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Monday, November 9, 2009

ADVICE: Cancer Concerns

Mitch Darnell offer Advice on Life inn response to readers questions.

Dear Mitch,
I know this sounds crazy, but here it is: Two of my closest family members have just beat Cancer, and I’m having a really hard time with the holidays coming up. Both my Father and my favorite Aunt have seriously been through hell, Mitch. The doctors say both are now free of any Cancer cells. But I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t relax.

What kind of daughter and niece am I? I should be celebrating that they beat that evil, nasty beast! It was so scary. This last year and a half have been the worst of my life. My Aunt had two bouts with Cancer! Two surgeries, PLUS all of that chemo. If you’ve ever seen someone go through chemo, you know how lucky you are. My dad had one episode of Cancer, surgery, radiation, and chemo.

I feel out of it. My family doesn’t tell any of us anything unless we pry, pry, and pry again. So, I’m not sure what’s happening. I want to cry. Plus, why my dad and my Aunt Carla? Both of them are so good to everyone. Why does god do bad (stuff) to so good people?

Now the family is talking about the holidays. I just want to shut down and hide! Help me, please!

Terrified of the “C”,

San Luis Obispo, CA


Dear Terrified,

I start many of my columns off with a little light humor. While humor can help, Cancer’s reach is omnipresent.

You’re definitely not crazy. You have the right to feel as you feel. No one can ever take away your right to feel a certain way.

• There seems to be a some “unsettled business” with your Father’s and/or your Aunt’s Cancer… At least for you; maybe for others. This IS QUITE normal. Treatment success doesn’t necessarily mean every feels like they’re individually and collectively “complete”. Everyone close to a Cancer victim is affected, and each processes at his/her own rate…

• Meanwhile, “the holidays” have become quite an inspirational/triggering/upsetting dynamic for people, haven’t they? Many people have some mixed feelings about our end-of-year holidays, particularly Christmas!

So, take a deep breath. You are a valuable human being with valid concerns, fears and needs. The same goes for your family members… First remember: You don’t have to “do”, or “be” anything!

Daily life bombards us with multiple stressors. Contemporary US life is exhausting, even overwhelming. Now, on the spiritual/energy level, you’ve drawn two family health and vitality reminders, and the “holidays”! I bet a LOT of readers can “relate” to your feelings!

You know…

° I notice you refer to “us” needing to pry to get information. Do you have siblings or other family to connect with? Your note doesn’t tell me much about what’s transpired when you do “pry”. Sometimes we need “space” or “time” before we’re ready to discuss something. Are you connecting with family members to get information, understanding, connection and possible “closure”?

° Some people feel embarrassed to discuss health issues. Maybe you can join with someone in your family who sees opportunities. This can be an opportunity to bond, to support your father and aunt, and to learn about specifics of their Cancers for the children. See if you’re not the only one who feels concerned, scared or otherwise could benefit from communication.

While Cancer is a horrible demon to endure, it may be a messenger implicating genetic predisposion(s), and/or lifestyle or cognitive-behavioral patterns which contribute(d) to health maladies. Always good to start with online research to find out the general facts around Cancer issues.

° What are your beliefs about “the holidays”?

• Are they a time to “forget about life’s challenges” and to just be with family?

• What about holidays do you like or love? What do you dislike?

• The holidays are NOT what toy, perfume, jewelry, etc., etc. manufacturers and marketing companies present! They CAN be a time of healing, love and remembering the “things that really count” in life…

° This may be hard to absorb… Everything in life is an opportunity to learn. That includes Cancer, my friend. What can you, and your family learn about themselves and your family? Maybe it’s the Gifts … of having your Father and your Aunt.. of Family… of Living!

Every Family member is a Gift: Holidays are opportunities to connect with our blessings!



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Mitch Darnell, MA, OM

Relationship Coach & Wedding Officiant

tel: 916/247.1655; Online:;