As I sit in my oncologist’s waiting room, I begin to feel my pulse race. My heart feels like it wants to jump out of my chest. My knee begins to bounce. I’m squirming in my chair as I try to find a comfort level; I just can’t sit still. I try to focus on reading my book, but my mind can’t concentrate. This happens every six months. Every. Six. Months. It’s insane!
I like my doctor. I like the nurse. I don’t mind getting my blood checked. I don’t mind answering questions. What is it then? Ah, I know! It’s this little thing called fear.
It’s hard to believe that I am fearful. Black widow spiders, yes. Snakes, absolutely. Running into a bear on my hiking trips, without a doubt. But, being fearful of the bi-annual appointments is something different.
These past few years have been difficult to say the least. I’ve been diagnosed with pre-cancer, then with invasive cancer. I’ve had x-rays, MRI’s, ultrasounds, and a bone scan. I’ve been checked for ovarian cancer resulting in a loss of an ovary. I’ve had a heart monitor to check on an irregular rhythm. I think I’ve had enough.
I’ve come to realize though that it’s not the fear of the doctor’s office. It’s the fear of the outcome. I’ve been dealt quite the hand lately, and I just don’t want to add to it. I guess, in a way, it’s the fear of recurrence. What would I do if my cancer returned? What would happen if it showed up somewhere else? What would I tell my family? I’ve risen above the cards handed to me, but would this added one put me over the edge?
Fear of recurrence is common among cancer survivors. In fact, fear is an instinctive emotion. We wouldn’t touch a hot stove for fear of getting burnt. However, I believe fear has a purpose. Without fear, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to improve our lives. We wouldn’t change our exercise routine or eat a healthier diet. We wouldn’t advocate for our own needs at the doctor’s office. We wouldn’t make sure to cherish the life we have in front of us. We wouldn’t have been driven to make those changes without the fear of what may come back into our lives.
Fear has two meanings:
Forget Everything And Run – or – Face Everything And Rise
It’s your choice!
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