Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nagging Fears

Some people seem to know what's bothering them right when the issues crop up.

Not me; not if whatever it is relates back to my childhood.  My subconscious tends to chew on such things for a week or two or three before they surface.  In the meantime, I find myself wondering why I feel as I do about some things.

Such has been the case these past few weeks.  My job feels temporary; like I don't need to worry about what's going to happen there in the long term.  I haven't even thought about looking for a house; I want to hold tight to my down payment nest egg, and not tie it up in property.

The reason finally surfaced the other day.  Sure enough, it dates back to Mom's experience with cancer.  Even though I think and hope and pray my story will have a different ending, and even have good reasons to think it will; medical care has advanced leagues since her illness, there are some frightening statistics out there.

I've had to dig for the numbers.  One thing that hasn't changed since Mom died is that people still don't like to contemplate death and recurring illness.  Even on the web, they don't like to talk about recurrence rates.

Even with first stage, seemingly easily cured cancers like mine, the relapse rate in the first five years following surgery is between 10 and 20%.  (The chances for mine to recur are closer to the 10% range, per the predictions of the tumor's genetic testing.)  The longer I can make it without the cancer coming back, the better the chances I've beaten the demon.  If it recurs within the first two years, chances are good I won't make it another four.  And, if it returns at any time, since I have no more breast tissue for the cancer to lurk within, that means it will have metastasized, and if I don't die from the disease, I will die with it.

sobering statistics.

Yet, now I've been able to name the fears, I'm not paralyzed by them.

Life is risk.  It doesn't come with guarantees. 

No, I probably won't buy a house any time soon.  (I do believe in hedging my bets.)  But, neither do I intend to live in fear. 

The trust thing again.  It's still hard for me.  But I'm going to do my best.  I'm going to try to remember and follow the words in one of my favorite prayers, from St. Theresa of Avila:

May today I find peace within.
May I trust my highest power that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be content knowing I am a child of God.
May this presence settle into my bones, and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.

Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass:
Yet God does not change.
Patience wins all that it seeks,
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.


1 comment:

  1. I feel your worry. But I think actually, the chances of getting cancer at all are at least 10%, and without breast tissue, it's lower still. My guess is that we are going to be fine. :) Did they give you a pill? Don't miss a day. Do you still get mammograms? If not - how great! But don't miss a follow up. My onco doc says most people don't get their blood work done for follow up appointments. They are either needle squeemish, or they just don't want to know. She says most people don't continue taking the drugs. Lazy? Fearful? I'm not going to let that be me. I'm betting these are the 10% more than we who stay on it. And I'm betting if mine comes back it will be as tiny as the first time, and I'll squash it like a bug.