The first time Tyson was diagnosed I had an immediate reaction, I was scared, sad, angry, and I felt completely lost.
This time I felt confident in our ability to beat this, I knew we just needed to get back to our old ways. I knew we had strayed from our lifestyle, and I knew how to correct that, I wasn’t starting from scratch this time around. I felt that everything would be, for the most part, ‘normal’.
On surgery day I had my meltdown and then I got up, brushed myself off, and got to work. For the past four months, I’ve been marching right along feeling fine and still confident in our ability to get through this. I thought I was fine, until one day I wasn’t, it hit me with all the same emotions I had the first time around. I felt like a complete newbie at this whole cancer thing.
I was sad I had the whole why me/us mentality, self-pity I guess you could say. I was scared that Tyson wouldn’t make it through this one, scared that I was going to lose my best friend, my soul mate, how could I do life without him??? I was angry, angry at the situation, I mean it just sucks to have to go through this! We did it once WHY do we have to do it again, why????? It’s not fair, and there I was back to the whole self pity thing. It’s a circle, a loop that could keep going and going if you let it.
This time though I had a new emotion, one that I never had before, and one that I don’t really want to share on social media, and I am definitely not sharing it to get sympathy. I'm simply sharing because I think it's important. I know there are other caregivers out there who have felt this one and I think it’s the shittiest emotion I’ve experienced in this journey. So here it is.
I felt resentment and anger towards Tyson, there I said it, judge me if you want, but it is what it is. I was angry that my life has to change because he has cancer not me. Right after that thought popped into my head, I thought OMG how selfish are you? You aren’t the one who actually has cancer, you aren’t the one whose life is on the line. How could you actually feel that way, you are a horrible person. Which takes your mind to a whole new place a really dark place, a place that creates a loop of self criticism, which eventually takes you back to the original emotions, (and that loop,) which eventually brings you back to this loop, it’s a loop within a loop. I lost myself in those emotions for a solid three days, it was shitty to say the absolute least. I knew I had to break the loop, feeling this way wasn’t going to solve anything it could only make the situation worse.
So how to break the loop?? The key, for me anyways, was to really lean into those emotions, go through them, feel them, and accept that it’s okay you’re only human. Humans are strange creatures. These emotions can not be held inside, you can’t ignore them, doing that will only make it worse. You might be able to suppress them once, twice, three times, or more, but eventually they will come out so you might as well deal with them and move forward. Once you go through it and let them go you can move on to the good things, the good thoughts, because where there is dark there is always light.
Let the light win.
If you are a caregiver my heart is with you and if you need to talk, I am here!
I am completely serious with that offer! Please reach out if you need a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, together we can break the loop.
Until next time,