Looking Back at Demons and Infinite Infinities

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Have you seen the movie “The Fault in Our Stars” or have you ever read the book? It’s a love story of tragic proportions. Two souls who cross paths at the crossroads of illness, confusion, fear, and death. A glimpse into what life is like for two young adults, both facing terminal cancer, and how to best spend that life. I saw “The Fault in Our Stars” in theaters with my wife the day it came out. I knew immediately, from watching the previews, that it would be somewhat of a trigger for me. What I didn’t expect is how truly emotional and shaken the movie would make me. My cancer story differs greatly from that of Hazel and Augustus. But what I found out, was that there were still many demons of my battle to be faced. And what I learned was that there are infinite infinities in which I may do so.

I knew that this movie would be a trigger for me before we even went to see it. The memories of the day of my diagnosis still linger heavily in the front of my mind. I wrestle daily with depression and anxiety about the fact that I’m only 31 and have had an advanced stage cancer. Or as Hazel puts it at on point of the movie, “a  touch of cancer”. I wrestle with trying to move past the question of “why” and “what’s next” on a revolving door basis. Some scenes in the movie just brought back so many memories that I may have shed more tears than my wife did during. I knew I still had some demons to face from that time, but I didn’t realize those demons still had such a strong grip on my life. I swore to myself I would not watch that movie again for a while.

Then this week, with the wife off work for the day and the kids at school, we had movie time. And I found myself searching for and watching “The Fault in our Stars” once again. Being just shy of 2 years since my diagnosis, for some reason, it seemed kind of fitting to watch it, and once again place myself face to face with those demons, those memories, those feelings. From the initial shock, to the face of death breathing heavily down the back of my neck. Having to remember what is was like to be rushed through procedures in the ER, or find yourself struggling to do the things you knew would make your day or your life complete at the time. And my greatest resonating fear: That I will have to tell my family the cancer has come back. I’m sure that, perhaps, professional help and counseling will help me deal with these demons and pains that follow me two years later.

Facing Demons

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or been through a severe car accident, when you’ve come face to face with the finite property of mortality, it tends to rattle you. I know I’ve seen people who do all sorts of amazing shit before they die. The quotes are always in the same line as “I’m making the best of the days left”. But I don’t believe for a moment that these people aren’t terrified. If you don’t get frightened when you are first told you might die, then I question your stability. For real, even for one brief moment, being told you may die is terrifying, and scarring. It’s one of the hardest things for me to get past.

No, I didn’t die. I could have twice in a 3 month time span, but I didn’t. There was the advanced cancer then there were the blood clots, one of which would have been my death had I waited another 24-48 hours to go to the ER. Both times there was an intervention of higher power that spared me. But those two experiences, at the age of 29, have left me rattled 2 years later.

There’s also a constant fear. The scene in the movie in which Augustus and Hazel are sitting on a bench in Amsterdam and he tells her that he had been having some pain and went for a scan. “It just lit up like a Christmas tree.” That’s how my diagnosis was. My CT scans were brighter than the midday sun. And my greatest fear is that I will once again one day have to make the hardest phone call I’ve ever made to tell my dad that I had cancer.

“Pain demands to be felt.” Another quote from Hazel. Not something I doubt for sure. Pain is an inevitability of the human experience. Sometimes we must feel pain, whether we like it or not. I like to think that over time it dissipates, and that these demons will burn away. As much as it demands to be felt, there are more times than not that I wish I didn’t feel it. The days where the after-effects of cancer and the resulting treatment make even the easiest tasks feel impossible. The days where these emotions creep up from nowhere and I want to just curl up and sleep. Who knows how long it takes to get over these things. All I know is there are still demons present and I still have a few to slay.

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About The Geeky Nimrod

Husband, Father, Thinker, Geek, Mobile Tech Enthusiast, Writer. I am the one who.... Knocks politely and possibly not even loud enough for you to hear. Just another dude on the internet.

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