A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop led by Julie Interrante called Wisdom of Anger. I’m not in touch with feeling angry very often and thought it would be useful to learn to know and be comfortable with that side of myself. With Julie’s guidance, we each wrote about something we were angry about. I was surprised to discover how angry I am at having to deal with cancer so many times. I’ve done so many things “right” — I’ve worked with a nutritionist perfecting my diet; I’ve reduced the stress in my life; I’ve deepened my spiritual life; I’m having more fun. I’m pissed off that I still have cancer.
This doesn’t mean I don’t also feel grateful. I’m often aware of feeling opposite feelings simultaneously. I’m grateful that having cancer has led me to the fulfilling work of Healing Journeys and to the many friendships that have developed through that work. And I’m grateful that the new lump under my arm that lit up on a PET scan last week isn’t in a vital organ. It’s close to the surface and will be easy to remove. I’m grateful that the cryoablation of the tumor in my lung appears to have been successful. It hasn’t grown since the November ablation, and is less “active” on the PET scan.
Even though I am feeling all this gratitude, I am also really angry that my body has continued to grow cancer cells for 24 years. One feeling doesn’t negate the other. One of the challenges of life is to be able to embrace opposites as equally true.