Addressing the Anger Behind a Diagnosis
Last updated: August 2023
In July 2023, time will amount to 11 years since my dad has transitioned to heaven after losing his battle to prostate cancer. Might I add that I am only 39, and just turned 39 in June. I have faced many difficult times losing my dad at such an early age. No, I wasn’t a child, but I just really entered my adulthood.
Balancing my career, education, and caregiving
My biggest struggle was balancing a full-time career, working on my master's degree, and being a caregiver to my dad. I would be lying if I said I didn’t go through a season of anger. I felt cheated out. He had not walked me down the aisle yet. He hasn’t met his future grandkids yet. He wouldn’t see me elevate in my career that I just entered merely a short year or 2 prior to his diagnosis.
Maintaining a career, going to school full-time, and caring for my dad stretched me in every way imaginable. I remember going to work and getting annoyed when I would ask the class a question and it took them too long to respond. I would even feel angry as I struggled through staff meetings, feeling like the information could have been sent in an email.
Time management had become crucial too, because I had begun utilizing my lunch breaks as research breaks. When I recognized that my anger had the capability to transform into enlightenment, I tasked myself with focusing on that energy instead.
The frustration was overwhelming
Throughout my journey, the stage of anger and frustration was sporadic and overwhelming. It is completely normal to become frustrated when confronted with a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. Everything you touch, think of, and see may enrage you because you feel the disease bombarded its way into your family, and disrupted your loved one’s life and your life as well. You may even become impatient and annoyed because it seems that you are alone in your grief, and no one understands.
What I learned from my experience
There were 2 things I learned from my experience. The first - submerge yourself in a community specific to the illness that is affecting your loved one. The community sheds light on options which you might not be aware of. Support groups also give you the space to vent and voice your feelings with others who may be going through the same things you are experiencing.
The second - do your own research. Take a few minutes out of the day to gather information about the terminal illness that your loved one has been diagnosed with. Learn the symptoms, treatment options, medications, and diet habits that are recommended. Learning about the disease gives you the opportunity to have a voice on the journey as a caregiver. I also believe that some doctors are more prone to share more information with you when you are in the know about the health of your loved one.
Managing my day-to-day responsibilities
I had even begun identifying career balancing tips and affirmations that assisted me with my day-to-day responsibilities as a teacher, master’s degree student, and caregiver. After all, I was just entering into my career and was in no position financially to quit my job. Anger is a natural emotion, but being angry on the job can get you fired!
Finding ways to balance my emotions
Although I was stretched thin at work, I had to find ways to balance my emotions. Check with your Human Resources department at your job to discuss insurance-covered therapy options. Many resources exist, but I had to ask about them in order to get the correct information.
My constant affirmation I repeated: I choose to release my anger and turn it into something productive. Although my anger is valid and I am enraged at the circumstances, I will not let it control me. I control it.
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