I don't recall exactly how my surgeon put it that morning in October 1994, but I know he said it was cancer. Cancer is a highly charged word in our culture because we link it so closely with death. The word strikes fear into our hearts and immediately turns life upside down.
Cancer had ruptured the wall of my colon, and I felt threatened to the core of my being.
My initial reaction to the threatening diagnosis was not shock but surprise. Shock suggests the feeling, "How could this happen to me ?" It is produced by an event so beyond our expectations that we are thrown into utter confusion; we don't know what to say or do. Shock rests on the subconscious assumption that we are somehow invulnerable to this disaster.
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