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  • Jenn Jones

Embracing Grief & Rage on the Path to Healing

Updated: Apr 12

You often hear about emotions coming in waves, particularly grief, or even the term 'grief burst'. When we talk about grief, it's usually associated with the loss of a loved one, but grief applies to so much more. Navigating through medical challenges and anticipating upcoming surgeries with all the uncertainties has been like a whirlwind. My initial appointment with the oncologist was a relief. Finally, I felt heard, listened to, and like I had a partner in my care. However, it's ironic that not being heard initially is what brought me to the oncologist's office in the first place.

Our next steps involve surgery to further diagnose and determine if it is invasive or not. If it's not invasive, then I will undergo a hysterectomy about 6 weeks after the first surgery. If it's invasive, then we will discuss treatment options.

I expressed to the provider that there was a profound sense of relief in all this. Dealing with fatigue, night sweats, and pain for the past 2 years without any real answers or solutions has been exhausting. So, even though what I am facing feels immense and frightening, at least it has a name, and I know what it is, which isn't something that makes me question my own reality.

My journey with medical gaslighting has always reminded me of "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The amount of neglect, dismissal, and gaslighting makes one question their reality and, in turn, is definitely maddening. To make matters more complex, I have a history of trauma and mental health challenges. Too often, very real concerns are dismissed as 'just in my head' because of 'anxiety' or the suggestion that I simply need therapy.

I am exhausted by the lack of validation, and I grieve that I am now facing something that could have been dealt with earlier. I always felt like 'wait and see' was like 'f*ck around and find out'. Well, we found out alright.

I am allowing myself space to grieve, to feel rage, and to feel gratitude. I am allowing myself to be supported, to be held, to take up space, and to ask for help. The tears come in waves, and I'm allowing them to come. Not because of some slogan like 'it is okay to not be okay'—because society definitely does not always believe that—but because I need space to not bottle this up. I know grief lives in my bones, and the trauma I have experienced has manifested physically. So today, I choose to allow it to flow and not keep it all inside.



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