Petrification

I awoke with a headache this morning. It’s the third day in a row. I also recalled instantly upon opening my eyes my dreams of which my cancer was the star of. I have needed to blog my emotions for two weeks now and have been avoiding it. This is what happens when I don’t “blog it out” as I like to say. Headaches and dreams and feeling kind of sick are the symptoms for me. So this morning, lest I become totally unfortunate, I am writing it down and posting it. Why I am compelled to post, I am not sure. Perhaps it is because it feels like a lie if I don’t share everything I experience as a stage 4 anal cancer surivior. On some level I feel like I owe it to all the others inflicted with anal cancer to reveal the whole truth and my faithful readers. To omit my struggles just isn’t an option for me.So here it is.

A couple of Tuesdays back I had a melt down. This happens from time to time and they are triggered by all kinds of things. This particular one surrounded a few of my anal cancer “sorority sisters”. Ones that aren’t doing so well right now. Their cancer is advancing and despite all the medicine it remains un-thwarted. In the last four years I have connected with several other women that have found themselves in similar circumstances to my own. We have been there for each other, supportive as each of us have struggled with recurrence, texting, e-mailing and telephoning frequently through out our ordeals. This particular evening I was home alone, my husband and daughter both working late, emptying my dishwasher when I received a text from one of these sisters not doing so well. It hit me hard. My usual resiliency slipping away, disappearing really, for reasons unknown to me. I felt panic grip me. I text my besties and through blurred vision explained my worries. Was I going to be eaten by my cancer? Was it eating me this moment unbeknownst to me despite my NED in December? So many people don't have a unique response to therapy in advance stages of anal cancer. I suppose that's why they call it unique. Maybe my cancer was just stunned temporarily and is raging through my body while I wait for my next scans. Fear was gripping me. Panic was choking me. I gripped my kitchen counter sobbing uncontrollably for a few minutes. My besties trying to comfort me as best they can. I collect my emotions and finish my kitchen chores. I then pour myself a glass of wine and search for something mindless on television to watch hoping to subdue the panic and numb the fear. When my husband gets home I start to melt again and just start sobbing. He holds me, confused about where this is coming from, until I explain between shuddered breaths. He comforts me as best he can reassuring me that my road is my own and reminding me that I only have today, as do we all. I make him promise me that he will never shut up about anal cancer if I die before my work is done. He promises and I feel some relief. 

You see my fear is not of dying. My fear is not being able to finish all the things I have started in raising awareness and erasing the stigma that is attached to anal cancer. I feel panic when I think about having a bad scan when I have so much to do on these fronts. I've only just gotten started. No, I am not scared to die, but the thought of not finishing what I am meant to do fills me with a feeling that I can only describe as.....petrification.

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Shara sent you a prayer.
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Michelle,
First, here is a virtual HUG!!

Certainly, we can FEEL that we are "ready" to die and know it is a part of life. On the other hand, your comment about the fear of not being able to complete the goals on your check off list contributes to the fear of our death; our end. My thinking is that not knowing when or how we will die, what is unfinished, what about our kids, husband, etc. What will happen to them (and me!) . . IS a part of the fear of dying.

I cannot speak for your heart nor do I try to. But, I remember when I was first diagnosed. I thought I was not afraid to die either. But, as I looked out the window at clouds and birds in the blue sky, with each dying cancer patient I took care of, I kept thinking "What if my time is up, just around the corner?!" Panic attacks are normal when there is a disease that can attack at any given time, without notice or mercy.
I bet we all fear dying. It is the unknown--even if we believe in God and/or a "hereafter." Like you say though, again, not getting one more day is the biggest fear. I think. Make sense?

Deep breath . . .
Carol
Michele likes this comment
I know that panic and fear, and the sobbing. It's terrible. Yes, blog it out here! I send you strength and a hug.
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Michele , dearest sister... the love you give , is the love that is given you.. the ultimate love from God is where you live... and you are his work .. fearfully and wonderfully made and will always continue your journey, here and the hereafter. The closer I feel in the spiritual side it always makes perfect sense..and I find a calm there.. the world is such an uncertain place, but have faith your life is unfolding exactly as its suppose to be and you are so good and generous, its really natural for you to long to get your work done. The love you put out goes on for infinity, so the heartbeat of your work will continue to resonate long after we are all gone. Love never dies and our journey never ends. I love you Michelle, you are a great inspiration! hugs and love and prayers Sabina
Michele likes this comment
Michelle, if there is any upside to this, it's the fact that you actually KNOW what you are called to do. Many of us float through life, cancer or no cancer, never really understanding why we are here. I have times like those and that makes me sad sometimes. I think we all have a certain amount of fear that we will pass before whatever it is we are sent here to do will not be finished by our last day. I often fear that something will happen to me before my mom. I know I need to be here for her, but will I be, say next year, three years from now, or however long God grants her life on this Earth? I do not know. God bless you, my friend!
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Again you bring forth my tears Michelle. But I dont know if they are for you, or for myself in my own self centred way, or for us all! Thank you for sharing as you do!!
Michele likes this comment
I am crying with you. It happens to us all I guess for different reasons in different ways. I am not afraid to die - I just don't want to leave my daughter. My mom died with pancreatic cancer at age 59 and it was devastating - I still miss her and don't want to do that to my daughter. We cannot control the future and it is scary.

Hang in there! Thanks for all are doing.
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If you truly feel you are meant to do something...then you will accomplish it...trust in that...try not to worry about tomorrow...stay in the moment and do the things you need to do..find comfort in that...and march on...
Michele likes this comment
OH dear Michele...you have done so much. How you would know "well that's it, I have no more to do..." So many people never have any idea of what they need to do, can do...you are fortunate in that regard. You know what you want to do and you are doing it. No panic!!! Just keep doing it! You will have shown the way to many others and they will follow in your steps.

Meantime, we are grateful for what you have done and every post that you offer. HUGS!!!!
Michele, Janet like this comment
Thanks Helen!
Michelle, it's perfectly normal to have meltdowns. I had a ton of private ones (I used to sit in my closet...weird, but I hid all my meltdowns from my kids). You're fear of not finishing everything you started is normal too. We don't like to leave things unfinished. I'm glad you have your husband to support you. Hugs to you.
Thanks Diane. This is one of the few I have ever written about. I don't have them often but who knows when the next one will come and what will trigger it. Ice cream triggered one once for me a couple years back. I just had to write it down this time. It makes me feel better :)
You put into words what a lot of us think and feel. There is comfort in knowing we share a bond and an understanding of living with cancer. Whether it be as a fighter, survivor or griever.
Michele likes this comment
Hi, Michelle--I am new to the blog, as I was just diagnosed 2/18. Re: your quest to remove the stigma, I do want to make you aware of a research study I just read about. Penn State College of Medicine and Brigham Young University have published a study that shows that the generally accepted methods of sterilizing invasive medical instruments, such as gynological and colonoscopy instruments, do NOT kill the HPV virus. This is huge, and I hope more studies will have similar outcomes. Many of us have probably been infected by our own healthcare systems' "procedures" to keep us well!
This I know is true! I also know that HPV has a rep as a VD. But the fact is that over 80% of the population has been infected by HPV and most people clear it, it resolves and never bothers them again. My tumors were negative for HPV so therefore I am considered "poorly differentiated" in the cancer world. But no matter how our cancer came to be we live in a society that clearly wants to blame the victim.

My stance is, what difference does it make how anybody got their cancer? We are all human beings and compassion should be freely given, research dollars shared, shame erased. People need to not judge me or you or any of us for our diagnosis, neither do we need to feel obligated to "explain" how it happened to us. That is the stigma I speak of.

Michele, I'm sorry but I don't understand how this site works. You sent me a response to my comment, but I don't know how to get to your response. Any tips? Thanks, Lucky
I think you set it in your profile? Maybe under notifications. You want it to send you an e-mail when someone resonds to you, right? Is that what your asking?
Michele, I appreciate you trying to figure this out. I get an email saying you are commenting on my comment, and there are links to your profile and blog. When I go there I see no links to my comment or your reply. This is a bit frustrating, as I'm pretty internet and computer savy, but I can't seem to get to your reply. Would you mind responding to my direct email address: lsturco1@gmail.com? Thank you.
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Vital Info

Posts

October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3

No

As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp

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