What am I battling?

I am not battling cancer.

I hate that expression. It’s meaningless. My cancer is a physiological fact. I submit myself to treatment – I swallow the tablets, I will lie still under the X-rays, I took the surgery on the chin – but I don’t recognise myself as battling. I am a battleground. Doesn’t matter how positively I think, how enthusiastically I swallow those tablets, it will respond to treatment.

Or not.

If I’m battling anything, it’s what Buddhists call “the second arrow”.And the third. And the fourth.

And the arrows are?

Fear. Obviously. Fear of pain, loss of control, brain mets (oh my god), dying. Convulsions, coma, death, as it always seemed to say when you got to the bottom of the drug side effect list.

Despair. The despair that would steal the colour out of life, the flavour, the pleasure. That would make this life I love not worth living.

Self pity. Oh yes. This is the big one.

The thing is, I have a great life. Leaving aside the terminal-cancer-life-limiting-condition thing, & all the maintenance crap that goes with that, life is good. I have all the fundamentals in place. But there is that temptation to sink into self pity, & that would poison it all.

My weapons are pretty basic. Optimism. Counting my blessings. Laughing whenever I can. Hugs. Staying in the moment. I’m trying to keep them sharp, because this war is only heading one way, but at the moment, we’re doing fine.

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