This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Angry Phase

*Watch out. This is an angry rant.

You know I've been through several phases since Jim was diagnosed, ranging from feeling helpless to feeling like a party-animal to feeling like I have to explain to everyone at the grocery store why I'm an only parent. And don't even get me started on the phase that I don't particularly appreciate being called a single parent - I am an only parent. Any way, I go through lots of phases, and many of them seem to be tied to season changes.

There's something about spring and summer that really throw me off my rocker. It's not even spring yet (good God, I know...we're still sitting under 2 feet of snow here), but the birds are chirping, we're getting more sunny days, and suddenly any mental footing I had seems to slip out from under me like a landslide. In the last few weeks, cancer has reared it's ugly head in more people than I care to mention. It's driven me into an angry phase.

In the last several weeks I am reminded with a vengeance of what was taken from me. I am feeling angry about losing Jim. I am feeling sad for my kids. I am feeling sick for those families that are dealing with cancer - or the loss of someone who had cancer. I am feeling regret over some of our dealings with cancer - we did the best we could...but maybe I could have afforded Jim the luxury of eating pizza every damn day if he wanted it. I was just so focused on getting him healthy and well. I wish I'd talked to Jim about other stuff more often. I wish I'd known sooner that his swollen legs were a sign of congestive heart failure. I am glad we got to talk and say goodbye, but while he was going through treatment I was so fixated on our next steps and achieving the NED goal. And I felt bad whining to him about a hangnail or a stubbed toe when the guy was hooked to a chemo pump through a port in his chest. Jim thought it was funny and incredibly annoying that I was such as hypochondriac. Maybe whining that a hangnail was a sign that my arm would probably fall off would have been a dose of normal that Jim could have used. I don't regret 98% of his treatment or the way we dealt with things. But that 2% slays me. I'm glad we tried everything we could, but sometimes I think I was so driven to make him get better that I pushed everything else in life, including normal conversations, aside.

So my current phase, fueled by anger and insecurity over cancer is that of being completely cynical and annoyed with the whole thing. "The whole thing" being life in general. Because really...what am I doing this all for? Having and raising kids seems incredibly selfish when I see even the most normal childhood struggles. (As I have mentioned before, despite the fact that I had a fabulous childhood and home life, I did NOT enjoy being a child.) If it seems selfish when they are struggling through things like math homework, how will I feel when something major happens to them? What if they don't have a good example of love in their lives because I've been single and they see me dropping guys over the fact that I don't like the way they tie their sneakers? (I haven't broken up with John, by the way...I'm just stating a worry here.) What if I'm getting married too soon and they think I view marriage as disposable or easy? What if they get colon cancer? Every time one of them goes to the bathroom I worry. Seriously. Am I feeding them enough fruits and veggies? Should I switch them to a vegetarian diet?...and so on. These are like rungs on the little hamster wheel I'm running on that is supposed to be my life.

What am I exercising for? Jim was healthy. He was a runner. And yet, at 36 years old he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. What the? So...let me get this straight. I'm supposed to run...for my health. And I'm supposed to stay healthy so that I can...what? I'm supposed to run a half marathon so I can...? Feel good about myself for an hour after it's done and carry my little medal around...and then what? I have to start training for something else. And something else after that.

Sometimes my life seems so driven by tedium and drivel that it makes me want to scream. Ok. So I'm supposed to go find some work that's really satisfying. What the hell kind of work is satisfying? You know what's satisfying to me? *Taking a nap*. Or I'm supposed to do something really adventurous. And...leave my kids that I was selfish enough to have? "Sorry kids, mom has to climb Mount Everest - I'm sure you understand. It's for my own mental satisfaction. Because regular everyday life isn't enough for me. I need more. I'll only be gone for a month or two."

Wait, why do I need to clean up the house again? So that I have a comfortable atmosphere? FOR WHAT? What a dumb thing. To put knick-knacks all over and think it looks nice. People would come over even if I didn't have oriental rugs and matching paint. (Well, they might not after this rant, but that's a different story!) I hate cleaning. It's a waste of my time. Same with cooking. Who cares if we have a healthy dinner every night? My kids don't seem any worse for the wear if I feed them canned soup and grilled cheese. It's completely lame that I'm expected to make something healthy every night. Know what we were eating for dinner the night Jim got diagnosed? Turkey chili. Because I was trying to cut down on our red meat consumption. Oh goody. I made us a healthy dinner. That one wouldn't fit past the golf-ball sized tumor in his colon. But I'll make sure that we're getting the damn four food groups because I'm supposed to. Why? Because it prevents cancer. Wellllll, not exactly. But it MIGHT prevent cancer. Or at least keep it at bay.

I went through this all on the phone with John the other night and he got quiet. He's not accustomed to me being cynical and bitter. I think one of the reasons John loves me is because I find joy in even the smallest things - I am normally the picture of resilience. But lately, in this phase, there is no joy.

Am I always supposed to be grateful and thankful for what I have? Don't get me wrong - the kids are so awesome. It's truly my honor to be their mom. I *am* grateful for them. I am lucky to have found John - to have found love a second time. But where are we going with this? HEY GOD! I COULD REALLY USE A COPY OF THE PLAN.

Next week I'll feel different. (Please God let me feel different.) Next week I'll feel gung-ho like I can do it all and be happy doing it. I'll realize that what I have - my family, my life, my health - is a gift. This week marks the week it's been 3 1/2 years since Jim died. What an emotional journey. I feel like I'm 100 years old. Jim was robbed of all his gifts. We were robbed of the gift - the spirit - that was Jim. So this week I reserve the right to go through an angry phase.

The sun is shining, it's a beautiful day out...who the f%ck cares.


Blogger BlackSea said...

Hi, Kate!

You have a flair for expressing your thoughts in a very eloquent manner! You're a great person and so was Jim, and you have every right to mourn in any way that fits your personality.

As to eating healthy foods and exercizing, they're good, but they're not the be-all and end-all. There are 100-year old elders in various parts of the world who've smoked cigarettes for as long as they can remember. And then there's this friend of my parents whose wife was adamant about cooking and eating only healthy foods and monitored every bite that she and her husband ate. Sadly, she passed away at 35, less than a year after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Your children look lovely and happy which means they're eating what they need and having a good life, thanks to you!

John and I are sending our warmest wishes for a snow-thaw and a happy spring!

5:16 PM

Blogger French Family said...

Ahmen Kate.

1:58 PM


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