The Story of My Nephew and Human Resilience and Support Resources
They say kids are resilient… and if there was ever a story that I’ve known, it’s the one of my nephew. There are some things I cannot share as they’d out my family in a major way. But as much as I can share, I will.
A was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with a form of cancer (I can’t share the name/type) that up to that point had always been fatal. (This was a few years back) They had no treatments for it. Any they gave him would be palliative only. And maybe stretch his life by weeks or months. At most.
My sister and BIL decided they were going all in. They wanted to save their son’s life. Or at least have him as long as they could. So they went for the full hog. Chemo and radiation. They had a shunt put into his chest to try to save his veins, and a 5 yr old all those needles. Surgery wasn’t on the table. Considering where it was,
And it began. The nausea, the vommiting, the headaches, the fatigue, the hair loss. The weeks of spending 2 hrs back and forth everyday to be with their son. The time off work. Shifting the family to take care of their older son and my BIL’s parents who lived with them, due to their aging, and health issues. (They both died within that year). Trust me, that wasn’t that easy. The people they asked had to be willing to follow my sister’s directions and have a good amount of sobriety (several of my family have addictions) and common sense. If they had medical training at all, so much the better. Only my step monster and I qualified for that. But she was taking care of my gram (who also died that year). So I booked off work and stuck in. But what I couldn’t cover, they had to make due with those who’d follow directions. My family aren’t good at that. There was a LOT of fuss at a time when they really didn’t need it. My family is like that.
My sister and BIL had to decide if they were going to tell my nephew it looked like he was going to die. They chose not to. They told him he was in good hands. And he was. They went to Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. It has a good rep around the world.
And they held his hand thru all the symptoms and treatment. And they held their worry, rage and tears for when he wasn’t around.
They watched their somewhat chubby son go to quite slender. They tried to tempt him with treats to get him to eat. They held him when he cried.
My sister read everything the doctors gave her on his cancer. And tried everything she could do at home to support him and his immune system. Which wasn’t easy. He didn’t have one. But you know moms. She tried a few homeopathic and dietary tricks as well. Who knows if they helped or not?
Weeks went by. There was serious squabbling in the family and it really hurt my sister and BIL to deal with this as well as just juggling their household’s needs. Make sure nobody got lost in the shuffle.
Somehow they managed. I hope I helped.
And weaker, smaller son finally was told that his numbers were improving!! The doctors were dumbfounded!
Seriously this cancer had always been fatal before. It was a journal-writing moment!
So they finally got him in remission and threw a party. Trust me. But they still had a sense of caution. Those of you who know anything about cancer know that that bugger often returns.
They carted their son to all his checkups. And weeks went by, then months. Finally year 1 went by. Then year two. Year three. Year four and yay year five!!! He had survived what no one else ever had before!
My nephew is a record breaker. I’m sure the doctors learned a LOT from him.
I honestly believe a good part of that is because he had no clue there was another option. He fought hard as a slugger for his life and his health. Because his parents and his doctors never told him there was another choice.
Same as he and his brother fought when they had learning delays, same as they fought when they had to have corrective surgery when they had a small procedure done that went pear-shaped. Which had serious effects on their health for awhile.
And his parents jumped in to fight with him/them.
The funny thing is, my family had done everything they could to break up my sister and BIL, since they met when they were 16. And nothing they tried worked. So they were used to having challenges and finding a way thru them. Together.
Their worry, their rage? The family’s resistance? It hurt them. My BIL had never liked my family, and when the bell was clear on his son, and his parents had died, he soon refused to have anything further to do with them. My sister attended family events with her sons. The BIL wouldn’t go any more. Frankly I didn’t last much longer in the group.
They were beyond cruel in their timing and attitudes toward my sister and BIL.
These days, my nephew is a grown man. Who beat impossible odds. And his mom and dad managed to stay together too. They have the longest marriage among any of my family members. And they were always on each other. It could be embarassing to be around them TBH.
Pretty amazing considering what they had to go thru. And that to me shows resilience. Something we often forget iabout human beings in our darkest hours.
factors within resilience and studies on it
and how human nature is viewed
- who is doing the viewing, what their aim is,
- who is being viewed and how valued/understood they feel
- the people involved and their attitudes/support of each other:
- your history with them and their reliability with meeting your needs
- the people involved and their belief systems
- the types of support people can be to each other :
emotional, instrumental, informational, and experiential.
- how securely bonded you are
- being told “you can do this”, “we love you/need you”
- not being told just how bleak your prospects are, expectations/mgmt
- people respond differently when under duress:
(autonomic system) fight, flight, freeze, fuck
- seeing it isn’t necessarily a “choice”/ vs “shaming/blaming” them for their response.
- chronic or incidental stress syndromes like PTSD.
- how you express love, fear, sadness – need for affection to sexual intimacy.
- whether your “information” bias is one toward:
rhetoric x fact, fear mongering x complacency
- whether your “information” bias:
actually informs you or distances you from emotions and bonds
- Freudian defense mechanism:
perhaps what you see as complacency or disinterest is intellectualization or rationalization and is under many coats of paint vs you seeing it as superficial.
resilience and human nature resources
four core components — connection, wellness, healthy thinking and meaning — can empower you to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences. To increase your capacity for resilience to weather — and grow from — the difficulties, use these strategies.
Resilience isn’t about floating through life on a breeze, or skating by all of life’s many challenges unscathed; rather, it’s about experiencing all of the negative, difficult, and distressing events that life throws at you and staying on task, optimistic, and high-functioning.
types of support
prayer, meditation, belief
univ of glasgow
Hawthorne vs Rosenthal effects, quantum theories in health, caregiver and patient biases