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Three Years of Social Distancing

A fall that never seemed to get better started seven-year-old Landon off on a journey that took an unexpected turn.

“He just slipped and fell,” recalled his mother, Jessica. “It didn’t seem like much. But he hurt his back and it never got better. When he refused to go up stairs and was screaming in pain, we took him to get an X-ray.”

The X-ray didn’t reveal any broken bones, but later an MRI would show that Landon had leukemia. That was two years ago and because Landon would be immunocompromised during his treatment, his family had to learn all about handwashing, surface cleaning, and social distancing.

Some of the basic recommendations to keep leukemia patients safe from germs include:

  • frequent dusting and vacuuming
  • weekly cleaning of kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs, shower area, and toilets with a cleaner that kills mildew.
  • All kitchen appliances, including the inside of the refrigerator and counter tops, should be thoroughly cleaned with a commercial cleaning soap or solution.
  • Air conditioning filters should be removed and cleaned or replaced monthly.

“We are constantly cleaning our house,” Jessica explained. “Landon’s treatment is three years – and he is immunocompromised that entire time!”

Landon reached remission in thirty days and his treatment has gone according to plan. The cold and flu season usually puts him on a health rollercoaster. He has been in admitted to the hospital a few times in the spring seasons and typically rebounds by summer. He was enjoying soccer this year and was very disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation, but he understands that he needs to stay well.

“Landon is why I social distance,” said Jessica. “Because of his cancer, he’s been forced to be in quarantine and at times he has had to stay away from friends and family. If he can do it for three years, we can all do it for a few weeks.”

A Decision Between Life and Livelihood

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to step back and make hard choices. But what would you do if your child was in treatment for cancer and you worked in a hospital that was starting to admit patients suffering from the virus? That’s the decision the Walker family had to make.

Payton, or Pjo, as he likes to be called, is a whirlwind of action and fun. He could often be found climbing up a tree in his yard until a cancer diagnosis slowed him down. In April 2019, seven-year-old Pjo was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system. He started aggressive chemotherapy right away and had surgery to remove the large mass. His treatment path has been difficult, but he has maintained a positive attitude through the whole thing.

Pjo was all set to be the face of CURE Madness before the NCAA tournament was cancelled. Now he is the face of the balancing act between cancer treatment and COVID-19. His father, Payton, is a plumber, and his current job site is at Grady Hospital. Because Pjo is immunocompromised and completely vulnerable to the virus, his family was forced to make a very hard choice.

“This was a real reality check,” said Pjo’s mother, Deidra. “We were both really hoping they would shut the job site down, but they didn’t. We are at a place where we cannot take any chances. So Payton is taking a layoff.”

Even in the best of times, many families struggle financially during childhood cancer treatment. Between increased medical expenses, frequent travel costs, and loss of time at work to be a caregiver, finances can quickly become strained. The pandemic has forced a new, even tougher reality for some parents of children fighting cancer. During treatment, cancer patients are so vulnerable that they would have no way to fight off such a strong virus, and difficult decisions have to be made. Decisions of life over livelihood.

But Deidra doesn’t doubt their decision one bit.

“Pjo’s body has been through so much in the past a year,” explained Deirda. “It would be irresponsible of us to continue to expose him. If everyone does their part and stays home, maybe we can stop this virus and Payton can go back to work.”

Pjo is starting a new form of treatment called immunotherapy that hopefully will finish off his cancer for good. He will be severely immunocompromised for months to come, but his whole family will do whatever it takes to keep him safe. Their difficult decision proves that.

A License to Grieve

Each year, CURE holds its annual Hope and Healing where families who have lost their child to cancer gather together to celebrate the lives of their children and attend workshops and presentations designed to assist them in their grief process. This year, Mark and Robin Myers, along with their daughter, Meredith, opened the weekend by sharing their story of loss and grief after losing Kylie. The session closed with Mark issuing special “licenses” to the 55 families in attendance.

Following rules has never been a big deal for me. I don’t gravitate toward the wrong side of the rules, I just tend to end up there somehow. This failing did not bode well for me in Mrs. Kleinstuber’s class. I remember her as a kind woman. But with her Germanic tendencies of order and structure, we butted heads at times.

Mrs. Kleinstuber didn’t give hall passes; she issued a license to visit the restroom. A big believer in semantics, she felt like a pass didn’t carry with it the weight of responsibility necessary for one to be trusted to go to the bathroom alone. But a license.

A license means you are granted permission by an authority to carry out a certain action or privilege.

We have to grant ourselves licenses at times and never as often as when we are grieving. The loss of a child is an abnormal occurrence in our western society, and grieving is made more difficult by the fact that most people will never understand that type of unnatural loss.

Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

 

There are all kinds of things I have to do to keep going in wake of Kylie’s loss. It has been almost five years now, and most of the time I feel like I’m able to keep going. But sometimes, I need a break. In those times, I have learned to grant myself many licenses. These licenses allow me to exist in a world that sometimes doesn’t understand who I am now or what I am going through.

Maybe you need one or two of them – maybe not. Some stand alone and some have a flipside that might be more relevant at times.

I’d like to issue these licenses to you – feel free to take any that will help you “keep going” in your grief.

License to grieve.

Please note that this license does not carry an expiration date.

License to sit it out.

If you feel like something will be too hard for you – be it a family event, gathering, or something else that will magnify your loss, stay home.

License to say no.

Don’t feel bad about saying no to something that will dredge up memories. Maybe next time you’ll be able to say yes… or not.

License to be angry.

Anger is a real emotion and can be productive. Don’t suppress anger, just be careful of your actions while you are angry.

License to be angry with God.

Whatever your stance on God, I believe that he is certainly big enough to carry our anger.

License to forgive.

When the time comes, forgiveness is a very healthy and healing process.

License to forgive yourself.

You did the best you could with the information you had at the time. This is not your fault!

License to abandon a grocery cart because your child’s favorite cereal is buy-one-get-one-free.

License to distance yourself from anyone for any reason.

If someone isn’t helping you heal or they are too needy, move away.

License to stay in your jammies.

Also, a license to congratulate yourself for getting dressed.

License to take a day off.

(Tell your boss I said it was okay!)

License to own the crazy.

When another of my daughters had unexplained bone pain (which was how Kylie’s cancer started), we took her straight to the ER. Crazy? Probably. But it put our minds at ease. Own the crazy if you need to.

License to go to war against cancer.

Also, a license to sit it out without guilt.

Also, a license to reengage whenever you’re ready… or never.

License to close your mouth and smile when someone says something really stupid.

Also, a license to speak up when you need to (using discretion – which can be difficult.)

A license to look at someone like they have three heads if they use either the word tragic or devastating regarding a sporting event.

A license to look at someone like they have three heads if they compare your loss to the loss of their grandfather, great uncle, or dog.

License to respond to texts.

Also, a license to not answer a single text for any reason whatsoever with no explanation.

 

License to listen to all the songs that well-meaning people send you.

Also, a license to block the well-meaning person who keeps sending you songs.

License to cry.

Also, a license to not cry and not feel guilty (it will happen someday, and you might feel like you should have cried if you still cared about your child.)

 

License to turn off Social Media.

Especially at times like graduations and events that friends are sharing and you will never experience with your child.

License to smile.

That day will come and you should feel no guilt – your child would want you to smile and be as happy as possible.

License to take it easy on yourself.

You’re not doing this grief thing wrong because there is no wrong way to grieve. It’s your way, your time, whatever is best for you and keeps you moving forward.

Mark Myers is the Director of Communications for CURE Childhood Cancer. He lost his 12-year-old daughter, Kylie, to Ewing sarcoma on 2/13/15.

Fiona Swims for CURE

Fiona has been swimming for a very long time. She would be the first to tell you that she isn’t the fastest swimmer in the pool. But she just might be the one with the most heart.

“Swimming is a big part of who I am,” Fiona said. “It’s always been my favorite sport, and I’ve made a lot of friends through neighborhood swim teams and now high school.”

Another big part of Fiona’s persona was forged as a cancer survivor. At the tender age of two, Fiona had a sickness that wouldn’t go away. Her parents took her to her pediatrician several times until a blood test confirmed that she had leukemia. She spent the next two years in treatment. Since she was so young, she has very few memories of her cancer journey.

“We have a few pictures of me in treatment,” she explained. “Since I don’t really remember it, it feels weird to think that baldness and needles were a significant part of my childhood.”

Fiona reached remission quickly and hasn’t looked back. She has an annual appointment at the survivor’s clinic, and due to the toxicity of the treatment that healed her, she has to have an echocardiogram every other year to monitor her heart function.

As she has gotten older, Fiona has developed a passion for giving back to good causes. She particularly wanted to do something on her own that would help other kids forced to fight cancer. Early last year, an idea began germinating in her head to use swimming to raise money for CURE. With her family’s support, she took the idea to her coach at Lakeside High School who was immediately on board.

Her idea was very simply to get the team together to swim laps while music played in the background. Some of her teammates asked their friends and family for a pledge per lap, but most of the students collected money for the cause beforehand and brought it in. By the time they were out of the pool and toweling off, Fiona and her friends had raised almost $4000 to fight cancer.

“It was challenging to organize at times,” Fiona admitted. “But I’m super-excited about the turnout, the support we got from neighbors and the school, and the amount of money we raised. It was a very rewarding experience.”

Fiona is already planning on doing it again next year. She’s also in the early stages of planning for a career. As a high school junior, she has plenty of time to decide. But right now, she is leaning toward studying to become a child life specialist.

“Their job is so special,” she said. “I really want to help children cope with their hospital experience since others did that for me.”

Whatever she decides to do, she is sure to be successful if she carries the same passion and dedication she’s shown in the pool into her career.

 

 

 

An Unexpected Love Story

Jessie had been sick for weeks and had been taken to visit her doctor several times. After the pediatrician couldn’t identify the problem, he ordered a blood test. But the machine couldn’t read the results because her white blood cell counts were too high to register. That earned Jessie a quick trip to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with leukemia.

Because she was 11 years old, her disease was considered high risk from the start. She began months of chemo that put her in remission almost immediately. At that time, another test revealed that she would almost certainly relapse at some point in her life because of a specific chromosome for which she tested positive. This news forced her to undergo the rigors of a bone marrow transplant.

“Our insurance company forced us to go to Minnesota for the transplant,” Jessie recalled. “My donor was someone unrelated to me who matched my bone marrow, but not my blood type. So I went north with O+ blood and came back to Georgia with A+!”

Jessie has had no evidence of disease since her treatment ended.

Twelve days after Jessie’s diagnosis, another family was hearing the same dreaded words, “your child has cancer.”

Joe was an active 13-year-old who had been slowed down by knee pain. When the pain became intolerable, he was taken to the doctor who suspected growing pains to be the culprit. Rest and ice did nothing to soothe him, and a subsequent trip the hospital revealed a tumor in his knee.

A biopsy showed the tumor to be Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones. Joe’s family had treatment decisions to make, and rather than amputation, they chose to undergo a limb salvage procedure which entailed removing the disease and reconstructing the knee. While it was successful, the incision became infected and left little room for keeping his leg.

“I remember the doctor came in with bad news,” Joe said. “He told my parents, ‘I can save his leg, or I can save his life.’ In the end, we didn’t have much of a choice.”

Joe had his leg amputated above the knee. He made a full recovery and although treatment was very difficult, he has remained cancer-free since.

Joe and Jessie were treated at the same hospital and at the same time but somehow didn’t meet during their treatment. They first met at summer camp a few years later as teenagers. Both enjoy sports and outdoor activities, so they always seemed to run into each other on the fields or shooting range. They wouldn’t become more than passing acquaintances until much later, however.

Jessie arrived on the University of West Georgia campus knowing a few people from high school and one friend from their camp. That friend reconnected her to Joe, who happened to be a sophomore at UWG. They became friends in college, but romance was yet to bloom. Jessie graduated in 2005 and moved to Newnan to begin a career. Five years later, a surprise Facebook message changed her life.

“I hadn’t seen Joe in years, but he must have noticed that I’d moved nearby,” Jessie said. “He messaged me and said, ‘what are you doing in Newnan?’”

As fate would have it, Joe lived nearby. They agreed to get together and soon were dating. After an 18-month courtship, cancer survivors Joe and Jessie Tallant walked down the aisle as man and wife. They will celebrate their tenth anniversary in August.

Although both have been cancer-free for many years, they haven’t been free from the cancer treatment they received. The radiation and chemotherapy that saved their lives left them both with fertility challenges to overcome. After going through an embryo adoption process, Jessie gave birth to twins, Buck and Ellie in 2017. It’s a busy, hectic life, but Jessie wouldn’t change it for the world.

“Cancer isn’t fair and has left a footprint on everyone involved. But if it wasn’t for cancer, I wouldn’t have met Joe or had the twins,” Jessie added. “This isn’t the story either of us would have written for our lives… but it’s turning out to be a good one.”

Kristin Connor Honored as a “Woman Who Means Business”

Every year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle recognizes influential business leaders with a Women Who Mean Business Award. CURE is pleased to share that our Executive Director, Kristin Connor, has been selected as a winner of this prestigious award.

Kristin began her career as a business litigator in 1994. But her world was turned upside down in 2001 when her newborn son, Brandon, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. At the time, this type of childhood cancer had a 40-50% five-year survival rate. Kristin was immersed into a world of suffering for which she wasn’t prepared. Thankfully, Brandon was declared cancer-free and is now a healthy 18-year-old. But Kristin was forever changed by the experience. She had seen tremendous suffering and built strong bonds with parents fighting for the lives of their children. She couldn’t look away.

Kristin quickly realized that she had to direct all of her time and energy – and her skills as an advocate – to fighting childhood cancer. In 2004, Kristin transitioned from law to the nonprofit sector. Her goal was, and still is, to do everything she can to advance scientific research so all children have a chance to grow up and realize their dreams.

Since taking the reins of CURE in 2006, the organization has raised more than $50 million. CURE has invested this money in innovative research which is moving the needle on survival rates of children with cancer. Under her leadership, CURE has also greatly expanded its support of patients and their families in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. The organization has grown from three employees to twenty, including a team of four in Savannah.

In 2006, CURE was investing about $250,000 annually in research. Now, CURE’s annual investment exceeds $4.3 million. In that time, survivorship rates have improved to over 80%, but that still isn’t good enough.

“My focus has always been on the mission of CURE Childhood Cancer – to improve outcomes for children with cancer and help their families through an unimaginably difficult journey,” Kristin said. “That mission drives every decision I make. By building a great team of dedicated, talented, mission-driven people, we’ve been able to grow and do more and more to advance science and serve families.”

In her time at CURE, the most difficult challenge for Kristin is being witness to the suffering of children and families. But the children are also her greatest source of inspiration.

“The children are incredibly brave and amazingly resilient,” Kristin said. “They push through their horrible treatments, finding a way to laugh and play and sing. They amaze me. Even when they are too sick to laugh and play, I am inspired by their fight and their trust. They trust us, as adults, to take care of things – to make them better. How do you turn away from that? They are counting on us.”

 

The entire CURE Childhood Cancer board of directors and staff would like to congratulate Kristin on this well-deserved award.

The Sam Robb Fund Surpasses $1 Million Raised

Building a legacy is a painstaking process that takes dedication, consistency, and time to accomplish. If a person meets an untimely death, that process is interrupted… or in the case of Sam Robb, it is picked up and carried by his family. By creating The Sam Robb Fund at CURE, the Robb family has ensured that Sam’s spirit and determination live on. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the Sam Robb Fund recently surpassed $1 million raised to fight childhood cancer in Sam’s memory. Although they have done the heavy lifting, the family credits many people for what has been accomplished.

“We are blessed with remarkable friends who consistently turn out and support the events enabling us to keep Sam’s spirit alive… and never forgotten,” said Sam’s father (also named Sam.) “We hope our efforts make a difference with future doctors and family support dealing with the impacts of childhood cancer.”

It all started with Sam.

Sam was larger than life. As a sophomore in high school, he stood six feet five inches and weighed two hundred twenty-five pounds. He was a gifted athlete with a gregarious personality. When he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, Sam tackled treatment just like he would an opponent on the field. Unfortunately, four years after treatment ended, he noticed that he got winded during exercise. Doctors discovered that Sam had relapsed with a tumor on his lung. Never one to give up, Sam created the mantra, “Fightin’ till the last breath!”

A number of nationally renowned doctors felt the surgery to remove the tumor was life-threatening. Refusing to live in fear, Sam sought out several opinions until he found a brave surgeon who agreed to go for the “long ball” and remove the tumor and a lung. Sam died during surgery.

Soon after his death, his family formed The Sam Robb Fund in an effort to cement his legacy and continue his tenacious fight against childhood cancer. Their original desire was two-fold: to fund a future oncologist’s fellowship training at the Emory School of Medicine (now named the Sam Robb Fellow), and to support CURE’s Open Arms Meal Program. In 2018, Sam’s family identified an area of great need and decided to move part of their fundraising efforts toward healing the emotional and psychosocial needs of patients and families in and after treatment through CURE’s Counseling Program.

They continue to be committed to training fellows. In fact, 2019 saw the naming of the sixth Sam Robb Fellow, Dr. Juhi Jain. Former Sam Robb Fellows work in pediatric oncology in Dallas, Pittsburgh, Colorado,and Florida, as well as Atlanta. The funding provided by the Sam Robb Fund allows doctors working on their specialty to focus on their medical training without the burden of raising money.

 

The Sam Robb Fund raises money through various annual events – events that Sam would have enjoyed. Getting past the $1 million milestone is a testimony to the commitment and dedication of his family, friends, community, and volunteers who have poured their time and talent into building his legacy. And Sam’s legacy will continue to have an impact on children fighting cancer for a long time to come.

“13 years is a long time, and in today’s fast-paced world, it is easy for people to forget,” said Annamarie Robb, Sam’s mother. “Although we as a family don’t… and never will.”

 

A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes Turns 15

Fifteen years ago, a story began unfolding in Atlanta. It was the story of two young boys fighting the same disease. It ended in triumph for one and tragedy for the other. There were many witnesses to this story, and one, in particular, could not sit idly by.

Chris Glavine (wife of Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Tom Glavine) saw these boys fight cancer, and it set her into motion.

“The kid hadn’t done anything,” Chris said. “He was 6 years old. What had he done to deserve this disease?”

Chris began working with Kristin Connor of CURE and in 2005, she hosted the first “A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes”. While the luncheon was intended to honor and encourage the women forced to lead their families through the unthinkable journey of childhood cancer, it also raised more than $100,000.

“Quiet Heroes was born out of desperation to do more,” Chris says. “Once we got involved, started following those boys, and saw how little was being done to find cures for children and how devastating it was for the families, we wanted to do something more about it.”

Since then, the event has drawn sell-out crowds year after year and has raised more than $5 million for pediatric cancer research. More than 3,000 mothers of children with cancer have been honored for their courage, strength, and determination.

The event has become an institution in the Atlanta childhood cancer community. The social media buzz begins to spread when invitations hit mailboxes, and women come from all over the state to spend time together away from the hospital.

“Some of these moms have only seen in each other in the hospital or the clinics,” Chris says. “It’s lovely to see them dress up and enjoy being pampered.”

There is great dedication required for an event to last fifteen years and continue to build momentum. It takes a host of volunteers – some of whom have been a part of Quiet Heroes since the first one back in 2005.

A very special 15th annual A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes was held on September 28, 2019. It was a time to look back over the years and reflect on the sisterhood that has carried mothers through their journeys. This unique event not only encouraged the moms in attendance, it also raised $400,000 to fight childhood cancer.

“A Tribute to our Quiet Heroes is the mustard seed we planted 15 years ago,” said Chris. “The love, excitement, and dedication surrounding this special day is the same as the very first year. I am grateful to stand with so many people determined to give mothers of children with cancer a day to call their own. The icing on the cake is when we can raise money for the important work CURE does to eliminate childhood cancer.”

While moms enjoy being recognized and pampered at the event, they would all agree that eliminating childhood cancer is the greatest way to honor our Quiet Heroes.

To learn more about A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes, visit quietheroes.org.

Director of Patient & Family Services

Our Work

CURE Childhood Cancer is an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing research aimed at improving survival and ultimately curing cancers which affect children while supporting patients and their families.  We envision a world where all children with cancer can be cured and have the opportunity to grow up and pursue their dreams.  Our organizational values include:  Accountability; Passion; Mission Focus; Reliability and Collaboration.  Every action, decision, program activity or other initiative we undertake must be consistent with our mission, vision and values.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director (“ED”), the Director of Patient & Family Services is responsible for overseeing the organization’s comprehensive patient and family support programs. This includes developing and executing overall strategy for programs, tracking and reporting the impact and effectiveness of all programs, maintaining strong relationships with partner hospitals, identifying and developing community partnerships, recruiting, training and recognizing volunteers, and providing overall leadership in the area of patient and family support.

General Responsibilities

  • Support and maintain the vision, mission, priorities and guiding principles of CURE, as established by the Board of Directors.  Understand the strategic direction and goals of the organization and conform to the stated strategies and business needs.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Provide overall leadership and strategic direction for patient and family support programs to ensure maximum programmatic effectiveness, impact and alignment with organization’s goals;
  • Design and modify support programs according to needs of the community;
  • Work with ED to develop, implement and evaluate annual budget for programs and manage expenses to budget;
  • Oversee and direct program operations including logistics, budget and promotion;
  • Develop and nurture positive working relationships with hospital staff and develop collaborative relationships with partner organizations to ensure families’ critical and urgent needs are being addressed;
  • Develop and implement processes for regularly monitoring and reporting outcomes and effectiveness against program objectives.
  • Oversee recruitment, training and recognition of volunteers and work with all staff to identify volunteer opportunities;
  • Work with Director of Communications to publish quarterly patient family enewsletters;
  • Work with ED and development staff to ensure donor reports related to patient and family services are timely submitted;
  • Hire, manage and evaluate all program staff;

*Perform all other job-related responsibilities and duties as required by the ED and/or Board of Directors.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required;
  • Minimum of five years’ experience in nonprofit program development, implementation and management required;
  • Knowledge and experience in issues related to childhood cancer strongly preferred;
  • Demonstrated commitment to accountability;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and management skills;
  • Ability to handle and prioritize multiple tasks while maintaining attention to detail;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office programs.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with exceptional attention to detail;
  • Personal qualities of integrity, authenticity, humility, and a commitment to CURE Childhood Cancer’s mission.

 

Cover letters and resumes should be submitted to jobs@curechildhoodcancer.org.

Wrestling with Emotions – Offloading Hurt

by Carleen Newsome, LPC, CPCS, ACS

Emotions are designed to inform us about what is happening in the world around us. However, in the midst of our grief, emotions can be so overwhelming that we try to run from them. Instead of recognizing our emotions, we adopt ways to cope which can prolong our suffering.
Hurt doesn’t go away simply because we don’t acknowledge it. In fact, if left unchecked, our emotions can fester, grow, and lead to behaviors that are not in line with who we want to be. These behaviors are ineffective and usually end up sabotaging many areas of our life, ruining relationships, and harming careers.

Resorting to ineffective strategies of dealing with emotions is called “offloading.” Below are six common strategies for offloading hurt:

Chandeliering: This strategy is when we try to stuff the hurt so far down that we believe we have escaped the pain. What actually ends up happening is that we have tender trigger points. When these trigger points are touched we react in an out of proportion way. A small thing like spilling our coffee may cause us to lose control and cry for hours.

Bouncing Hurt: Bouncing hurt is when emotions become unbearable and we place that hurt on someone or something else. For example, we may be having a hard day fighting off grief and instead of acknowledging it, we end up yelling at our spouse for not taking out the trash or grounding our kids for not finishing their dinner.

Numbing: Numbing is when we take the edge off pain with whatever we can find that will bring the quickest relief. It may be food, alcohol, drugs, TV, money, or caretaking. The problem is that we cannot selectively numb emotions. If we numb one, we numb them all. We may numb the grief, but we also numb the joy and happiness.

Stockpiling: Stockpiling begins like chandeliering where we pack the hurt away. We become so good at packing down the pain that we begin to amass more and more hurt. Without another outlet for our emotions, our body takes the brunt and may begin to develop many different health problems.

High-Centered: This strategy makes us feel stuck, powerless, and indecisive. We are afraid to allow emotion because we feel we may experience a floodgate of emotion and lose control. We are afraid that we may cry at work, in the grocery store, at a graduation, or around friends or family. We want to feel but we are afraid to allow emotions.

The Umbridge: We attempt to deal with hurt and grief by pretending. We become overly accommodating and people-pleasing. It feels and looks like a mask but is inconsistent with what we feel inside. It harms us and drives a wedge between us and others because it hides our true self within relationships.

Most employ these strategies at various times to survive and cope through difficult periods. But if you still find yourself using these strategies six months to a year after your loss or traumatic experience, it may be time to talk to a counselor so you can learn the steps to release you from added suffering.

 

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