It’s just after nine PM on a school night, and on a normal evening, I would be headed for bed in a few minutes – my early bedtimes a holdover from my treatment days. But this is not a normal night, as after work hubby and I checked in with our therapist for our semi-irregular visit.
I HATE going to therapy. HATE HATE HATE. But I love our therapist, and I am always so glad when it is over – not just BECAUSE it is over, but because I usually come away feeling like I’ve had a vigorous workout. Which, of course, I have – just emotional, rather than physical.
Mike and I have had a relationship with our therapist off and on for over eight years. She knows the best and worst of us, and she practices her craft – a kind of sleight of hand, or black magic – with a seamlessness that is downright eerie at times. We reconnected with her two years ago during my treatment (in hindsight, it’s amazing that we went as long as we did without seeing her after my diagnosis), and she has been a tremendous resource for us – together, as well as for me, individually – ever since.
Neither of us wanted to go tonight. We’d both had long days, and traffic was a nightmare. With another snowstorm coming, all I really wanted to do was go home, but on my PJ’s and curl up with a Bailey’s and hot chocolate.
But, as often happens during therapy, I found myself unburdened of emotions I hadn’t even been directly in touch with, and I walked out of the office feeling like I’d shed several pounds of psychic baggage. In particular, what I was reminded of tonight is that no matter how happy and strong and determined I feel most of the time, there is incredible value in just plugging in to the dark side and letting the bad feelings flow. I don’t spend my days thinking about how my cancer has destroyed my marriage; most of the time, I feel like we are doing better than ever, whether in spite of or because of cancer. We have faced incredible adversity, and we have done it together. But tonight, I just had to get in touch with the fact that deep down, I sometimes feel like my illness has ruined the vision of life we had for ourselves.
Even more amazing, perhaps, than the relief I felt at expressing these irrational – but understandable – feelings, is the sublime dance that the three of us do together in that little office for 50 minutes. Over beer and a deliciously unhealthy dinner afterwards this evening, I referred to us as a “power trio” – like, say, Cream. Mike agrees that I am Eric Clapton, he is Jack Bruce and our therapist is Ginger Baker, holding it all together with her solid backbeat. It’s hard work we do together, but we do rock very, very hard.