My web site is devoted to medical and treatment information about this rare cancer. My blog is devoted to sharing what has been the more difficult part of the journey for me, the emotional and spiritual road I've traveled as a rare cancer survivor.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fear

Having a cancer diagnosis and living with it for a long time puts a new twist on fear. I have new fears I didn't have before, and I no longer fear things that used to incite me to trembling.

I have no fear of flying at all. A little turbulence is fine. Now I know we'll all die sometime, and going down in a plane crash doesn't seem so bad when you consider the alternatives. Death is just gate from this life to the next; a shorter, less painful transition would be better. With a plane crash, there is a much less lengthy period of time in which you contemplate your demise. A few seconds of terror and then it's over before you can even feel any pain. I don't fear massive heart attacks for the same reason.

Stage fright. I no longer have stage fright. I used to be nervous about playing piano publicly, I was also a little nervous about public speaking. No more. When you first get a cancer diagnosis and you really have something to fear, all other fears pale in comparison. What's the worst that can happen playing piano publicly? Forget a note? Have to start a song over? Someone might hiss or boo?

I don't worry about meeting a bear when I backpack, though I do worry a bit about getting lost. My sense of direction is really poor and I don't want to have to hike hungry while I try to find my way back to a trailhead.

I don't worry so much about people I love dying, they'll just go on ahead of me, I'll catch up with them later. I view life from an eternal perspective now...though I can't imagine not being able to share my life with my husband and kids.

But I have new fears I didn't have before. Fear of living a purposeless and meaningless life. Fear of not making a difference in the time I am allowed on this earth. Fear of wasting time. Fear of not appreciating the gifts I've been given, of not appreciating the beauty that surrounds me, of not appreciating enough the people who have come into my life from so many different places. I don't really care how long I'm on this earth anymore, though I'd like to be able to finish raising my kids to adulthood (I'm almost there!). I just care that I use my time and my life here well, that I make a difference.

2 comments:

Success through Effective Communications said...

"But I have new fears I didn't have before. Fear of living a purposeless and meaningless life. Fear of not making a difference in the time I am allowed on this earth. Fear of wasting time. Fear of not appreciating the gifts I've been given, of not appreciating the beauty that surrounds me, of not appreciating enough the people who have come into my life from so many different places. I don't really care how long I'm on this earth anymore, though I'd like to be able to finish raising my kids to adulthood (I'm almost there!). And I just care that I use my time and my life here well, that I make a difference."

You are so wise and so incredible. I don't recall whom (perhaps speaker Les Brown) said the following, but someone asked something like, "Where is the greatest source of information in the world?" The answer is the graveyards. All the unspoken words, all the unsung songs, all the unwritten books, all the unwritten symphonies.

My dad worked his last 30 years of his life at a desk. He was a civil engineer and loved to work outdoors, but he feared change. After he retired, he moved to his hometown of Tampa, FL. Two years later, he was working his dream job. Working outside in his hometown. Regretfully, he also had cancer. Two years after he started his dream, he succumbed to his cancer. His fear prevented him from finding his dream job years earlier.

Regretfully, I also waited for nearly the same time to find my passion. I am so humbled to to read your words. I pray you will be fine and you can live each day to the fullest.

For me, I am now teaching classes and presenting workshops on communications and presentation skills. I would like to have permission to distribute your story to my students when I give my transcending your fear classes. I believe it would be so helpful for those who still have a fear of public speaking.

Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik RN BSN said...

Thank you so very much for your kind words, I am humbled by them. I also loved you quote and will remember it. I would be profoundly honored if my words or story could be used to benefit your class.

I am currently hoping to do motivational speaking down the road. I am participating in Toastmasters in hopes of improving my speaking and communication skills. For that reason I would be doubly honored if my story could be of help to you in your own endeavor.

I'm glad your father was able to realize his dream, but I'm sorry he did not have more time to enjoy it. I know I have passions I'd not pursued previously because of fear that I am trying to realize now at the age of 48. A friend just bought me the book "Inventing the Rest of Our Lives". I am doing that now.

Thank you again so very much for your comment, and I wish you many years to enjoy your own passions. Please give your students my best.

Carolyn