Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feeling my anger and other feelings . . .

Over the past two and a half weeks, as I anticipated first the CT scan and its results, and then the removal of the pesky spot, I have been awash in feelings. Most of them have not been fun to be awash in, and I am looking forward to the possibility of other feelings coming up now that the "pesky spot" has been removed.

In the 1980s, I attended, and then helped to lead, a series of psycho-spiritual workshops called "Opening the Heart." We did many exercises at those workshops to help participants feel and release "stuck" feelings, feelings left over from past experiences, but not fully felt and released from the body. As I have been awash in my anger, sadness, and anxiety about my gallbladder cancer and the tests and appointments of recent weeks, I have been grateful for what I learned at Spring Hill (which was the name of the organization running the workshops in the 80s and 90s, but which has since closed). The Opening the Heart workshops were created by Robert and Judith Gass, and are sometimes still offered at the Omega Institute in New York.

That's the background for how I've tried to handle the anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness that have spent too much time in my body over these past few weeks. First, I felt a lot of anxiety about having the CT scan and learning whether or not there was sign of the spread of the cancer, meeting a new oncologist, and worrying about how much longer I'll live, and when the cancer will begin to spread. And I've been worried about the now-removed, annoying, changing, spot in my abdomen. I've written about the anxiety before in this blog (see September 15 especially). But some of these other feelings have gained a new intensity around the cancer diagnosis during the last few weeks.

I have been feeling anger, red hot anger at the cancer. Last Friday I was baking cookies for the church Christmas fair, and I realized I was feeling really mad at the cancer. Mad because I love baking cookies, and I want to be baking cookies for many years to come. If you don't know me, and don't know how much I love to bake, this probably sounds really strange, but it's true. Last summer after my diagnosis, my friend Maria kept asking me if I was mad yet, and I kept replying that I didn't see that there was anyone to get mad at. Well, now I'm mad at the cancer, as illogical as that might be. But then feelings aren't known for their logic, are they? . . .

I have also been feeling sadness about the cancer, sadness about some of the things I'm mad and anxious about. How dare the cancer threaten to end my life prematurely? I don't want to die now, to stop baking cookies, to stop teaching, to stop loving and parenting my kids and loving Patty and my friends. I am not ready to die! I resent how this disease has sabotaged my life, and changed the focus of how I live. I want my life back! Well, I guess I'm still more mad than sad, although I know the sadness is there, too.

Feelings, feelings about the cancer, feelings of being cheated and robbed and held hostage by wayward cells that have forgotten their true nature. Yes, I am having feelings, and mostly now I am mad!


Anonymous said...

Of course its easy to tap into your anger. So I'm writing to let you know that I'm here with you. I'm just furious that this has taken over your life. Some major things I am learning from you through this whole process is how to be happy and content with who you are and what your life is. You are one of the most grateful people I know...and content. Maybe that's one reason that its easy for me to touch your anger. Because in the midst on an insane world and insane cancer, being content and happy doesn't flow. Still I'm so glad to go in and out of all of these emotions with you and to continue to stretch our emotionality to new heights and depths together. I'm so glad that you've created this blog and so when I'm worried about you or thinking of you, Patty and the kids, I can just log on. Thank you so much. By the way, I've also recently read you River piece and loved it. Again, surrender is not usually in my repetoire. I'm working on it!
love you bunches,

Anonymous said...

You have a perfect right to be angry! Maybe between the apoptosis and the anger, those damn cancer cells will learn that they've picked the wrong woman to mess with and begone!
Susan H

Tabitha said...

Thank you for the comment on my blog regarding my mother's CC. I liked this post of yours. Anger is better than apathy and a fighting mad woman has a lot better chance of beating the crap out of cancer than any other kind of person I know! I wish you the best of luck.