[cancer] Last night I was very, very angry

The fucking hits just keep on coming.

I’m still adjusting to my deepening sense of foreshortened mortality. Doors keep closing on my future, and I’m trying to live in the moment. In Omaha right now for work, which used to be a (nearly) monthly occurrence, but now happens far less frequently. I’m off to ICFA next week, along with some other event and personal travel plans in the next couple of months, because quite frankly I’m trying to cram in not just a year’s worth of living, but probably the rest of my life’s worth, into what will likely be a very narrow window.

At the same time, things happen at home. On this blog I rarely discuss the issues faced by people around me, and even then only with their permission. It’s not for me to breach other people’s boundaries of privacy and confidentiality. Suffice to say that in my circle of family and friends my own cancer journey has brought not just the obvious severe distress, pain and sorrow, but more serious issues including emotional breakdown and even hospitalization for stress-induced illness.

Yesterday afternoon there was a major eruption back in Portland. So serious that I looked into changing my flight home, but that was profoundly cost prohibitive. People are angry, bitter, and very sad; and some extremely expensive things happened which I shall have to pay for out of pocket. At this end in Omaha, I was on the telephone for over three hours dealing with what I could. Friends and family in Portland were far more deeply involved in dealing with things directly.

As a result I did not get any further writing done last night.

As a result I went to bed late and am short slept.

As a result I am probably going to have to cancel my weekend plans back at home.

As a result I am strongly considering canceling my trip to Florida next week.

It’s not enough that cancer has to ravage my own life, stealing both my long-term hopes and short-term freedoms. Cancer also fractures and distorts the people who love me. Their pain and anger then flows back into my life, where I have to deal with the consequences of that. I lose on both the first-order effects and the second-order effects.

I know this is not all about me. Other people’s distress is genuine and real and needs to be addressed. But God damn it, I feel like I cannot catch a break. Even this narrow slice of time where I can travel and do the things I used to do in my everyday life is compromised.

So last night I was very, very angry. I woke up this morning very, very angry. Not at anyone, just at the situation. Much as with the compounding financial issues of end-of-life care, the emotional issues that arise at end-of-life compound one another in a horrid negative feedback loop that tears us all down.

Cancer: it’s why I cannot have nice things.

P.S. — I apologize for talking around the issues. I know this style is classic passive-aggressive Internet drama bait. But some stories really, truly are not mine to tell, and it’s hard to talk about my part in them without breaching that confidence. It’s equally hard not to talk about them at all.

And yes, everyone involved will be all right.

40 thoughts on “[cancer] Last night I was very, very angry

  1. Laurie Mann says:

    I’m sorry things continue to be so rough for you.

  2. matociquala says:

    There’s vaguebooking, and there’s not talking about other people’s stuff. You’re well on the good side.


  3. Dawn says:

    I’m sorry you and your family have all this to worry about. πŸ™

  4. You don’t have anything to apologize for.

  5. [speaking as a spousal caregiver who routinely spends 5-6 hours per day caring for or assisting a disabled spouse]

    The presence of a chronic, disabling or discombobulating disease can make relationships troublesome, or a marriage feel like a triad. Only the third partner is abusive, and you can’t get rid of him. You can’t throw him out, you can’t divorce him, you can’t set fire to his bed.

    You can mitigate some of that abusive behavior, with drugs or surgery or changes in lifestyle. But you still can’t get rid of that abusive third.

    Having a chronic or progressive disease is a drag. Caring for someone with a chronic or progressive disease can be a drag too. Literally a drag, because everything takes so much longer, and there’s so little time left for anything else.

    I’ve said in the past, “I love my wife, but I hate her disease.” The time spent caring for my wife represents books unread, stories unwritten, social events unattended, a normal life unlived. This can be… wearying. This can be… difficult. You do it anyway, because you love the person you’re helping, but sometimes you feel worn out or used up. Sometimes you despair.

    All I can say is to treasure the good moments, and try to let the bad moments wash over and pass on, leaving you only wet and disgruntled, not choking for air.

    Oh, and fuck cancer, too.

  6. Yell, rant, scream, do what you will. We will hear and not judge, listen and not walk away.

  7. Maggie Della Rocca says:

    This is the part about cancer and other critical illnesses that doesn’t get talked about in most “inspirational” books or stories. I was my husband’s caregiver (Parkinson’s and a bunch of other crappy stuff) until I was diagnosed with breast cancer and other crappy stuff happened. So he had to turn around and be my caregiver and did a better job than I was doing in the first place. As I’ve slowly, very slowly, recovered, he has relaxed back into needing care that I can’t give him properly. I understand the anger and how difficult it is to be completely honest about it to those around us. Friends and family feel guilty for not doing more or frustrated that they can’t do more. I’ve been on that side of illness too and suffered my own emotional breakdown over it when my sister passed. Somedays it all comes together in a great big ball of shit. Talk about chicken soup for the soul…try a chicken soup enema instead. Having said all of this, most of my days are not like this. I don’t know if venting helps much or not, I guess I’ll find out after this post.

  8. Cora says:

    I’m awfully sorry to hear this and hope that everything will be better soon.

  9. Erica says:

    I wish I know what to say besides I’m so sorry about all this. Fuck cancer.

  10. Alexis says:

    I’ve been the caregiver and the cancer patient. During particularly horrible times I was both at the same time.Those times absolutely sucked the worst. But I honestly can’t say which individual situation alone was more emotionally draining. I’m in a shitstorm of care giving now and it feels like drowning, endlessly. Anger is how I stay alive. It is the only emotion left, other than earth-shattering grief. Anger gives me strength enough to function, however poorly. You function with far more grace than I could ever hope to possess.

    1. Jay says:

      Yes, anger and grief. I am sorry.

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