Hello, everyone. I'm a retired writer, and I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer about 18 months ago.
I managed pretty well until recently, ticking off all the items on my bucket list (go to Pompeii, yes; snorkelling over coral reef, yes; tracking the first friend I made at school, yes).
Everyone has said I'm facing this with courage and good humour, and I probably am. I reckon that if you can manage to face imminent death from cancer with courage and good humour, why wouldn't you? It's much easier all round.
But now my cancer is getting nasty, and the courage and good humour are getting increasingly difficult to maintain. I am on so much oxycodone that I feel dopey all the time and it's unsafe for me to drive (or operate heavy machinery, but I wasn't planning to take up a career as a crane operator anyway).
I am getting short-temperered and selfish. Maybe someone with cancer is entitled to be short-tempered and selfish, but I don't want to say something horrible to someone just in case it's the last thing I ever say to them and the last memory they have of me.
My family -- husband, two sons, brother and various in-laws and steps -- are hugely supportive, and I love them all dearly. It would simply not be fair on them to snap at them when I know that they love me dearly and are doing their best.
So I am looking for a place to let off steam. Have I come to the right place?
Yes you have come to the right place.
It is hard to remain upbeat and optimistic all the time. I retain my good humour and strength most of the time, but at times it gets tough and I lose my temper. Cancer sucks! It is unfair! Allow an outlet for this anger. Have you considered speaking to a Psychologist? I found this helped once I saw how my emotions were affecting my marriage.
Hang in there and try not to harbour guilt about having a normal human response to a really stressful event.
Catherine, thanks for your response. Yes, sometimes I get angry, and I need to remember that I'm angry with the cancer, not my nearest and dearest.
The other thing I have difficulty with is remembering that, just because I have terminal cancer, that doesn't stop other people from having toothache or divorces. When someone laments their own woes, I have to restrain the urge to say "Wanna swap?"
There are all sorts of things I want to say, but I can't, because it would hurt the people I love most.
It really does feel trivial to hear others speak of their troubles when cancer trumps their problems. It really isn't an experience that people have comparison for unless they've been touched first hand.
This forum is an outlet that allows us to release feelings to people who understand, instead of potentially hurting our loved ones. Try not to harbour guilt and anger together. Have you considered putting the negative thoughts into a diary? It is a way to release how you're feeling without potentially hurting others. Or write letters to your loved ones when you're in a positive mind frame about how much they mean to you and they might be forgiving if you snap at them on an irritable day.
Thinking of you
You received good advice from Catherine . Seeing a counsellor could be very beneficial as you could be given strategies with which to cope .It can't be easy for you trying to suppress negative emotions .
I know, I know, I know especially about the "wanna swap" comment. It goes through my head all the time. It's not easy and I carry certain amount of guilt because I have shut people down that were complaining. I have about 12 months myself. My mind is swimming how do I spend them? This may sound selfish but I understand the swimming head from drugs the lost feeling, but this is your time. I have beautiful family. I could not do it with out them my wife has lived every minute of this horror show with me. My two teenage daughters have seen me break down for no reason, the same dad they thought could do anything. So my advice is yes, it's ok to be selfish and let the hurt show but make sure you save your energy to guard those people you really love. They are the few you need to concentrate on,along with yourself. Everyone else will just have to put up with what you can give them, unless they "Wanna swap"
Thanks to everyone to has commented -- this does indeed seem to be the right place to let off steam that we can't vent in front of our nearest and dearest.
I'm feeling better than I was when I first posted. Not because I have talked to a psychologist -- I have never had much luck with talking to psychologists -- but because I have learned to laugh at myself and at other people. It's much better than snarling at them
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.