So there I was beside the tub (not in it, but beside). Zsolt - my clever husband - had suggested I take a hot bath to calm my cramping and it had sounded like a good idea. Except suddenly the cramps became really strong, like really strong, and neared my ‘this is not okay’ pain level threshold. So there I was at the edge of my threshold when a scary, ever-lurking thought popped into my head: “what if it’s ovarian cancer?” and next thing I know, I’m kneeling on the ground (hadn’t even managed to run my bath) of my parents lovely white tiled bathroom, trying not to pass out – not from the pain (though geeeeez it was uncomfortable), but from the fear.
Now, I’m not exactly familiar with the panic attack . . . but figure that the whole “I’m going to pass out” thing is a symptom of the event. And it’s not like I’m unaccustomed to some cramping. Every since my period returned, there has been a steady four week cycle of off then on cramping. Period pain isn’t abnormal (though should it be normal, I’m not sure.)
Therefore: Why did I almost pass out onto the floor?
Sigh . . .
Because as mentioned in other posts, I’m a wee bit haunted by last year’s breast cancer diagnosis and the implications. And now, when things go wrong (yesterday’s situation revolved around strong cramps that wouldn’t let up . . . okay, so about forty minutes after they started everything had subsided, thank goodness for hot water bottles, but that was one heck of a forty minutes moment.), when things go wrong, even if I get a weird looking pimple or feel a bump on my arm, my initial thought is almost always the same: What if the cancer is back?
And then, yesterday, I had a second thought as well:“is this what labour feels like?” But you’d have to tell me, cause I have no idea about labour.
Clearly I have issues (and yeah, I've decided to get some help working through my emotions). Despite ‘finishing’ treatment, there’s still a long way to go and there’s nothing like dipping back into fear and pain and memories to reiterate the fact that this journey isn’t over. Maybe you feel the same way? Some days we can forget, other days we’re hyperventilating. Anyhow, I guess in the ‘cancer’ process there’s a certain order: diagnosis, treatment (which is a blanket way of covering the surgeries, drugs, drips and hormones) and then, if you are fortunate, comes healing.
Today I’d argue that healing is an equally important phase compared to any other. It’s how life gets back on track. It’s how we learn to let go and live. Honestly, I had hoped to be beyond the fear by now, but obviously that hasn’t yet happened. Though it’s coming, I’m sure that good place, that warm-fuzzy-feeling of release is coming. It's happened for other surviors; it will happen for me too. Sorry to keep bringing up this anxiety (continuing on from last week, only this time with phantom labor while attempting to bathe). Clearly it's a larger issue than I'd initially realized.
Now is my time to heal, and that's a self-exploratory job in itself. Which is why, and yes I guess I occasionally need reminding, Zsolt and I returned to Canada. Time to heal, baby, heal. Make it all feel better.
But isn’t life itself a work in process? We're always healing, always growing in some way or another, which is a comfort.
One step at a time, that’s my mantra, one step at a time and a few dance moves thrown in for good measure. And jiving, stepping, and feeling the way forward, this worry will be conquered. This worry will be healed.