Anxiety like this is not uncommon with cancer patients. Once we have had cancer there is alwaysa the worry that it will come back. Anxiety and depression can also be caused by some of the treatments that can afect the seretonin levels in the brain which causes anxiety and deoression. The good news is that this csan be treated with meds. It turns out that concer Drs are usually not well trained to recognise and treat this however and you may have to ask about it or seek treatment from you primary care provider or another Dr. Please be sure to see them about this, you will feel much better if you get it treated, I know personally. Good Luck
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Questions
Dealing with bad anxiety?
Asked by Amy8 on Thursday, March 14, 2013
Dealing with bad anxiety?
I have been 3 years post transplant from leukemia. I had been doing so well feeling great. A few months ago problems started occurring that have made my anxiety through the roof. I'm in constant fear that something else is wrong with me...I have been so positive through out my journey and now I feel like I'm starting to fall apart. This is not me at all. Not many people understand so I just wanted to know if anyone else gets bad anxiety? It's been so bad that I have been making myself sick. I keep thinking if something is wrong that I will deal with it head on like my leukemia. I am just tired of being in constant fear and worrying. I know not to take life for granted and I just need help dealing with my anxiety! Hope someone can help :)
9 Answers from the Community
Hi Amy, welcome, if I haven't already said that on your wall. Anxiety is extremely common. Just go to the questions page, and type in anxiety into the search bar and you'll see it's a common question. Browse through some of those and you'll see your not a lone, and there are lots of suggestions there to help. You will get lots of help here too.
You will get through it, try to take a deep breath and relax, most of the time the anxiety is worse than the problems we think we have.
We are with you.
Speak with your doctor about seeing a therapist that specializes in treating cancer survivors I find that talking to someone who understands what I'm going through, really helpful. You may also want to investigate taking mild anti-anxiety meds for a short period of time to help you feel more on an even keel.
I find that meditation and listing to calming music helps me relax - you might want to try that.
Hi, I'm Aliza. I'm a BC patient and also a Medical Librarian (retired) who keeps researching actively for people on this site and elsewhere.
I understand anxiety really well and I think most everyone here on this site has had it B-A-D at one time of another!...;) Since you're doing reallly well (that's fantastic, btw-congratulations!!), you don't want to live Cancer 24/7.
You shouldn't be living your life waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and so's a friend of mine who's a Hodgkin's Disease patient. She taught me something she learned at a support group and that's "Don't die a thousand deaths", meaning we all (us cancer patients) - even those of us who are cancer free, still have to continue with tests, screenings, bloodwork and wait for results. Don't die waiting for those results. You can only die once from whatever is ailing you. Having said that...
Your anxiety is very real and you need to get it under control in order to feel better. You don't want to make yourself sick (as you mention). There are several ways of dealing with it and it's your choice. The first is to get a referral from your treating doc (oncologist) to a psychologist or psychiatrist at the institution treating you. They're familiar treating cancer patients and if you see a psychiatrist and she/he determines your anxiety is severe they can prescribe anti-anxiety medication short term to help you over the bump, so to speak.
Another option or in addition, is to contact CancerCare. The trained Social Workers who they have work exclusively with Cancer patients and their caregivers. It's different than "regular therapy". No one cares about your "toilet training" and no one's going to "blame your mother"...;) They're experts at what they do,
Another thing to keep in mind is one of the best things you can do for yourself is to distract yourself. If you feel up to it-go to lunch with a friend, go shopping, see a movie, take in a play. If you're sticking closer to home, there's a virtual bookgroup I can suggest called www.goodreads.com. You can track your titles, find new ones, join small genre bookgroups, make virtual friends, and rread others' reviews. It's a good start-especially if you like to read and there's no bookgroup around the corner. A hobby is a godsend now too. Knitting, crocheting, etc.
I hope some of my suggestions are useful to you. If you want some other ideas for anything medical or recreational (I was also a Public Librarian), feel free to message me...;) I'm happy to help.
Bad anxiety leads to bad depression, so as others have I'm also urging you to get help.
Try to go to a meeting with other cancer patients, being understood can do wonders (people,facing the same problems are also,full of ideas).
Meditation (not philosophy based) could help. I've been doing 10 mins a day now and it seems to help some. How to do it - set a timer (you don't want to,be thinking about time). Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, the air coming in and out of your body. If thoughts keep interrupting, also count your breaths, just counting to 20 over and over will do.
Exercise, especially aerobic exercise that really elevates your heart rate (like interval training) is also very helpful.
Anything you can do to distract your mind away from anxiety is good - calling a friend, going for a walk, taking a warm bath.
Al the best.
I am 21 months post transplant. I too have anxiety problems and so do all cancer patients even if cancer free, we all have it. The key is finding what is best for you. Some run, some read, some see a therapist. I do yoga and it calms me. I also suffer survivors guilt. I have AML and so far a successful transplant, however my sister passed away in 2005 from cervical cancer. When I get anxious and worry I do yoga at home, stretching your muscles will relax you. Also calming music and a good massage is great. Once my husband took me and I got a mani/ pedi and that was relaxing. I am an RN, not back to work yet and I have always worked nights, to this day I usually do not go to sleep until 3-5 am and sometimes have to take meds to go to sleep. So, you see you are not alone, we are all here for you and each other. Just experiment and find your relaxation trigger, maybe just browsing in the stores, I even have jigsaw puzzles on iPad. You will find more than one way to become less anxious. I hope this helps you to find your way, I'll be praying for you!
I am 5 years post transplant and I know exactly how you feel! I used to get the same anxiety after a scare also and I would fear if I had leg pain or something my leukemia was back also. I used try to get my mind off the situation by reading. Think of something you enjoy doing and when you start to feel anxious do that activity. Whether it be going for a walk or a bike ride. Something to get your mind off worrying. Continue to stay positive and maybe see if there is a local support group for survivors. That also what I did and it helped me so much with my anxiety. It always helps to talk to others that are going through the same thing you are. I hope this helps!
anxiety is a hard one to shake for me. i have been fighting leukemia for 2 years now and at the same time waiting for a matched donor for a stem cell transplant. it is agonizing for sure. some people find a match instantly, some have dozens of potential matches, and then there's me...not a one. this is very depressing and hard to shake. i am anxious all the time all day long. I do plenty of crafts and reading but as soon as I have finished a project or book my mind starts wandering again. not to mention five days of active chemo every month and weekly blood tests and/or transfusions. it is hard to NOT think about cancer each and every day. I do my best to try to stay positive but I am a realist, and the reality of this just plain ole sucks. I know, I know, I am happy to still be alive. thanks for reading. not too many people get how you feel unless they have been through it. I stopped talking about it with others. when they ask 'how are you doing?' I just say 'great'.