Accepting What You Can Not Change

Whether you are on day 1, day 101, or day 1001 of a bladder cancer journey, working towards accepting what you can not change is probably the hardest goal you will ever set. For many, it is almost impossible to overcome.

So much that follows a bladder cancer diagnosis is about making decisions or awaiting the outcomes of a decision while from the off, accepting there are things you can't change. The first being is you can't change the diagnosis itself.

Deciding usually involves looking at different circumstances or different groups of data to decide on a next step or set of actions.

Best course of action

We are usually and correctly told as a patient that we must make the final decision of what happens next. Usually based on the outcome of a scan or investigation, coupled with a review from your specialist doctor or an MDT (multi-disciplinary team), of specialist doctors to decide what is the best course of action.

Weighing pros and ones

Sometimes this will provide options weighing the pros and cons and possibly one which shines as the "best" option for you.

Other times there will only be one viable option and then it is of course natural to feel there is no decision for you to make and the decision has been taken out of your hands.

Of course, there is always an option open to you - not to have a recommended treatment. While often this wouldn't be a favorable one, it's important a patient knows it is an option.

So already you can see, while you may play a part at this stage, you are also probably already having to accept things which you can't change. This could be that surgery isn't possible despite it being your desired option to treat or aim to cure the cancer.

Acceptance is a long road

It could be that for a medical reason - a treatment option is not available to you. So how do you cope with this? How do you cope with accepting a situation, options, or lack of them that you can't change?

There is for sure no one easy answer and as your journey progresses more acceptance will be needed.

For years my husband who is an ex-cop told me, directly and indirectly, the importance of accepting things I can't change. It never really clicked. I didn't understand it and I didn't really get it.

Accepting change with bladder cancer

I don't know how or why but the day I was told I got cancer, I started to get it. It of course wasn't immediately obvious to me but looking back, it started right there in the doctor's room.

At the time, the fact I wasn't initially overcome by what I was told, I put down to being in shock and for sure that played a part.

However, in the weeks and months that followed and, in some ways, looking back is still a blur, I realized day by day I was accepting what lay before me.

For sure, I had no idea quite how rocky the path was going to be at the time. I didn't know how close to not being here I was and how ultimately after my scans, investigations, and multiple appointment and meetings, my fate would lie in the hands of a second and crucial PET Scan.

One day at a time, one step at a time

I did however take things step-by-step. I made sure at each stage I had the information I needed in order to make informed decisions and know when to ask the relevant questions when there was a gap between expectation and reality.

I can't tell you if or when that light will turn on for you. One thing I can tell you is that when it does, it helps make things a lot easier to deal with.

It has helped me massively with my annual CT scans. I don't worry about them. I don't have scanxiety. Why? Because I can't change the outcome.

For sure I feel a twinge in my stomach on results day and hope beyond all for a good result, but I know in my heart of hearts I can't change my results.

Moving on from my diagnosis

Just like when I was diagnosed. While I didn't know it at the time, that chapter of my book had been written, only until that day I hadn't turned to that page.

In this sense, I have found peace with what I have been through. That's not to say any of it is forgotten but accepting you can't change things bring a sense of peace and for me anyway, many fewer sleepless nights.

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