By Janelle Lamontagne
No one told me about one of the most debilitating long term effects of cancer: a profound and suffocating fear of the unknown.
I was warned about the nausea, the vomiting, the fatigue, the hair loss, the infertility, and so on, but no one ever told me about the fear.
The fear that comes with every scan.
The fear that comes with every appointment.
The fear that comes with every headache or sore joint or stabbing pain.
No one told me about the fear of planning for a future. Or the fear of not living every moment to its fullest. Or the fear of causing your friends and family pain.
No one told me about the fear of answering the phone and hearing that the doctor wants to see you. Or the fear of the call informing you that someone you love is facing their own cancer diagnosis. Or the fear of opening your email to learn that your cancer community has become a little bit smaller.
No one told me about the fear — and no one told me about the freedom.
The freedom to reflect on your relationships.
The freedom to refuse societal expectations.
The freedom to reevaluate what is important.
No one told me about the fear.
And no one told me that on the other side of fear lies freedom.