Does it ever go away; the fear that the cancer will return?
Thinking back, I remember an ABC News colleague of Leroy’s was battling breast cancer the same time he was in treatment for his colon cancer. She would call on occasion and talk about surviving her disease, but she’d always end the conversation by saying, “Well, at least it hasn’t come back yet.”
YET….the common word in cancer conversation. No sign of it YET. That comes from the survivors side.
“It’s not what we see, it’s what we don’t see, that worries us.” That’s how the oncologists say it.
Two women I’ve talked to recently have expressed this fear. They’ve just finished treatment for breast cancer, had reconstructive surgery and are slowly coming out of the cancer world haze that has clouded their space for months. They still suffer from the malaise of the disease, but kids and summer time and life has helped them get back into the swing of living. They both say that they don’t think about the cancer, past or future, except when there’s a lull in their day. It just has a way of creeping into their thoughts like a Tule fog; low and dense.
Leroy was able to put his first go-around with cancer in the past. He charged ahead once he healed from surgery and it wasn’t until 4 1/2 years later, when the colon cancer made a return appearance as a tumor in his brain, did he or we really expect to deal with it again. Was I naive not to think it would return? Should I have had that fear all along? Knowing what I know now, the answers are yes and yes but sometimes knowledge isn’t a good thing. I would never give back those 4 1/2 years of not thinking about cancer.
The fear is strong enough in the fight.