I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose
here in this lonely place..." Sarah Mclachlan
I think the hardest thing about this whole experience is the fear.
There is fear of the known - I have an aggressive type of cancer that could recur and kill me. I have to go in every three weeks and have them poison me in order to try and make that first fear not happen.
Worse I think is fear of the unknown: I have a friend a little younger than me who experienced cancer back in college. Now she is facing open heart surgery because her radiation treatment ruined her heart valve. I just had my 2nd MUGA scan to make sure that my heart is still handling the drugs they are giving me, but congestive heart failure is a possibility as a result of my treatments.
I made the mistake of reading the MSN list of people who died in 2011. I didn't count, but it seemed to me like a whole bunch of them died from some cancer or another.
A Cancer diagnosis throws death right in your face. Even though my diagnosis was "good" (is that an oxymoron?) I still had to wrestle with the fact that I have a disease that could kill me in a thousand different ways. I know that most of these fears are not realistic, I have a reasonably good long term prognosis. But, in the middle of the night, when you are the only one awake, these fears take hold of you.
I'm afraid I won't see my son graduate from college, or get married and have children.
I'm afraid that my hair will grow back all wispy and grey and I will look like an old lady at 40.
I'm afraid that my marriage will not survive the stress of this experience.
I'm afraid I'll never feel sexy in a low cut blouse again - to me, there is nothing remotely attractive about the robo-boob artifice of muscle and silicone and ink. I know the boob is gone forever.
I fear that when the time comes for me to go back to my 'normal' life...i.e. the one I was living before I got my diagnosis, that it won't be able to live up to my expectations of what my new life post-cancer should be.
I'm afraid my nails will turn black and fall off during this treatment, and that I will lose feeling in my fingers and toes and never get them back.
In the end, I know that I will live through these fears, some will come to pass, some will not, and I will figure out how to incorporate the new reality of my life and move on. But, still....there are those moments in the middle of the night....
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along'. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt.