[cancer] Coping with the emotions, a bit more thereon

One of the lessons of the recent contretemps with is that my iron-clad determination never to let cancer be an excuse for anything I’ve said or done may not be serving me well. This was a real important concept to me all through chemo and recovery. I clung to it as emblematic of my sense of personal responsibility.

Yet at the same time, chemo and recovery very much did fog my brain in important ways. I have been muddled. I have had inappropriate and deeply irrational thoughts, some of which I have articulated and acted upon. I have simply missed so much of the emotional transactions going on around and through me. All of this, for the most part, while lacking my usual very sharp self-awareness about such things. I literally didn’t know what I was missing.

As one might imagine, this creates a lot of mistrust within me with respect to myself now. What else am I missing? What else have I missed that is yet to come home to roost?

And back to my first point, how much of this am I responsible. I don’t think I can take it all in and own it all, yet my strong instinct is not to make excuses for myself.

A real muddle. We are working through it with love and care. The moral here, from a cancer blogging perspective, is that the psychological stress of cancer plus the multilayered stress and debilitations of chemo have long-ranging effects, some of which can be deceptively subtle. Or, put more simply, cancer sucks.

6 thoughts on “[cancer] Coping with the emotions, a bit more thereon

  1. Alexis says:

    Yep. Cancer sucks.

  2. pelican says:

    Yes, cancer totally sucks.

    Maybe not viewing the impacts of cancer through the lens of “excuse” (I did it because of cancer and that’s okay) but through the lens of “explanation” (I did it because of cancer- and that’s what cancer- and cancer treatment- does)?

    Just like you could somewhat reduce, but not eliminate, your physical symptoms post-chemo through vigilant monitoring of sleep, diet, activity, etc?

    If you can’t pick up a button because your peripheral neuropathy’s acting up and you can’t feel the button well enough to grasp it, that’s not a failure of will.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing yourself with a bunch of strangers.

  3. Jim Crider says:

    Jay –

    While you may not have used it as an excuse, or even an explanation, rest assured that the folks near and dear to you (and those who consider you near and dear to them) know and, indeed, knew what was going on, and that the differences were a direct result of not only the diagnosis but the treatment.

    You’ve had your body chemistry messed with in a major, monster-level way by external forces. At the same time, you’re mentally and emotionally confronted by something most of us frankly would rather not have to face. Ever. Particularly those of us who Puckishly cling to our childlike sense of wonder while dealing with the realities of adulthood. That’s a 1-2 combo of epic proportions.

    All this goes to say that non-Jay-like behavior, both words and deeds, during this time have a true, valid, and legitimate explanation. And unpleasant as it may be, it’s real.

    As you regain your Jay-ness, I’m sure you’ll find that the folks who hold you dear continue to do so, and are glad the “real” you is back online. Not the same as before, but still you, evolved: Jay V1.3.

  4. Jan says:

    Jay give yourself a break – cancer sucks.

    You have done incredibly well with all the issues with surgery and chemo. I think you should feel good about that.

    As you know it is nothing something that you get, like a cold, and then goes away. Even with a ‘clean’ liver surgery, anyone (me included) who has had surgery knows there is this 5 year window before the say you are ‘cured’.

    Give yourself a break hun.

    Hope to see you in Surrey BC Canada


    1. Jay says:

      Oh, awesome, you’ll be at Surrey!

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