Fear of Happiness and the Nuclear Bomb


Happiness. It’s not found in nature – do bees, birds and skunks seem happy or just carefree? Perhaps there’s a powerful connection between freedom and joy. When we find ourselves free from major responsibilities we find peace easier to come by. After the following came back from my CT scan report I found my mood became less jovial and more edgy. I’m afraid of the protocol for hopefully solving this latest tumble down the rabbit hole of metastatic breast cancer:

“New moderate focal uptake within the L4 vertebral body concerning for progression of osseous involvement from PET/CT 4/12/2019. Diffuse sclerotic osseous lesions are otherwise not hypermetabolic.”

My CT Scan Report

I begin radiation treatments Tuesday for the tumor on my L4 vertebrae and in all the treatments over near 6 years since diagnosis, I’m afraid. But so many people have had radiation and come through just fine. Why such a fear of a very common treatment?

My fear of radiation began long ago in my childhood. After much soul searching into why the looming treatments scare the crap out of me I arrived at several interesting conclusions about the connection of fear and happiness.

We age and as we doubt our own hopes making the world a better place- it becomes simple. It’s a risk to take redemption to begin to see the hope where we can see darkness in the forest instead the earth calls us to see its light.

I think back to picketing against McDonell Douglas‘ huge multi billion dollar contract with NASA for what would become part of the Star Wars program begun by President Reagan’s administration. We held up our signs against nukes, U2 blaring in the car on the three hour drive home from NASA In Satellite Beach to Miami Beach – “Bullet the Blue Sky” was the song coming from the speakers in my dad’s old Celica. That song and it’s ominous countdown are etched into my memory, as are the chants of “We Shall Overcome at the end of the protest.”

I remember seeing pictures and documentaries on nuclear weapons and I think my ingrained fears about radiation causing cancer has kept me from utilizing this protocol until now.

In my dreams

I see my father in my dreamscape standing in a cool forest as I run to him not as an adult but a child. I’m afraid and I’m screaming, “no daddy! no not the bombs not the burning bombs!” Just in time I reach him before the blowback reaches me like you might have seen in film of the Bikini Atoll atom bomb tests. Then he gathered me up in his arms like a baby and we fly up without any propellant. He whispers something I cannot recall before he deposits me in a nest and disappeared leaving me safe but helplessly alone.

Is there ever going to be a time when my cancer doesn’t leave me alone? Alone in both senses of its meaning: isolated and diseased. This last week my friend told me that a relationship I’d hoped to develop wouldn’t happen. The friendship will end before it begins. She’s lost too many people to cancer in the last several years abs she cannot deal with more pain.

Where’s my happy place?

I feel okay. I have no idea when I will die. But I do know this – I also have enough on my plate but not enough human interaction- have we all gotten so used to isolation because of the never ending Covid lockdown that we will become used to doing things anonymously and alone?

I hope not, I have some frightening days ahead of me. It’s too bad I scare people away from my life just because of metastatic cancer. But her honesty is appreciated. At least I know why I haven’t seen her in six months. What’s everyone else’s excuse I’ll probably never know. Not my current friends, few though they may be, but all the ones who disappeared and left me on my own. I know they read this blog. I hope they know how afraid I am now after nearly six years of treatments.

Will I find myself in a happy place again? Or will happiness become like my mother coming into my room at night seeing my light inside. “Put the boom down and go to sleep!” Connecting fear to fun our parents do their best for us but etch away at our carefree souls for our own safety at a young age.

We thus begin to avoid risks and take fewer chances. As we get older and our responsibilities and the depth of our love becomes more important we take less risk, more work and find less fun offerings in our day for fear we cannot meet our obligations.

Do you see where I’m going? Certainly you can relate to what I’m experiencing now and what I experienced as a child leading to fears I couldn’t relate to pinpointed events until my dreams ripped a hole in my own time space continuum.

Meanwhile wish me luck.

8 comments on “Fear of Happiness and the Nuclear Bomb”

  1. Ilene,

    I came to welcome you as my newest supporter at annieasksyou but immediately became swept up in your descriptions of the battles you’re being forced to confront on so many levels. I am now your newest supporter. And I mean that literally. I have grown to love and admire Abigail (I’m assuming that’s where you came across me), and I have plenty of room in my heart for another virtual friend who’s generously and honestly sharing her everyday struggles and insights.

    All good wishes,

    1. Thank you Annie. I made this last chapter of my life open to anybody whose heart is available to read my words. It’s not only the mind but the soul that releases itself here and I’ve made it all available.
      I’ve had people recently avoid my friendship because they honestly don’t have room for the dying in their lives. If I could describe how they hurt me it would not be edible by any stretch of the palette. It would taste bitter and ugly and sad. I promised myself then that never would I become what that kind of emotional morass could fester and eject onto the pages here and thus I find hearts as wonderful as yours open and awake to the meaning of these matters and who would be there in place of closed souls. The kinds of choices we make as human beings at times don’t estimate the dear price that pain can elicit.
      Thank you for supporting me as I will you and Abigail is the beautiful soul whose words collided to create another opening for us to meet here virtually

  2. I have a friend who is going through her second round of radiation for metastatic uterine cancer migrated to her lungs. Her doctor has said he expects this to work well with the all lesion found. She finds the treatment causes her little problems. I hope yours is the same.

    I am sorry about friends. I know I am only your Word Press friend but I don’t leave someone because it can later cause me pain. There is always enough love to share and grief is the price we pay for loving. It is never too great a price for what we gain.

    1. There’s no “only” my wordpress friend – I consider my virtual friends my cancer support tribe and I love all of you so much.

  3. I was afraid of radiation as well. I did not have to go through it in the end.

    I am frustrated with Covid as it’s hampering life. As are the covidiots. I wish I could travel to see family and friends.

    1. I wish it could be avoided but I choose longer life and shaking the fear loose rather than cowering because of fear, if I did that every time I was afraid I’d be dead. You’d be gone too. #fuckcancer #fuckcovid ❤️You

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