[cancer] Things I am afraid of

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 any more
  • 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.

6 thoughts on “[cancer] Things I am afraid of

  1. the thing about being afraid is, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be brave, not going to carry through, not going to try–it just means you’re human. when you’re afraid, it gives people a chance to support; but it gives them leave to be afraid, too, and can get talking done that might not get done otherwise. it can be a window for honesty. that’s a thing to be scared about, not getting talking done. we should do it without the scary stuff, but sometimes, a lot of times, we don’t.

  2. X says:

    I have just discovered this blog looking for info about Mainspring, and now I have discovered that. I hope it’ll go well. In Italy we have an idiom: “in bocca al lupo!”. BTW, don’t give up!

    1. Jay says:

      Enjoy the book!

  3. John Picacio says:

    Hey, Jay —

    Keep fighting. You’ve got friends out here who believe in you.


    1. Jay says:

      Thank you, John.

  4. Tziedel says:

    Hello Jay,

    delurking to say that whatever happens, be gentle with yourself, and know there are people thinking of you and wishing for the best for you and your family.


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