Coping With Grief After Cancer
- Country singer Reba McEntire’s mother bravely battled bladder cancer until her passing at age 93. Losing her mom caused her immense grief.
- Losing a loved one to cancer is an incredibly emotional time that comes with grief. The grieving process comes in stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
- These labels help us frame and identify what we may be feeling, and these stages can occur in any order.
- New York-based clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin says it may be helpful to remind yourself that these feelings are “meaningful yet temporary.”
- Bladder cancer develops when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow and eventually develop into tumors. Smoking is a leading risk factor for this disease. Symptoms typically include frequent or painful urination.
Country music icon Reba McEntire, 68, was incredibly close with her mother, who often influenced many of her legendary hits. So, when she began an arduous cancer journey, the “Does He Love You” singer was her bedrock of support. In fact, McEntire said after her mom’s cancer battle ended, she was so overwhelmed with grief that she nearly called it quits on her music career.
McEntire’s mom, Jacqueline, died in March 2020 from bladder cancer at age 93. Bladder cancer develops when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow and eventually develop into tumors. Smoking is a leading risk factor for this disease, with smokers being three times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than non-smokers.Read More
Reba’s mother taught her and her other children how to sing at a young age.
“Anytime anybody needed an opinion of who’s off…Mama would come in with her spatula after she was frying potatoes [and said] Okay, Reba, you’re on Susie’s part. Sing it again. We’d sing it, and she’d say, ‘Oh, that’s perfect,’ and she’d go back in and keep frying potatoes,” McEntire said.
McEntire credits her mom’s unwavering support for her, especially as a young artist in the late 1970s while breaking into the business. The song “You Never Gave Up on Me” is a tribute to her mom.
“I got the idea, ‘That’s a great song for Mama.’ Because who besides God has never given up on me? Mama,” McEntire told The Boot.
View this post on Instagram
McEntire said in a heartfelt tribute on Instagram that her mom lived a “wonderful, full, healthy life.”
After some time, McEntire was able to cope with the grief and get back to her career, which included a new lifestyle book and music.
Helping Patients Cope with Grief
How to Cope After Losing a Loved One to Cancer
It took the award-winning artist a while to cope with losing her beloved mom after cancer. SurvirorNet wants you to know that grief may look different for everyone if you have lost a loved one.
The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These labels help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. These stages can also occur in any order.
The time it takes to navigate these stages can also vary, so giving yourself grace and patience while navigating your feelings is important.
“It often gets better over time, but on certain days, it can look like depression, and on other days, people look perfectly normal and can function,” Dr. Scott Irwin, a board-certified psychiatrist and Director of Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
Dr. Irwin added that grieving people are coming to terms with “the change in their life; the future they had imagined is now different.”
New York-based clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin says it may be helpful to remind yourself that these feelings are “meaningful yet temporary.”
“If you approach them with compassion, kindness, and eventually acceptance, you will come away from this period in your life more connected to your resilience and strength,” she wrote for SurvivorNet.
Understanding Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer develops when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow and eventually develop into tumors.
Smoking is a leading risk factor for this disease, with smokers being three times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than non-smokers.
Symptoms of bladder cancer may include:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Flank pain (around the sides of your body)
- Blood in Urine
Blood in his urine was one of the first symptoms Schieffer experienced.
WATCH: What Are The Surgical Options To Treat Bladder Cancer?
How Is Bladder Cancer Treated?
Bladder cancer can be treated in various ways, but your doctor will consider several factors to determine the best treatment. Where the cancer is inside your body and if it has spread are some factors doctors look at before finalizing your treatment plan.
Surgery for bladder cancer often offers the best chance for a cure. There are various surgical options depending on the location of your bladder cancer.
Treatment for patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer will most likely consist of transurethral resection of visible bladder tumor (TURBT). During this procedure, the surgeon gently inserts a camera instrument into the urethra and pushes it upward until it reaches the bladder.
Once at the bladder, the instrument removes all the tumors the surgeon can see on camera. Most patients can leave the hospital on the same day, but some may need to stay longer, depending on how much tissue has to be removed.
If the surgeon and pathologist determine that more tissue needs removal, additional surgery may be performed four to six weeks later.
Depending on the aggressiveness of your tumor, cystoscopy will be required to check the area once a year or as frequently as every few months for the first few years after treatment. This is combined with routine imaging of the urinary tract.
Chemotherapy is usually recommended before cystectomy or the full or partial removal of the bladder. Giving chemotherapy prior, or “neoadjuvantly,” has been shown in large trials to improve survival in bladder cancer.