Fear is another part of the emotional roller-coaster of cancer.
The words, “You have cancer” are some of the most terrifying words you can ever hear. I can’t say it enough. “The reaction of fear is normal.”
If you have a friend who is a strong Christian, yet she is afraid, that does not mean there is something wrong with her faith or belief system. She is not a coward. The emotion of fear is a normal part of the cancer roller coaster ride. There is plenty to be afraid of.
Your friend may be afraid of:
- dying. Even if you know where you are going when you die, the act of dying is something that causes fear to grip our hearts. We don’t want to die. (If you don’t agree, why do you look both ways before you cross the road? Or buckle your safety belt? Or check the expiry date on the chicken?)
- what will happen to her family.
- the financial aspect. Everyone knows the crippling effect cancer can have on the normal budget.
- extreme pain, either caused by the cancer or by the treatment.
- being unable to keep food down and losing large amounts of weight.
- feeling ill and becoming dependent on others.
- losing her hair and being an object of pity.
- keeping her job.
- whether a special relationship will outlast the ordeal.
Many fears about cancer are based on stories, rumors, and misinformation. Some are based on old treatments or statistics that no longer apply. Most people feel better when they know what to expect.
Fear is one of the normal downs of the Cancer Roller-coaster. It is an essential part. If we didn’t feel fear, we would stop treatment. If we didn’t feel fear, we would stop fighting the disease.
It’s part of the ride, but it’s not the whole ride.
How do you know when your friend or loved one is afraid? It’s not always obvious. She may also be in denial and not acknowledge that she feels fear. You may recognise her fear if you notice:
- trouble solving problems or focusing on conversations
- her experiencing muscle pain from excess tension
- trembling hands, or if she mentions a deep-rooted shaking that seems to come from within
- extreme restlessness
- she complains of a dry mouth that is not quenched by water
- angry outbursts or irritability
What can you do to help her deal with her fear? How Can I Cope with this Fear may be of help to you as well as your friend.