I have taken exception to the word cope when discussing my post-acoustic neuroma life. I prefer the word adapt. Given that I haven’t fully understood why I bristle, I decided to dig into the two words a bit deeper. Satisfied that my instincts were correct – or my understanding of their definitions, I now feel even more able to clarify differences between the words.
Coping is immediate. When we are first diagnosed, we enter survival mode. We look for short-term, immediate answers. We react and, frankly, panic. We talk to doctors, family, friends, and often reach out through social media for answers. We may weigh treatment options, or be only given one choice depending on our individual situation.
Adaptation is longer term. Once we have “coped” with the immediate crisis, we shift into life with a brain tumor diagnosis. We adapt practices in our lives that are sustained long term – regular medication, daily naps, no roller coasters, or possibly new diets. Adaptation to life either after Acoustic Neuroma removal or watch & wait is a continuous process. Our bodies continue to heal, sometimes at a much slower rate than desired. Or our watched tumors continue to grow, or hopefully not. While those of us who had treatment learn to live with post-effects, watching a tumor that’s still in your head for changes is no picnic either.
As we adapt, we learn to plan our time and energy. We have gained a new appreciation for life and frequently have new priorities. We use our “resources” wisely. We appreciate what we have and learn to focus more on life than issues. We find ways of facing new adversity in different ways. We find a blend of our old selves and the new, adapting to the person we have become. We treasure relationships and life events that we know we could easily have missed.
So while, we do cope with our diagnosis, treatment, waiting, or after-effects, we have become skilled at adapting in sustainable ways to a life newly appreciated.
Thank you for allowing me to make the distinction. It makes me happy.
Adorei as suas palavras, hoje estou me sentindo muito triste, pois espero o resultado da Ressonancia Magnetica para o começo de dezembro. Mas lendo o que voce escreve me anima. Abraços. Suely.
Suely, eu sempre traduzir suas palavras. abraços, Sally
Sally, this is so very true! Thank you for breaking it all down. Coping is easy, adapting is hard!
Excellent my friend. I see the difference clearly. Well said!
Hi Sally – I love this post too and think our followers would enjoy reading. Hoping to share on the ANA Facebook page if it’s ok with you.
Acoustic Neuroma Association
AOK with me, Melissa! Thanks!!
I think we often overlook the first step after a crisis hits. Grieving is a part of dealing with an AN as well. After realizing the impact this tumor has on ones life and what has been lost ( hearing, facial function ..) one becomes aware of the long term consequences such has on life and the quality of life. Grieving with all it stages, as I see it is a natural process occurring after an AN diagnosis. This predecessor even what we referee to as coping. Although, ultimately we strive for adjusting, or what some call the new normal.
Enjoyed this article very much. Rebecca I so ageee about grieving. I really could not fully adapt until I allowed myself to grieve the parts of my life that are lost now. Embracing my sadness really helped me move into adapting.
Hi Sally – I love this. Would you mind if I share this on our ANAA fb group?
Acoustic Neuroma Association Australia
Yes, Shayne. Please do! I hope it helps people!