Being a cancer patient definitely has it’s challenges. I think we all can agree. Feeling sick, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, shortness of breath are the things that we tend to think of first as the top issues that cancer patients face. However, there is another challenge that insidiously creeps it’s way into your life: envy and resentment. It’s not good. It affects your mood and your relationships. It is just as unpredictable as the cancer itself. It can make you wallow in self pity, even when you don’t mean to. It can make you lash out at the people that care about you and are trying to help you. What am I talking about exactly? I am talking about that feeling of jealousy and resentment that creeps up on you over time that you misdirect toward anyone in the way. What do you become jealous and resentful of?: anyone that is living a full life and doing what they want when you can’t! You become like that puppy dog at the window hoping to go for a ride in the car somewhere, anywhere. The real you spends your time encouraging everyone around you to keep living and do what they love, even if you are sick. Then the other you starts muttering under your breath, crying and cursing them as they leave you. It is completely ridiculous I know and it’s unfair both to you and the people in your life. It basically boils down to emotional abuse for all of you. Nothing good can come of it. I have done it myself.
However, as I sit chastising and judging myself for doing it, I also have to realize that some of these confusing emotions have to come with the territory. It is only natural for you to feel out of control emotions in a pretty out of control situation. I mean c’mon, the cancer is already unpredictably calling most of the shots when it comes to day to day physical living. Why wouldn’t your emotions be all over the place? I think the key is not that those emotions are there, but what you do with them. You can’t erase your feelings, but you can try to control yourself so they don’t run other people over like some kind of freight train. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Don’t lash out at the people trying to help you. That won’t help resolve the feelings and only leaves you feeling bad about yourself. That certainly won’t help you heal any faster. Here is where therapy has come in very handy, at least for me. I highly recommend it and I think every patient facing serious illness should have it. It is a much better option to let out those feelings to a paid professional who is trained in how to help you deal with them, rather than blasting your family who is only trying to help you. It might just save your relationships.