(I haven’t updated Cancer Talk in a while because….I have been enjoying life :D)
By mid 2016 I had done several rounds of chemo. Don’t ask me how many times, because I forgot.
Ask me about the name of drugs used in my chemo, I won’t know.
Often I can’t remember whether my lymphoma is Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s.
Some may call me ignorant, not caring enough about my disease, or reckless even.
I like the tiny little details of life, and it is not my character to dismiss details as important as the things I mentioned above. However for this case, I made the decision to stop knowing all the details.
First of all I do not know all those medical terms and frankly, they all sound really scary. When I started reading about side effects and what the drugs would do to my body, I got really really petrified. Most explanations are very thorough, listing ALL the possibilities (that may not even happen to me). Though I know it might not happen to me, still, I feel like the words would swirl around me, suffocating me and making me think of horrible things. A lot of the times, it led me to having panic attacks and I would get really stressed out from overthinking.
And so I had to stop. I stopped the googling and just surrendered to the treatments. I listened to my doctor when he explained what drugs he would give me. I listened to him the most because I trust him fully and I know that he will give me heads up if there were any major side effects I should be ready for.
I stopped listening to people who gave me stories of “the same thing” that happened to their friends, mum’s sister’s friend, friend’s mum’s grandma, etc because I believe that everyone who has cancer each has a different experience. Even when they have the same exact type of cancer as mine, I strongly believe that they don’t go through the same side effects as me.
I wanted to go through my chemo, radiation, and all the other things by my own way. The treatments I had to do were already scary sounding, I didn’t need to add more worry, fear and anxiety to myself.
Seeing that this “trick” did me wonders, I continue to do it until now. When I block all those things from me, I don’t think I’m being ignorant, I’m simply saving myself from being too depressed.
Of course I am only human and often I would get super curious and I start to search here and there. I would get so overwhelmed by the information I got that I would put my phone down and start reading or watch my favourite TV series.
By the middle of 2016, I learned to surrender. It was so useless for me to worry and to be scared, it was a waste of energy to do so (really it is, I would get migraines or feel extremely sick or as the Indonesians say masuk angin, when I think too much).
For me, it is important to stay ignorant but not ignore the seriousness of it all. To stop worrying but still be concerned that I get the right treatments. Does that make sense at all? In a way, it made me feel braver to fight for my health.