I wake up to the birds calling and the sun brushing my face. I also wake up with a gnawing ache in my neck. It’s been 11 weeks of waking up this way. It’s at times exhausting! Fortunately, there is nothing clinically wrong, my cancer hasn’t spread; it’s simply a side effect from treatment, also known as neurotoxicity. At this point, it looks like it is here to say, or at least until it’s not.
Generally, I feel quite fortunate that this nagging neck pain is all that I have to worry about right now. However, as the pain amplifies, which often coincides with intense, yet incredibly rich, periods of work and play (more of which I’ll write about later), fear starts to set in. Am I doing too much? Will this affect my tumor growth? Is the pain a message to slow down? Pain is only the tip of the iceberg; of something that lies much deeper. Fear.
Even writing the word is terrifying, and yet also strangely liberating. To release this gripping fear, I must acknowledge its presence, rather than continuously pushing it away. It’s time to practice what I often share with others: being scared and vulnerable is ok, it’s normal and natural, and according to Brene Brown, “you can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” Now is also time to get curious with the fear and pain, and explore the messages being offered that I might not see.
In this moment, I acknowledge the fear within me and know that it is ok. Stepping forward, I continue to walk in fear, fear of the unknown; however, I also step forward with vulnerability and joy.