Creepy Crawley Panic Attacks


They come at the most unexpected times. They slide in like an unwanted note under the door, like a tide coming in too soon, like a swarm of bees on a mission. They make my heart beat faster and faster. They fill my stomach with their poison so I don’t eat. They close up my throat so I can’t swallow. They cover my body in sweat. But mainly, they lock my brain in an endless loop of terrifying thoughts.

I lay awake at night and they creep in. I walk my dog on a sunny day and they cloud my mind. I ride on the subway and I see my thoughts dancing in front of my eyes. I eat a dinner with friends and the thoughts freeze my laugh in an instant. I am their prisoner. But yet I also hold the keys to my cell. I just don’t know how to use them.

I worry about what will happen next. Is the cancer quietly peeking in another organ in my body? Waiting for the next PET scan to triumphantly show its glowing colors on the display? Will I have to go through this again with another set of doctors, another set of surgeries, another set of poisonous drugs? And this time, will it be an organ I can’t live without? Is the cancer penetrating my tissues while I sleep, while I peacefully read, while I eat my lunch? Is my time up? And if it is, what will I do in the time I do have left? Should I just end it myself?

Then I feel like running into my closet, closing the door, curling up in the corner, in complete darkness, closing my eyes and wishing that when I open them, I am the old me, with all my body parts intact, with no disease permeating my body and with nothing else to worry about than what I should buy at the store later.

I worry about any upcoming doctor’s appointments and imagine all possible scenarios. The blood work will be bad, they will find a new anomaly not caused by chemo, or they will delay my treatments.

I worried like this about my appointment before my last chemo. I never expected to walk away from it thinking I may have a brain tumor.


  1. judith katzman

    You describe panic attacks almost too well.

    • Well, I have been through quite a few, it feels good to be able to release them this way. 🙂

  2. Panic attacks are a silent thief that takes away your happiness. I have had them since a little girl and they never seem to get away. You describe them perfectly.

    • I am so sorry, I wish someone would figure out an effective way to deal with them without pharmaceuticals! Your description of a silent thief stealing happiness is spot on too.

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