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?”
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!