Tomorrow brings a follow-up appointment with the oncologist. These appointments are important because as a cancer survivor, I live with heightened risks. But the last place I want to be is the Oncology Department. It's like returning to the scene of the crime. So the night before said appointments my mind begins to race and my anxiety ramps up. Crazy thoughts run rampant. Unfortunately, fear of recurrence is an unwanted yet inescapable reality. It has been described as sort of like having Muzak playing ever so softly in your head all the time. After a while you get used to it, but you never forget it's there. One of the first thing a cancer survivor realizes is that cancer is a chronic condition. Remission doesn't come with a money back guarantee and cancer hates to lose. Just when you think you've won the fight, it can rear its ugly head again. I worry about having to go through treatment again, suffering the side effects of chemo and putting my life on hold for the second time. Wherever will the strength and willpower to go through it all over again come from? Can I outwit death yet again?
The most frustrating aspect of the fear of recurrence is that it can overshadow my view of the future. Sometimes I feel rudderless in a sea of uncertainty. Cancer has lit the wick on my sense of mortality. If I'm living on borrowed time, investing in the future is futile. But approaching it that way means cancer wins and I cannot accept that. Cancer has managed to rearrange my priorities, screw with my career, and shift my outlook on life. But since I'm not very adept at "playing the victim", I guess I'll just have to play the hand I've been dealt. I'm just not exactly sure how life should look. After my ex-husband's recent death, I want to make sure my life counts. But then again, will it really matter 100 years from now?
And today's tarot card was the Five of Pentacles. This card represents the dark night of the soul, when you must stumble around in the darkness because you can no longer see the light shining within you. Often, during times like this, salvation is not far away, but being so preoccupied with your material problems means you cannot see it. But it also suggests that my power today lies in defiance. I am willing to reject the sure thing or accept excommunication to try to make it on my own rather than endure the status quo or submit to conditions that assume I am invisible. I will accept responsibility for the difficulties ahead and will not seek pity for having chosen against the grain. I am empowered by mutual support and my assets are self-worth, hope, and pride. (See, not a victim!)