Monday, June 9, 2008

Controlled Anger and the Stages of Grief

You know Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's Five Stages of Grief? Well, I think I'm going through them. The stages are, in no particular order: denial, depression, anger, bargaining and acceptance. I feel like I'm losing control - that the cancer is doing what it will and even though I'm trying to do whatever I can, it feels like it's not making a difference.

I was still pretty sad and depressed yesterday, although I did get out there and attended a couple of social events. I had to force myself to go because I knew it would be good for me and it was. Last night, though, I still felt sad and a sense of despair was there. This was because 1) yesterday, I found some more nodules of skin mets in the area under my implant that I didn't know was there; 2) my big toe still protests getting into shoes (I injured my big left toe in a softball game a month ago) and I found that when I do try to run fast and then stop, I can feel it, so then I don't feel like I should run as hard playing softball so then I can't play as well as I know I can; and 3) even though it only got to 75 yesterday, I felt SOO hot. It was kinda crappy how quickly hot and uncomfortable I felt. I've noticed since I've been on Xeloda and Tykerb, that when I do get hot enough to sweat, my sweat feels prickly - like a bunch of little needles. So, I cried during the game. I just feel frustrated and have this feeling of "when is it going to end?" Also, I think the skin under the implant is already feeling the effects of radiation - it felt a bit like a sunburn on Saturday. Sigh.

I did some bargaining with Scott late last week . . . I told him that I like his support to get me over this hump, then I would try not to bother him as much any more. I don't think I ever felt in denial - it was more like a "why can't I get a break from all this crap?"

Anyway, this morning, I felt like I should color the mandala. I don't particularly like this month's MOTM ( because it seemed kinda sloppy and was asymmetrical. I didn't feel like coloring it. See the June Mandala. Then, I decided that I could add to it and make it symmetrical. Then, I decided to color it in angry colors. Since I started coloring it, I'm beginning to work up a full head of steam of anger.

I am angry at finding more skin mets.
I am angry that the weather isn't nicer and it's cool (about 60) and cloudy.
I am angry that I'm not able to play softball like I want to.
I am angry that I can't live a "normal" life like my friends and colleagues.
I am angry that I have to go to radiation everyday.
I am angry that I don't have a partner.
I am angry that I've been so wrapped up in what I'm feeling that I've ignored my son and haven't had energy for him.
I am angry because I've lost so much: my breasts and eventually one of the implants, time, my big toe nail, a sense of a normal life, a partner, control over the cancer.
I am angry because of the daily reminders that I do have cancer: radiation treatments, having to change the dressings over the open wound at least twice daily and also because the dressings begin to leak from the fluid.
I am angry that when we go to the coast for a few days next month that I won't be able to go into the hot tub and when it's hot this summer, I won't be able to go into my friend's pool because of the open skin wound.
I am angry that I can't be in the sun as much as I want to.
I am angry that my face still breaks out (although it isn't as bad as it was in March).
I am angry that I have to fight this shit every day.
I am angry that I've been crying so much lately.
I am angry because I have to talk myself into going to social events.
I am angry because I know of someone who died of cancer last week and I just feel so bad for her family (see the link to Jane's Life on the blogs that I read regularly).
I am angry because I believe that environmental contaminants, including everyday household items like mattresses, have contributed to my getting cancer.
I am angry because money I could be using to fix up my house or to travel and have fun is instead going to cancer treatments.
I am angry because a lot of people don't understand what I'm going through.

But you know what, it's a controlled anger. It's not the kind of anger where I want to yell and scream and throw things. It's a controlled, calculating kind of anger - a slow burn, if you will.

And, feeling angry feels better than feeling helpless and alone. I will post a picture of the mandala after I finish it.


Carver said...

Hi Dee,

I'm glad you are able to express what you are feeling and get it out. I think that will help in the long run. You have been through so much and have reasons to be angry. I'm sending out good thoughts that the radiation and mandala combo will work wonders. I'll look forward to seeing your mandalas when I get back from vacation if I don't see them before. Thanks for your email. As ever, Carver

Susan B. said...


I hear you.

I'm glad you are getting it out. In many ways, the worst part of my journey was the radiation, day after day after day. During the 20 mile drive there and back, I would put on music really LOUD in the car and that helped. I hope writing your anger out and sharing your pains is helping and knowing that a lot of people are supporting you in their minds and hearts, for the duration.

Susan B.

Dee said...

Dear Carver and Susan,
Thank you both so much for your support! I really appreciate it, I hope you both know. Here's hoping you both are surviving the heat on the East Coast.

Susan B. said...


Well, it is HOT here. We're not used to the 90s here in the mountains.

great news about the funding!!

Take care, you--am flying out to Calif. tomorrow..


Doug said...


Thank you for sharing even your anger with us.


Dee said...

Hi Susan,
I hope you have a good trip to California - I think it'll be cooler here out west than it is where you are!

And, Doug, I think perhaps you understand this anger pretty well. Thank you for your comment. It means a lot.

Kate said...

I'm glad you shared this with us. thanks! I'm glad to know you and so happy to a friend with such insight. All my love to you!