Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dealing with anger and cancer as a Christian

Anger is a common emotion with cancer, and it is often understood and accepted as cancer is not something anyone would purposely ask for.  We know that anger is a normal human emotion, but as a Christian I know not to hold onto anger, but to give it to God.  This is easier said than done.  It is so easy to feel angry and especially angry at or about ourselves. 
  For the first 3 years of dealing with my cancer diagnosis and treatments I could not help but look at my cancer as a foe, a mortal enemy that I would triumphantly vanquish with all the fury in the world.  Cancer was my arch enemy and I vowed to be my own super hero.  This works for me, I am a big Wonder Woman fan ever since I was 3 years old watching it on T.V.  I am a fighter at heart and I honestly don't know how to be anything else when faced with a protagonist.  This is a good thing to be as a cancer patient, but not so good as a Christian.  I needed to cut back some of my fighting instincts and increase my faith, acceptance and peace. 

"Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil."  Romans 37:8 NIV

I am a little embarrassed to confess that I found this verse months after being diagnosed with my cancer reoccurrence and metastasis.  I was so very angry.  You know that term "so angry they could spit nails" ya that was me.  I was devastated when I found out the cancer had come back, and not only come back but move and eat a hole in my iliac bone.  I was scared and angry.  Angry that the doctor's had failed me, angry that chemo didn't work, radiation didn't work, surgery hadn't worked, the medicines didn't work.  I was so very angry, livid even at the cancer itself.  Thankfully I was not angry at God.  But oh how angry I was at the cancer, I cussed the cancer out the entire drive home from the doctor's office.  Not a long way, but still, crying and cursing the cancer for filth!!  I kept calling it f***ing cancer.  Not very Christian like at all.  I wish I had handled it better, that I had the spiritual maturity to handle the devastating news better.  I know I could have done far worse, but also far better and I regret it.  However, it triggers my fighting instincts and led me to conduct more of my own research and lit a fire to learn more about cancer and nutrition, organic alternatives, biblical healing and encouraged in me a desire for spiritual maturity.  I can't be angry at that. 

Once I got past the anger that the cancer had returned (this took about 6 months) I started to see the good, and positive aspects of my cancer returning.  This is not an easy thing to do, it is so easy to get sucked into the depression and festering anger.  I had been walking the edge of a Grand Canyon sized cliff with depression looming before me as I tip toe along the edge trying not to fall.  I didn't want this, I didn't want to feel that way, it has been long enough I'm over being so tightly wound up with the anger and resentment of my cancer returning.  It's time to deal with it and move on, get back on the horse so to speak.  It was seriously to the point that I couldn't recognize myself anymore, I couldn't see or feel my inner Wonder Woman, my fighting spirit and show no mercy to cancer attitude. 
I cannot tell you when it happened, only that one day about 6 months later after I was told I was incurable that I didn't have the anger anymore, it simply vanished.  That doesn't mean I can't bring it back up, because if you get me talking about it I will get aggravated.  But I don't feel it all the time, carry it with me every day or feel it with the intensity that I did before, and I am so relieved and thankful for that. 
My cancer has a purpose, I have always known that I have or will go through the ups and downs in my journey with cancer for a reason and to be able to identify with other patients and help them with their journey as well.  I can say that the Christian in me overcame the anger in me.  God is Good!!