Fear…again and again…

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I wrote this in a notebook at the end of May as I sat with Laura in the infusion room.  I’ve been noticing how fear influences so much of what we do.  I believe that observation…while not revolutionary…will be a common theme from here on out.  I guess I’m publishing it now for 2 reasons: First…the original post for tonight completely sucks.  Second…the idea that fear runs so much of our lives is becoming more and more apparent to me…and I thought I would share a somewhat dramatic example.  Here it is…an unedited presentation of thoughts that came out that day. (I may change my mind and take this one down.  So…read it quickly.)

As I sit here and watch my wife get her infusion I can’t help but look around at the different ways other cancer patients behave here in this room.  Some are reading…some are doing crafts…some are doing nothing.  One woman in particular has my full attention.  She has a small note card sized ring binder with prayers written in it.  Hundreds of them…and she is reciting them as she gets her meds.  I can hear them.  She is scared.

This seems like a common reaction…to turn to god…to pray…for what I can’t say in her case.  If I look at my own experience in this area I will guess that she is praying for healing…maybe comfort…maybe a miracle.  Hell…she could be praying that she wins the lottery.  I really don’t know…but it doesn’t change the point of this observation.

Few of us can imagine anything worse than getting cancer and withering away as we receive this treatment or that…this drug AND that…the whole time living with the unthinkable…we might die from this.  And so we pray.  We pray in an infusion chair…and don’t see the billowing white clouds drifting by in the bright early spring sun.  We wait for these (spring) days…and they arrive…but we don’t see it because we are praying…or begging…or wishing things were different than they are.  I’m not sure how much difference there really is between the three.

The chairs are comfortable…but we don’t feel them.  The room is actually very clean…the nurses friendly…the coffee is free.  Our friends are doing friend things…and they are here…and we still know them.  She walked into the room under her own power.  That is good.  She is getting treatment.  That is good.  Someone who loves her just gave her a call on her cell phone.  That is good too.  But she is scared.  She is scared…and so she prays for something…and misses all that is happening to her that can be considered good.  (I don’t blame her.  I’m just trying to learn something here.)

I am becoming a judgmental SOB…and I know that I won’t even publish this…so WTF.  It’s just an observation.  She…like the past me…is praying her ass off because she is scared out of her ever-loving wits of an unsuccessful end game.  (But it’s only considered unsuccessful because it doesn’t match our game plan.  This isn’t the movies, folks.  People die.)  The point is…as she is praying  her ass off she is miserable.  This prayer is a “Please let me get my life back,” type.  It’s desperate and pleading and begging.  (I wonder if god is saying, “Wait…if your life was so great before why did you bitch about it so much?  Jesus Christ get the f*ck over yourself!”)  I don’t  think it’s possible to plead and beg and be at peace at the same time.

I can tell what she’s praying about.  They say 85% of communication is non-verbal.  That woman is scared out of her wits.  How awful to spend what’s left of our :30 seconds in fear.  I guess the only thing to fear really is fear itself.

More on this later…

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Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I hope you leave this up. Its real. Its thought provoking. Its important.

    • I believe I will, Barbara. Thanks for saying so…

  2. I do agree with you about the fear. My prayers were always more along the lines “I put us (my baby included) in your hands.” I ended it there because whatever happened, happened. Honestly? I wasn’t that scared. I never felt very afraid really. I knew it was not something I could sit around being terrified of. I had to let go of it and just live. And I did. I had a nice pregnancy minus chemo and bedrest. I don’t look back on it with fear or bad memories. I do know what you mean about watching other people get chemo. I never saw someone look that scared. I saw one woman who got very scared during a thunderstorm during her chemo. I love storms. She was scared though. I saw a young boy maybe 18 getting chemo in there a few times….older people too. Yeah I know what you mean and coming from a family full of Baptists I know what you mean about fear. Even I have been there and you are right. There is NO peace when begging and pleading so I cannot possibly think that’s what God would want for us.

    • Honestly I think I’d be scared out of my wits! Then again…I was more worried about the future than I am now. Worry and fear just eat you up. I’ve noticed our society feeds on it. Insurance, lawsuits, whiter teeth, bigger boobs, the “right” clothes, eating right, going bald, getting fat, and of course cancer prevention. It’s so prevalent I’m not sure we even notice anymore.

      As I said…this is probably going to be a common theme because I see it more and more every day.

      Thanks for reading Sandi. And thanks for your insight.

  3. fear drives us to dark and often destructive places.

    your observations and reactions are very raw and real – and i thank you for sharing them.

    i lost a dear friend to cancer and i remember sitting with him during his infusions. i hate and cherish those memories.

    nice place you have here.

  4. This is such an honest post. I’m glad you’re leaving it up to share with others.

    I’ve spent most of my life driven by fear but I’ve faced a lot of demons so it’s not as prevalent as it was. Peace? I’m not quite there. Yet.

    • I guess I’m glad I left it up too. Thanks for the comment…and I think we get closer to living w/o it…the more experiences we have. Isn’t it funny that the younger people are…the more fearless they think they are. The only problem is that in reality they are very afraid…we should remember that about them. (I’ll start by trying to take my own advice. I’m afraid I might not be able to do it…)

      I like the…”Yet.” BTW 😉

  5. Another moving and profound observation of life. “To overcome fear is everything.” To do this, we must stick to the present, be attentive to our life in the here and now, and not dwell on the past or the future.

  6. I love this statement you made “I don’t think it’s possible to plead and beg and be at peace at the same time” Very true! Thanks for being real.


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