Guest blogger Julia Culen is an internationally renowned professional coach and consultant. She chose this career to reduce the high level of mental suffering she experienced in organizations. Julia helps leaders to create structures which have a fundamentally beneficial impact on people and organizations. She shared her thoughts on chronic disease with us.
If you suffer from a chronic illness or even an incurable disease as I do, one of your worst nightmares has probably become true. It will not only bring suffering and pain, but also death anxiety. Some fears are healthy, others unhealthy. They might concern the evitable or the inevitable. I would like to take a closer look at our fears.
I had tried to bring some kind of balance into my life: The cancer diagnosis was something to worry about and the pregnancy was completely normal. That was how it seemed to be at the beginning. Only a month after I had been given my prognosis, it changed, though. Suddenly, the pregnancy was a concern as well.
“Why me?” is a question o lot of people ask themselves after being confronted with a cancer diagnosis. There is no answer to this question, of course. Yet, a few considerations can help struggling with fate. Fate has a name – the name of your disease. But fate has other names as well. And you can even rename it…
I was truly exotic, statistically far too young to have CLL, pregnant and a patient with an interesting combination of genetically mutated lymphoid cells. The obstetrician seemed to refer to the hematologists and vice versa continuously for future decisions and prognosis. I was getting tired of all their referring.
If you are puzzled after having read the story of my diagnosis so far, I can assure you that we did not have a clue either after having received this new information. Of course, I started to do some maths and calculated that I had about eight more years to live. I would not reach 50, but I could keep the baby. Could I? We knew we had to see an obstetrician as soon as possible.
I went to see the doctor who had told me about my diagnosis in the first place two months ago. Again, I had to wait for hours. This time, I was better prepared. I came with an old friend. It was such an absurd situation….I was the only young (and pregnant) person in the waiting room. I was hoping to hear how much time I had left to live.