“Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears but from getting to know them well.” -Pema Chondron
I still don’t know anything more about my cancer since the last time I wrote. Unless you count the Google searches I did which led me down a very black hole of misconstrued information and fear.
Note to self: Let’s not ever do that again.
I’m not myself, as you could expect. Besides the huge bags I’m carrying under my eyes, I think I just look . . . hollow. I’m pretty sure the worry is written all over my face and the stress is making my white hairs grow in faster. Vanity aside, it’s hard to feel so different from myself. Emotionally, I’m wrecked. I think the last time I was this fragile was during my breakdown of 2003. (I like to refer to it like that. Makes it sounds like I’m a character from a Woody Allen film.) Or maybe when I was 19 and my dad died.
I have cried a lot. This is, obviously, an understatement. Minor stressors have broken me into tears. Like too much downtown Seattle traffic to navigate which on a normal day just makes me pissed off but this time made me cry. Our dance instructor asked again about what kind of surgery I had so I just blurted out, “I have cancer.” Then I went to the bathroom to compose myself so I could come back out and dance with Mr. Darcy. Most of the time I can keep it together in public but it’s a tremendous effort and usually results in me crying in my car.
Maintaining that level of composure is very exhausting. People say I am handling it very well. That I’m brave. That I’m so strong. I don’t feel like I am. Inside I’m constantly having to talk myself off the tipping point of a complete freak out. Friday night I wasn’t so successful so Mr. Darcy came home to find me a crumpled mess on the bed, wailing about my fear of dying. If there were Olympic medals for being The Best Fiance, Mr. Darcy should win the gold.
The not knowing is making my mind think crazy thoughts. I’ve always had an over-active imagination and a flair for the dramatic. Pair that with my impatience and my need to control everything and we have a recipe for disaster. I’ve started to doubt all the things I think I was told by my doctor. Did she really say it was small? Did she just reassure me that I’m not going to die because she felt bad for me? What if it’s spread? What if everyone gets sick of me talking about it and forgets about me? WHAT IF! WHAT IF! WHAT IF!
This is just a sampling of the thoughts running rampant in my brain that steal my focus and keep me from sleeping.
Besides the fears of, you know, dying and having to have a hysterectomy (or worse), I’m afraid of changing. It’s already happening. You can’t face this kind of news about yourself and not be changed by it. And while I am hoping the end result makes me a more together, compassionate, stronger woman, the process of feeling all this and having it shape me in a new way is so extremely uncomfortable. I have never felt more exposed, vulnerable, and not in control. I’m attempting to greet all my fears and get to know them instead of punching them in the face and running the other way.
I really want to punch them in the face though. (But I won’t.)
And so I wait to talk to the gyno oncologists. For answers I’m not sure I’m prepared to hear. For a plan that isn’t at all the one I’d designed for myself. Maybe once I talk to them, even if the news isn’t what I want to hear, I’ll feel better because I’ll have more concrete information.
I’m just waiting for the moment when I don’t have to walk around holding my breath anymore.