As someone who takes great pride in being a light in the world and spreading joy and positivity, it was (and still is) REALLY unsettling to admit when things aren’t OK. With a cancer diagnosis and so much uncertainty as your “new normal” – it makes it impossible to plan anything as your energy and how you’re feeling varies from day-to-day.
For me, it’s a bizarre experience to focus only on myself and my own healing. It feels selfish. I know that at a time like this, my recovery is in direct correlation to how I sleep, minimizing stress, listening to my body and finding peace mentally – but I can’t also somehow feel a little “useless”- like I’m not contributing and the world is passing me by. But what I also know intellectually is that you can’t “fake” recovery – and if you push too hard or pretend things are fine when they’re not, that will only show up in other ways and not allow you to bring your best to whatever it is you’re doing. It takes time. And it’s hard. And it sucks.
Following my 2nd surgery and the aftermath of madness that ensued, I was REALLY angry and pissed off. Frustrated. Resentful. Upset. And wondering why all of this was happening to me. The whole experience was a shit-show. I was angry about how the day of surgery went down, the terror I experienced 3 days later that landed me in the ER, and the game of medical ping-pong I went through being passed around with conflicting guidance from the ER doctor (and radiologist who did the CT scan), the ear/nose/throat specialist, and the pharmacist – and I was in the middle just trying to stay alive. It was a mess, and I cried an ocean of tears in frustration of not knowing what to do, and feeling abandoned by our medical system.
I was also really upset with God. How and why was this happening to me? What was I supposed to learn? What more did He want from me? Was dealing with type 1 diabetes every day and replacing the function of an organ already not enough? What had I done to deserve this kind of shittyness? And look at my neck and the puffy red scar, and all the bruises from the unsuccessful IV attempts – will I ever not look like a mangled mess? Will anyone ever be able to love me as I am without feeling sorry for me?
There are no answers to such questions and I know that, but I also knew that carrying around that kind of toxic anger wasn’t going to allow me to heal. So I cried. Then I cried some more. And I allowed myself to cry in front of my family, and my best friends. I let them comfort me. And even though no one could “fix it” – they let me vent and be sad and feel the feelings of frustration and powerlessness. Until I decided I was done with that and wanted to take steps to feel differently. All of the feelings are normal, but there comes a point when you just don’t want to be sad anymore and want to get on with healing emotionally. I didn’t know how to get out of the toxic anger spiral on my own, so I went for some professional help. For me, that was hypnotherapy.