Lingering Thoughts

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.

Randy Armstrong

Cancer, as they say, is the gift that keeps on giving. Once it makes its way into your life, it has a way of permanently imprinting itself into your thoughts. With every “ouch” I hear, the fear of cancer sneaks into my head. The fear I have of my cancer recurring is nothing compared to the fear I have of cancer touching my loved ones. I would relive my journey a million times, just to make sure it stays far far away from them. It’s not a debilitating fear that I can’t stop thinking about, but it definitely lurks around in my head.

Before all this chaos, I would watch movies or read books that had cancer as part of their storyline; it would be heart breaking of course, but it was always just a story to me. Make believe. Acting. Fiction. Something that just wouldn’t happen to me or anyone I love. Nowadays, these stories make me extremely emotional because I completely understand the fear that they portray. I understand the sadness behind it all. I understand the anxiety. It’s not just a story to me anymore, it’s something that did happen in my life, and that could actually happen again. I have learnt that no one is really invincible. Not me, not my family, not you, no one.

With all three of my kids at school, and life almost back to normal after the pandemic, our trips to our family doctor have become more frequent. Ear infections, tonsillitis, colds… Swollen lymph nodes terrify me. I used to find solace after a check up, and a confirmed diagnosis. But the worry doesn’t end there anymore. Totally unnecessary I know, but it’s out of my control. Every ache and pain the kids complain about, my mind fears the dreaded “C” word. Our family doctor knows my story, so he is pretty good at calming me down. He reminds me that he did everything he needs to do, and there is nothing to worry about. If it were up to me, I’d be doing CT scans & MRIs anytime something doesn’t seem right, blood tests every month, and PET scans every year just incase. Not just for me, but for the whole family. Yes, I know how absurd that sounds. Yes, I do know the side effects of all the radiation associated with those tests. And no, I wouldn’t actually do it.

I can’t control the thoughts in my head. Worrying about the ones I love causes a totally different level of anxiety. An exceptionally amplified level of anxiety. I even worry about having these thoughts, I feel like it’s a bad omen. I know they are there because of everything I’ve been through. It’s normal I guess. I do hope they fade away with time, but for now I can only control how I act upon them. I try not to let these fears paralyse me. I try to talk myself out of any crazy thoughts, and remind myself of the reality of the situation I’m in.

Be prepared for the tough times, but be even more prepared to embrace all the good things life also has to offer. Life comes with many hardships, but it’s also full of blessings. Don’t let the tough moments blind you. After all, it doesn’t rain forever, but we do need a bit of rain to see the rainbow. And what a pretty sight it is when we do get even just a glimpse of it!

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