Now the whole family has cancer!

I have been pummelled lately with the adage that when you have cancer, your whole family does to and everyone that cares about you. At first I was like NO WAY! and THAT’S RIDICULOUS! No one else has tumors all over their body! No one else is getting poison shoved into their veins. C’MON! And then, I took a minute and got over myself and realized that that is not what that statement means. It doesn’t mean that everybody else is going through all the physical aspects of the cancer. It means that they are on their own emotional journey because the cancer is affecting someone they care about and they feel kind of helpless about it. They are having their own whirlwind of thoughts and feelings all the time as well. They have sorrow and sadness and anger all at the same time too. They need counselling too. The anger to me is actually sadder than the plain old sadness. I notice with my own family that I get caught in the crossfire of all of those feeling more than I care to. It is strange though, because, even though I get a lot of anger directed toward me, it doesn’t mean that they are actually angry at me. The way they describe it is that they are angry about what is happening to me and they don’t know how to express it. Well, combine that type of misdirected miscommunication with a dose of my current oversensitivity( and me being off prozac to boot) and we have a real mess on our hands at times. Suffice it to say, we are keeping the therapy offices busy right now and it still doesn’t always work out the best. It is a work in progress to be sure. Having said that, now that I have a better understanding of what that statement means, I can make better attempts at not taking their emotions personally. So maybe, if they can try a little harder not to misdirect and I can try a little harder to understand that they are going through stuff too, we can do a little better together.

Nobody told me about the guilt!

I had no idea just how much guilt comes with chronic disease. This may not be true for everyone, but it is definitely true for me. I just can’t seem to balance the whole “just concentrate on getting better” side of me with the side that is worried about everybody else, my business, other people’s schedules, my patients, and just generally letting people down with all of my limitations. Sometimes I think it takes me more time and energy to process all the guilt and worrying than it would just to be sick. I get it. That sounds ridiculous, but it is the truth for me. It is just a tough balance for me.

You know what I think would be a good idea? We should sit patient’s down, after they have had a chance to digest the news of their new diagnosis, and hook them up with a mentor or counsellor to sit them down and help them start to wade through and plan for all the other complications and stuff that comes with any chronic illness. It might make it less overwhelming than just having everything smack you in the face as it comes, while you are busy trying to “just concentrate on getting better.” I get that some cancer patients have patient navigators, but the main role of these individuals is to keep the patient on track in terms of appointments, tests, and treatments. This is useful to be sure, but the real trick is managing all the outside life stuff that is on top of the tests, etc. I say we start offering life navigators too because, in most cases, the damage that is done with all the life fails, failed relationships, missed work, and unpaid bills far exceeds whatever damage the cancer inflicted.

Dr. Katz

The Enemy Within

Microscopic soldiers

Out to destroy without permission.

Sly, clever bullies

Slipping through my defenses

Unnoticed at first.

I see you now.

I feel you now.

My battlements are in place.

The war cry has been called.

My army has been assembled.

Prepare to face your dishonorable discharge.

For now, and forever.

This battle is mine to win

And win I shall.

Hope

The sun spoke to her today.

It said fear not.

There is time left to play.

There is time to run

and strive and live.

There is time to feel

and cherish and give.

There is time to shout

out loud and say

I will still thrive

Another day.

Here we Go Again

Soaking up the last day

Making use of my energy

Before it ebbs away.

Relishing time in the sun

Before things get dark

And definitely less fun.

Feeling my faith and inner power

Determined to press on

Not letting thoughts go sour.

I can do this. I know I can.

Advocating for myself

This is all part of my plan.