Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Angry at cancer?

There are supposedly five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. It is the process we go through when faced with a 'bad' thing - a death, a yucky medical diagnosis, or other trauma. I know I went through something like this.

Anyway, I recently experienced two events which made me think about this. The first one is I was with a few other cancer people and one of them said she was so angry about cancer and another agreed. I thought this was pretty shocking since I know both were diagnosed several years before me. Which means they have been angry for a long time.

Then a few days later I met a woman who said she had lots of friends who had had cancer and some of them were very angry about it which was upsetting to her. She was coping and doing okay and into the acceptance stage and all these others were just angry and it made it harder for her.

Anger is a nasty emotion. It creates negativity and stress - neither of which do much for quality of life. I think the one thing I learned the first time I had cancer is that I wasted a lot of time being upset about it. The second time I decided I was going to take care of me - first and foremost. It took time to work through it and cope with the roller coaster it brings but I think I am doing okay.

Its all a matter of attitude. I basically think I was lucky enough to get cancer twice - any other way of thinking is just stressful. But I also consider cancer the gift that keeps on giving. It is my way of accepting what I am living with.

But people with anger are just making themselves miserable. They are not coping and accepting. They are still fighting and exhausting themselves. Anger is a waste of energy. No cancer is not fun and it can be fatal. But it isn't always and we need to appreciate that we are still here.

4 comments:

WhiteStone said...

"we need to appreciate that we are still here."

Definitely!!!!!

I don't think I ever dealt with anger, or had to, for that matter. But cancer certainly did upset the apple cart of life, so to speak. *wry smile*

I'm glad I'm feeling well.

Ann said...

I agree with you. I have never had a moment of anger at getting cancer, not at myself for ignoring my mammograms and not at the disease. Life happens. Illness is a part of life. What is there to be angry at?

I get sad when my breast cancer sisters die but I don't think anger is productive in a cancer patient, unless it spurs you to do something. Even then, it needs to be short-term and full of acceptance.

linda said...

I've heard some women say they're angry with their breasts, their body...for letting them down. Anger is a tough emotion to resolve. Nobody wants to hear about it.

Nancy said...

I think a little anger when you get a diagnosis is just fine. Emotions of all kinds help process the info. I was certainly angry for a while. One just can't stay angry too long. I found anger motivating - it helped me fight back!