Can a person disassociate feelings toward a diagnosis of cancer cells in the breast being found on a body scan. My mother had breast cancer twice in her forties and ultimately died last year of thyroid cancer brought on by the radiation used to combat the breast cancer. I was sexually abused for years as a child and often would disassociate during the experience until it was over. Does this coping mechanism kick into play forty five years later? It has been five days and I still don’t have any feelings towards the probable diagnosis (MRI scheduled after Christmas). It is more of a numb feeling toward the statement. I just keep telling myself to trust in Jesus and keep my eyes on him and it will be fine. Is this normal?

A: Your early experience with dissociation due to the abuse may be the way you protect yourself from very difficult and threatening situations. Many cancer treatment centers offer counseling and would be familiar with your type of reaction. They may be able to help you with better coping strategies.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral
PC username: sphinxe