Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PollyAnna and The Curmudgeon

Yesterday I had my weekly appointment with a therapist. I perceive her a wise woman; she knows the right questions to ask. I talk a lot more than she does, but I still find myself having revelations in her office.

We're spending a lot of time figuring out how I feel about cancer. You'd think, after all of my ramblings here, I'd have a lot more figured out than I do. But I don't.

We discussed how I'd spent two years telling everyone that I was fine, that I didn't need help, that it would be okay. And we discussed my breakdown last October as the turning point for acknowledging that no, I am not fine.

And I don't know how to describe what comes after the turning point. Before, it was PollyAnna, pure and simple. Now? Every ache and pain sends a solid message to my brain: cancer did this to you. I can't open a jar? Because cancer took away my upper body strength. I wake up aching? Cancer did that. I have cavaties? Cancer. I have trouble sleeping? Cancer. My bones ache like an old lady, I'm covered in scars, I can't lift my arm up....Cancer, cancer, cancer. I hear how much it has taken away from me, how I'm old before my time, how things hurt that shouldn't. I see how damaged I am, body and psyche....

And I don't know what to do with it.

I mean, PollyAnna is highly overrated, but now I feel like the other end of the spectrum. I feel curmudgeonly - and that is NOT how I want to be.

So I'm working on finding that middle ground. The one where I can acknowledge that it's not okay that cancer continues to rob me of so much on a daily basis....but where I can let it go, and not allow those thoughts to take over with a little refrain that repeats itself in the back of my mind all day every day.

I'm starting to understand just how profound it was when Buddha proclaimed that it was "the middle way." It's so much easier said than done!

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