Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Feeling my Anger

Out of the waiting, something has bubbled up . . . my anger. I realized in the last day that I don't want to be a poster child for dying well. That's totally apart from the fact that I don't want to die at all. Yes, part of me accepts that that is the hand dealt, and that the pace of things has picked up as the cancer has spread. It's no longer last September, when I received a clean scan and felt great, rather it's mid-May, now almost one year following my diagnosis, and the cancer has spread. Is spreading.

So, part of me does accept what's happening with my body, and part of me is just plain angry, screaming, shouting mad, that death is what's up. I always thought I would live well into old age; there's longevity in my family, and my parents, in their 80s, have always taken good care of themselves and are doing very well. I have been healthy all of my life, avoiding many of the problems that beset us as we age . . . no heart disease, no diabetes, no "female problems," no high blood pressure. I didn't even have my first surgery until I was well into my 50s, and then it was elective surgery. When they take my history at the hospital for each of the [many] procedures I've gone through in recent months, I often joke with the nurse that I was a very healthy person before I got cancer. So, being this sick, being terminally ill, is inconsistent with my internal view of myself.

And the part of me that doesn't accept this is just plain mad that I am faced with an aching body that doesn't respond as it should. I read novels, watch TV, remember what it was like to really worry about intimate relationships, work, negotiating the world successfully, and those all feel so far away. Instead, I am focused on what my body will and won't do in any given moment, or hour, or day.

Following a link from one of respondents to Leroy's blog, I found a website constructed by friends of a woman who died last year of ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. I haven't read the whole site, but this poem seemed to speak to the limbo I easily find myself in these days, waiting . . . for words, for insight, for guidance about how to be in this new state.

Poem #2


Pale morning light on my walls.
Nothing calls.
Purpose no longer clear.

My name no longer present on the roster of life.

Mind swirls in floodwaters of pain.
Grasping for something stable.
Nothing, nothing solid within reach.

What do I call onto my canvas?

No image arises.
Blank, stark, whiteness glares back.

Awful waiting game.

Tired of the nothingness.
Do I pull the plug?

miserable in the dark, rain.
Shivers rattle confidence,
Cold seeps through me.

No bus arrives at scheduled time.
Where is the ride
that will take me home?

Ilene Kouzel August 23, 2006

The anger, the not-knowing, even the waiting, are just some of the stops along my journey. It seems to me that my task now is not to get too attached to any of them, but rather to be open to the journey and to what I can learn from the varied stops, starts, pauses along the way.

A quick check-in about my physical state. I'm feeling a little better each day, and hoping that continues. My energy is still not what I would like, and I feel as if I'm trying to discern what the "new normal" is and will be. I keep reminding myself that today I am just one week past my last internal interventions, and that my body is still adjusting. My appetite is still not normal, but is slowly improving, and I'm trying to eat more to build up my strength.

As always, thanks to you who read and comment to my musings. Thanks for being with me on this journey. Your company helps me feel less lonely.


Anonymous said...

Love to you Lynne

Everytime I cut into a lemon, I think of you.

I was walking on my lawn yesterday...and thought...is this a weed? Lynne will know....

I was taking my time eating dinner and thought...Lynne always takes her time to enjoy a great meal.

Okay...ER is on...shhhhhh...just don't listen to those darn commercials!

Oh yeah...it's tank-top season. Lynne knows how to cut a great tank out of an old tee.

Darn it all Lynne...I'm ANGRY too!



Anonymous said...

Dear Lynne,

I was unable to respond to your last post - like Gwen, I struggle with words and am more the "hugger". My first reaction to this post was, I guess I think you SHOULD be angry - what astounds me is the incredible spectrum of thoughts and feelings that you've shared over the past year that have been devoid of anger. I don't know how I would react to a terminal diagnosis, but I imagine it would be mostly with anger and very self-centered. Even in your anger and despair, you continue to offer so much of yourself to us - I don't know if you understand what a beautiful gift your honesty and generosity of expression continue to be for me and so many others.

I pray you will continue to feel better each day, that your appetite will steadily increase, that your anger will give way to peace, and that you will know joy. I still pray for that miracle, too.

Much love,

PS - I think a lot of people are at the meeting about the casino - I'm not sure why I decided not to go, but maybe it was so that I could send these thoughts to you. I hope they help.

Anonymous said...

I am angry too! You do not say where your anger is directed, but I am happy to be the "bad guy" and say that mine is directd squarely at God. He is, after all, in control of all things and could change this if it were His will. I was astonished to hear a friend say once that he had NEVER been angry with God! My Mom, God Bless her, taught me that God was someone whith whom I could and MUST be 100% honest. I have taken her at her word and I have shouted and fumed at God many times over the years. I have never had to face what you are facing now, but I will say that the anger has ALWAYS resulted in a closer relationship with my Lord. Anger with God leads me through a cathartic series of thoughts and emotions, usually ending in a prayer for His mercy. He ALWAYS grants it in one form or another, and He has never failed to give me the Spiritual hug, and a sense of peace and calm. Best of all, through it all, He is not angry with me. He is patient and loving. After all, the anger too, like all other emotions is a gift from Him! So I say, let it rip, and be sure there are many of us others railing and fuming at God for the unfairness of it all. I know He knows what He's doing, but darn it - I truly wish He would do something else!
Love and peace and hugs,
Mary M

Anonymous said...

I think a little anger helps you with the fight against this horrid illness!! Sure! Get feisty!!
(it's always been the italian way!haha)
It made me smile though, my gentle friend....to read your e-mail. You began with such fire...and yet..you still ended up philosophocally ( did I spell that correctly?) working your way around your anger and feelings and explaining them to us..and yourself, I would imagine.
It is exactly what I find myself doing in times of crisis....and why I love the written word also!
Somehow my writing explains all to my brain and my heart. Eventually...I work my way around a subject and back to the beginning. Afterward I re-read it and say .."Oooooh!"....maybe make a few changes here and there..and always feel better! lol
So....when you are angry...BE angry...and when you work it out...you'll feel better...until that next wave of anger comes 'round.
It's ok....it's pretty human I think. ( grin )
Just remember...we love you...we too are angry and wondering WHAT the heck God is thinkin'!?...And we are beside you...in anger...in wonder...in jubilation at good news, in sadness at the bad....but always in love and prayer !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your anger. I believe it is intimately related to our will to life, to fight for life. It is certainly not something to avoid, but it is something that we must not let transform itself into despair. I'm finding that THAT is the real fight: to not despair. I pray to St. Francis to help me in moments like those you describe. Sometimes this praying leads me to look to nature or astronomy (for example: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/) to remind me of beauty and my tiny place in the world.

Anyway, I hope you continue to express your anger, and also that you can find your normal.

Anonymous said...

Lynne - I hope that you continue to feel some improvement following your procedures last week. When I have had any kind of anesthesia it has always taken me longer than I expected - days and days - to feel normal again. So I am holding a good thought that the new normal for you may be not so low as you now feel. Blessings to you - Cathy

Lipglossles said...

Feeling anger...

When I turn on the T.V. I such all the horrible things people do to people...the evil acts on children... by such evil individuals. I see the persons who continue to drink and drive and kill..and they walk away. And I can't help but wonder...why...why do they get to continue to live???
Not that I have the right to judge them or their actions, but I still wonder... why... when there are those, who deserve to live an eternity...that do such kind things,that live life with such kindness and love for one another. Who follow all the rules, who are genuinely good people.
But they don't have an eternity...

I just don't get it.

So, Lynne be angry, express yourself...send it our way.
We love you.

Elaine Pascale said...

I agree with everyone else commenting here: allow yourself to be angry and to feel any and all emotions that will come your way. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no "appropriate" emotion to be feeling and you have to stay true to yourself. What you have been writing really resonates with me and I am so grateful for your gift with words (even when you think you have none). Sending Love and Prayers

noone said...

Dear Lynne,

I read your latest posts at some point this past week. And now, this latest one.

It's hard to respond because I see all of what you're saying and experiencing in my Mom. I don't want to say the wrong thing. At the same time, I don't know what to say to make it better. That is the most frustrating thing....

Go with the flow. Just as you are doing. Feel the anger and anything else that bubbles it. Just acknowledge it and let it ebb and flow. As for purpose in life, to me, this is the second most important purpose that matters. The first is when we are born. The second is when we are dying. Do it your way, just as you have been. Be yourself and let out whatever you feel like letting out.

It's a gift to be able to share in your journey. I dearly wish I could do more.

Much love and a {{hug}}