J started out by asking me how I am doing. How I am “really” doing, and I said fine. As I always say. I said, “Everyone is saying this surgery is no big deal, so I guess it isn’t. So I’m fine.”
We talked about what I am picturing and thinking about in regards to the surgery, and I said I can only imagine based on what I see on tv and based on other family members experiences in the hospital. J asked if I was imagining good looking doctors. That would be nice of course.
I told him what my psychiatrist said last week, and he said that he sees things differently. He thinks I have handled everything about this medical situation very well, I have been logical and not out of control, and yes, he does think I could be more assertive with certain people, but overall he doesn’t think I am demonstrating “bad” behavior patterns (pdoc didn’t use the word “bad”). I told him that she asked me why I don’t want people coming to see me in the hospital, as though there is something wrong with that, although that could just be my interpretation of her comment. J said that there is absolutely nothing wrong or weird about not wanting people to come to the hospital, after surgery a person doesn’t feel well, they are in a hospital gown with tubes everywhere, messed up hair, no makeup (he said this), and it is perfectly alright to want to be alone, or with just a close family member. He brought up that I had said it would be different if I was going to be there for five days, then I might not mind people coming to see me.
I told him about my husband thinking this weekend is the opportunity to have a party, and why my husband might be thinking like this. That maybe he doesn’t know what to do, so he is stepping up to the plate by ordering food. (Oh, and after we had the conversation about getting food for Saturday night my husband said he might invite a bunch of people over on Sunday to watch the game here.)
J says it would be good for me to be more assertive with my husband, to tell him exactly what I want, and if necessary to play the cancer card. I may have to say, “I am having a malignant tumor removed and I can do what I want – when you have a malignant tumor removed you can do what you want.” I told J it is hard for me, and he said maybe because I am good at putting my thoughts into writing I should send my husband an email. That would open the door to a discussion. He said some great words that I could say to my husband and I said, “Maybe you could just talk to him for me, since you know what to say and it sounds really good when you say it.” He said he couldn’t do that. Darn.
And he said if I make my wants and needs known, and my husband still doesn’t pay attention to what I want, I can always do a passive-aggressive move, like when his whole family is over here because he didn’t tell them not to come I can be sitting with them and say, “I’m going to throw up” and then proceed to do it. He was joking. I think.
I brought up how my husband and mother don’t like to see or hear about negative emotions, and J said that is their problem, not mine. I said I believe it is also mine. He said I can show whatever emotion I want to and not worry if they can’t handle it, but I told him that if they blow me off my feelings will be hurt. He asked me which is better – to stuff all of my feelings inside, or to let them out and then have to deal with an extra one when I get my feelings hurt. I said “Stuff them all inside.” That wasn’t the right answer apparently. I told him that I plan to be positive and happy with my husband and mother, and when the hospital staff wheels me away I can cry or shake, or whatever I want because the hospital staff is used to that. He compared it to a parent being stoic when their child is taken to the hospital, and then crying after the child is taken away. But I’m not their parent.
I asked if I could tell him a story. I told him about my sister’s son who had surgery on his skull when he was 11 months old. It was a very involved, long surgery, and my sister, her husband and I were in the hospital waiting room while he had the surgery. After a few hours the doctor came in and told us that everything went very well, that they are just finishing up and that we could see him soon. My brother-in-law started crying. Later that day my mother called to see how things had gone and I told her about BIL crying, and she said, “Oh, that’s because he’s not like us.”
J said, “You mean he’s human?”
He asked me who said it’s not right to show emotion, and I told him that my mother said that. And I know it’s not true, but after living that way for 40 or 50 years, it’s kind of hard to change.
J thought that maybe I could intellectualize my feelings and my husband and mother might be more receptive. Rather than crying and shaking I could say, “I’m feeling very anxious, my stomach is very jittery.” And you know, I might just try something like that – not because I think it is a good idea, but to see what kind of response I get. So I can go back to J and say, “I told you so.”
He asked how I was sleeping and I said pretty well, but having weird dreams. He perked up at that and asked me about the dreams, but I couldn’t remember any of them very well. I told him that they aren’t scary, just bizarre. But that frequently happens to me when I take wellbutrin. I did say that I have been very tired in the afternoons and fall asleep sometimes, and I didn’t know why. Maybe because I changed my diet. He thought maybe it is due to anxiety, even though I am not overtly anxious, it is an underlying anxiety. He said that there is a lot of uncertainty, and all I can base my imagination on is…..and at the same exact time I said “Grey’s Anatomy” and he said, “Quincy”. I said “Quincy?!?!?! He’s the guy who worked on dead people. I hope I don’t end up in the medical examiner’s office.” He apologized, and said that was the first thing that came to him. And they say nothing is an accident, right?
I told J that I made an appointment for a Reiki session today, and he thought that was great. We talked about that for a while. I’ll have to write about my Reiki another time.
So then it got to the end of the session and we were talking about when I would come back. Once again I told him that I don’t expect him to hold my space for me, and he said, again, “OK, but I will.” He said if I was someone who he only saw six times he might fill the spot with other “customers” (that is what he calls his clients). I told him I didn’t know how many sessions I would miss, but definitely next week and probably the week after. Then I should be fine. He said he thought we should have some communication, and he asked if I would mind if he emailed me next week at my time because he would be thinking about me on Tuesday at 11am. Or if I want, I could email him before that. He asked me a couple of times if I would mind if he emailed me and I said it would be fine. So we left it at that, and he said good luck and that was it.
It’s good that nothing too emotional came up since I won’t be back for two or three weeks. I want to talk to him about when I should end therapy, it’s been three years as of this week, and I feel like maybe this is as far as I can go. And when I come back we won’t have the medical stuff to talk about anymore, so will we have anything to talk about? Thinking about ending is scary and sad, I guess I’m getting kind of attached to it. It’s not terrible when I have to miss a week, and I am really anxious the morning of my session, and while I am there. But I guess it is nice having someone to talk to.