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Fear And The Journey

Fear. It can wash over you when you least expect it But mostly, we know what causes us fear, don't we? It's different for everyone. For some fear is crippling. For others, just a nuisance.

When you are diagnosed with cancer there are a lot of things on the journey that evoke fear. For me, it started before the actual diagnosis. It started when I felt the lump. I tried to tell myself it was nothing, but I knew differently. And I was scared. In that case, the fear spurred me on to get that mammogram I had been putting off. It was a good fear.

Then there is scanxiety. Every time some people who have had cancer have to get their follow up scans - and I hear there are a lot of them - they have fear that this will be the time that the cancer is back. That is real.

After my first two infusions of chemo, I ended up in the Emergency Room twice with hives on approx 1/3 of my body, including my face and mouth. As I lay on the bed with an IV of steroids and Benadryl that was NOT helping, I wondered if this would be my life now. I was afraid that the chemo has somehow altered my make-up enough that I would have hives and itchy skin forever. I still hold that fear and probably will until one day, my body goes back to normal and it will be just a memory. And if this is my life now, you ask? Well, I will deal with it. Because that is what we do, isn't it?

Today I had my second round of a new chemo med as the hives indicated that I was allergic to the first group of meds. As I sat in the chair I wondered if this would be the infusion that sends me back to the ER. It's a logical fear, right? Please enjoy this photo of me with baby fuzz on my head and cat hair alllll over my black t-shirt!

The nurses want to get me a port since I still have four more infusions and between IVs and blood draws that's a lot of poking. But I have a fear of the port. I know someone who got an infection in their port and it killed them. KILLED THEM. And even though the smart me knows that it is a very rare occurrence, I still have fear. So I opted out of the port. Apparently, I am the boss of my own body because they said, "Okay." And in this case, the fear of needles, IVs, and shots, doesn't exist. So I lucked out there.

Why am I telling these stories? Because fear is real. Sometimes it follows a line of logic that everyone can see and understand. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it seems irrational - even to the person with the fear. I'm here saying it isn't. Fear is an amazing reaction to things. Sometimes it stops you in your tracks. Sometimes it can be pushed through.

No matter where you are in your journey - be it cancer, stress at a job, or starting a new chapter - know that we all have fear. Don't be ashamed of yours. Wear it, own it, feel it. And then keep moving forward. You are not alone.

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