June 17th, 2009: When she was in San Francisco visiting from Chicago, my friend Laura asked, “Where is your anger about having being sick?” I've given this question intermittent thought ever since I found out I had cancer. I could easily locate my sorrow and my fear. But anger?
Today, I posed the question to Susan, my therapist. I said, “I just don’t know where it is…maybe I don’t have any.” “Well, what about the tumors,” she asked. “Aren’t you angry at the tumors?” Bingo!
It took me seconds to realize that I am furious with the tumors, for what they are doing to my health and my life, for being such selfish, greedy cells that care only about themselves. They aren’t team players! And talk about stupid! They’ll kill all of me in their blind frenzy to grow at the expense of everything else. Another therapist friend, Philip, had told me about some work he had done recently. When he got mad at someone from the past, rather than talk about the issues, he cut right to the chase and asked himself, “How do I want to kill them?” As often happens in a great therapy session, shortly after the big issue reveals itself, it was time to end.
I came home and thought about Philip killing his adversaries and my tumors. What came up for me, was an image of being able to remove each tumor: the big one in the pelvis plus the smaller ones in the liver and lungs. I removed them without harming my body and put them on the cutting board I use to prep my vegetables and other food. And then, I took my claw hammer and beat the living crap out of those ugly lumps. My rage was huge, and each time the hammer came down on the tissue and broke the membranes and cells, I felt better. As the pulp got bloodier and more mashed, I felt happier. “Trying to kill me!” WHAM. “How dare you?” WHAM. And so on for quite a vigorous while.
Afterward, I realized how much I’ve been avoiding contacting the tumors over the past weeks. I have been co-existing with them. Like a bad, bad roommate who you avoid and don’t speak to, but guess what? They haven’t moved out. Occasionally, I touch the tumor in my pelvis to get a sense of how much it’s grown. So far, I can’t feel the tumors in my lungs or liver, so they are even less noticeable to me. But they are inside me, growing with a vengeance. For today, just bashing them to bits is refreshing. No more Mr. Nice Guy.