Coping With Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Recovery RiverBy: Dr. Robin Dilley, Licensed Psychologist

The last blog spoke about the messenger who falls asleep by the river.  I broke it down to five parts and of course I could not really do any part of it justice in the appropriate guidelines for a blog.  So here is a list of the five parts (each part an intricate part of our journey with Breast Cancer).
The significance of the river

  • The Messenger who falls asleep
  • The Strange Character that switches the message
  • The King’s unconditional love
  • The King’s Mother’s Wisdom

I touched on each of these briefly.  For the next five installments, I am going to hang out here for a while because each piece seems to have great significance to our breast cancer story.  This is Breast Cancer awareness month and the heart of our journey seems to rest in this section of the Miller’s Daughter.

The messenger falls asleep by the river.  The messenger could fall asleep anywhere, but here is carrying the grand news of the birth of the King’s first born son and he falls asleep by the river.  River’s and water often to have spiritual significance.  Last time I mentioned Moses’ in the basket down the river to the Princess and baptism.  There are many other powerful river (water) stories.  A river is like a metaphor of our life.

  • When you are the bend in the river you cannot see what is around the bend until you get past it, and then you can be pleasantly surprised or startled into fear depending on what you see.
  • A river is often beautiful flowing evenly, singing a gentle but invigorating song from the depths of its dance.
  • A river is often a mirror of our emotions.  If things are going well the river is serene, enjoyable, and inviting.

However, if a hard rain has fallen the river is muddy, swirling in anger, and foreboding.
Coping with breast cancer is like coping with a might river inside of us.  The emotional storm rocks the shores of our core-self breaking over the safe boundaries and invading our very sacred inner spaces.  The river floods our psyche and leaves debris behind for us to clean up.  In its murky and muddy waters the fears, anger, sadness and disbelief dwell.
It is in the depth of these murky waters that the messages in our brains get garbled and unruly.  What once felt like a child now feels like a freak, half dog-half human.  It is terrifying at the bottom of this murky river.  Will the storm pass and peaceful waters flow again?
One way that you can use this blog entry to help you move through those murky emotions that you may be experiencing is to journal about them, attend gently and compassionately with each emotion as if it is a precious member of your inner garden.  Of course, you are angry, afraid, overwhelmed and sad (some of the time).  The goal is to acknowledge each feeling, breath into it deeply and let it go.  Do this as often and as long as it takes for your mood to begin to clear the muddy waters.  And like the messenger, get up and move on with journey.  The message changes with our individual emotional storms let it flow and take good care.

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.

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  1. Excellent story with profound meaning in every word.


  2. Excellent story and very profound meaning can be found in every word you wrote.


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