I had my first experience with anxiety at the ripe old age of 5. I can remember it so vividly. It was a normal weekday with my Mom and sister. I'm pretty sure I wearing something pink and frilly and I am equally sure that my sister was finding some way to torment me. I knew we were going on an outing, and I was along for the ride. Then, My mom pulled me aside and told me that we were going to the courthouse to get some medicine so that I wouldn't get sick when I started school. She then preceded to explain to me how this medicine would be administered. A shot? Will it hurt? Will I ever recover? Why doesn't Danielle have to do it?All these questions swam through my mind on the way to the courthouse. By the time we arrived, I was a nervous wreck and when you're five years old and scared shitless, this usually manifests itself in tears. My Mom might disagree, but I remember silently crying to myself, my huge crocodile tears streaming down my face. If all this wasn't torture enough, there was a line out the door filled with parents and their children. Some of them were in on the secret, but some played happily and sucked on lollipops as they faced their impending doom. What seemed like hours later (15 minutes, tops) I was up. I bravely walked up to the lady in the nurse's outfit, wiped away my tears, and slowly, deliberately rolled up my sleeve. The nurse took one look at me at laughed. "Oh honey, this kind of medicine you swallow. You don't need a shot today." I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I swallowed the liquid happily, and we were done. Now, I'd like to tell you the moral of the story is that you should never listen to your parents, but alas, we all know better than that.
I'm on my way to the chemo doctor for the first time. I actually have to leave in about 3 minutes. For the past 4 hours, I've worked myself up into a panic, just like little Erica did 25 years ago. I thought of that memory and how it affected the way I learned to deal with scary things. I've always been the type of person to worry about things that probably won't happen, like when I get hives the night before a big flight or how I panic before a big audition. I hope when I get there today I'll find out that it isn't as bad as I thought. In fact, I know it's going to be much better than I thought. The little Erica inside me is telling me that's it's going to be ok.