The Cancer Chase

Cancer.

Everything about that word makes the bile in my belly rise and the hair follicles on my arms pucker in fear.

Cancer.

Saying or even thinking the word gives me shivers. The difference between the hard and soft ‘c’ sounds make the word sound like a scaly boa constrictor slithering its way around my chest. I’m suffocating from it.

No drinks with sucralose or aspartame.No furniture made with formaldehyde.No more chicken nuggets or hot dogs.Only eat organic fruits and vegetables.No household cleaners.No alcohol.No smoking.No microwaved popcorn.No artificial dyes.Stay out of the sun.Stay away from pollution.

The list of carcinogens, or cancer causing materials, is endless, and if I let myself think about everything I would need to avoid to avoid cancer, I probably wouldn’t ever leave my house.

Complications from cancer have killed strangers, acquaintances, friends, friends of friends, parents of friends, grandparents of friends, and family.

My grandma.

My mom.

My aunt.

It’s everywhere, tightening its grip on my lungs each time I exhale.

Since my mom passed away, I’ve had constant irrational fears that death by cancer will be my unfortunate, inevitable demise. I believe that I will end up just like her: in hospice on a morphine drip for my last days of life. I’m sure that the disease is already lying dormant in some unsuspecting corner of my body – ready to strike and steal everything I love away when I least expect it.

It’s not death that has had me looking over my shoulder in fear. I think the older we get, the more we come to understand that death, like birth, is a part of the cycle. We all must endure it at some point. But the pain, surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation that come with cancer – sometimes lasting for years – have given me the kind of nightmares where I scream myself awake. Nightmares that leave me in sweats with labored breath and a heart pounding through my chest.

And the drugs given to help cancer make me cringe, too. They wreak havoc on your insides, making your organs burn like they are on fire, and cease to function properly. Chemotherapy and radiation can kill your healthy, happy cells along with the sick ones and slowly take you from the life you love.

What happens if It catches up to me? Am I next? Am I strong enough to endure whatever torturous medicines I’m prescribed? Who would protect and provide for my girls and my husband if I were to get sick? Am I destined to die from the disease that keeps stealing the women in my family?

I now realize that these are questions I can’t answer.

The older I get, the more lives I’ve had to watch slip between the cracks of my fragile fingers from this disease. But I’ve decided not to coil away from that monster anymore. Instead, I’m going to look it in the eye, with my fists clenched so hard my fingernails bury themselves deep into the fatty part of my palms, and I’ll acknowledge the possibility of cancer, just like the possibility of no cancer. I’ll let the fear slide off my back instead of continuing to encircle me.

I can’t let cancer control my thoughts anymore.

It’s time to breathe.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

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34 thoughts on “The Cancer Chase

  1. Be kind to yourself during this time; I have also just started this journey and will keep you in my prayers here in KY. I had no idea how hard this could be on the emotional psyche. Love sent to u and hope u will find peace and rest in the support of others

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your anxiety became my anxiety during this piece. You did a fantastic job of showing that. You must be a strong person indeed to endure and come out swinging after this. Your mom and aunt and grandma would be proud of you today. Xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have no way of knowing what’s ahead. Last year I was diagnosed with a rare and very easily treated cancer, and upon hearing the diagnosis I said “That’s not possible, I’m supposed to die of a heart attack” the way almost all of my relatives have. My heart is fine (at least for now).
    You expressed your fears well and brought me into your experience which is why I read. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought you put your fears across really well here D. I felt as if I was with you through the moments you talk about too. I hope by writing this it does help you to move away from the fear.

    One teeny, tiny, nitpick – I found the ‘CANCER!’ insert in the piece, around the halfway mark, a little distracting. I’m not sure if you needed it.

    Other than that – this was a beautifully constructed essay which gave me the feels.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That paragraph where you don’t put spaces after the periods… It works. Like, it really does feel like that to have all those restrictions. I would never think to do that. It could be because I’m pretty … grammar clenched. Yes, let’s call it that. Almost every woman in my family has had breast cancer. It is hard to enjoy these glorious tatas without also thinking about the future. MEN HAVE NO IDEA DO THEY?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on cancer and how it has affected you. As a 20 year old, I have been recently diagnosed with cancer and am undergoing treatment. As I read your post, it struck home for me. To stand up to the beast and to not let it run my whole life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some encouraging words that means a great deal to me in everything I face: What you focus on will overwhelm you. Well done for choosing not to focus on it! Your mind is stronger than you think!
    Be the one in your family that breaks the cycle.
    God bless you with great health!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That was an amazing post. I just opened a blog up yesterday so I can use it as my journey journal with my own newly diagnosed cancer. Stomach cancer. I have my first appointment with my Oncologist on the 23rd of this month. I am scared to death already! My blog is cancerjournal.blog I will follow your posts now. Sandy

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Life is hard. We know it. Still, we have to fight with our problems and keep moving forward in life, as we have to utilise our true potential and enjoy every moment of life till we are alive. Otherwise, our existence becomes futile. Never get discouraged. You are not alone. We are there to support you in your struggle.

    If you feel, you can visit my blog:
    https://cheerfulbeings.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

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