Coping Strategies and The Longest Hug

This brings up an interesting topic.  I have been trying to figure out how or where to start this subject because we all need good coping skills for our health.  Most of us have not had them, haven’t maybe needed them we thought, and just go about our days unaware of the long term effects of chronic stress.

I don’t have cancer today.  And I don’t want to have cancer in 3 – 5 years again.  Because a reoccurrence, is deadly.  My chance is now.

Because so many people are facing similar stresses right now,   the need for coping strategies is widespread. And while different people respond to different specific strategies, coping strategies fall into a few basic categories, each of which can be helpful.

Calming Coping Strategies

First, it’s helpful to calm your physiology so you reverse your stress response. When your stress response is triggered, you process information differently, you can feel physically and emotionally taxed, and if you don’t reverse your stress response, after a while you become susceptible to the effects of chronic stress.

Emotion-Focused Coping Strategies

There are two main types of coping strategies: emotion-focused coping strategies and solution-focused coping strategies. The calming coping strategies I mentioned above are a quick version of the former type—emotion-focused coping strategies—but there are more in-depth emotion-focused strategies that can help with many of the major stressors that people face. These include coping strategies like maintaining a sense of humor and cultivating optimism, where the situation doesn’t change, but your perception of it does. These strategies are great to use in many of the situations I’ve mentioned where I have little ability to control what happens, and I need to see my stressors as a challenge instead of a threat, or change the way I respond to my circumstances in order to diffuse some of the stress involved.

 Solution-Focused Coping Strategies

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to change a situation, but often you’ll find an opportunity to take action and actually change the circumstances you face. These types of solution-focused coping strategies can be very effective for stress relief; often a small change is all that’s required to make a huge shift in how you feel. For one thing, one change can lead to other changes, so that a chain reaction of positive change is created, opportunities are opened up, and life changes significantly. Also, once action is taken, the sense of being trapped with no options—a recipe for stress—can dissipate quickly. It’s important to be thoughtful about which actions to take, as each situation may call for a unique solution, but a less-stressed mind  can more easily choose the most beneficial course of action.

And we are dealing with the devil himself here in cancer. He is lurking, just wanting to dive into that emotional situation and rev up your cortisol and adrenaline which will invite cancer to take over.  And if cancer doesn’t pop up its ugly head, probably a stroke will.  Many of the medicines we are taking can lead to stroke or heart disease…and I don’t want any of them.

Its all tough decisions, but there really is no choice. I posted on Facebook today a letter from a fellow breast cancer ‘survivor’ who is experiencing a re-occurrence.  She had a mild cancer first, and they got it.  but she didn’t change, she self admits.  And I wonder for me about toxic people  in my life, who fight me on every change or non change; and its mostly family.  I am not sure how to deal with them, because old habits kill people in families. Its ridiculous. All I want to do is live. So do you cast out those people, or still try?  Not at the cost of my life.

My oldest daughter doesn’t talk to me at all.  Which I let go as fine, but it isn’t really. I would have liked to resolve whatever it is that got us here anyway because it destroys the whole entire family.  I worry about her health to, because she harbors such hatred in her soul.  Is it worth it?  I don’t want her to get this cancer, or any cancer but I can’t see how she won’t.  But her sister says, she loves her family and is protecting it.  I am part of that family, whether she acknowledges that or not.  What is this going to teach her children, who I am close to and love?  I know they love me.  What scars are they suffering from our lack of communication?   And I am now not in a physical position to resolve this.  They both attack me with ‘rage’ and screaming.  Hey I will even take part of the responsibility because I raised them.  but they are 39 and 42.

Well, I am going on with my life. I can only take care of myself.  I don’t know. Life isn’t figured out easily. I would just like to not hurt the next generation.  When I held my granddaughter in my arms, just one week before I found out I had cancer…it was one of those hugs…where we held on…for dear life, not wanting to end it. In a public place, because we just ‘ran’ into each other, and she ended it with “I love you Mana.”    It was worth a million dollars. Ihadn’t seen her in three years.   But what is this doing to her?  She certainly wouldn’t tell her mother about this…maybe that she had seen me.  but not about the energy that was sent between grandma and granddaughter! It was worth a million dollars.  It kept me going through all my cancer treatment.  Every time I went into surgery and they put the mask over my face, I remembered her arms around me.  And they protected me as I drifted off into the dark.

And when I leave this world, I will remember that day as one of the best days of my life.   Thank you Ryann.

About Bonnie

Breast Cancer survivor owned by one old Shelty and a 3 pound Yorkie named Mimzy!
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