It’s OK to Feel Scared

When I was first diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2016 and then when my cancer returned in 2017 and when I was told it spread in 2018 and this week when I was told it had spread again, felt anxiety, I felt fear and I felt sadness.

Understandable right?!

However, while feeling these emotions I thought they were because of my cancer and I was wrong…well, kinda wrong.

You see, I thought these emotions were directly related to my disease. But what I didn’t realise was they were actually related to how I thought my disease would affect other people and their perception of me.

I’m a recovering ‘people pleaser’ and ‘perfectionist’ after all.

My fear and anxiety was coming from having to tell people bad news again. It was coming from the massive weight of having to ‘keep it together’ for family and friends – I mean, I couldn’t possibly show I was upset about this terror filled news…if I was upset then they might get upset and I’d have to comfort them and they’d have to comfort me and then where would we be but in never ending cycle of uncomfortable fear and anxiety…

What utter bullshit though, right?

I mean if I’ve learnt one thing through all of this shit it’s that showing vulnerability is literally the strongest and most badass thing you can do.

Take a moment to just imagine saying ‘I’m struggling’, ‘I’m suffering’, ‘I’m sad’, ‘I’m scared’, ‘I feel alone’…out loud, to another human.

See. Vulnerability is badass as fuck.

So, this time, I decided to do things differently.

After letting my family and closest friends know my most recent news I sent them all a message explaining how I was feeling. It was basically the same message to each of them but the one my family got had slightly less swears in it – only slightly less…they do read my blog after all and so are not in total denial about my excessive use of profanities.

In this message, which I’ve shared below, I was the most honest I’ve ever been about how my cancer professing again makes me feel.

It was terrifying. I felt sick to my stomach.

But then something magical happened. One by one my loved ones started to reply with the most beautiful and supportive messages. I felt seen, I felt heard, I felt held.

And I realised, these are my people, this is my tribe. They’ve got my back. They are in this shit with me. And, like magic, all the fear and anxiety disappeared.

I no longer needed to be scared or anxious because I was not alone. I had shown my vulnerability. I had expressed my pain. I had opened up and asked for help – oft now that was a hard one for me – and they had all let me know that they were going to be there.

My biggest fears, my deepest anxieties, weren’t around my cancer. They were around my cancer making me vulnerable and powerless and once I took that into my own hands, I took back my power and I felt in control.

I’ve learnt that sometimes the thing we think we fear most is not what it seems and that facing this fear is often never as scary as our imagination would have us believe.

Below is the message that I shared with friends…although, now, I feel so empowered and held by the conversations that followed after this message was sent that it almost feels irrelevant…and that, my lovelies, is the magic of vulnerability, honesty and compassion.

“I’m sharing this with the special people in my life (you)…because I need to…

I’m really struggling to let people in. I’m trying to be vulnerable but it’s so fucking hard.

I’ve spent my life being the ‘tough one’ or the ‘strong one’ or the ‘one who copes so well’.

But I really need to be vulnerable now and I really need people who will support that. I can’t be strong for everyone else anymore. I need people to be strong for me.

This is so hard for me to write (it feels vulnerable as fuck) but it’s what I know I need so, in the spirit of bravery, I’m putting it out there.

I will no doubt in coming weeks/months say I am fine, that I don’t need help or support. But it will all be lies so please ignore it.

In reality I am facing two options…end of life treatment or chemo and both are shite.

Chemo would be palliative, to manage symptoms with a vague hope of reducing or removing cancer for a period of time. I had a miracle the first time…4 years when they expected less than 1…maybe I’ll get lucky again but, in reality, maybe I won’t.

I’m not giving up. I will still do everything I can to support my health. But I feel so fucking battered by this disease now, emotionally and physically, and I’m not as strong as I was before.

I feel really scared, terrified in fact. The reality is just un-fucking-bareable.

So, in short, I’m broken, scared as fuck and feeling totally alone.

With love xx

► I’ve set up a GoFundMe page to (hopefully) enable me access private treatment. If you are able to please donate and/or share it. Thank you. ◄

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1 thought on “It’s OK to Feel Scared”

  1. This post is absolutely beautiful, and you are so STRONG LIKE DAMN! I admire your strength and hope I’ll be like you one day. I’m sending you my bestest regards, loads of health and happiness! You deserve the best.

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