are all normal, all well within the range of human experience, especially with a diagnosis of cancer.
- Rosalind Kleban What I've noticed, particularly with the treatment of breast cancer, is that the emotional effect is often more difficult to manage than the physical.
- Mitch Golant Roz, I think your point is that breast cancer is so linked to stigma, physical changes, attraction, sexuality, intimacy. These emotions are so present as treatment progresses, and yet the outcomes are often so positive. No wonder you'd be on a roller coaster.
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