Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Disease of Fear. And Isolation

Dark is starting to fall (By way of explanation, for details oriented folk - I wrote this in the evening, posting it the next day) and I can feel the fear starting to sneak into my heart. And my mind. The what ifs, and the what does this mean, and the what happens now. And those questions lead to more fear in my heart. The kind of fear that is cold and clammy. Like when you wake up from a nightmare, heart pounding, and wonder which reality is true. The kind of fear that travels thorough your veins like icicles. The kind of fear that leaves a residue in your mouth and stomach, a coating of apprehension and foreboding. Like waiting for the shoe to drop, the sky to fall, the end to come. It is haunting. And cruel. And attacks you when you are alone.

Cancer runs off of fear. And isolation. But mostly fear. There is this whole general societal fear around it. The basic flavour being that cancer is the “C” word, whispered if it must be spoken of. Hidden away like a family secret. Not sure if that is related to the way we seem to blame the person who has the cancer and so we foster a shame at having the disease, resulting in the diagnosed apologetically keeping it quiet. Or if it is a collective fear of, I don’t know, getting it ourselves, how hard the death is reputed to be, or some sort of mystical quality. Not sure. I had never first hand seen someone go through cancer and so I wasn’t afraid of the disease as much as I was afraid of the aura around it.

And then there is the personal fear. The little things we think about in the back alleys of our minds after we have been given the Bad News. The looking into our past, both wondering if we did something to deserve this, and trying to reconcile our life. And the looking into our future, what procedures are necessary, who do I listen to, what if the treatment doesn’t work, what will my quality of life be, what is in my control and what isn’t. It isn’t easy. It isn’t pleasant. It isn’t what anyone what’s to spend their quiet, alone time doing. I was discouraged from watching frightening or violent movies when I was going through treatment. Once, forgetting that the first movie/book, The Lord of the Ring, doesn’t end well, (makes sense that it doesn’t, seeing as there are 2 more episodes to go, but I was young when I read them, and was looking for mental distraction), I went to see it, and in the scene where Frodo and friends are hiding in the roots of the tree as quietly, and invisibly as they can, from the Ring Wraiths, I could feel the fear leap off of the movie screen into my nervous system (emphasis on the nervous) and attack me. Apparently, unlike cancer, fear is contagious. Makes me wonder if people caught it from society or society caught it from people.

And, of course, the isolation. It feels so alone, this getting and having cancer (even when the growing statistics tell us we are not, in fact, alone, the feeling carries on). It is a sad, weird club to belong to and it’s hard to relate to if you haven’t walked the road yourself, (I know there are many such roads, and I don’t mean to minimize other trips like this, that only the chosen can relate to, and I am betting we feel this alone in each one of those journeys, perhaps it is an important part of the journey itself). And then there is the way where we actually do isolate (as oppose to just the feeling of it, as above). The go it alone, I am fine, don’t worry about me thing. The who wants to hear the details anyway, I will just be burdening people thing. You know, trying to make it less hard for other people. The people that love us. And then everyone is so busy having a stiff upper lip that on one can say what they are really feeling.

Here is what I say:

Don’t let fear sneak in! You are not alone! You don’t need to do it alone!


At 9:47 AM PST, Blogger Alda said...

I hope you're taking your own advice. Don't let it dig its claws into you!

At least it's comforting to those of us who love you that you're not doing it alone and you're sharing with us every step of the way through this blog.

You're in my thoughts today. A couple more hours to go before we can start celebrating your health. I'll be watching.

At 12:30 PM PST, Blogger Signy said...

Ah hah!

Perfect timing!!!! I just finished posting my fear thoughts. Nark!!! What brings me closer to Goddess, to love, to faith...

Gratitude, I guess, so here goes:

I am grateful it is not raining, and I am grateful there are no sandflies, and I am grateful for all the amazing support I am getting, and I am grateful for Maggie, I am grateful for the fabulous health I enjoy, I am grateful for the miracle of having a 3cm lump and no metatesis (see I can't even spell the word, clearly, it has no place in my life!!!).

There are a few things I am not grateful for right now (Alda, feel free to read between those lines), it makes it harder to find the things to enjoy.

And, I will persist in the efforts.

Thanks again, you keep me true!


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