Fear and Worry
After I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2009, I watched my white blood cell and lymphocyte counts quickly climb. But in mid-2013 they began to plateau. They continue to zig-zag up and down but on average they’re staying level. The leukemia has slowed down. So I’ve tended to ignore my disease and, though I still get tired, I’ve had days when I didn’t even think about my leukemia. I could pretend that my tiredness was just due to a lack of sleep.
Well, at least that used to be the case. Now, in addition to a personal blog about my life with leukemia, I’m doing a YouTube channel and writing for Blood-Cancer.com. Suddenly I find myself thinking about my disease nearly every day. Even when I’m not writing I’m still thinking and planning for the next article or video. It's pretty much impossible to pretend anymore.
Me and Leuk
If you’ve read my past posts, you know I like to anthropomorphize my leukemia by calling it Leuk. I treat the disease as if it were a real person. This may sound a bit schizophrenic but it allows me to think of the leukemia as someone outside of myself instead of an invisible disease hiding within me. It gives me someone tangible to fight.
Now he is back at the front of my mind and he’s been nagging me.
Leuk has a sister and brother named Fear and Worry. I’ve not seen them for a long time but now, with the daily reminders my writing brings, they are back. I’ve written about Fear several times in my personal blog, always advising to not let her creep into our minds. Fear and her brother, Worry, work together trying to make us concentrate on our leukemia. If we let them in, they become powerful allies of Leuk.
I can’t say I’m overly afraid of dying, although that thought is always hovering in my mind. It’s the worries surrounding that. Will my wife be all right when I’m gone? What about our finances? How will it affect my children and grandchildren? These are the things Fear and Worry have brought back with them. Sure, I’ve considered these things before but now the worry is more constant.
Learning to live with fear and worry
I don’t intend to stop writing. I love writing. If I quit, I’d let Leuk win. You see, it’s not just a matter of battling a disease to stay alive. What really matters to me is not letting Leuk win the battle for my mind. I can’t let him become the center of my life. Some days he seems to be winning that battle. But individual battles can be won or lost as long as I win the war.
Worry is just Fear trying to be productive. But Worry isn’t productive. It only leads to despair. Whether or not Leuk takes my body, I will not let him become the master of my life. The writing will continue and hopefully Fear and Worry will take a hike.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?