Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What's the Upside to the Trauma of Cancer

The odds are pretty good that if you have been hanging out in CancerLand you have experienced some trauma. It might be your diagnosis or the reality of your treatment or how the “not too bad” side effects turned out to be horrendous. OR, if you are the caregiver, the trauma is again that day of diagnosis and then the shock of exhaustion and the pain of having your body flooded with adrenaline for months on end. Plenty of trauma and yes, therefore plenty of post-traumatic stress.

But now there is some really good news about trauma and cancer. It turns out that there is also something called Post-Traumatic Growth, which also accrues to patients and caregivers in CancerLand.

I’m learning about this in the new book called “Upside—The New Science of Post-Traumatic
Growth” written by Jim Rendon, a veteran journalist.

Rendon spent years interviewing social scientists, physicians and survivors of trauma—all kinds of trauma and much of it medical and cancer trauma-- and his book show us that it is truly possible to thrive and not just survive trauma. That business about “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” turns out to be true. But it’s even a little better than that because God knows we are strong but in “Upside” Rendon shows that we get a joy and happiness boost as well.

This book is hope in hardcover for so many of us, and it is validation as well, that being happy after the trauma of cancer is not a sign of denial.

This is going to be an important book for therapists and coaches and counselors and especially for folks in oncology and cancer care. We can now back up our promises with science and research, when we say that no matter what happened, you can be happy, joyous and free.

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