It hasn’t been my best week. Cancer follies are on hold til July 20th, from a purely medical perspective — appointment then for a follow-up CT scan is the opening measure of the next portion of this symphony. But I spent this past week at my parents’ beach house on the Long Beach peninsula of scenic Washington State, mostly being quite ill with an upper respiratory infection. This did not lend itself to rational consideration of life options, though I did get several very good conversations in with Mom and Dad nonetheless.
Lots more to say, and I’ll be saying it here, but this morning I’ve been noodling with the idea of all the things I’m afraid of. Many of these are no rational, but rationality has never been a prerequisite for existential dread. Most of them are not formless. My fears have very definite form, thank you. (Wonder Twins power activate: in the form of a tumor!) But I find it useful to drag the fears out into the light, turn them over a few times and think about them. That seems to disarm some of their power, and makes me feel better.
So, things I am afraid of:
- Dying soon
- Dying slow
- Dying fast
- Not seeing
graduate from high school (or even 8th grade)
- Chemo head
- Playing whack-a-mole with this shit til it kills me
- Losing myself in a fog of illness and never coming back
- Losing my ability to write
- Losing my desire to write
- The look in my parents’ eyes
- My daughter’s tears
- That I’ll be so sick I won’t be attractive to
- That I’ll spend the rest of my life smelling sick
- That I’ll get too thin on chemo
- That I’ll grow too big on chemo
- That I won’t be able to work and my life will collapse financially
It goes on from there. You get the idea. Hamsters chase one another through my head with alarming alacrity. Irrational or not, they’re real. As chemo grows closer, I dread it more and more. The next CT scan will tell us whether I have tumors on my lungs. I dread that. Every piece of bad news is a strike against my mortality. My life. Myself.
Still, I carry on. Because there are no other choices except to spit at it and fight. I am so tired of being afraid.