Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fear of Cancer

Wouldn’t you think that a (colon) cancer survivor, like me, would be the first one in line for future cancer screenings? Not so much. I religiously have them done, but the trip to the clinic always feels like a death march. Tests and screenings scare the crap out of me.

You see, I think people that have beaten cancer once should have earned a free pass for the rest of their natural lives. I’m fully aware that is a ridiculous statement, and that many people have to fight the battle multiple times. Survivor doesn’t even seem a strong enough appellation. Maybe “gladiator”? Some eventually lose their brave battle, and that’s what many of us fear. Will cancer find us again and claim us? The fear never really goes away.

Oddly enough, I don’t actually think it’s death I fear. I fear surgery, disfigurement, chemotherapy, and feeling like a victim. When faced with the reality of cancer, I let them cut on me, I vomited through attacks of debilitating nausea, slept through drug-induced fatigue, comforted my husband, and came to terms with the possibility of dying. I beat cancer once, eight years ago. I hope to God I don’t have to do it again.

Yesterday I went for my annual mammogram. I have fibroids that make doctors nervous, although I do not have a family history of breast cancer. So I go, sweating all the way, for my diagnostic procedure. Good news – all is well yet again. The next cancer screening planned (other than my annual mammogram) will be a colonoscopy, early in 2012.

I guess we all fear something. This fear of cancer is my bugaboo, and I know I am not alone. If the fight comes around to me again, I’ll do whatever I have to do to beat it once more. But I can’t guarantee I won’t be muttering, “But I thought I had a pass...”

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, and I agree, as a survivor, you SHOULD get a pass!