I was awakened by my old foe panic this morning. Not good. My medical phobia kicked into high gear. I never had these attacks before cancer, but they haven’t left me since, at least not on more major issues.
The fear is there any time I have to have a procedure done, but I can power through the fear. On the outside, you would not even be able to tell I was afraid…unless you know me very well. I can do the self-talk and convince myself to get a grip and grow up. I can laugh about it, with whoever is trying to stick a needle in my body, to set them at ease. I know how to deep breathe when it hurts, to avoid tears. I know how to turn my head so that my face doesn’t give me away. My insides are not so happy, but they get over it and I move on…most of the time.
However, in more major issues…like knee replacement when they are going to saw my bones…panic overrides my “fearless” performance. It is an involuntary, physical reaction to fear which is quite scary in itself. Cold sweats, difficulty breathing, shaking, nausea and a general feeling that I am going to die. The first time it happened was the weekend I was diagnosed with cancer. My brilliant doctor figured it out pretty quickly, and prescribed some medicine which I took before every chemo appointment, scan, blood work, and most of all, before dressing changes with the wound vac. This morning wasn’t an attack of that magnitude, just the feeling that one could happen any moment. By now, I am an expert on what to do in this situation. Tell my husband, who prays over me…then call the doc. She prescribed some medicine to get me through till tomorrow is over. I will take it, and my body will respond and calm so I can rest tonight, and be relaxed tomorrow when they come for me.
Somehow, I feel like I shouldn’t be afraid. That if I am, I lack faith. I don’t know why it is that I think it is an either/or situation. It’s not. I know that it can be both physical and spiritual at the same time. Fear and faith can both reside within simultaneously. How do I know this you ask?
“He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little further he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…yet not as I will, buy as you will.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22: 42-44
I have heard it said that Jesus didn’t feel fear, but I would disagree. This passage is a description of fear. He was human and therefore felt what any human would feel at the prospect of a violent death. Yet, he walked into it. He had faith that his Father’s will was perfect. He knew that the way to life was through the pain. Fear and faith…at the same time. The physical reaction of sweating blood, mixed with the spiritual resolve that death would soon die. It is inspiring to me. I do not carry the sin of the world on my shoulders. I will not die a violent death, but my fear is tangible. It is debilitating at times it is so real. Yet, I choose life. I walk through the pain of surgery and all that entails to obtain it. Living fully is a gift he bought for me with his blood. I choose to walk into the fear AND to embrace the faith. I know it can be done…because it has been. His grace is enough. All is grace.

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