I fear fanny cancer. Fanny is English slang for vagina and sounds less anatomical than the V-word , and less insulting than pussy or cunt. Cancer……well I can’t think of any funny slang for that disease, and putting fanny before it does not take away the fear.
This fear is a tsunami, which runs deep and long in my emotional waves, surfacing again and again as an overwhelming sense of dread crashing the calm surface of gratitude I so desperately want intact.
The cause of this particular fear tsunami happened 25 years ago with the earthquake/landslide/ volcanic emotional eruption that was my mother’s death. She died suddenly at age 52, when I was 17, of uterine or cervical cancer. I do not know which one because my dad did not keep track of such things. He’s very academic, and theoretically she died because the cancer spread plaguing her inner surfaces.
She died on Father’s Day, approximately two weeks after she was diagnosed. She did not take care of her health, was my understanding of the situation. She had a fear of doctors, I remember family members telling me at the time.
It was a blessing and a curse. Losing a mother is extremely emotional at any age. At 17 the loss was unbearable at times, but I lost a depressed, alcoholic mother who I never thought loved me, except that one time she soberly told me so on her death bed.
Blame is an easy reaction to life events when you are 17. I blamed the doctors for not catching my mom’s cancer sooner. I blamed my mom for not receiving health care sooner. Their timing was all off, and consequently my mom died.
As I got older this blame turned to shame. I became an alcoholic myself because I did not want to feel. Shame on me. I would occasionally get physicals and pap smears performed, but after one bad biopsy experience didn’t follow-up on the bad paps. Shame.
Shame damned-up my emotions. Slowly I’d let the emotions flow when I found sobriety. Then an ego-based tidal wave of fear would rip my sobriety away. This time after six months of sobriety, I faced the fanny cancer fear and had a pap smear done. It came up negative. I let nearly two years pass before following up.
The fanny cancer fear tsunami washed away my calm surface after I finally saw a gynecologist, got a colposcopy done and four biopsies. Four minuscule pieces of my cervix that were once intact and then sat in separate petri dishes in some lab.
“Two years too late?,” I asked myself as waves of tears surfaced, again and again over a week’s wait. The lapse of time it took for me to get the procedure done was illogical, which I told myself again and again. New shame surfacing its ugly unproductive head, spiraling my emotions, wreaking havoc on my serenity surface.
Calm came again with the results, which proved I was fanny cancer free. My feet are again planted firmly in the sand, faced forward, away from the tide. I will let my feet get wet with the passing tides of emotion as I maintain my two plus years of sobriety, but for now the tsunami of fear has ceased.