I have been drifting lately.
I went for my annual MRI and lots of ‘stuff’ surfaces while I am alone with my thoughts for two hours. Perhaps I should do that more often….be alone with the thoughts. My busy life prevents me from dwelling too much, then suddenly I need to stop and think and it leaves me in an unsettled state of mind.
When I go in for my MRI, they need to get a clear picture of my brain and my acoustic neuroma. To do that, they place a cage over my head and attach it firmly to the bed while they roll me into the tube. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t at all pleasant. I suffer from claustrophobia and tried to keep myself calm enough to not have an anxiety attack. My mind was reeling between thoughts – none of them were positive in the way that made me feel great about my journey. In fact, some thoughts were actually harmful to my psyche.
I had spoken in great length to an incredible friend earlier in the week. We talked about my frustration with people constantly telling me I will be fine.
Dear People: YOU DON’T KNOW THAT. Telling me I am fine makes me feel like my feelings are inconsequential. My feelings just are. I cannot control them, they exist in a way that cannot be altered. I don’t like it, but I have learned to accept my feelings for what they are and not numb them. I know you mean well, and are trying to reassure me, but it just makes me angry.
There is a group of cancer survivors that come to my place of work every Monday night. They are part of a run/walk group that support each other and understand their situations in ways people around them just don’t. i have learned plenty from them. One gal in particular talked about not sharing details about her cancer because she didn’t want to alarm anyone, instead, it made things worse. People worried more about her.
I struggle with how much to share. I grew up with people telling me to stop being so mellow dramatic.
So how much is too much?
I cry on my own a lot. I blame other situations to ease the fear of the one I am facing.
So what exactly am I facing and why does it scare the crap out of me?
Well, here we go.
My Fear for all to see, judge and dissect.
- I fear my bran being altered in a huge way. I notice changes already, like not being able to recall nouns. Descriptors are fine, I can do that. Its like the door in my brain that holds all the nouns is locked. I can see it picture, word, image, but I cannot speak it. it evades me. Not every time, but enough that is scares me.
- I fear my intelligence vanishing. This part may be mellow dramatic, but it is a real fear. I never felt smart. Ever. I have learned and read studies that the more intelligent you are, the less you think you are. Which is why there are shows like JackAss. Those people are not bright, but are POSITIVE they are. With intelligence comes a humbling notation that you do not know everything, sure I tell everyone I do, but I don’t. Going back to University really proved a lot to me. I am smart, capable and understand a whole lot more than I give myself credit for. It scares me that I will lose this. Although sometimes, it might be nice to be dumb enough not to worry about things. It sounds peaceful.
- I fear my personality changing. I like who I am. Whether its a real fear or not, I don’t want to be different unless I make those changes. I like being in control of who and what I am, the thought of a tumour being in control makes me angry.
- I fear I will look like an old person. I am 47 years old. There is a real possibility of me losing the strength in my face, making me look like I had a stroke. Apparently I am vain. I have never felt pretty, or desired…ever. But what I have I embrace. A lot of damage has been done to me over the course of my lifetime. I let men make judgements, and them believed them. I am at the point in my life right now where I am not over it entirely, but over it enough to say I look damn good for someone pushing 50. Please don’t make me look different until I am ready.
- I fear I will not be available for my children. My work has taken me away from them. This upsets me more than the tumour making me unavailable. But a real truth is all four fear reasons I listed above could make become emotionally unavailable or worse, physically unavailable. Death isn’t so much a reality, but vegetablism is. If that happens, please unplug me. I trust my surgeon but anyone can have a bad day. Brain surgery is a big deal and I am not ready for it…now or likely ever. Thankfully I am not in the position to have it…yet.
Over the past 5 years, I am not going lie, my life has been difficult. I recognize other people’s lives haven’t been a cakewalk either. Everyone has their own struggles. I do know this, I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. If you told me I would be standing here with the circumstances that surround me, I would never have believed it.
Yet here I am.
There is one thing I know when everything else seems so lost to me.
Trust the Journey.
It all seems to work out in the end.
I’m just not at the end yet.