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F.E.A.R. It is a primal part of being a human being. We fear many things, real and unreal, horrible and ridiculous. How many of us fear heights, flying, public speaking, spiders, bears, and snakes. The thing that you fear will be what someone else could scoff at. And often, our fears tend to be completely unrealistic or downright laughable.

For example, I am afraid of heights. Bridges can be traumatic depending on how high they are, what makes up the protective sides that keep me from plunging over them, how well can I see how high in the air that I actually am. I don’t know why I am afraid of heights, cliffs, Ferris wheels, mountain roads, I just know I am.

A lot of people are afraid of flying, because they are afraid of dying in a plane crash. On the contrary, not many people are afraid of dying in a car crash. The chances of doing so are far more likely. So many people, especially us girls, are afraid, and actually phobic of insects. Yes, they are repulsive, but most of our insects can’t really hurt us, (Ok, maybe those in Australia, and Texas). :-)

Before cancer, I went through life, spending so much wasted energy on being afraid of things that can’t really hurt me. After cancer, I feel as though I’ll never be afraid of much again. I’ll always be afraid of cancer, but I know now that other things that used to frighten me – tornados, grizzly bears, and spiders – really don’t have the power to do so any more. I’m rooting my fears in reality now. Life, after hearing that “you have lung cancer”, takes on a whole new dimension in putting other mundane things into perspective. I realize now that we choose many of our fears, and so we can unchoose them as well.

Truly, the things that are to be feared most are the things that never crossed my mind, but blindsided me at 3:00PM on an idle Tuesday back in June of 2007.

So this (laboriously long essay) is written to discuss Scanxiety. I googled it and found this: the tension which builds particularly amongst those who have or have had cancer as they move towards their regular checkup scan, hyperscanxiety being the period as they await results - YEEAAAHHH?

I will be honest in that I don’t really dread the “up-coming”

test or scan. At the same time, I will admit that after a CT scan is done, and they help me up off the table, I am always dizzy. I think that the power of thinking positively is strong, but that sub-consciously, we do have anxiety that we don’t even know we have. Hence, the dizzy which is probably a part of me holding my breath for the test, but also not breathing normally at all during the test.

I didn’t have the hyperscanxiety referred to in the dictionary, ever, but now understand it since they “found something” and that “something” grew from one CT to another in the last 3 months. While the thought that it’s back is terrifying, I’m not terrified. This is what living with cancer is. None of us will ever feel like it’s done, I don’t think. Maybe I’m wrong.

I spend a lot of time with survivors at these boards, and at Gilda’s Club, and I, for one, know that cancer is a reality in my life, will always be a reality, but it does not have to be a fearful reality.

Since I have the ability to make a decision about this reality, I can but an “X” in the box called Fear, but I can also take that “X” out of that box, and place it in the other box that says Joy. I can “unchoose” fear.

Judy in MI

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Wow! This is such a thought provoking , awe-inspiring post. I've learned so much from cancer survivors and you certainly rank up top as one of the ones who has really made me take a long hard look at my own way of viewing things in my life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and as always , you remain my my prayers.



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WOW Judy, Thank you for so eloquently putting into words exactly what we all feel.I'm currently awaiting results. I feel like I'll get a positive outcome, but like you say, there it is. PS. I still can't like spiders unless they are eating an equally unliked bug. You were a teacher, right? We all would be better with you in front of us in class.Alan

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