November 27th 2017
Picture for a moment, those most terrifying of magical creatures, the Dementors. Cloaked in dark hoods, with slimy-looking, decayed hands and – shudder – no eyes. Imagine them advancing towards you, causing the air to freeze and bringing all of your worst fears and traumas to life. Then imagine them clamping their jaws on your mouth and sucking out your soul. Horrifying, isn’t it? That was the internal effect of hearing that I had cancer….
One of my good friends had said to me a long time ago that I should teach people about handling fear, because I seem to know a lot about. Well I thought I knew a lot about it, until my doctor said, “and its cancer” they had found a growth in my left kidney during an ultra sound…
That comment kicked off the cycle of forced optimism, dark pessimism and frantic research on the web to find out as much as I could about kidney cancer. A CT Scan request, with urgency was sent in by my doctor. I waited every day hoping for a quick and date, the longer I waited the more fear I had. Waiting, waiting it seemed to take forever, and when I get that booking?
I also believed if I could understand what it was (kidney cancer) and find out as much as possible about it and get myself thoroughly educated I would feel less fear. Well that was not true, because any ache in my back immediately sent me into dark thoughts – has its spread, will they catch in time, will the CT scan give us the real answer. Waiting for my CT Scan…
In the mean-time life went on, meeting clients and coaching calls and leading a seminar, everything had to be the best for my clients/students for it might be the last time.
Busyness helped, as it can my mind occupied but every now and then when I least expected it up would pop its head “fear” the purest breathless state of fear. I found myself using my meditation techniques, from transcendental meditation – it found that easier than any other of the meditations I’ve used in the past.
Dec 14th, 2017
I got the date for the CT Scan, it was for December 31, 2017 at 6 PM at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Happy New Year – glad to be alive. I felt elated, yes soon we will begin. We decided we didn’t want to tell anyone (as my lovely wife knew along), because I did not have any answers and did not want sympathy I just wanted people to be themselves.
Dec 25th, 2017
Christmas with the family was very different, I saw everyone with loving eyes trying to remember the details just in case I don’t see them again. Noticing every detail about everything, loving every minute of it and everyone. Never did like turkey very much but I enjoyed it this time, still don’t think I like it very much.
I developed an amazing appreciation of everyone I came across, I found myself treating everyone specially and graciously. I had the dread I would never see them again and I don’t want to leave them with some pain or bad feeling. I love flowers for the home, now I was buying them all the time. Spring flowers for the colour and richness. Roses for their beauty and stature. Daffodils for their bright yellow and promise of spring. Mostly to see the pleasure they bring my wife.
My passion food is ice cream and it doubled no tripled. I was so surprised to find that my pants were still fitting me, and in fact I was losing weight. Was this the cancer or was it the fear the anxiety pulling at my body. Another restless night thinking and overthinking and finally falling asleep with an exhausted mind. Dementors mind…
Dec 31st, 2017
6 pm CT Scan- the technician set me up for the contrasting solution and I went into the machine. It’s noisy and a little claustrophobic but I felt good because I was doing something – the contrast solution does make you feel warm, quite a glow, it also makes you feel like you need to go to the bathroom (which is hard to do when you in the middle of the scan). Suddenly it was over now things would start!
Jan 4th 2018
Call from the doctor’s office they had the results, a large growth in my left kidney, now we had to pick a urologist because the CT scan showed enlarging left renal mass should be considered as renal carcinoma until proven otherwise. Seeing it in print started more anxious fear, oh my God it is cancer. What if it has spread? What is the next step and why can’t this be quicker? Dementor Mind…
When my mind gets too busy, my favourite distraction is movies, action dramas but best of all outrageous comedies, both raunchy and plain silly.
Jan 28th 2018
I saw the Urologist – I immediately I liked him and the office, I was moved quickly through the process, one week later I was learning my kidney could be saved and my surgery date was Feb 14th.
Happy Valentine’s Surgery Day
The Dr. spoke to me before I went under, “the first priority is to get the cancer, then save the kidney” he smiled and walked of as drifted into a haze. The surgery went well, they got all of the cancerous growth and managed to save part of my kidney… Now recovery, physical, mental and emotional.
What I Have Learned About Fear
What I have learned about ‘fear’ is that it can be dissipated with knowledge, when you shine light on it, when you look at it and recognize it and name it – name the reaction in your body ‘hey this is fear’ take a few deep breaths and let it go. I’ve also learnt that waiting, and not knowing of the greatly magnifies of fear. Learning about the odds and by percentages of survival, it helped me greatly. The survival rate of kidney cancer is 97%!
But when your doctor says “it’s cancer” you will still get a rush of fear and Dementors might visit late at night. Just take a deep breath, maybe three and relax and fight it let the light in.
As you receive this email newsletter I will be home taking recovery time, taking in the view, easy days and thinking and feeling the love in the world.
As always, I really appreciate that you are reading my post. Here, I regularly write about leadership, public speaking and communication issues and trends. If you would like to receive my regular posts then please click on ‘Subscribe’. And, of course, feel free to also connect via Twitter, and Geoffrey X Lane.