Nothing can prepare you.
Even when you have harboured suspicions that there might be something seriously wrong, the words still hit you like a hammer blow.
“You have cancer”.
Suddenly everything becomes BC and AD.
Before Cancer, After Diagnosis.
In less than the time it takes to draw a breath, the person you were in the years BC has left the room.
And for a while it feels like he has taken every friend or lover you have ever had with him.
The contemplation of your own fragile mortality is a very lonely process.
While still trying to absorb and come to terms with the diagnosis -- and the often debilitating consequences of the treatment -- you suddenly notice you have stopped planning.
It really is quite a shock.
We all plan. It is a central plank of our very existence. Next week, next month, next year. Retirement. Children’s graduation. Wedding anniversaries. We all plan. We can’t help it.
But the freshman AD just stops doing it. Perhaps not entirely consciously, but stop it does.
The future is no longer a fascinating mystery in which we surrender our inhibitions and indulge our fantasies.
It is dark, painful and so very scary. The freshman AD just doesn’t (want to) think about it.