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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Strength of Honesty

Yesterday, I found myself sitting in a beige overstuffed recliner from the 80's facing my on again off again therapist. I had just been given the one word definition of anxiety: Fear. After her textbook pause for effect, she posed the inevitable question: What is your biggest fear?

To help with context, let me give a brief synopsis of my current cause for anxiety. I have a big deadline on Friday. I have to make a decision as to whether or not I sign on for 28 treatments of radiation to my chest wall. I could give you all the fun facts as to why this decision has to be made. Perhaps I should, that way you could all (meaning, Janice) weigh in on what I should do and make my choice for me. But, that would be counter productive because no matter how much I wish it weren't true, I am the only one that can make this decision. I alone have to say 'yes' or 'no' and live with the consequences. I will however point out that my situation is not a simple one. There is no big flashing red arrow pointing me in a positive or negative direction. Some words that were used by the best and brightest in Kalamazoo were 'probability', '.5 mm', 'consider', 'statistics', 'percentage,' 'risks', 'gray' and my personal favorite 'maybe'. For the past 4 weeks, I have been using these comforting words to process my final decision. 

I know what my surgeon would do, I know what my friends would do, I know what my husband thinks we have agreed to do, I even know what Jesus would do, but I honestly don't know what I will do.

This morning I let my mind wander back to the dimly lit room with the big chair, my therapist, and an unanswered question. I was not able to come up with just one answer. For the last three months so many different fears had driven my existence. How was I to know which one was my biggest? Then, nearly all of my crazy irrational thoughts disappeared and only one remained. Perhaps, this was the one. The one that kept me from doing what seemed so obvious to so many. The one that kept me from walking in with confidence on Friday and saying, 'The risks don't out weigh the benefits so my answer is, no.'

I am afraid a small part of the cancer is still there, that it will show up again someday and that next time my family will lose me. 

I have let this post sit for a day after writing the above words. Could this fear possibly happen? There is a probability that statistically the percentage of risk in my gray situation could involve the above scenario. But, 24 hours later this fear doesn't seem to have the power that it once did. Perhaps, by taking the time to be honest with myself and recognizing what is driving my fear is all it takes to destroy the debilitating power they it can have on me. No doubt there will be more anxiety and fear, but choosing to be honest instead of strong in those moments might actually provide the real strength I need to free myself from them.

9 comments:

  1. I am just seeing this today. Was thinking of you and wanting to hear from you...and I had a bit of free time, so went looking to see if you had a post...So now I am wondering what you decided?? My initial thought is to not move forward out of fear, but only out of promting of the spirit. Now, how to know what is fear and what is the spirit...I can see that is the question. I can only pray you will know the difference in your heart. Wish I could give you a hug. I know you are strong even though you feel like you are shaking like a leaf. Makes me think of Rich Mullins song, "Hold Me Jesus." That is what I am praying for you...even if it is probably late...

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    1. I know that song well; it has been on my playlist the last few months. I decided not to have radiation treatment. In the end, the risks didn't out weigh the benefits. The probability was such a vague unknown variable. My surgeon did help my resolve by reassuring me that he had gotten clear margins even if they weren't quite good enough for the current national standards that change regularly. I would have had a difficult time with the radiation since I have no chest tissue to buffer and most likely would have had to have an emergency surgery to remove my reconstructive implant. I already had a peace, but he helped me to stay on course with my choice.

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  2. I am glad it is decided and you can move forward. Good to hear from you.

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  3. I am trying to figure out why there is not a place to sign up to subscribe to your blog, and why there isn't a place to follow it. Is that a feature you as the administrator has to click on to make it appear?

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  4. I don't know why I don't have these features on my blog anymore. My tech support (Chandler) is working on it. Worst case, I may move my domain; he isn't impressed with their plug ins.

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  5. Tansy, I finally got a chance to read your updates. Thanks for sharing!

    I agree with Janice. Why can't I find a place to sign up for updates?!?

    Continuing to pray for you!

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    1. I don't know what is going on. I had Chandler look at it; he said that blogspot made some changes to their programming and it seems flawed to him. He is going to create me a new blog domain in the next week or so. I'll let you all know when I have a new one up and running. In the mean time, just check in periodically.

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  6. Don't let it get you stressed! But I can see how maybe starting over might help. I just check in when I think about you:)

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