Last week, I had a phone interview with a writer who annually produces a special newspaper insert, distributed nationwide, on cancer awareness and treatment.  She liked my blog so much that she wanted to feature me, but when we got on the phone, I was full of angst and cynicism and other glass-half-empty sort of stuff.  But mostly, I was full of anger.  I met her questions with biting answers.

When she asked, “Do you ever see a time when your blog stops serving a purpose for you and you leave it behind?” I answered with, “Yeah, I do, and really, I think it might be now.”

What a jerkface.

I was such a jerkface that she eventually said something like, “I’ve read a lot of your blog, and you seemed to move through cancer with positivity and humor.  Talking to you now, I’m wondering if you feel like who you are on the blog is a persona you created for your writing.”

Now, I’m sure those weren’t her exact words, and she was very, very nice in asking this — like she was really just genuinely curious about my “process” — but OUCH, dude.

But yeah, I deserved that.

You see, lately I’ve been ANGRY.  Straight-up mad.  I had *moments* of anger throughout treatment (like when I dramatically threw my $300 breast pump away or when I received my first big hospital bill and realized I was actually going to have to PAY FOR THIS with my money too)  but in the grand scheme of things, I think I skipped that stage.

I’m generally not an angry person so this is new territory for me.  I have to say I don’t like it.  As necessary a step as this might be, it’s not very becoming of me.  Last weekend, one of my best friends was home from Boston, and in trying to joke with him, I think I was just rude.  Anger is seeping right out of me and into my countenance.

My mother-in-law kept our girls overnight recently so my husband and I could have a date night.  Mid date, my husband looked at me and said, “I feel like you don’t like me very much right now.”  It was true.  I didn’t.  But that’s also because the very next day, I became a woman.  Again.  I literally felt like I was 13 all over again — I only wished my mom was around so she could call her friends and alert them of the news — I had nothing in the house to “deal with it,”  and I wasn’t sure if I needed to call off work for such an occasion or not.

Then, when I went to work, I complained that all the extra money I was making “at this hospital” was “going to another hospital” (to pay off my medical bills).

You guys, something has to be done.  I don’t like me right now.  It’s actually not me right now.

Last week, I told Josh that I was going to write a blog post about every little thing I was angry about as a way to purge it.  An exorcism, you know.  So I began keeping a mental tally, and I have to say, I started to feel better immediately.  I don’t think I need to share that post because it’s not my jam to spread negativity (The list ranges from being angry that I lost a big portion of Alice’s babyhood to cancer treatments to being angry that my nails are still peeling.  I mean, I’m angry that my finances are a mess and that my body will never be the same, but I’m also angry that Hanson never acknowledged me and that I have to deal with my bikini line again.), but I am glad that I gave it some thought.

My anger is valid right now, and I kept trying to push it away.  I kept trying to remind myself of all the things I have to be thankful for (pretty much alllllllllll the things!  I am truly one lucky lady.), but it only masks the problem and you end up being a jerk to those around you anyway.  So I gave my anger its day in the sun this week by consciously acknowledging each thing — big and small and seemingly insignificant — that I have lost or that I am just straight up mad about, and you guys, it has helped.

My friend has to turn around and come back to town this week so hopefully, I’ll get a second chance to tease him without being a jerk.  I know he would forgive me anyway.  I’m a little more nervous about this newspaper insert though.  : /

12 comments on “Giving anger its day in the sun. Grrr.”

  1. Everything your feeling is sooo real and sooo OK. You purging is the best way to rid yourself of so much negativity. Negativity as you know is dangerous to the healing process. For me, once I put pen to paper ( and Im not a writer by any means) it seems that the cloud actually started to lift and I could see things clearer. My depression immediately left and I felt myself getting stronger and never looked back. Even post surgery, I kept positive like you. But once in a while it just has to happen that you fall down a bit and your allowed. Just as long as you pick yourself up and continue to move forward. Even as I look at my excavated upper half, I still smile, because Im still here with my family and they could care less what the hell I look like just as long as Im here. Continued good luck and good health!!

  2. Hi I have been following your blog since you started. You made some very valid points in your post. But your friends and husband love you. I hope you keep remembering that. I too, am a nurse (hospice). And my sister died on Christmas Eve at 33. Every day is a complete gift to us no matter what. I hope you and your family find some sort of peace in this mess.

  3. Thanks Heather,You had me thinking that you weren’t human!! I have to admit in all the years,{about 38} that we have been cousins, I don’t think I have EVER seen you angry or say a bad word about anybody or to anybody! So you have some catching up to do and it is perfectly OK! It is totally normal to feel irritated and frustrated, at all the things you have missed. You are not going to miss anything else,and there is a lot of happiness and joy coming with your beautiful babies and your wonderful husband! We all are so proud of you and how you handled everything that you went through! We were so glad to see you at the Family Reunion,and you looked great,and you were the same Heather we all know and love!! I am so proud you are my cousin and I know your Mom is so proud of you too! If you ever need to talk,I don’t care what time it is,you can call me!! I love you Heather,and it’s ok to rant every now and then!!

  4. Glad to hear from you again, Heather. I appreciate your candor and honesty. I hope you keep writing, it’s good for all of us out here who feel a lot of the same emotions. Hang in there!

  5. Heather, you are entitled to feel angry. You went through a lot. I think during the treatment process you are still not fully aware of all that’s happening or at least it doesn’t really hit you until post-treatments — many of us have gone through this, including caregivers. Please allow yourself to experience all the emotions that come with this process. You will heal emotionally with time.

    I think people who know you and love you would understand. (Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel or act.) Try not to feel guilty. There are times when we need to kick and moan. Your blog is a good place to do it and we’ll be here to support you.

    I am sorry about the financial issues. I have those too and they don’t make things easier for us. I hope you find a way adjust.

    Good luck with the insert and congrats! I am sure it will be OK. xo

  6. Thanks Heather for continuing your blog. Your thoughts always come along side what I am feeling myself. Believe it or not your words do still help us out here in this “new normal” struggle with our bodies, mind and heart never being what it was bc.

  7. Totally relate. Thanks for your honesty. I’m sure you remember all the pamphlets on everything cancer that are strewn throughout oncologists” waiting rooms, exam rooms, treatment rooms, etc? I soon learned that none of those told the whole story. We become different … Against our will. Eventually we get a grip… It’s been referred to as the “new normal”. I’m not sure I even like that term… But whatever it is, we face it and deal with it. Our family hangs in there. Real friends do too. Hard to explain but you just did an excellent job. Thank you.

  8. I get your anger and think you are entitled to feel it. I know it seems like it doesn’t get you anywhere but I think anger is a great tool for dealing with stress and trauma. It helps you acknowledge that you have been through something difficult and allows you to release the stress. It’s when the anger never dissipates that it can become an issue, I think. Anyway, scream, yell, do what you need to do. It’s all part of the healing.

  9. Anger is such a natural part of the grieving process, and yet I think most of us have the tendency to push it aside. (Or think — I’m still here, what do I have to grieve? SO MUCH, is the answer.) I’m so glad you’ve written this, for you and all of us. XOXO

  10. Heather, your blog is honest and that is why people like it! I also have going through a terrible time as it relates to my dad and being his one and only advocate, even without POA powers. It has taken a toll on my mental and physical health both at this point. I have been chronicling it on Healthline Contributors and CareGiverRelief. You have a right to be pissed off! I recently interview Shawn Achor, Oprah’s happiness guru, for several websites. Here’s a piece I wrote for HIV Equal, but it references staying upbeat while living with an illness. I wrote one on staying upbeat and sober for Healthline Contributors, and one on staying upbeat while being a caregiver for Caregiver relief. Here is a link, and I’m posting your blog on my personal page David Heitz Health tomorrow. Take care of yourself! I’m proud to have met you when I wrote about your Healthline blog award, you’re an amazing woman and an amazing writer. People relate to those who are REAL, not those who sterilize!

  11. I LOVE your blog. Each and every post puts into words stuff that we’re all feeling…and eloquently so. You inspired me to deal with some anger and self-loathing….I chose to purge it as a ‘Love Letter’ to myself. “Talk to yourself like a toddler”…they say on the Happiness Podcast…if your toddler were cranky you’d move heaven and earth to determine the cause and do whatever it took to help! It worked. A ‘cancer friend’ or two were grateful because they’d also succumbed.

    You won’t stop writing…write about other stuff if you won’t but the telling is cathartic. When I thought I might create a blog a friend wouldn’t let me give it a ‘cancer name’. She said ‘BooblessYogi is available’ 🙂 She knew I’d discover the bliss of putting my thoughts on ‘paper’ and launching them. It is ‘don’t give a f*uck’ expertly manifest.

    Love and Light! Namaste 🙂

  12. Thanks Heather for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear it you continue writing. and Really anger is the natural thing but, we should control it as you done 🙂 .

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