10 Things I Fear – Fierce Hope

I’ve been told how open and brave this blog is. In the interest of national colon cancer awareness day, I wanted to share the deep fears I’ve had since finding out I have end-stage cancer.

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  1. Above all, I fear not seeing my children grow up. If my terminal diagnosis has taught me anything, it is to enjoy each moment. But those moments aren’t enough. Last night I saw a young girl talking about visiting college campuses with her dad and it really hit me. The shear volume of those moments that I will miss is astounding.
  1. I fear leaving Amy alone. My wife and I have a love that has lasted 17 years of ups and downs. I shudder at the idea of her being without me.
  1. I fear pain. When I was in the hospital with pneumonia when I got my diagnosis, I endured some of the worst pain and moments of my life. I had a terrible time with being intubated. It was like a long and inescapable nightmare that stretched into infinity.
  1. I fear that my children will forget me. Our twins, Hannah and Alison are 6 years old. I don’t remember anything from that age. Enough said.
  1. I fear heaven. That may sound odd, but no perfect place can exist that separates me from my family. I find the entire idea very unsatisfying. I don’t want to be hanging out on clouds with a bunch of angels. I want to be with my family in a real and living way. Not “with” them in just a spiritual sense.
  1. I fear I will give up. I’ve been congratulated many times for my strength, but few know how much I want to give up. The chemo makes me miserable and the idea of dumping it is attractive. The only thing stopping me is it seems to be working. If I thought for a moment it wasn’t, I’d be done.
  1. I fear missing the future. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and think about future events. The prospect of missing the “unknown” means I could pass away a few years before they cure my cancer. It’s a terrifying prospect.
  1. I fear hospice. This may have been a bad idea, but I spent several weeks after my diagnosis reading about what happens to the body as cancer of the organs shuts it down. It was grim and clinical and I don’t look forward to experiencing it at 42.
  1. I fear I won’t finish my projects. I’ve been writing a book. It’s hard to focus on these meds, but I keep pushing.
  1. Lastly, I fear the silence that will take the place of my life. A deep still silence around everything that I am. Everything that I’ve done. Everything that I own. Just the stillness of non-existence.

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3 Thoughts on “10 Things I Fear – Fierce Hope

  1. Shelley on March 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm said:

    Jim,
    You inspire me to look at my life in a much different way. You help me to remember what’s important, and just as I lose sight again, out comes another incredible post to remind me of the fragility of life and importance of celebrating the moment.
    Much love to you all.

  2. Helen M. Byrnes on March 12, 2015 at 9:35 pm said:

    I just want you to know that I’m so proud of you Jim. Maybe you don’t have any memories of me but I have many of you. Always a sweet little boy who said lots of very funny things. I so admire you for sharing this battle with us, it can’t be easy to be so truthful. I think God is using you. No one can say how long a person will live, that is up to God. In 20 years I hope you can look back at this and think “it was worth the battle”. My prayers are always with you.

  3. Helen M. Byrnes on March 12, 2015 at 9:35 pm said:

    I just want you to know that I’m so proud of you Jim. Maybe you don’t have any memories of me but I have many of you. Always a sweet little boy who said lots of very funny things. I so admire you for sharing this battle with us, it can’t be easy to be so truthful. I think God is using you. No one can say how long a person will live, that is up to God. In 20 years I hope you can look back at this and think “it was worth the battle”. My prayers are always with you.

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