By Dave Balch
When you are dealing with a difficult situation like cancer, at any given moment you will probably have at least a dozen problems that need to be solved. It’s tempting to try to solve them all before you get any new problems so you can coast for a while, problem-free.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there is ALWAYS going be some sort of problem to solve. Problems are just a part of life, like eating, breathing, and sleeping, so if you’re living for the day that you will be 100% problem free, I’m afraid you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
One of the realities of life is that solutions to problems usually give birth to new problems. It’s just the way things are.
For example, my wife loves her horse (Keno) and wanted him to live on our property instead of boarding him. So, we built a little ranch where Keno would have the space he needs, but that presented a new problem: horses are herd animals and they need other horses around. Keno would be alone on our property… so we had to buy another horse.
That problem is solved, but now we have two horses and have to buy twice as much feed. When the feed was delivered it attracted mice and gophers, so that was a new problem to deal with. The horses produce about 50 pounds of manure a day EACH… what am I going to do with 100 pounds of “used hay” every day? We decided to have it hauled away, so they put a small dumpster at the end of our dead-end street, but now we have a new problem because the trash truck comes roaring up at 6:00 in the morning, disturbing everyone.
You see how this works? We solved the problem of boarding Keno, but that gave rise to a new problem which, in turn created new problems, and so on.
If you or your patient has a lot of pain, you can give him/her medication. The medication may solve the pain problem, but cause a new problem such as nausea or sleepiness.
The point is that you will never be 100% problem-free: you have to learn to manage the problems that you have. Just concentrate on one at a time, and don’t expect to solve them all without having new problems in their place. Adjusting that expectation will relieve a lot of stress.