152. Without Fear: Preliminary Findings of the CT Scan

The scan shows no new masses, no return of old masses. Good news. It also shows that the lymph nodes are active. That could mean that they are chasing cancer or creating it.

  1. What I noticed most about the call from the doctor was my lack of fear.

We were driving toward Ocean Shores for a strategically placed family vacation. I say that because chemo is coming. Planning and timing are more difficult and less predictable within the pattern of treatment, so I was trying to squeeze something in between the wound appointment schedule and the future addition of chemotherapy visits.

When the phone rang in the car radio, it displayed the familiar 261 prefix. I do not answer calls from unknown numbers, but that prefix comes from Bellevue Kaiser. It was Doctor Wilfong’s voice. I felt nothing. No adrenaline. No anticipation. Nothing.

I was supposed to get results from the test in two weeks.

Cover of When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening.
When Fear Falls Away by Jan Frazier was our book club selection more than a decade ago.

DeeDee is going to think that my recognition of lack of fear is hilarious. We were in a book club where we read Jan Frazier’s title, When Fear Falls Away. The book is significant. But there is this main crescendo moment for Jan. She does not feel fear when facing the results of a cancer test. I still think she unveils moments that are far more poignant in the book. And I find the results of her clear cancer screening less than important. But that “lack of fear” was one of her moments of enlightenment.

Why would Dr. Wilfong call early? What was so important?

I am also reminded of a phone call that luckily went to the message machine. It echoed in that tinny old way. “This is Officer Gonzalez. I have Shante…” It was 2am. Shante and Michael were standing in the kitchen, telling the story, when I hit the button. I would have otherwise crumbled at the word Shante, car collision, death, peril, flashing through my mind faster than the next word came from the recorder.

She was fine. I am fine. That moment where fear takes over, where fight or flight activates adrenaline, is generally unnecessary (and often counterproductive).

The scan shows no new masses, no return of old masses. Good news. It also shows that the lymph nodes are active. That could mean that they are chasing cancer or creating it. (It could mean I have an open wound. That is my thought. No medical confirmation.) Everyone at the office is tired of waiting for the wound to heal.

Dr. Wilfong called so that I would not be surprised by a phone call from the desk to schedule the chemo appointment. I would not have been surprised. I expected it. I am at the ocean because I expected it.

Fear has fallen away.

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

2 thoughts on “152. Without Fear: Preliminary Findings of the CT Scan”

  1. This tickles me pink (what the heck does that even mean ?) because this was the most profound book of my journey at the time. I love that I know you feel this way. I think it’s time for me to revisit this book.


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