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How do you deal with the anger?

Posts: 33
Joined: Mar 2004

When I was first diagnosed (June 03), I was of course scared, upset, angry, etc. Xanax was my first line of defense. As time went on and a CT scan showed shrinkage of my liver tumors, my attitude became more positive and I chose to get off of the Xanax. I also wanted off of it because it made me too tired. The last few months, however, have showed no improvement and actually I have had minimal growth of liver tumors. I have, however, had no further spreading of the disease, and I am trying to hold onto this positive aspect. As the 1-year mark is approaching, however, frustration, anger, and maybe a little depression are setting in. I want to stay positive as I do believe this is very important to my survival. I have 2 small children, and I look at them for encouragement as I, of course, want to be here for them (and my husband!) as they grow up. So how do you keep the positive feelings on top and not let anger and depression creep in?

Thanks for listening and letting me have a little pity party!! So very many of you seem so upbeat and positive that I thought I'd just ask "HOW DO YOU DO IT?!?!"

Thanks again! Love and prayers to you all!!


Posts: 105
Joined: Apr 2004

Wow, this board is really quiet today. How do I deal with the anger? All I can tell you is that I couldnt deal with any of it if I didnt have Jesus in my life. I dont mean to sound "preachy" but it is the truth. I am a single mom with two children still at home that depend on me. I was diagnosed 6 months ago with colon cancer and the surgery was the first surgery I had ever had and the first time anyone had told me I was sick. I was in total shock at first, but as the reality set in, my faith sustained me. I knew that God was in control of all things and that He would not leave me or forsake me or my children. The prayers that were prayed for me and my children were felt and gave me such comfort. All I can tell you is that we are told to live one day at a time and that tomorrow has enough worries of its own. I try to be thankful for every sunrise and sunset that I see, every smile that my kids give me, and for the roof that is over my head (at least for now) Besides following that, I suggest that you do as much research as you can on your cancer so that you can be a part of whatever treatment decisions etc you have to make. Also reach out to people. One more thing, dont let me fool you, there are definitely days when I am down and anxious. On days like that, I just reach out to someone (like here) and I also pray even when I dont know what or how to pray! Take care of yourself.

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Michelle,
You are not the only one who is struggling to keep positive. I know that I have blue days and times, but don't let everyone's positive posts make you feel like your not handling this the "right" way. There is no right way, and acknowledging our fears and sadness is the first step to dealing with them.
Unlike Franny, I am not particularly religiious, but we all seek our own paths through this land. If religion is not a source of support for you, keep looking for the people and things that help you to stay focused and feel supported. Clinical depression often accompanies any illness, and maybe speaking very openly with your onc, (or do they have a social worker?) may lead to some further suggestions.
My kids are in high school and able to be more independent, but they are still just kids emotionally. It's hard to continue to meet my own expectations about being a wife and mom, but I am trying to be kind to myself, too.
Hope is knowing that we will be given the strength to deal with whatever lies ahead. Wishing you hope; please feel free to vent here anytime. Regards, Judy

Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Hmm- The difficulty of dealing with the uncertainty of this disease can get to all of us. Even those of us who sound upbeat most of the time, get low days. Sometimes feeling guilty about not having a positive attitude at those time can just make me feel worse. Some people are better able to put their feelings at those times into words better than I can, so perhaps I just don't post much on those very lowest days. It is natural to feel especially low when there is a change in status of your condition- in your case improvement verus static liver nodules.

I try to take things a day or two at a time, and try to remember that being afraid, angry or upset is not going to change the result of an upcoming test.

One lady, a caregiver to a husband who is not doing as well recently, said when asked how her day was, says she answers- it was a good day - by choice. I guess I have worked for many years before I was ill at developing this attitude. I certainly don't acheive this every day but it helps make the day better to focusing on the good parts of the day.

I have found exercise helps me a great deal. Just getting out of the house for a brisk walk helps.

I try not to spend time with aquaintances who always see the dark side of things. Time with upbeat friends on the other hand is a great boost. I have a friend with an uncanny sense of when I might be feeling low who arrives with her silly dog who is always anxious for a good walk in the park. I always get a good laugh and feel better just watching that crazy dog.

Coming to a place like this to share experiences helps me a great deal also.

Sometimes just silly little things are all it takes to get me back on even keel...reading a few good inspiring quotes or humerous short stories that I keep around to re read when I feel low, a few fresh flowers, a nice warm bath etc.

It is worth sharing your feelings with your oncologist, as they might have some suggestions, support groups that would help. Some people do benefit from continuing antidepressant medication as well.

Take care


Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003

I think that all of us here have good and bad days with our emotions. When I was first diagnosed in March '03, I cried all the time. I remember dropping my youngest child off at school who was 14 then , and hoping I would be around when he graduates. My job here is not done and I hope that He who decides when my time is up is listening. Sure, I have been dealt a bad hand, but because of my job as a nurse I see many worse off than me. I hope and pray everyday that my cancer doesn't come back. Because I work in Xray, I pick when my scans will be done and I get the results right away. The day I was diagnosed with cancer, I saw a surgeon right away. I also had bloodwork and a cat scan the day I was diagnosed. I never thought that my job would give me such an advantage. I am glad that I don't have wait for results. I try to remain positive, yet some days I still wonder,"WHY ME?"

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Michelle. My struggles have been more with depression than anger. However, when a good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with recurrence of her cervical cancer, I was absolutely furious -- so I know my anger must be lurking out there somewhere!

I agree with many of the comments that others have already made.

Like you, I used anti-anxiety medications in the period right after diagnosis, and still do on occasion. The toughest stage for me was after my treatment was over -- I think 'adrenalin' got me through those initial periods of diagnosis and treatment. I went to see a therapist for a while, and that was very useful for me. There are so many issues we have to deal with. Like you, a big one for me has been my two kids.

I love the generally upbeat tone of this board, but I have also received a lot of support when hearing about others' low periods....

Wishing you all the best

Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Michelle, I am 3 years this year colon cancer 5 years this October 18th for breast cancer. I still get mad and sad about the diagnois, I have days where I feel like I am going to live forever then boom there are days when I feel like I might not make it to the next year. It is still taking me time to adjust but I try to do it one day at a time. Their are times when I think I need that little antidepression pill but I continue to fight it off and try to look at how far I have come. I just go on thanking the lord for another day on earth and livin it to the fullest. It is hard but we must go on its ok to get mad or sad.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Michelle--HEY!!!!all of the above --and then some!
Even tho I am in "remission" at the moment the thought of other mets. never leaves my mind!
Depression, anger , why me??
Those of us here are "sounding" ubeat and happy and not worried---I guess we all try to make the best of things.
----kinda like trying to decifer kanga's lingo--eh?---
Awwwww---I try to come in the room to put a smile on a face or maybe send a "rainbow" to someone in bad depression----gee---I have a loving carer in my dear wife Jen--only god knows how she has got thru all this--the last 12 months has bin a real downer.
I reckon after my surgery it took a good 3-4 months before I tried to come to the realisation that the big c had got me and even now after 6 months of chemo I have real difficulty knowing it could return--more so for my Jen and the kids.
Don't be fooled into thinking we don't still get upset--hey--I still have crying sessions!--AND KANGA IS A MERE MALE!
If it were not for the great guys in this room I would have gorn nuts long ago----love-huggs--support is what this is all about.
For the depressing side of things we "both" went and saw a psychologist which was the best thing we could have done--worked wonders.
My friends are all aware of my feelings--although it is hard for them to understand they are there whenever I need them--hey -and thats many many times.They need to feel "needed" and they are!
---It's not--how do we do it?
---It's--we struggle to do it--and struggle to deal with it!
You are not alone Michelle--support is here now!
luv, huggs and rainbows----kanga n Jen

"why don't yu guys turn up the right way?"
kanga--who hates living upside down--lol

Posts: 33
Joined: Mar 2004

Thank you ALL so much for your words of wisdom!! I have not been on this board for too long but have already found so much love and support here, and it really does help a lot. My family and friends have been extremely supportive and helpful, but just as I cannot know what it is like to be a caregiver, they cannot know what it is like to be the one with the disease. Here I can find some more insight into both. I really appreciate the replies and already feel a little better just from venting and then hearing from you!!

Love, hugs, and prayers!!


2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Michelle,

I deal with my anger in several different ways. I scream. I cry. I eat. I run. I take a walk. I talk to God (Jesus). I journal. I cry. I scream. I run. I eat. Get the picture? It's an on-going release little by little. I also went into counseling during an extremely angry episode with some friends who were difficult to deal with. I stepped back from the friendships and took a breather.

Depression, I have been told, is anger turned inward. I choose to allow it to come out to battle any potential depression . Cancer also causes depression. I chose to not take any meds for it...personal choice, but I have read very detrimental side effects from psychotropic drugs.

But the anger does not take over my life. Somedays it overpowers my day....but then I bounce back. I make choices to try to stay positive, but there are some days that I just stay vulnerable to the dark cloud.

But the sun rises every day. :-)

You are not alone.

peace, emily who needs the sunshine!

kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003


I know your feelings. When I was diagnosed one and a half years ago, I felt total depression. I tried to be brave for my children and parents and had to just have faith that I was going to be OK. I now do take Lexepro and it has helped with anxiety greatly....but get on with your normal life as much as possible and try not to dwell on this batch of lemons you have been dealt.

Remember each day is a special gift....we never know what each day will bring. So enjoy this special gift. Right now I'm vacationing in Europe and I check in with my special friends every day. I plan to take advantage of each and every opportunity I have. Be strong and a good cry in the shower never hurts either.

Love to you.


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