Cancer’s Sidekick: Fear

A client recently shared with me an article encouraging people to keep their travel plans despite all the craziness in the world, despite any fear one might have. She knows I’m about to embark on an epic European adventure. It got me thinking more deeply about the architecture of fear and that old, over used saying “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” I’ve heard it a thousand times and thought I understood it. But I didn’t truly get it until recently.

It was Halloween when I first heard that I had a nasty bit of invasive breast cancer requiring some form of flesh removal followed by a year of heinous treatment and then wrapped up with years of medication. Happy Halloween. There were ghosts, witches and creepy-crawly things everywhere I looked, including my mind. My overcharged, over-thinking brain dreamt that there was a knock on my door and when I opened the door 2 goblin-like creatures stood there staring back at me. One was pale, flat faced with thin lips. His expression was placid, neutral. He was Cancer. The other figure had a twisted face with a leering grimace that shook me to my bones. It was Cancer’s sidekick – Fear. This reoccurring dream clung to me for weeks. Always Cancer looked the same, arrived at the same door and stood there staring at me blandly. But Fear was unpredictable, disappearing and re-appearing randomly at different doors, materializing in an ugly persistent way. Just like my thoughts.

It has taken 2 years and a whole lot of healing to see and feel things a little more clearly. Not to say I’m not scared anymore. Sure I am. But I’m saying yes to brilliantly crazy invitations like attending an Opera at the Palace of Versaille at the end of May with a dear friend. This of course demands a 9 day stint in a lovely apartment in Paris. Like you do. After that I’m embarking on an 8 day walk in Cornwall with another dear friend, an adventure I’ve always wanted to do but have always thought “I’ll do that when I’m old.” Well I’m not waiting anymore. There will never be a perfect time with a perfect balance of expendable income, free time and good health. I’m making the choice to create the time, spend the money and most importantly, not answer the door when I know it’s Fear.