Ooooh Yeah, She Was Ascared

Ever wonder what goes through a person's head when they get Bad News? I found the following on my computer; a day or two after being told there might be something in my head - besides the requisite gray matter - I started a journal of sorts. I must have been extremely dedicated to keeping track of what was happening to me, because there was only the one entry:

15 May, 2002

I should be working on my book, but the truth is, I can’t focus on it at the moment. Every phrase that turns in my mind is colored by one thought: I’m scared.

I’m scared, bordering terror, because of a gigantic “maybe” that’s wrapped around my life right now. There’s nothing I can do about it, yet it consumes me. I don’t know if it’s the uncertainty of what might be that frightens me the most, or if it’s knowing that what might be probably is, and I have no idea what will be done about it, or if it means that I’m staring down the end of the tunnel, searching for a light I hope to not see, and praying that if I am staring down that tunnel, that someone is waiting for me on the other side, that I haven’t screwed my life up too badly to have a chance at that.

Crisis of Faith is something I think I understand. At the most fundamental time when I need that faith, when I should put my trust in God and what He feels is right for me, I’m too scared to face that. I’m not ready for this to be over. And what comes after terrifies just as much as what might be.

The worst I expected was to get a diagnosis of diabetes. I could handle that; make the lifestyle changes necessary: exercise, eat right, lose weight, do anything and everything to avoid becoming insulin dependent. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hear that there’s a strong possibility that I have something growing inside my head, something potentially insidious wrapped around a tiny piece of my brain that I rarely give thought to. Who spends any portion of their day contemplating their pituitary?

I’m stuck in that zone of not knowing if the tumor is even there, and worrying about what will happen if it is. What if it’s huge? What will they do? Surgery? Mike does the anesthesia for surgical cases on a near daily basis, but the idea that I might have to lay cold on a gurney while someone puts me to sleep and someone else cuts open my brain to pull this thing out through my nose fills me with apprehension and dread. What if they sneeze and cut my optic nerves? Or a major artery?

And if it can’t be treated, if it’s a rare pituitary adenoma that is actually malignant; how long will I have? Months? Weeks? Days?

Three months ago my mother was diagnosed with NonHodgkin’s Lymphoma. Surely she knew with just the name of the cancer that had invaded her body that there was a reasonable chance that she would die. She also knew there was a reasonable chance that she would be cured. Today, while I received the news that I might have this tumor in my head, she received the news that most of the cancer gone. Her odds have improved drastically.

I can’t tell her, not until I know for sure what I’m facing. I have no idea what hearing that her youngest child has a brain tumor will do to her own recovery. Yet I also don’t know if withholding this is a mistake. What if something happens to me too soon, before anyone has the chance to tell her? She needs time to prepare, just as we needed time to adjust the possibilities of her own diagnosis.

But the bigger thing in front of me right now is fear. It’s the not knowing, and the knowing of the possibilities.
I am terrified of dying.
I’m terrified of hell.

I look back on that, and realize that if the overwhelming sense of relief is removed, not much has changed. I'm still terrified of dying. I'm still terrified of hell.

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