Day 7 – Fear of the Unknown
It’s officially been one week since this whole journey began. One week that feels like a lifetime. The week has brought out so many emotions in us but I think the biggest has been fear. And honestly, it’s not the fear of death but the fear of the unknown.
There are so many fears surrounding everything in this situation. What happens here? What happens there? What happens at this time? What happens at that time? We have this fear because we don’t have the answers yet and we think of the scariest things possible (thanks imagination).
Today, I realized how debilitating fear can be. Fear can bring you to your knees. Sean has always said to me that fear stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real”. That statement is so true and today I faced a fear and realized to myself – I will no longer let fear control my thoughts, actions or emotions. I’m not saying I’m not going to be scared. There are going to be a lot of scary situations but I can only control what I can and I will leave the rest up to God.
So how did I get to this realization? It was something so small but the outcome was so huge.
Today was the day to remove Sean’s chemo port bandages. I didn’t know what was under there. Sean described being shot and all I could think about was this big ugly hole. Would I be looking into his body? Would I be looking into his veins? Will I be able to see through him (this one was a little far fetched but I still thought it). I had so many fears about this port running through my head and it was terrifying.
My hands were actually shaking when I started removing the first bandage (there were three in total). I half didn’t want to rip Sean’s hair away but the other half, I didn’t want to see it. Off came the bandage and there it was….. absolutely nothing. A small little red mark. That’s all.
I took a deep breath and moved on to the second bandage. This one was the closest to Sean’s neck. I slowly peeled around the edges, held my breath, and removed the bandage. This time, there was a small incision, less than 1/2 inch long. The incision almost looked like a paper cut. Again, I thought to myself “that’s it?”.
Now it was time to remove the largest bandage and the one that was covering the actual chemo port. Once again, I slowly removed the outer edges of the bandage and then lifted it off. There it was, I was face to face with the big scary chemo port. The funny thing was, it wasn’t scary at all. There wasn’t a big hole in Sean’s chest and no, I couldn’t see through him. Nope. He has a small round disk, about the size of a dime, under his skin. His skin completely covers the device and there is an incision that is healing very nicely. The area is raised about a half inch off his chest and that’s it. It feels like a small hard knot.
I took a step back and I almost cried. Not because anything was bad but because I let this fear take control of me and it wasn’t warranted. False evidence appearing real.
I looked up at Sean’s face and he was so worried (it didn’t help that I just stepped back and stared at him, lol). I quickly snapped out of my fog and explained to him what I just felt. He then told me that he too was scared of what the port looked like. So I told him to touch it. He didn’t want to at first but I told him it would help him see it’s not that bad. So he did. And after touching his port, he turned around to look in the mirror. I could see the sigh of relief on him when he turned around. You could see him realizing that it wasn’t scary at all.
We both had a big laugh about how we thought Iron Man was going to be living among us and life was just a little better.
So here I am writing this at the end of the day thinking about how to use the knowledge I was given today. Ok self, fear is bad. Got it. But how do I help take away the fears when they come in the future? Research. If fear comes from the unknown then make it known. Learn what the procedures are. Ask what is going to happen next. Ask so many questions that the doctors think they are on a game show. Turn the fear into knowledge and that fear has no power (where is Glinda when you need her – “You have no power here. Now begone, before someone drops a house on you”).
So all in all today was a good day. Everyday we get stronger and stronger. We don’t know what will happen in the future but the worst case scenario doesn’t bring fear anymore, it just brings determination.