At this stage you do not believe the announcement of impending death, even if it is years ahead as in my case since they found Lewy Body early. The logical conclusion is that there must be a mistake.
Now, if you haven’t got a second opinion is a good time to get one. In my case I have seen and am seeing multiple doctors at Cleveland Clinic as I have another maybe even more deadly disease attaching my body that leaves me in constant pain.
This reaction is a kind of shock absorber, and is necessary in order to deal with the devastating news. Denial grants you time to gather yourself, harness resources and gradually substitute this adamant position with less extreme things, like OK what does this mean? Ones that will enable me to cope, even if only partially, with the situation.
During this stage I’m sure if you ask my wife I not only spent a lot of time sleeping. But, when we did talk about it the more I got depressed and I went back into isolation, or as my wife calls it my cave.
A funny side note: all of this was going on while we were wintering in sunny southern California in a 600 square foot apartment, even though it was right on the ocean. There is only so much room to go into your own personal cone of silence.
Thankfully denial, for the most part is a short term defense, in that gives expression to the hardship of the new reality. Denial lets us cope with only what we can handle.