My kids try to scare me all the time. That jumping-out-from-behind-something kind of scaring, yelling Boo! to see if I'll jump.
I never do.
I might get a little startled, but never heart-racing scared. It frustrates them, which is kind of fun. And they ask, "How come you never get scared?"
What I think to myself (but never tell them) is, "Because once you've had a doctor tell you that you have cancer, there's really nothing else that can scare you." On the scare scale, it's really all downhill from there.
I've been thinking about this lately, as I contemplate life with an immobilized right arm for six weeks. I've been reading a little bit about rotator cuff surgery and its aftermath. Not fun -- either of them. I'm reading about the potential complications, about failure rates, about long-term prognoses. Ugh. Bad enough that I probably won't be able to write for six weeks, at least. What happens if things don't go as planned?
Of course, I'm a cancer patient, so I know enough to step back and think all of this through. I know that what is presented online isn't necessarily the whole truth. And I know all about the tendency we have to see the worst, even if we know, rationally, that the worst happens only a small percentage of the time. What I really need to do is start a blog about rotator cuff injuries and start to review current research. It seems to work in helping through my journey with Follicular Lymphoma, so maybe I'll give it shot. Call me a Rotator Cuff Nerd and read my blog Roto Bob. (Do rotator cuff surgery blogs exist? Of course they do. That's because the internet is awesome.)
So back to fear: I can spend my time worrying about the surgery, and what will happen afterwards, but why bother? It's going to suck, no question. But am I afraid of it? No. I've been to the top of Fear Mountain. It's all downhill from there.
Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying a cancer diagnosis SHOULD be the scariest thing thing we ever hear. But for most of us, it is. We've all been conditioned to hear the word "Cancer" and think the worst. It's just the way it is, culturally, I guess.
But maybe that's not so bad. Because if Cancer, however we have built it up, is the worst thing that can ever happen, then everything else should be easy.
That's about as "bright side" as it gets.