We have all heard them. They usually range from one to four, but I have my own scale for family and friends to mark the stages of cancer.
Stage 1 is variously known as the pyroclastic, tsunami or train wreck stage. This commences when you get the news. Mercifully it often doesn’t last long. Abject terror can’t endure forever and the second stage usually comes along quickly.
Stage 2 is the one-step-at-time stage and begins as soon as the doc or whoever tells you that they have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. These entail some combination of surgery, hospitalization, radiation, chemotherapy or other therapies. These treatments come along with their own anesthesia for care givers. Ordinarily you are too tired physically to think about anything and too worn out emotionally to do anything but what lies clearly at hand.
Stage 3 is the one-day-at-a-time stage and lasts from weeks to months to years. If you are fortunate enough to be in the years category, you revisit stages one and two briefly whenever labs are done or blood drawn, followed by a feeling of profound relief.
Stage 4 is when you get to go through all this again with a different outcome, so since I’m only in stage 2 right now, I’m not going there.
Those little cancer cells have a life of their own and they love survival, so give ‘em the scalpel! Zap ‘em with those rays! Pour on the chemicals! Make them go away!
In the mean time, say lots of prayers and you will learn what the meaning of trudging is, “to walk with purpose.” Good luck all around.