Dr. Robin Dilley, licensed psychologist in private practice.
In the first article, we talked about creating a support system and having a Research Director as part of that system. The Miller’s Daughter had four main characters in her support system: a spirit in white that accompanied her along the way, a king, the king’s mother, and the forest people. The king married the Miller’s daughter and made her silver hands. That role would be similar to the role of research director. The research director gets things done and devours the many articles which give you important information that the two of you have discussed as viable options and choices that you want more information about. In this way, he provides you with silver hands to use now in the midst of a very fragile and vulnerable state of being.
Next, you are going to need the King’s Mother. This is a best friend, but a very wise friend. This friend needs to be a good listener and non-judgmental; a friend with whom you can cry and share your deepest secrets and fears about this diagnosis. At the time of diagnosis, it is “normal” to ask yourself, “What did I do to cause this?” As you read the literature, you will often see that the articles will talk about your weight, your food and drink choices, and your exercise, or lack thereof. So a good friend will help you sift through those complex negative emotions that come about you and your diagnosis.
A good friend will also help confront you with the truth. Sometimes we find radical information and decide to do some sort of radical treatment option that is available. A good friend might say something to this effect: “Well, that seems like a very radical decision to fly off to where ever and have them use pig skins to place on the tumor.” Perhaps you are really afraid and need to talk about your fear rather than throw thousands of dollars into something that does not have a lot of evidence-based results. A friend is not passive, nor is a friend bossy. A good friend reflects back to you what s/he hears and then allows you to make your own decisions, standing beside you regardless.
There was a time in the story of the Miller’s Daughter where the messages became very confusing between the King and his wife with the silver hands. It was the King’s mother that helped decipher the messages during this time and intervened in such away to save the Miller’s Daughter’s life.
You are in charge of the decisions that you make during and after treatment. You do not have to listen to anyone or let him or her make decisions for you. You may loose a few people you thought were friends because they do not know what to say or they are afraid of “catching it.” That is not rational, but there will be a lot of irrational thinking and behaviors all around you during this time, even sometimes your own irrational actions and thoughts.
Be patient with yourself and your friends, but let someone in deeply so you do not have to walk alone. All of us need a King’s Mother.
Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.