The impact of a serious illness within the family – especially where it occurs suddenly and without any prior warning of its imminence – is likely to appear to affect different family members in different ways. Just because a son, daughter, parent or other family member doesn’t respond as you might have predicted or desired, does not mean that they are (or are not) struggling to ‘get their head round’ and measure up to what they believe is required and expected from them at such a time as this: small victories; meaning very little to others or in themselves; but it was, to coin a phrase, “how the west was won”!
It is also important to bear in mind that one may well be able to retain certain major and key elements of control arising from possibilities as they begin to unravel. For example, the newly diagnosed patient, placed in such a situation as this, might well be able to more readily adapt to change, where certain key elements from that routine can be structured and blended into everyday functioning.. Depending on the nature and stage of the illness and the kind of treatment being prescribed, it may be possible to continue to work, albeit for ‘shorter hours’, or for a while on a part time basis, or even as before but with time taken off in order to accommodate the need to attend the hospital/clinic in order to receive the prescribed treatment.
Cancer, most assuredly, can be treated. In an increasing number of types of malignancy it can – given the prompt application of ‘state of the art’ treatment – be cured or, at any rate, successfully controlled for varying and even indefinite periods of time. Even in instances where the prognosis is poor, it is so important to at least have in mind the amount, scope and variety of on-going research in the form of well-designed and adequately controlled studies currently in progress on a world-wide and, often, cooperative and collaborative basis. Beyond that, there are evidence-based studies in progress that are increasingly supporting the hypothesis of an association between key behavioural and attitudinal variables and the progression of remission from malignant disease. On the other hand, it is – as neuroscientists in their sub-fields of neuro and brain chemistry are at pains to point out – all too easy and misleading to misrepresent and oversimplify matters given the known complexity of what is well understood to amount to subtle and inordinately complex shifts occurring within brain activity.
Somehow, it helps me (and it may also benefit you too) to view such matters from a somewhat different perspective. I am now decidedly in the minority of those who can actually remember pre-television times (even those antiquated nine-inch “black and white” (or rather grey and white) screened sets of long, long ago). Nowaday’s electronic technology (e.g. L.C.D. and plasma digital TV sets with DVD player/recorder and, of course, remote controller) are in almost every home in the western world and are commonplace. ‘Dinosaur’ that I am, I am ‘lost’ beyond the plug into the wall socket and the remote controller. But when all is said and done, all of that seeming deficiency and self-confessed ignorance in no way interferes with or in any way spoils my use and full employment and enjoyment of and for which television has ever been intended! The old saying regarding brain and behaviour i.e. “If you don’t use it you will loose it”, is as true today as ever it was. Beyond that, how it all works is best left to others; specialists in their respective fields of endeavour. I know how to use it and – maybe – from time to time, even how to improve things.