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Diagnosis Day, Part One: A Lesson in Gratitude

By Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D.
Ask the Therapist

Diagnosis Day, Part One:  A Lesson in GratitudeNo one wants to be told he or she has cancer.  The initial lack of control and feelings of helplessness are often traumatic experiences. The usual reactions are anger, depression and terror-laced anxiety.

While survival rates for many cancers have improved, there are quality of life issues following the diagnosis, including the emotional difficulty of coping with the anniversary date.  Survival rates are measured in 1-, 5- and 10-year markers.  This often creates an emotional conflict as the diagnosis date approaches.  Each year provides a measure both of success and trepidation.  Diagnosis day is when the war on cancer begins in your body.  It is sometimes shortened to military lingo for the day an attack or operation is launched: D-Day.

As with most traumas, people can tell you the vivid details of their diagnosis. They remember the time, what was said, what they did, and what they felt.  D-day is etched in their psyche, and as the anniversary date approaches, so does the anxiety.

But one woman, Jen Cunningham Butler, has done something different. In honor of breast cancer awareness month I wanted to tell you her story.

2 Comments to
Diagnosis Day, Part One: A Lesson in Gratitude

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  1. Dear Daniel, thank you for this story. I hope Jen took pictures of the gifts she gave and the faces of the people she gave them to. The story is a beautiful reminder of kindness as well as gratitude. We need kindness reminders all the time.
    Keep sending…
    Phyllis Klein

  2. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it. This website has got some really useful info on it! I was looking for this. It was excellent and very informative.

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