“You have ovarian cancer.” The tsunami of fear that washed over me was palatable as the surgeon (also my oncologist) held my hand and solemnly said this sentence. Fear. Pure, unfiltered fear. Fear of dying, fear of my family being sad when I die, fear of the treatments, fear of the recovery process. I was ridden with fear.

Then one morning right before my 1st chemotherapy treatment, I had a heart-to-heart with myself. Why the fear? Then it hit me. The fear came from the unknown. In my mind, I created all sorts of stories and truths when I had no idea what I was talking about. So, I sat with my husband, whipped out the internet, and knowing that everything you read on the internet is true (being facetious) we started the search. I wrote down the questions I searched on the internet, wrote down the internet answers, listened to upbeat music (put away the ballads) and talked to my oncologist just before the chemotherapy was administered. After he answered my questions, the fear diminished. I wouldn’t say it was completely gone, but it wasn’t the big monster it was. Knowledge was a huge part of the fear diminishing.

Over the remaining years, I have faced cancer head on. I am no longer afraid. I turned the fear into fight. I know there isn’t a cure for the beast that made a home in my body; I still get butterflies when I get my bloodwork drawn. Again, fear of the unknown. However, the knowledge of what needs to be addressed readies me for what is yet to come. I encourage anyone who is facing fear to ask the question “why am I so frightened?” Write down your questions, do research, if it is a medical issue, check with your doctor before adventuring into self-diagnosing or treating, whatever the fear, start with learning. Start with knowledge. Then take a deep breath and go for it!