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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-07-12 05:17
Subject: [cancer] The slow return of the Fear
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
It's funny what I'm afraid of and not afraid of. Surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy gave me a lot of negative experiences and emotions, but it didn't make me very afraid. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fears through that period, including my recurring fear that I'm dying, or that I'd never be myself again after chemo. But not the mind-numbing, nigh hysterical panic that I call "the Fear".

That one seems to be reserved for times of uncertainty. Like, say, when I have a CT scan imminent (this coming Friday) to see if there are further metastatic tumors that chemo did not put down. Or an oncology consult (next Monday) to discuss said CT scan. And for some reason, I tend to focus on the scans as the frightening part, when in fact all you do is go into a little room and lie still for while as a machine makes funny noises. A CT scan is kind of like bad sex — a brief, boring, pointless time spent horizontal, wondering what the heck you're doing there.

You'd think the oncology consult would be the panic point, since that's where the truth is sung. But no, me, I get hung up on the tech. I'm not having the Fear today, or at least right now, but I can hear it sniffing around in the psychic distance.

I want to be clean. If I have to face surgery again, that won't weird me out too much, because surgery is a one-time event that you then get over. But if I have to face chemo again... ah. You will see some true rage and panic from me.

There's a lot of emotion driving me into this Friday's test. And it's a test, as well as an emotional pinchpoint, that I'll have to go through every three months, possibly for years.

Sometimes I wish I was stronger.

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User: cypherindigo
Date: 2010-07-12 12:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"A CT scan is kind of like bad sex — a brief, boring, pointless time spent horizontal, wondering what the heck you're doing there."

That line has made coming in to work worth the trip.
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User: e_bourne
Date: 2010-07-12 14:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I understand. Mark goes back for a fancy scan in a few months to see if he needs more surgery, or if his body is misbehaving itself again this time. So, yes, I understand. My hope for you is that you will be fine, this visit and all the upcoming ones.
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shelly_rae: Stone Lion
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-07-12 16:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Stone Lion
It's never gotten any easier although the people around me now brush the fear aside. Mostly I just don't mention it anymore. But I know where of both you Elizabeth, and Jay speak. I've done the CT/scan/entrail readings over 45 times in my life now. Of those only about 10 came back with "let's look more" of those only one turned out to be "Bad News".

So. I recognize the fear. Sing a little Oingo Boingo and move on. More or less.
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User: scarlettina
Date: 2010-07-12 15:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are far stronger than you realize, Jay. There's nothing about what you've written or your reactions that is weak or unreasonable or inappropriate. I am constantly amazed and awed by your resilience and your resolve.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-07-12 16:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think this makes perfect sense: as you say, uncertainty is a killer. And the scan is the thing which may or may not find something. It's not weakness, it's natural. Hopefully over time it will get easier, as years go by with no nasty discoveries.
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User: cuddlycthulhu
Date: 2010-07-12 17:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not sure if it helps but you've got a lot of faceless Internet strangers backing you up, sir.

Do you need to be stronger? I don't know, but judging by what I've read so far I'd say you're probably strong enough and that's what's more import, at least IMO.
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patches: hugs & courage
User: 7patches
Date: 2010-07-13 04:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:hugs & courage
You have courage. It will move you past the FEAR, especially since/when you have your family to be there with you.
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