March 29, 2007

The Big C

Yesterday I described my worst nightmare thusly:

...being stranded on the ledge hanging precariously above the Grand Canyon as Helen Reddy, clad only in leather bondage gear, stands above me at the rim belting out a never-ending version of I Am Woman backed by Lawrence Welk and his amazing polka band whilst millions of spiders spring to life in my mouth as I'm forced to engage in lewd acts with Bob Barker who screams "how do you like my version of Plinko, bitch?"

And while that would really and truly suck, frankly it's not something I lose a great deal of sleep over. Rarely am I anywhere close to the Grand Canyon and I hardly ever run into horny gameshow hosts with latent homo-erotic tendencies. No, my worst fear is checking out at an early age. You know, buying the farm, going Anna Nicole Smith, taking a dirt nap. It's not really the dying that bothers me, although for the record I'll admit that I'm averse to lingering suffering. Instead, it's the stuff I'd miss, like seeing my daughter grow up and getting old and wrinkly with Beth that scares me the most.

That's why the book I finished recently - nicely titled Kill Me which I realize should have been an indication it would deal with death - coupled with the recent news about Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards caught me a little offguard and forced me to ponder this crap. At the same time (I realize that it's heartless and terrible) I'm sick of hearing about these two. Their cancer is pretty much the only thing making the news this week. What they're going though is tragic, and awful, and not something I'd wish on even the most annoying asshat to walk the face of this earth but there are approximately 10.14 million people in the United States alone who are waging the same battle for control of their bodies with dignity, grace and strength. Where is the recognition for them? Where is the recognition for someone like my blogging buddy CJ who, despite her sporadic posts laden with excruciating details of the things she's going through to save her life, still manages to crack me up and inspire me?

I don't have any answers or miracle cures except that the sick - everyone who's fighting for their lives - should have all the help and strength we can give them. That's a start.

What is your worst fear? And look, if it involves Bob Barker, I'm going to know you're just cheating.

(Oh, and just for the record, I left the house this morning and what was sitting on the front porch waiting for me? A big-ass spider. They're coming after me, I swear. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, send help...and an exterminator.)

Posted by Chris at March 29, 2007 7:20 AM

Being buried alive.

My chest actually got tight watching that Tarantino episode of CSI... you know the one.

And last night's Lost didn't help matters much either.

Posted by: SciFi Dad at March 29, 2007 7:45 AM

My worst fear is something happening to my kids. Seeing them in pain.

Posted by: William at March 29, 2007 8:08 AM

Mine involves snakes. Really anything with snakes.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at March 29, 2007 8:34 AM

Losing the one I love. Be it family, friends, or my significant other. It strikes the closest to my significant other, though. Things happening out of my control, that could possibly either do away with my life or his.

Posted by: Secha at March 29, 2007 8:44 AM

Worst fear? Water. Specifically my husband falling overboard and drowning before his shipmates can save him. Whenever he goes out, I always remind him to keep away from the sides... and he promises he'll stay off the deck but I know it's part of his job and he's just saying it to make me feel better. :(

Posted by: Betty at March 29, 2007 8:47 AM

My worse fear is being killed with a knife.

I know the news is probably over covering these two stricken with cancer, but at the same time it serves as a reminder to all people to get checked out it can happen to anyone. Also, I would imagine that those stricken with the disease see their struggle highlighted at least through these two people. If this helps with funding research or just to make someone struggling not feel so alone than a little media over kill is okay by me.

Posted by: linda at March 29, 2007 9:11 AM

I think my worst fear would be losing my kids.

I read that book awhile back. It really made me think.

Posted by: Alissa at March 29, 2007 9:22 AM

Losing someone we love may be everyone's worse fear; even more than dying ourselves.

I think the only thing worse than dying young yourself is watching your child die inch by inch while you stand by helpless.

That's how I spend my time lately. My daughter Carol is 50 but to me that's still young. We're not supposed to outlive our kids.

I've lost my birth mother, my adoptive father, my sons' dad, and soon my daughter - all to that loathsome disease. Anything that gets even one person to the doctor for a checkup has my support even though I agree the media does run things into the ground.

Women didn't talk about breast cancer publicly before Betty Ford. I'm sure men didn't go around talking about prostate exams. That's changed and much of it has to do with celebrities and the media.

I should probably delete this comment but I won't. The only word I can think of for cancer is evil.

Posted by: ann adams at March 29, 2007 9:29 AM

My worst irrational fear is being killed violently. I think I may watch too much CSI.

My worst rational fear is dying young from a long, dehibilitating, painful illness. Not so much the dying part, but the pain and the suffering it would put not just me but my family and loved ones through.

This is followed very closely by my intense fear of spiders. Which borders somewhere between rational and irrational.

Posted by: suze at March 29, 2007 9:29 AM

My worst fear is the death of my kids.

Personally, I have a feer of needles and my own blood... so I guess maybe bleeding to death would be up there on my list of things I'd rather not do.

Posted by: Brad at March 29, 2007 10:08 AM

I'd have to say that you are gonna get lots of yucky comments from this post. I can't imagine anyone not reading them without a grimace on their face. Anyway, some of my worst fears are being attacked in any violent way, whether it be rape, stabbing, or with a gun, etc., drowning to death, my husband's death, and now that you mention it, maybe being eaten alive by spiders or ants or something really gross like that.

Posted by: Sijbrich at March 29, 2007 10:23 AM

my silly fear is of clowns. so creepy {shudders}.
But my real fear is similar to yours. Dying early. I never thought about it until I had a kid. Now I worry about it. But I think it has helped me make healthier decisions. My other fear is of close spaces. Last year I needed an MRI (or as I call it the 'Death Tube'). I was half way in and had a complete panic attack. Way to close for me! uggghhhh, my hearts racing just thinking about it.

Posted by: MadMom at March 29, 2007 10:28 AM

My son being abducted. just thinking about it makes me want to throw up.

Posted by: Pinky at March 29, 2007 10:35 AM

the spiders, they're coming out now because it's starting to get warm... you're soooo in for it.

i, like you, don't really fear death-- i fear the afterwards-- if i'm able to look down on my two men and watch them live life, but not join in, i'm going to be a very, very depressed ghost.

Posted by: b. at March 29, 2007 10:47 AM

Close spaces and dying young suddenly (me and loved ones...)

this will have me thinking!

Posted by: Sue R. at March 29, 2007 10:50 AM

Drowning seems like a pretty awful thing. Too much time involved between the moment it starts and when it ends.

Another fear is being shot without time to react. In Houston yesterday we had a guy riding a Metro bus stand up, turn around and shoot another man that brushed against him as he passed him in the aisle. The shot man stumbled to the front of the bus and died. How do you prepare or react to something like that?

Oh... I've heard spiders can smell your fear. They're psychic. Sounds like a band name - Psychic Spiders... where have I heard of psychic spiders?

Posted by: Johnny Smoke at March 29, 2007 11:31 AM

You would think that someone so concerned with the possibility of his own early demise would go see a doctor more than every 15 years.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at March 29, 2007 12:05 PM

Lately I fear actual death more than dying. What the hell is going to happen after that? And how come we've been around as long as we have and yet no one knows that answer? Seems a little sketchy to me.
But since we're talking about dying... I'll throw out the Days of Our Lives episode in the 90's where Carly is buried alive and taunted by Vivian through a speaker. That is messed up!!

Posted by: Amaya at March 29, 2007 12:08 PM

1. Dying before my son is all grown-up.
2. Dying in a fire
3. Drowning
4. Spiders
5. Clowns
6. Clowns with spiders on them
7. Amway
8. Girl scouts (during cookie season)

Posted by: Felicia at March 29, 2007 12:33 PM

Well, I've already had cancer (13 years ago), and given my family history it's not unlikely I'll deal with that again.

And there's dementia on both sides of my family, so I might have that to look forward to also.

But my biggest fear is outliving my husband, the love of my life. It's that simple.

Posted by: bhd at March 29, 2007 12:40 PM

Irrational fear- dark (public) bathrooms. I was told that "Bloody Mary" story when I was about 7, then locked in a school bathroom with no way to turn on the lights. I'm 30 and still terrified that the lights will go out in the bathroom at my office when I'm in there.

Rational fear- Like everyone else, it's dying young- dying before I meet the love of my life or raise children.

Posted by: Judy at March 29, 2007 12:50 PM

Drowning, or Alzheimer's Disease. Having lost my mom to Alzheimer's, I can say with certainty that that is an awful way to go.

Posted by: coolchick at March 29, 2007 12:57 PM

Having my house burn down. I don't know if it's truly my worst one, but I always come home from trips and worry that it won't be there.

Posted by: Heather at March 29, 2007 2:15 PM

Cancer used to be my biggest fear, but since I was diagnosed and beat it, that is no longer the case. I think now it would have to be the loss of a child. Even the thought of it breaks my heart.

Posted by: Kari at March 29, 2007 3:18 PM

great post but why are you so anti-bob barker? he's a great guy, helps animals and all that.

amaya's comment about days of our lives cracked me up.

my two greatest fears are 1) outliving my partner and 2) long term physical suffering and/or severe physical impairment, like being bed ridden and not able to care for myself. #1 used to be my only "greatest fear" until i was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and started thinking more about greatest fear #2.

maybe it's because i don't have kids, but i'm not afraid of dying at all. i hope i die a quick painless death while i'm still healthy before my partner dies, even if that means dying at a young age.

is that morbid? you asked!

Posted by: jen at March 29, 2007 4:45 PM

My worst fear? It's not dying. I don't worry about that. My fear is being the last one left. Being alone, without my loved ones.

Posted by: Maribeth at March 29, 2007 7:37 PM

Ummm, my Numero Uno Worst Fear is being stuck in the basement and a fire breaks out and I'm trapped. I SWEAR that is how I died in a former life. No joke there.

My Numero Segundo Worst Fear is spiders -- any shape, any size, any number, any where.

How was Kill Me by Stephen White? I just picked it up at Borders last weekend for my reading pleasure to and from Vegas. I've never read him before, but thought I'd give him a try.

Posted by: ironic1 at March 29, 2007 10:23 PM

Oh, and clowns. I. Fucking. HATE. Clowns.

Posted by: ironic1 at March 29, 2007 10:25 PM

Losing my kids or my husband. I interviewed a guy tonight who wants to be a counselor at a pediatric cancer camp where I teach art in the summer. He's happily married. My age. Two kids. And the son was killed exactly one month ago in a car accident. I couldn't imagine the pain and only four weeks later this guy wants to "give back" by volunteering to work with kids who have cancer.

And to think that I woke up today bitching because I need to lose five pounds.

Posted by: wordgirl at March 30, 2007 12:48 AM

My worst fear is having someone I care about go missing without a trace. The thought of that just churns my gut around.

Posted by: E :) at March 30, 2007 3:23 AM

silly fear...yes, the spiders.
real fear...dying young or something happening to my kids. My mother died when I was three and it took me a long time to realize I wasn't going to die when my kids were very small. I've gotten past me dying young now (I'm 50- not so young) and now I worry something may happen to my kids. Not logical, just there in the back of my mind.

Posted by: sue at March 30, 2007 12:02 PM

The most obvious of course is losing my family.
But one of my worst fears is not being able to breath, like drowning or suffocating.

There's a new glass bottom walkway at the Grand Canyon. I don't know if I could walk on it.

Posted by: nila at March 31, 2007 11:02 PM