Like the title says, fear is a weird thing.
It’s not even one thing; the bitter, hot, sharp fear that you get when you know a fight is about to happen is different from the deep, cold dread you feel when someone you know is very sick and that’s different again from the background fear that comes in when you yourself are sick. The fear that just hums away in the back of your mind.
When I first got diagnosed I felt the hot fear. My heart rate jumped up, I couldn’t hear properly for a few seconds (I think. Memory is even weirder than fear.). I had the same thing when I found out I needed chemo, but both times that fear faded back into the background. I got caught up in just doing everything I needed to do to survive and the fear had to take a back seat. The fear was always there, ready to poke its head out at weird times, but it never went back to being that sharp, intense fear.
Until this morning.
I needed a CT scan to make sure that the cancer has stayed away after we punched it in the face with chemotherapy. I had been anxious before then but nothing too terrible, normally the worst thing about a CT scan is feeling like you’ve peed your pants after they shoot you full of contrast dye. But while I was waiting my turn I felt a sudden rush of real, sharp fear. I felt like I wanted to punch something, preferably while also running away. This wasn’t down to a bad result, I won’t get the results until Thursday, it was just one of the those moments where my body decided that punching seven different shades of crap out of cancer was a viable strategy, and if that didn’t work fleeing down the hallway crying was also a workable plan B.
As bad as the fear was, it didn’t last.
A little kid ran by me trailing a sizable amount of toilet paper (and an exasperated parent) and that was enough to send the fear back into its lair at the back of my mind. By the time the nurse arrived I felt back to my normal self, but just for that one moment my normal self was nowhere to be found.
I hate that feeling. I worry about what I’ll do or say when fear has the reins.
I’m just lucky that little kid went running by.
As far as I can tell, I’m fine. In fact I’m in better health now than I’ve been for a long time, but that fear is always there, waiting for its moment.
I think that’s what I’m most afraid of. Not the cancer itself, if it comes back there are other things we can try, but that when the fear slithers back out into the world, I won’t be able to pull it back in again.