Monday, April 11, 2016

Fear in the time of cancer

Fear is not the same as negativity. Being terrified is not a form of self pity. 

It's frustrating trying to express your fears and having people telling you to stay positive. 

It's exhausting being brave ALL the time. Do you know how much energy goes into holding your shit together when you have a disease that's killing so many people around you?

You'd be mad not to be afraid when you have cancer. 

I'm allowed to worry. I'm allowed to be scared. I'm allowed to treat the doctors' positive opining with suspicion. I'm allowed to be sceptical of words like 'hope' and 'probably'. 

Yes, I'll 'probably' be ok. I 'hope' all will be well. But allow me the space to be scared shitless that I won't. I haven't given up. I have no intention of giving into darkness and negativity. But let me feel grief for the loss of my blissful ignorance and days never ever spent considering things like cancer. I miss that time. I'll never get them back. 

*This is written simply for purposes of release. I'm finding it hard to hold things in at the moment. And truthfully, it's very difficult to find people who are willing to entertain the "what happens if I don't make it?" conversation. It's not a popular one. 

**My surgery went "very well" on Tuesday. I'm in pretty awful pain and look like I've been a couple of rounds with an axe murderer, but after removing my whole thyroid, lymph nodes and all the surrounding tissue, the surgeon seems confident he got all the cancer out of my neck. We'll only know the final outcome after more scans in about a month. 

***A lot of this fear has been prompted by the loss of two kick-ass young people this week. They were both strong and determined to beat cancer, but they lost their battles. Chantel Rall and Igor Najbicz, you're in my heart and my thoughts. Their passing has shaken me to my core. 

****If you have someone in your life dealing with cancer, let them tell you how scared they are. Avoid the temptation to minimise their fear, or squash it into a little rainbow ball and try and make it go away. One of the things I'm most grateful for is my oldest and dearest friend who let me sit in her lounge and cry big cancer tears when this all started. She let me be afraid.