I was so pleased to hear those words at our recent oncology review.
I try not to say or think about relapse. Instead, I bury it in my subconscious with a lot of fear, uncertainty and anger. Freud would have a field day in my subconscious at the moment – so much repression taking place. But that’s a blog for another time – not ready for publicly unearthing my subconscious yet!
Since Christmas, Felix’s health and corresponding blood counts have been all over the place. His fatigue and illness caused by parvovirus could certainly mimic a relapse and with last week’s wipeout and neutrophil drop, sometimes it’s hard not to think relapse.
To hear ‘it’s not the leukaemia’ not only made me breathe a sigh of relief and bring a tear to my eye, it also validated my fears and worries. Whilst I do my very best to maintain a positive outlook, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t consider the chance of relapse. I know the stats, I’ve met the children, it happens.
The reason I write this today is as a shout out to everyone who has a subconscious full of fears, worries and anxiety. To stay strong for your children and your family you may conceal these emotions to protect yourself and those around you. A simple recognition of these subconscious feelings can offer validation and reassurance which can empower. A simple nod to those fears and worries can make you feel stronger, maybe even to the extent you can talk about it.
The nod I had, which recognised my fear of relapse, has enabled me to face my worries and anxiety. Almost like a valve in a pressure cooker has been slightly opened. Not too much. Just enough to rationalise my fear and then give it permission to be submerged again. By opening the valve slightly, a small amount of power has been released from the fear.
It will certainly poke its ugly head back up when the next blood count comes back with anomalies, yet this will be with less authority. It’s had the nod – it’s on its way out. It may take months, most probably years, but because my fear of relapse has been acknowledged it will never have the same power again. Until then, I will continue to repress with a smile!