Monday, November 23, 2015

Taming Fear



Hi all..it is Monday:) Kinda loving being back to blogging and seeing everyone again. Popping over to other blogs and seeing what is up with you all! :) So today I am gonna tackle a big one for me..fear. There is not much about cancer that does not scream fear. From the first mention of the big C it is well...terror.

When I was in my early twenties my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many of her generation (born in 1923) avoiding the whole thing was common. Sadly it also lead to much later diagnoses and poor results. Mom had a large tumor that had spread to, and beyond her lymph nodes. I walked through chemo and radiation with her.. hair loss and complications from treatments. A few years of calm before she it came back with a vengeance. She struggled with it for several years before succumbing to liver cancer in the end. We lost her in 1987.  I was 27 years old and very pregnant with my daughter Kate. I found out about cancer very early in life. I felt that fear early on as I watched my Mom struggle to cope and survive. But..it was a secondary terror.. a secondary fear. Her's was primary. Something I think is very hard to truly comprehend unless you have been there and fought that beast.
That said..for many years after that I was obsessed with when women were dying of cancer. I looked at the obituaries daily to see when women had passed away from cancer. I know..that was just weird! It shaped my eating habits and my social ones as well. I was not a drinker or smoker. I tried to eat well and exercise. I read books on how to avoid it and breastfed my kids. I was always aware of the possibility of it striking my body. I eventually quit reading the obits..tried to work on what I could to avoid getting it and had my cancer screenings and mammos. The fear was there..just well..not exactly real. Fuzzy..

After I insisted on my lump being excises..right away..and then insisted on a biopsy also..there it was..cancer. I received the phone call from my GP...she needed to see me. No she didn't..I didn't have to even go in to know. It was like some horrid TV show really. I walked in the front door and the receptionist looked up and with tears in her eyes said...I am so sorry Sarah! OMG!!! This is where the real fear starts. Then it is a whirlwind of crazy appointments, impossible decisions ..like would you like to keep all of your boob..part..both gone..here are the insane statistics. Truth be told, it was good that I recorded those first few meetings..cause I didn't remember much. The color of my socks..the carpet ( yup I took this picture)..his voice..that screamed to my empathic ear.."she is not gonna survive this". Then comes the..your tumor is large..aggressive and very uncommon. Well..hello..its me..nothing is ever common LOL~Deep fear.

So the hard part here is this...yes, you fear for your life..that you will lose it..or spend years dealing with this beast. But the big fear..at least for me was leaving my kids behind. Nonni was ten at the time and Fox 15. My wonderful older daughters were just beginning their adult lives and needed me too. I was absolutely not ready to exit stage left. I was determined to battle this beast and win. But the fear and terror you feel as a parent is well..overwhelming. Trying to wrap my head around it was crushing. So I fought..and I won this one. Let's hope I have scared it away for good. That leads to the other part of this..the after part. As one lucky enough to have an after part...

Cancer is not like other diseases ..your more likely to know the cause. Like diabetes..there is generally something to be done about it..you often know why you have it. But many cancers like breast cancer are sneaky beasts. You have no clue really what exactly it was that set off your system to allow it. So you think about it..a lot. Was it the medication I was using..food I ate..water  I swam in..stress that I was dealing with..soda..meat..it goes on and on. So the fear now is..what the hell gave me this and how do I avoid it again! So you are constantly feeling the need to analyze everything. It is exhausting, terrifying..and anxiety creating madness. At some point you have to just scream STOP! That is what I struggle with daily.. making my way back to a life that is not fear driven. I mentioned post traumatic growth in one of the last couple posts..that is what I am working on. Moving beyond the post traumatic stress that cancer creates and into post traumatic growth.

I have always been a.."there is a silver lining in everything" kinda gal. So this week I am stepping away from the stress, being present, and stepping onto the path of growth. Am I still scared..yuppers. Do I still breakdown and cry when Disney kills off another mama..oh geesh yes. But I know without a shadow of a doubt..there is something in all this terror and fear that I will be asked to use to help someone else. So I am looking for things that light my path, meditating, and pointing my great big sword at fear, and saying...ENOUGH! It's time to move forward and leave some of this fear behind!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am very happy to be here again this year~ Thank you for popping by!

Namaste All

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