• How do you not worry about the return...

    Asked by ACLewis51 on Friday, March 15, 2013

    How do you not worry about the return...

    I just forget about the cancer, and I see a referral come the with recurrence by a patient. I work at Homecare

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Not sure what you are asking.....but I don't worry or live in fear of mets on a daily basis, but I do stress at my 6 month check ups such as today...but then the black cloud lifts and life goes on....Everyday that I'm NED is one more day that there is not a recurrence.....Its just going about life on a daily basis.....I'm 7 years from Dx.....yet I know that there are no guarantees....but that said, I try to live life the best I can....

      over 7 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      At first, following treatment, recurrence was a constant thought -- every ache or sore brought apprehension and fear. I realized that I did not want to live like that so I made every effort to be on guard but not paranoid. As time passed, it got so much better -- I hardly thought about the cancer. I learned to live each day and appreciate it. Now, the only time I experience that fear is when I hear of someone else having a recurrence or when I read an Obit in the Newspaper. I am at a loss to understand how and why it returns after 2 years, 5 years or even 10 years. A lady in our community passed last year from a recurrence after a 10 year period. I have found that I truly have to make a concentrated effort to set these fears aside and to move forward. All the worry in the world cannot change a single thing so I need to take one day at a time and enjoy it. Through the power of prayer, the Good Lord has brought me through this storm to better days that are mine to enjoy until He decides to bring me home. I wish you the best.

      over 7 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I pray. but it is very hard not to think about it especially if you have a cancer that does not have the same long term survival benefits like other cancers. Right now I know I am in the honey moon period after treatment but I still have another 1 and 1/2 years to go- 85% of Lung cancer returns in the first 2 years after surgery.
      But I pray for myself, I have alot of people praying for me and for a cure for all cancers.

      over 7 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      I am in remission 3 years now, and in my first year of remission, I did worry a lot. I worried if I lost weight, I worried if I was tired etc... I finally decided I could no longer live in constant fear.
      I go to my regular appointments and have faith that IF the cancer comes back, it will be detected early enough

      over 7 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      Well, we could get hit by a bus tomorrow and all that worry about cancer was for nothing! Seriously, we all worry more after treatment ends, or if we get a strange ache or pain. The worry lessens as healthy time passes. I think we have to try hard to focus on the positive and work at being healthy today. We can replace negative thoughts right away with positive thoughts. Cancer Survivors know life can be short and we have been given a great gift to still be alive. Let's not ruin today worrying about tomorrow! Keep busy, stay off the cancer sites. Do what makes you happy and keep all your doctor appointments, get some exercise and eat healthy. Live your life! Today is all we know we have for sure. Enjoy this minute right now. You will be ok, but you have to work at being positive. Negative thoughts do nothing but cause us anxiety. You are a Survivor! Get working on your Bucket List! Good luck.

      over 7 years ago
    • Bug's Avatar

      It certainly is a worry but I work to keep it at bay. Worrying about it constantly becomes such a heavy load - exhausting, really. The worry is worse around tests and check-up appointments. I try to remind myself I can have a little time to worry - to get it out of my system, so to speak, to feel it - and then I have to move on to other things. For me, anyway, it's important to acknowledge the worry or fear - not to stuff it away or be in denial about it - but then to get busy doing something else. Please be gentle with yourself. Worrying about it is totally normal. We just can't let it take us over.

      over 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Without getting into a semantics abyss, I don't think you can, or should stop worrying. You just can't let the worry paralize you. I recently spoke to someone who had been in remission for so long (over 15 years) that they, and their docs had stopped worrying about a return. They caught it at stage 4 when it did show up. But like any potential bad situation, you have to stay figilant (use turn signals, don't light matches around gas fumes) you can't become obsessive to the point of catatonia or you might miss something else. Its also really boring. Life isn't worth living if there is no enjoyment.

      over 7 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar

      Worry about recurrences is something all cancer patients do, especially initially. It's kind of like you never want to trust your body again - like JennyMiller says, every ache or sore makes you wonder "Is it back?". But hope is a wonderful thing and the farther you move from your treatments, the less you worry. I'm 9 years out and I still think about it (especially since I have a website devoted to helping people with breast cancer). I recently wrote an article about learning to live in the moment that might help you: http://marnieclark.com/how-to-live-in-the-moment-9-tips/ Sending hugs from Denver.

      over 7 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear ACLewis51,

      Hi, I'm Aliza. I'm a BC patient and also a Medical Librarian (retired). I still work doing medical research for people on this site and others. I'm very lucky because I had Stage I cancer, had a mastectomy, had no cancer in my lymph nodes and had Oncotype genetic testing that indicated I didn't need chemotherapy. It wouldn't benefit me because my chances for a recurrence were so low they were just the same as the average person on the street. The only therapy for cancer that I take is Tamoxifen to block estrogen as I'm estrogen receptor positive.

      Am I frightened about Cancer ?- Yes, every so often. I'm engaged to a great guy. He's a widower whose first wife died from ALS. When I was diagnosed, several months after we became engaged, I told him to "run like XXX". I felt so guilty at my diagnosis, I didn't want him to have to go through another awful experience. (I didn't want to go through it either...;)) The Cancer interrupted our Wedding plans-we were supposed to get married last fall. It's postponed now-I'm losing weight before I have my reconstruction (it figures - the dress I chose is strapless...;)), so we'll have to figure out when and decide if we want the same type of Ceremony we first wanted (priorities change after something like this [we live together as is]).

      What's that great John Lennon saying? "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." That's the signoff on one of my email addresses (not the one connected with this site), but it's true. That's what happened with my Wedding.

      You read the newspapers about people having recurrences and it happens. But other things happen too-I know a young man who was in a drunk driving accident when I was 12 on my Grandma's street (he was with a bunch of his buddies and he wasn't the driver). All of the other guys walked away fine. The young man in question ended up brain damaged with the mental capacity of a 6 year old; he was 18 . It was dreadfully sad. My former boyfriend (we're still friends), his dad dropped dead of a heart attack in front of him when he was 6. Another friend's dad had a heart attack when we were 13. They were away on vacation. Cancer is not the only
      B-A-D or fatal thing out there. I have Lupus. I had a t.i.a. (a mini stroke) when I was 41. I was in the hospital for a week worrying I'd have a major stroke and my 12 year old daughter was with my parents who were in their 70's. I'm fine (thanks to a great cardiologist, who himself is now dead due to a heart attack-we're both the same age-I'm 54). Ultimately, we're all going to die. I don't think anyone's figured out yet how to escape death. Even Houdini couldn't beat it!...;)

      It's a waste of time and energy to sit around and worry about what's ultimately going to be your cause of death. If you find that you (any of us, I'm not pointing fingers) are doing that to the exclusion of having fun and enjoying yourself (unless there is a bad or dire situation), then the best thing to do is to get help-you can try the Social Workers at CancerCare who are experienced in working with the angst all cancer patients and their caregivers face or you can get a referral from your oncologist or treating hospital to a psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist on staff. If your anxiety is so high you're having difficulty functioning, a psychiatrist can prescribe medication that can help you calm down and get you over the hump for the short term while you go for some talk therapy with a social worker or psychologist. You can also find out where there are support groups for Cancer patients through The ACS.

      You also need to do things to distract yourself - like go to lunch with a friend, see a movie, read a book, listen to music, take in a play, learn to crochet, or knit or get a kit to make a wood boat (my late father did this). There's an online bookgroup called www.goodreads.com. You can track your titles, fine new ones, join small bookgroups in a particular genre, make virtual friends, write bookreview and read others' book reviews.

      There are also two great books I can recommend. "One is Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" by Kris Carr and Sherryl Crow, which I just finished and the sequel which I'm just starting is "Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor" by Kris Carr. Kris is an amazing young woman in her 30's, I believe, who has a rare form of slow growing cancer that was diagnosed at Stage IV. She changed her life, her diet, organized a "Cancer Posse", i.e., a group of other Supportive Cancer patients (women) to hang out with, got married, and just basically learned to live with Cancer as a chronic illness. You would never know to look at this woman that she is ill. I looked worse with a cold when I was 20 than she looks now!...;) That's how good she looks. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!! Get it -today! Amazon, B&N, the Strand, Powell's, whatever...Get it!

      To sum up (I know I'm prolific [I'm also a professional writer]), worry about something when it happens. A friend of mine who's a Hodgkin's Disease patient and also treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering (same place as I am) attended a support group a long time ago and learned something "Don't die a thousand deaths", meaning you can only die once. Don't die waiting for blood results, scan/test results because they may be better than you think. If not, you'll deal with it then...And now you have some resources to do just that.

      I hope that I've helped. Librarians are in a helping profession. We have more boundaries than some other helping professions, but since I'm also on this site with you as a patient, all of you should feel free to call upon me with questions and email me if there is something personal.

      Warm wishes,

      over 7 years ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar

      All you can do is take it one day at a time. Be proactive and continue to be tested for cancer. Let life happen around you.

      over 7 years ago

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