Anger & Frustration

I have experienced much anger and frustration throughout this cancer journey, but I am now finally learning to let go of the anger, which has been weighing me down for so long. I have been angry for many different reasons – angry at God for allowing this to happen to me, angry that my cancer was not found earlier, angry that my doctors have been put in the position of making these tough decisions and something which has taken me a long time to grasp why these choices were necessary and basically angry at the world, because of my circumstances and everything that has happened. Holding these feelings of anger and resentment is something which is just not healthy for anyone. It has brought me to places I thought that I would never find myself, but yet it had happened, because I allowed it to creep into my life inch by inch which is how negative thoughts tend to take hold of us little by little. I am very lucky to have people in my life to help me to recognize this and assist me in turning things around for the better.

This has been like a dark cloud hanging over my head and now I feel like a weight has been lifted. It has been a long, hard road and I have made things harder on myself than I needed to, but do I ever do things the easy way? I always seem to have to learn those life lessons the hard way, mostly because of my stubbornness and think that I know what is best – I’m a bit hard-headed like that sometimes. Was I ever in need of a reality check and a definite change in attitude!

I have allowed this cancer to literally consume me for far too long. Moreover, I am learning that if you allow the cancer to feed on those negative thoughts and emotions, the cancer wins and to not give the cancer that kind of power! It has played some serious mind games with me and has messed with my line of thinking. I will admit that I am a control freak. I have to be in control of things and I guess that has been the most frustrating part of this whole thing. I have had absolutely no control over this, not knowing what this cancer is doing and where it is going. However, it does me no good to sit and stew over something I have no control over, but I am learning to control the things that I can and everything else will fall in the proper order that it is meant to.

This journey has also taught me a lot about faith and never before has my faith been put to the test as it has been going through this trial. Faith is having belief in those things not seen. Although I can’t see where I am going to end up during this journey, whether I am going to succumb to this cancer or die of something entirely different I don’t know. What I do know is that I have to exercise that faith and put my complete trust in God and that he is doing these things for my benefit so that I can learn and grow from this experience.

I really did rob myself and my family of precious time and enjoying life by thinking of nothing else but the cancer, which is time that I will NEVER be able to get back. I have come to realize that is no way to live; nevertheless, this is all a learning curve and I want to provide a warning to others to not make the mistake that I made by living your life from minute to minute, between each scan and test always waiting and wondering when the shoe is going to drop. I think that it can be something that can eat away at you like an acid which can only lead you on a road to nowhere fast. I truly wish someone would have warned me beforehand, but thankful that I was finally able to recognize and understand that I had to learn to let it go! When my time is up the good Lord will take me when he’s ready.

Evaluation and Reflection

As I think about it, I was just not understanding this whole wait and watch approach to my situation. However, I truly appreciate Dr. Bentz for opening my eyes and getting me to see the bigger picture. He has helped me to see the inherent risk that could happen if they tried going back in now and the damage that could happen to my laryngeal nerve, as a result. Although Dr. Song has told me the same thing several times, I guess it just never quite sunk in my head and I needed someone else to keep driving that point home to me. I just didn’t really like the answers I was given and was hoping for a different solution.

What I appreciate most about Dr. Bentz is that he has always been totally upfront with me, never sugar coating anything – he holds nothing back and tells it like it is no matter how ugly the truth can be. He always seems to know what I need to hear whether it be good or bad, and has had this ability in getting me to see things that others just haven’t been able to, but not because they haven’t tried. Some people just have that knack or skill to help you to see what should be obvious and a no-brainer, but we somehow need that extra push to get that light to turn on and wake us up. Dr. Bentz has given me such a fresh perspective which has helped me to take a step back and reframe how I look at things.

Prior to consulting back with Dr. Bentz is when I think that I hit my lowest point in this journey where I felt such despair as there was no easy answers to my situation. It was almost like I was being pulled into this deep, dark pit and could never reach to the top no matter how hard I tried. It felt as though I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do I play this waiting game and hope that the cancer does not grow and spread further, or do I push my docs to get this nasty cancer out and cause potential major injuries which could present many more challenges for me? Nevertheless, I am grateful to Dr. Bentz helping me to understand that I need to trust in these decisions being made; it really was in my best interest to watch this cancerous nodule for further growth, because the option of surgery just presented too many risks. I’ve also had many good friends encouraging me to trust in my docs decisions as well. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all.

I believe one of the hardest concepts for a cancer patient to grasp is the waiting and the unknown; at least it has been for me. You are in this holding pattern as doctors just don’t know what the behavior of these cancer cells are and what they are going to do as they seem to have a mind of their own and can be so unpredictable. Docs can only make the best estimated guess on what the right protocols are; they make the best decisions they can based on standards, trends and through their own experience and that of their colleagues, by trial and error. I have gained a much better understanding and appreciation for doctors and the decisions they have to make, even when those choices can be difficult. I now realize that the waiting and unknown is just the nature of the beast and it has taught me about having patience, one concept that has been a challenge for me in this journey. I’m usually a fairly patient person with other people, but when it comes to things for myself I want things when I want it on my timetable and this journey has taught me that it just doesn’t work that way.