As a two time winner of the cancer lottery (two unrelated cancers), the fear of getting cancer again is part of my daily existence. With every ache or pain, every bruise, every symptom, I can’t but wonder if it’s cancer-related. I realize this sounds a bit paranoid, and it probably is. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that the thoughts of another cancer scares the shit out of me.
The thought of cancer is always with me. It’s there with every morsel of food or drink that I put in my mouth. (Is it a healthy choice?) It’s there with every movement that hurts and reminds me of the side effects. It is there every time I look at my son and I wonder if I will get to see him grow to be a man. I know that’s not a guarantee for any of us, but there’s a greater awareness of mortality when you have to face cancer head on.
This past week has been harder for me than usual, for some reason. There are the ongoing Femara side effects which seem to accumulate after a period of time (prompting me to take a break). I am in some form of pain always. There are those UTI symptoms, with a negative UTI lab result. There’s the headache that has persisted a few days this week, and pain that shoots from my right shoulder blade down to my fingers. All this pain starts to get to you after a while. How do you know what’s “just” a side effect, what’s something normal (sinus infection, stress, etc.), and what’s something that you really need to pay attention to? For me, I guess I need to pay attention to all of it, but it’s exhausting. In the absence of solid answers from the medical community, I spend a lot of time reading and Googling and chatting with others in the same boat trying to make sense of it on my own. This is good and bad. Sometimes I find an article that makes me feel relieved; other times I find something that scares me. But I want to be on my guard and can’t wait to see my doctors to get answers.
Maybe over time my paranoia will subside. I sure hope it does, as I think it would drive me crazy after a while. I don’t want to forget it, as the cancer perspective allows you to look at life differently and to appreciate the little things. It’s the fear that also drives me to do all the healthy things I can for my body. I don’t want to get complacent or lose that fighting instinct.
A friend posted the following prayer on Facebook tonight and the timing is so perfect. I have been praying for healing in a multitude of ways. Loved this one! (Thanks, Beth!)
New recipe tonight… Roasted Cabbage. It sounded a lot better than it was. Maybe it was because I excluded the bacon bits! 🙂 I’m trying to increase my cruciferous vegetables, but this wasn’t the way to do it.
Cape Fear (1991) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101540/