I have lots of things to say this morning about oncology and doctors and nurses and waiting rooms. So much to say that when I went to work on a chapter in the book this morning, my fingers kept freezing, right above my keyboard. They hover over the keys waiting for my mind to pin down all the words.

Age check

This happens a lot. I open up my mind to the words and they come but with the words come feelings. Feelings are not something I have a lot of experience with. I like words. I like facts. I like concrete things. I am a pragmatist. But I find if I open my mind to whatever is ready to come out, I get a lot of feelings with my words.

Where I am at now, the feelings often overwhelm the words. I am learning to sit with my feelings. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. I am learning to feel what I feel, not let it overwhelm me, not let it pull me under, but simply feel it. Examine it. Be in the now with it, look at it, learn from it. Reserve judgement. Extend compassion. And move on.

This is a big deal. I make a lot of value judgements about my feelings. Lots of this is good and that is bad. Not much of this is. Getting to the ‘this is’ stage takes work. I have to unlearn a lifetime of learning, undo decades of patterns of thought about my value, my worth, my mind, my brain.

Like I said, I sat down to write about waiting rooms and oncology nurses and the sentences can’t form now because feelings are happening. Fear happens. Incredulity happens. Anger happens. Loss happens. Grief happens. More anger. More fear.

There’s a book floating around, I read it years ago, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. Its author gives away everything in the title. There is no secret. This or that thing makes you afraid? Do it anyway. It is okay to be afraid. You don’t have to get to unafraid before you do the thing that is currently scaring the shit out of you. I didn’t think much of the book at the time. I was looking for a secret magic cure to all my problems, all my worries, and this did not look like it at all.

But the kernel of that idea lodged in my head, apparently. My mind called it up, remembered it, put it to use. I’m doing things that frighten me. I am okay with being afraid. Eventually, these things that scare the shit out of me will lose their hold.

I know there will be a time when I will be able to write about my cancer, discuss my cancer, without being undone by all of it. But that time is not now. It might not even be a year from now. It is my fervent hope I live long enough to get to that time.


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