I know it goes without saying that this cancer journey is tough. We’ve moved from hoping tomorrow is a normal day to hoping tomorrow is a good day. There are highs and lows, victories and struggles.
What I find to be my ever present companion in this post-Houston reality is anger. I know it’s one of those stages of grief. I know it’s a very normal thing to feel. It just isn’t normal to me.
I’ve told close friends and some family members, including Francis, that I’m worried about losing my constant wrestling match with my inner mean girl. It makes me short with Francis and our children. I get impatient and feel put out by dealing with what I judge to be trivial. I become irritable by having to deal with uninformed or uncaring members of our medical team.
This experience has shown us the terrible and tragic loss of who we are as individuals and as a couple. The cancer is slowing killing parts of us and our relationship that we already mourn. It is also magnifying all those flaws that get to stay hidden by a life without the pressure and pain of a terminal disease.
My anger is clearly something I need to work on to be the woman, wife, and mother I hope to be. I may do a good job of keeping it in check most of the time, but not all the time.
My failure was painfully obvious to me last week when I got an email from a gentleman named Cameron Von St. James. He writes for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance blog. Back when we were in Houston preparing for Francis’s surgery, he asked if I would be willing to publish a guest post from him on our blog. I told him I would take a look, but we were in the midst of a stressful and frightening time with the big surgery approaching.
Cameron’s wife is a mesothelioma survivor. She had a radical surgery and extensive recovery, during which Cameron was a caregiver for his wife and their infant daughter. There are many similarities to our story. We just had different outcomes.
When Cameron contacted me last week, he was following up on the draft blog post that I told him I would look over after we got past the surgery. His follow up email was timely as he was asking me to consider posting during Asbestos Awareness Week.
The day his email arrived we were once again challenged by Francis’s g-tube. That challenge would lead to an unscheduled trip to the surgeon, and ultimately the temporary removal of the g-tube. However unexpected or stressful the events of the day were, it was no excuse for my response.
Cameron was in the wrong place at the wrong time – electronically speaking. I used the anonymity of the Internet to give him a piece of my mind without consideration for his circumstances or his feelings. I’ve regretted that email response every day since last Wednesday.
I never wanted to do something like this. I don’t ever want to diminish the circumstances of others who have individual stories to tell that are just as important to them as ours are to us. Sadly, last week my mean girl won.
I’m a work in progress. Just like I hope tomorrow is a good day, I hope it is also a nice one where I can keep my mean girl in line. Like everything else we’re facing, I just have to take this battle with myself a day at a time.