A man walking down a wild jungle path with fork in the road, toward a glowing door

The Unknown

There you are, delving into unknown territories. Whether you want to or not, it happens. Sometimes the unknown is exciting. For example, you may have a new job, marriage, first child, new home, etc. Other times, it’s unexpected and unwanted. This could include the loss of a job, divorce, loss of a loved one, or a health scare. You don't know what to expect, what to do, or how to act. You can only do your best to be as prepared as possible. How do you do that?

Being diagnosed with cancer for the first time is one of those unknown territories. ‘You have cancer’ is not anything any of us are prepared to hear or have ever planned for happening in our lives, but it happens. Included in not knowing what to do or how to act is the fact that you are also scared, you're very scared. Everything is going to change, and you’re not sure how yet. You don’t know what to do, where to go, or who you can count on. You don’t even know what your own thoughts about it are yet. It’s a world that is only just starting to reveal itself.

Being the caregiver

The same is true if you are a caregiver. When a family member, especially a close family member, finds out they have cancer, your whole world changes right along with the person you love. You, along with them, have found yourself in unknown territory. You want to help, but you are not sure how. You’re worried, scared, and you don’t know what the future holds for you or your loved one. How will this affect them, what will they have to do, how will you be able to help? Will you be able to help? Just a bunch of scary questions. It’s like a bad TV show you started to watch and want to turn off, but you can’t.

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The first steps into the unknown are trying to figure out which doctor to use, where to go for treatment, and how to get there. Even after all of this is figured out, there is the question: was this the right decision? The unknown is a scary place to be and there are so many leaps of faith to take. Putting the life of someone you love into the hands of someone you don’t even know is the hardest thing a person can do. For me, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The stressful doctors visits

Then there’s the first visit with the doctor. With that came a bunch of responsibility - take notes, asking questions (did we ask the right ones, did we ask everything we need to know, what if we forgot to ask something), setting appointments, and most of all, try not to miss anything. As the caregiver, this responsibility is yours and it’s a big one.

Every visit to the doctor or hospital and every treatment offers a new unknown area to walk through. What will this test show? What will the doctor say this time? Will the hospital know what is needed? How much longer will this go on? Will my daughter be able to make it through all of this - will she be ok? The unknown can definitely be a scary place to visit. The worst part is, you don’t know how long the journey will be.

Then there’s the last visit. You hear the doctor say the words - no evidence of cancer, and you know it’s over. You know you made it to the other side, stronger for the journey. You know your child will be ok. You know the unknown has made you stronger, but you know you never want to be there again.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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