Shielding Myself from Negativity and Fear
I had been blindsided by my cancer diagnosis. Now, more so than ever before, I found myself truly believing my inner voice and trusting in God. Although everyone around me was urging (begging and pressuring) me to sign up for the standard treatment of surgery and radiation, I was listening to the voice inside me that was screaming, “No! This is not the right path for me!”
But it wasn’t easy.
I was making the decision to go against the flow of things, and everyone in my inner circle—my husband, parents, brothers and friends—were trying to change my mind. Although their standard approach for doing so was coming from a good place in their hearts, somehow though negativity and fear kept popping up. They were trying to scare me into believing that anything other than surgery and radiation would be disastrous.
Dealing with all of that negativity and fear started to feel like another thing on my “to do” list, a thing that I absolutely did not want to deal with. It got to the point where I felt like I was being forced to deal with other people’s thoughts and inner battles on top of my own. Since their thoughts always seemed to come from a place of fear, I really just couldn’t handle it. As if facing this disease wasn’t challenging enough!
So after I had gotten past the initial shock of the diagnosis and really processed the fact that this really was happening to me, I realized that I had to build myself up to shield myself from all this fear and negativity. Which is why I found myself very guarded in my environment, protective of my atmosphere and surroundings. Was this a selfish thing to do? I’m not sure, but I am sure that at that moment I needed to do this to survive and process what I was going through.
Friends and family members were understandably concerned. They would call me or tag me on social media or reach out to me in some other way. I hope what I’m sharing is not taken in a wrong way, but I truly believe that I needed to protect myself by guarding what I would hear and see. To avoid falling into a place where I would find myself explaining why I’m choosing this path, I would always answer that I was fine, doing great. I knew that in most cases I was not going to agree with their advice, and I just didn’t want to use any of my precious energy explaining my position and choices. I knew I was probably coming across as standoffish, but my mental and emotional health were more important to me at the time. It is my life, and in order to take care of myself I had to put up a shield.
After hearing and reading other people’s stories I realized just how necessary that shield is. Many cancer patients have shared their experiences and I found them very similar to mine. They felt they were not just dealing with their own fear—they had to deal with and carry everyone else’s fear, too. Unfortunately, many of the stories I read or heard were from people who gave in to the pressure. “I decided to do chemo,” they would say, “even though something in me knew I shouldn’t. Everyone kept telling me I should and I just couldn’t deal with it.”
Yes, I knew that everyone around me meant well. They love me, and they do not want to lose me. And I certainly appreciate that love. But ultimately it’s my life, and I need to follow my inner voice…a voice which I believe comes directly from God.
I will not fear or be dismayed, for my heart beats with the rhythm of life, filling my heart, body and soul daily with strength, hope and courage.