Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Fear is an ugly monster. It sits in your closet and waits until you are dressed and ready to go before it jumps out and scares the shit out of you. It's the little voice in the back of your head that you cover with fun or booze or love or activism. It's the fine line between being naive and proactive. If you've had cancer, fear is something you learn to live with every day. Some days are worse than others - the day of a check up, or getting your boobs smooshed in square holes. Some days you forget about fear altogether. But it's never gone. It just hides bakc in your closet behind your winter sweaters.

I am not one to revel in the fear. I'd rather do something ridiculous - use my fear as adreneline. There have been a few times where I have wrestled with fear and it won. And when fear wins, it leaves behind that girl you hate. The girl who's insecure, emotional, pathetic. The girl who worries too much and doesn't do enough. The girl who trades her grace for weakness.

God, I hate that girl.

In the past year and a half, there are a couple times where I've lost my battle with fear. One time was watching friends lose their fight. It made the reality of cancer - the fact that people actually die from this - crystalize in my mind. See I'm not really afraid of cancer coming back. In fact, I sort of beleive one day it will. And if it does, I'll deal with it. Stage IV cancer, however - scares the shit out of me. We can be politically corrrect and look to all the Elizabeth Edwards in the world, but the truth is, right now, stage IV cancer is not curable. It's treatable. Meaning it can buy you time. Hopefully that's enough time for people to figure out how to cure you. But right now, they can't. Stage IV means you don't live until you're 80. When I was diagnosed, I never thought about dying. It was only after digging myself deep into this disease, that the statistics became people. People who died.

So you become afraid. Afraid of getting the call when "we saw something unusual in your scan." Or feeling pain that just doesn't seem to go away.

I'm losing my fight with the fear monster as we speak. See, I've been having back pain for about a month. Now, it could be the fact I've been working out more lately. Unfortunately, the muscle pain is a whole different issue. But it's on my spine - like a bruise on my bone that hasn't gone away. It's bothering me enough that it wakes me up at night sometimes. It's bothered me enough that I moved up my annual PET scan because of it. I went in on Monday. And to be perfectly honest, I didn't get the best feeling from the scan. Little red flags... another tech coming in to look, the tech who tells me I "should call" my doctor. All in all, if I was nervous going in, I'm even more nervous waiting for results.

And I've gone to that dark place. The place I'm not sure I've ever been to. The fear monster squeezes all rational thought out of me. I've thought about living wills and who would get my stuff and what would I want at my funeral. I've thought about the children I may not have or leaving Alan alone. In essence, I've fallen off my rocker with fear. What if this bone pain is bone mets? Could I do it? Could I face it with the same "Strength" everyone tells me I have? I'm really not sure. And then of course, I tell myself not to be stupid. That I'm fine. Stop freaking out for nothing. Except we hear all the time to listen to our body. That we can tell if something's off. And my body is screaming at me. That same yell when I first found the lump.

So I'll sit by the phone. Hope for arthritis or a herniated disc or some other issue that can be solved. Hoping I'm nuts. Overreacting.

Here's to hope beating the shit out of fear.

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