I have four blog posts started and unfinished because I can’t get my head on straight. Anyone else feel unsettled? I know it’s not just me. I’ve got this weight of pending business sitting on my chest. It’s anxiety, I’m sure, but due to what? My life contains such a collection of stressors that it feels like no one person could possibly hold it all. But so many of us are managing just as much. I feel I’m grasping at straws here. Trying to make sense of this crazy, big world, while trying to maintain sanity in my tiny household microcosm.
Do you feel that way too?
My attention span is what I imagine it might feel like to have ADHD. I have so many tasks I’m trying to accomplish in one day that they all only get half completed. Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t a cry for help because I’m too busy. It’s just that life is so overwhelming to me right now.
I have another CT scan coming up. It’s the first one since I began this new chemotherapy. Although I feel quite confident this chemotherapy is working, I feel more anxious than I have felt in a long time. I guess it’s been a while since I had a good scan. May of 2017 was the last time I had a scan that suggested my cancer was stable. My dad was alive then. Since then, my cancer has been growing.
I’m not worried; I’m just anxious. I feel confident that this chemotherapy (Gemcitabine or gentle gem, as they call it) is working. I have noticed changes in my primary tumor that seem positive. I feel relatively good- just tired from the accumulation of chemo in my body. I can handle this chemo. I think. I mean, I can handle it as well as anyone faced with a lifelong prescription of toxic IV medicine could.
While I say I feel confident that this chemotherapy is working, as I lay on the massage table the other day with a chunk of Auralite on my forehead to help connect with my spirit guides and sweep away my mental debris, I realized with sudden clarity that all of this anxiety is coming from fear. I am petrified of so many things right now that I can’t think.
I’m afraid I don’t know my own body. I feel good. I look good. I am functioning fairly well for a person with this degree of disease and with the longevity of my chemotherapy treatments. I feel like my cancer is going away. I don’t feel disease. But I never felt disease. I never felt bad. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the cancer is worse. Every ache and pain, every time I can’t breathe deeply, every moment my digestion seems off or I get a headache, I consider if it’s normal bodily functions or cancer. I’m frozen, teetering on the edge of a bottomless precipice and I’m profoundly afraid.
I’m afraid for myself, but then that fear spawns other fears.
I am afraid that my children are going to be shot at school. I don’t understand why AR-15 rifles are available to purchase. I find myself arguing with people on Facebook or listening to the news and I become so enraged about gun control and protecting our children that I feel out of control. The news has become so incredibly anxiety provoking to me because I’m afraid I’ll hear something else that will make me even more scared, that instead of pressing play on my preferred news source, the Up First podcast by NPR, I instead listen to My Favorite Murder. Which is a comedy podcast about murder. Actual murders that have occurred. How fucked up is that? I’d rather listen to stories about murder than listen to our daily news. Murder comedy is less upsetting and triggering to me than the news. I am more afraid that my children will be murdered at school than by a serial murderer. I am more afraid of wars, and budget cuts to education and health, and racism, and animals going extinct and our president than I am afraid of murder.
I’m afraid of what you might think of me. I write all of this stuff and I bumble through this life trying to put one foot in front of the other and do the right thing, but I’m bound to screw something up. I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing. I’m afraid of your judgement. And of mine. I’m afraid of losing human connection but also of having too much human connection because it’s exhausting and draining.
I’m afraid I might snap. When you think of how fragile the human mind can be, it truly is a miracle I haven’t yet. I mean, just how much can one person take? That’s what happens, right? Sometimes people just snap.
This world is scary. It seems to be getting worse with every school shooting and every press conference. And when I think about how awful everything is, it makes me wonder what the fucking point of life even is.
There is so much ugliness. So much anger and so much to be terrified of. This is where I am. This is how I’m doing. This is all I have for you right now.
I guess that’s why I’m not producing content for this blog right now. Because all I can think about is when all four members of my family will be together under my roof of my house. So I don’t have to be scared. And when they are all here and I can look out from the kitchen and see my kids choreographing dances to P!nk and my husband tending to the fire in our fireplace, that’s when I know that everything is fine. That I am well and that they are safe. But beyond these walls, I don’t have that security.
So, I hold my breath. Maybe I’ll find some relief on Wednesday, after I get the results of my scan and maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll still be anxious because the world won’t be fixed and in that case, you can find me in the kitchen, waiting for my family to come home.