Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm So Mad!

Have you ever said those words? 

About three weeks after Emma was diagnosed, we were pent up in the hospital and I was going a little crazy, I admit.  Emma had lost all ability to walk/sit/stand.  She was like a very large infant.  She couldn't use the bathroom herself, and this was a HUGE source of frustration for her.  Because of this, it was a huge source of frustration for us as her parents.

We were in a bit of a unique situation, and because of that no one was telling us what was going on.  Typically when a new family arrives at St. Jude, they are given a run-down of how things go.  They are shown to their clinics, told how to "check in" at each appointment location, and educated (to some extent) on what to expect in the coming weeks.  With us, though, we were brought in under dire circumstances and put in the ICU.  Everyone's biggest concern was keeping her alive, and we were always given wonderful information regarding this aspect.  However, when she was  moved from the ICU to the regular inpatient floor, the focus changed.  Now the main focus was not keeping Emma alive, but getting her cancer into remission (which is the typical goal of everyone at St. Jude).  But we weren't new patients anymore, we had been there for nearly 3 weeks.  Everyone on the regular inpatient floor assumed we had already had the run-down--except we hadn't.  I had no answers, and I was mad about it. 

People would call, or text, and I would put on a happy face.  Inside I was boiling.  I was angry at the doctors for not letting us get out of the hospital.  I was angry at God for putting us in this situation in the first place.  And truthfully, I was angry at everyone I knew because they were going on with their lives.

Micheal was not angry.  I would ask him why, and he would shrug and tell me (in his beautifully patient way) "I've been through hard things before."  He was my rock, truly.

Five weeks into the diagnosis, Emma was finally released from the hospital and we went to "live" at the Ronald McDonald House.  My agner continued for several weeks (maybe months?).

Image DetailSo what's the point of this long-winded story?  How did I overcome it?  I WANTED to get over it.  Even at my own expense.  That didn't mean my problems got "fixed".  Emma still had cancer.  My life was still in upheaval.  But I didn't want to be angry, so I worked on it.  I forced myself to think about good things.  Emma's smile.  Micheal's support.  Ashlyn's sweet baby gurggles.  A hospital that was saving my daughter's life, and providing for us in the mean-time.  A support group.

If you are not (or have never faced being) angry, I want you to know that someday that will come.  We all have battles to fight.  Your "good" things will be different than mine, but trust me, they're there somewhere.  Look for them, and focus on them.  Don't have any good things?  You do, you're just not looking close enough.

It will be hard, and it will not make your problems go away--but at least you will be in a better state of mind to deal with the problems.  I wish you all well, and I hope that at least some of you will be less "angry" because of this.


  1. It can be difficult picking out the things to be grateful about, especially when Anger clouds our heads. You're fortunate to have someone like Michael. :)

    (I haven't met anyone who hasn't ever been angry ... For a long time, I was easily riled. Kept wondering how being at peace day in day out would be like. Maybe we can find out now, huh?)

  2. I agree, and I think it works with any negative emotion. Making a conscious choice to make the best of things isn't always easy, but having a positive outlook does make it easier to deal with the challenges that come up.

    I'm glad you have Michael, Emma, and Ashlyn to help you stay positive. Sounds like you all make a great team.

  3. Katie, when people around me get angry over little things, I'm constantly telling them that things could be so much worse. I usually get looks, but it's true. Everyone has bad things they have to deal with, and unfortunately some have it harder than others. But everyone has some good too, and that's what you have to focus on.

  4. This is very wise. It's easy to get swept up in anger and not realize that we have at least some control over our reactions to situations. It's hard work to battle against the negative energy, though.

  5. It is definitely hard to find good things to focus on, and equally hard to MAKE yourself dwell on them! It's so important to do it though, for your own emotional well being.

    I'm very thankful to have Micheal, Emma, and Ashlyn :)