Like most survivors, I am terrified of being diagnosed with cancer again.
Every weird feeling, illness or overtired day makes me think that something is seriously wrong with me. Facing these fears head on provides an opportunity to learn to stay present in the process when the fear of “what if” keeps you awake at night.
First, we must awaken compassion for ourselves. We must treat our scared selves with the same love and caring that would give to our children or our dearest friend or lover. Secondly, we need to clearly name the monster under the bed. Denying our inner experience and turmoil is not the solution any more than avoiding the situation is. By identifying our fears and what we are feeling, we gain the power and insight with which to deal with them.
We all have choices to make in how to view and react to the events going on around us or within us. Sometimes the choices we make about our responses are the only ones we get to make in the middle of the challenges we are facing. We can wallow in grief and confusion; be in denial, or ignore our level of fear and trauma. We can be angry at cancer, at ourselves and at everyone around us. We can try to just get on with life and put it behind us and go back to “normal”. However, in learning to embrace our fears as part of our inner make-up and not deny their power allows us to create a deeper understanding and compassion for ourselves and ultimately for others as well. By continuing to engage in life fully, even when we are scared, we grow richer in our ability to love and to heal ourselves and those around us.
– Robyn Lynn, Everett, WA
(Published in the American Cancer Society Volunteer HOPE newsletter April 2011 — excerpted from a previous post: Warrior Training)