If denial about an illness is like being in outer space -- silent, surreal, with the unfathomable beyond, and the gorgeous, glowing Earth still in sight -- then disclosure about said illness is like a rocket re-entering the atmosphere -- high velocity, noise, flames, then a parachute and a jarring yet successful water landing. While in the "re-entry" phase I clutched to an initial coping machine that consisted of four channels: Science, Grief, Exhaustion, and Game Face.
In Science there was to be found test results, conversations with doctors, medical articles, clinical trial descriptions, data, statistics, cycles, patient education material and a gradual realization I would not find that much specifically pertinent to my case, nor would I find much good news. But still the pull of the literature can be repeatedly seductive.
Grief was a technicolor mix of morbid indulgence, pity party, fantasy, tragedy, howling, sadness. Compulsively wallowed in but not for any length of time.
Exhaustion was a quiet, in-between no-man's land of a channel, white noise really, and rest.
And Game Face, well that one was on most of the time, it must be said. You get up in the morning, get the kids to school, drive to work singing "Cabaret" in the best voice you can muster, answer emails, have lunch, talk to people, drive home singing Cabaret again, make dinner, talk to people, shepherd kids through homework/reading/toothbrushing/bed, do chores, and if you're lucky spend a few moments one on one with your wife.