Reacting to Illness, Part 2 of 3

If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?

From "When Life Becomes Precious: The Essential Guide for Patients, Loved Ones, and Friends of those Facing Serious Illness" by Elise Needell Babcock:

ELEVEN REACTIONS to news of serious illness (part 2)

Loss of Control


"I feel so helpless, so powerless against this disease."

"It's not even in my body. I wish I had it instead of my wife."

"The doctors have all the power. I feel helpless and naïve in dealing with them."

"I used to be able to manage my career, my family, and my household. When my wife got cancer, I felt like I couldn't manage any of them."


Family members and other loved ones have an especially difficult time dealing with the illness because they are on the outside looking in. They cannot fix it. They cannot see it. Not knowing what is going on and always having to rely on others for information can leave them feeling powerless.



"I grieve for what we've lost and what we're going to lose."

"I'm grieving not only the loss of his health but of everything it meant to our marriage."

"I find myself crying when I see people walking together or holding hands or laughing. I suppose I'm grieving those times when our lives appeared as carefree."

From the moment this disease storms in and turns your world upside down, you experience losses. You experience some losses right away and others later on, as the illness progresses. Dreams, finances, roles, and relationships as you have known them are destroyed, or at the very least, altered forever.

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