• 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 91 (Managing the Feelings of Others)

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    Friday, October 10, 2014

    Day 91 of 100 Days of Good Karma.

    One thing that surprised me about having cancer is how much I have to manage the feelings of others. I’ve spent as much time comforting others as receiving comfort myself.

    I’m careful if I’m having a bad day to show it as little as possible.

    Some days I’m overwhelmed with thoughts of what surgery will be like, or what the next round of drugs will be like or how I’ll ever be able to look at myself in the mirror again and see anything other than a mangled mess of a human being.

    Sometimes I’m angry – so angry I could scream.

    Sometimes I just want to pull the covers over my head and not come out of my room.

    Coping mechanisms like writing and running keep the monsters at bay for a little while.

    But sometimes nothing works and I just have a bad day.  Like the day I sat in a social worker’s office and raged for over an hour.  She was patient and listened, and God bless her, I really needed that.

    Those are the days when I have to be careful of others, because no one knows what to do with these days.  Hell, I don’t even know what to do with these days, other than just ride them out.

    As much as I’d like to throw a cancer tantrum, it isn’t fair to turn the people around me into a dumping zone for my emotions.  It’s a hard topic to listen to, and there comes a point in every cancer related discussion when the other person has had all the talk of cancer they can stand.

    You might ask yourself why I’m concerned about the feelings of others during a time like this. Let me tell you a story.

    Today I had a surprise for Hannah. I knew she’d love it, so I tried to build up the moment. She kept trying to guess the surprise.

    “Do I get a prize?” she asked.

    “Sort of,” I said grinning.

    “Is it a toy?”

    “No. Not a toy.”

    “Are we going to Grandma’s?”

    “Nope.”

    She guessed a few more things. I was deliberately vague in my answers. Then she became anxious. She began to worry she wouldn’t like what I had to say.

    “Do I have to go to the doctor?”

    “No,” I said, frowning.

    “Do I have to get a shot?”

    I didn’t like the direction this was going. “Hannah it isn’t the doctor. It’s a nice surprise.”

    “Do I have to get cancer?”

    I was silent a moment, then said, “No, Hannah. It isn’t about cancer. You’re going to a sleep over.”

    This is why I have to control myself. If I show too much worry or anxiety or sadness, it spills over into the people closest to me.

    Having cancer isn’t anyone’s fault and misdirecting my feelings doesn’t help anyone. I have to find other ways of dealing with these feelings other than inflicting them on the people around me.

    Today’s silver lining:  Cancer is a heavy burden and I’m grateful to everyone that helps me carry the load. 

    I just hope I don’t damage too many people along the way.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    xoxo,
    Meghan

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5 Responsesso far.

  1. Tina Smith says:

    Hugs to Hannah 🙂

    Handeling the emotional fallout sounds sucky. There is this phenomena in counseling where if the person sharing feels there is an imbalance they’ll experience guilt for their feelings/sharing too much. Having cancer is like having the ultimate imbalance I’d think. Not very many people can relate to the experience, and those who can will have had a different experience (since they will have had their own challenges).

    That is why I hate cancer. And since you’ve been called up as some sort of tribute I guess all I can do is offer to hold your battle ax for you while you go at cancer with the sword. I’ll just try to be a really awesome battle caddy of sorts.

  2. Leslee says:

    Don’t know quite what to say about that! I teared up immediately when I read what Hannah asked! It’s got to be so hard to keep your emotions in check at moments like that! You are amazing, can I say a Gladiator, so many battles to overcome! Olivia Pope needs you on her team!!!

  3. wendy says:

    I love you Meghan. I’m sorry it started to turn in the other direction.

  4. Mom says:

    I am glad that you have someone to shout at. They help a lot and don’t let anyone tell you that they could never go to a counselor because until you come to that one moment, you’ll never know.
    By the way, what was the surprise for Hannah? was it a sleepover? Sure hope she had fun with whatever you got for her. You are a good mommy, and wife and even daughter and sister. Yep, you’re mine! Love ya, Mom

  5. Cindy Smith says:

    All I can is this – call anytime you need to scream and yell and shout! We all need an outlet and if I can do that for you, I would be happy to. Cancer isn’t fair and I certainly understand the need to vent. You don’t need to be careful of my feelings at all.

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