- With Mayo Clinic nurse educator
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.read biographyclose window
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.Sheryl M. Ness
Sheryl Ness, R.N., O.C.N., is a nurse educator for the Cancer Education Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She helps inform patients, families and caregivers about services and resources to help them through the cancer journey.
She has a master's degree in nursing from Augsburg College. In addition, she is an assistant professor of oncology at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and is certified as a specialist in oncology nursing. Sheryl has worked for more than 20 years at Mayo Clinic as an educator. She has a keen interest in the importance of the quality of life and concerns of people living with cancer.
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Living with cancer blog
June 1, 2013
Anger and cancer — what to do with the difficult emotions
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
I've seen anger plenty of times in my work with cancer patients — and it seems so many people feel guilty for feeling angry, or they just simply don't know what to do about it.
Anger is a normal emotion to experience as you're dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment. Cancer is a big interruption in life — an unexpected and unwelcome interruption for everyone.
The emotions you experience are also unexpected — shock, guilt, anger, fear, sadness and depression can all be part of the roller coaster ride of emotions you feel on a daily basis.
One of the hardest to deal with is anger. If you're normally not someone who is angry, you may not what to do about it. Your family and friends may not know how to react when anger comes out either — this just makes everything more complicated.
Sometimes anger shows more naturally as an emotion with a young cancer survivor. As a young person dealing with a diagnosis of cancer, the life interruption seems so very unfair and unexpected for sure.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Feeling anger during this time is normal — don't stifle the emotion. It's better to recognize and express your emotions than to keep them inside.
- Take the powerful energy of anger and direct it to something positive, active and creative — such as writing, exercising, golfing, painting, knitting, etc. Think of ways to get the anger out and direct it to another activity.
- Explain to your family and loved ones that you're feeling angry — let them know that it's not something they did or caused — but that you need to find a way to channel it. They may have some ideas for you as well.
- When anger shows up in your daily life have a coping mechanism ready to deal with it — this might include writing down the words you're feeling, using your peer support groups and blogging to get your emotions out.
The Living with Cancer blog is open to your expressions of anger — feel free to let the words flow. You'll find much support from each other here.blog index