The bad news is that one day it will. The good news is living long enough that it will. A good part of the reason that more people are getting cancer (including recurrences) is that they are living longer, and that is the good news. We all will die one day. It could be from cancer or it could be from getting run over by a bus. Is it hard to stay positive and not think about getting run over by a bus one day?
Breast Cancer Questions
Staying positive is really hard!
Asked by Robintrapp on Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Staying positive is really hard!
I was diagnosed in Jan, 2011, and finished chemo / radiation in August of that same year. I was stage 1 - good news, but certainly no guarantee, right? Seems like i am hearing more and more about cancer returning a second time. Friends - good friends - who fought this once, did everything they were supposed to - including staying positive - and, yet, this disease still manages to find it's way back. I know that everyone is different, that I need to stay positive, live each day to the fullest, take care of myself, etc. It's just really hard not to think that one day.......
21 Answers from the Community
I know what you mean. It is hard to stay positive but what choice to do we really have? We can stay positive or we can let the fear and anger consume us and take over our daily lives. We can't stop living. That's why I'm so grateful for WhatNext. I think the best thing you can do is talk about your concerns. See how others view things and maybe apply some of their ideas to our daily lives. I hope that Nancyjac responds. She just living life and worries nothing about the great unknown. The fact is, none of us know if our cancer will come back. It might, it might not but if we spend all day worrying about the cancer, we miss out on all the great things that surround us daily. Like Life!!
TC, Nancy is always circling around overhead watching over, you just don't always see her.
Thanks to both of you for answering.
And to Robin, yes it is something that can stay in your mind and torment you, if you let it. I have experience with it. I was diagnoses 24 years ago, treated and told "good to go", 6 months later, it was back. Treated for another 6or 8 months, told again, "good to go". Stayed clean for 18 years and didn't think twice about it coming back. Then one day it was back again, that was 4 years ago, I beat it down again, and I am on the wait and see status again.
Do I think about it, yes
I don't let it consume me. What can we do about it? Nothing. So how is it useful, or productive to worry.
I know, it's a hard thing to do, not worry about it. It's a learned thing, Train yourself to keep your mind OFF what you don't want, and ON what you do want. You'll live much happier life.
We all wish you nothing but smooth sailing ahead.
I recently posted something similar about trying to stay positive. I was diagnosed with tongue cancer last year, then they found a cancerous lung nodule, and then they found bony mets, and then they gave me 2-3 years left to live. I'm still getting chemo and will for a long time to come. I think about it every day, but then I remember I'm doing what I need to do to fight this terrible disease and find some comfort in that. Like everyone has said, worrying about what lies ahead doesn't change anything and it makes us miss out on the special moments in our lives now. I say keep living and stay positive. I have a long way to go, but I'm working on it. I'm trying to pray more and am trying to do more positive things, like spending time with those I love and doing things I enjoy. I hope you can enjoy today and then do the same tomorrow. Many hugs your way!
Being positive and doing everything you are supposed to do isn't some sort of armor. Cancer can still strike. And, Nancy is right. Part of the reason why there is so much cancer now is simply that we are living longer.
Maybe you can look at your life now as bonus time. Time to enjoy your family and friends. Time to enjoy life. Time you might not have had. My brother died many years ago from cancer. The cancer was probably caused by the radiation treatments he had received for Hodgkin's Disease years earlier. (That seems pretty certain.) Shortly before he died he told our mother that he was not upset about the radiation. It had given him 7 good years. He was 30 when he died.
My point is that there is much to be thankful for and happy about if you look around you. Focus on the good stuff and try not to dwell on fears of what might, or might not, come. None of us know the future. Staying positive won't prevent it from happening, but it might let us enjoy what we have.
Yes it is very difficult to remain positive. There is nothing anyone can say to make someone feel better about having cancer...that is up to you. I remember as I was sitting in the waiting area where I received my radiation, and I look at all of us waiting in a semi circle in our gowns. Some people would make eye contact, some would talk to others and so on...and then one day we had a young lady join our group, and she says.."hi how are you doing?" One guy leans over to say something to the guy sitting next to him..."that should be on the Top-Ten List of things that you do not ask cancer patients." He goes on to say..."how do you think I am doing?" I thought to myself for a second...what ashame that this guy has to be so bitter. But then I thought...yes you have the right to feel whatever you want about having cancer. If you are mad or bitter...go ahead and be mad. If you are sad...go ahead cry and be sad. The point is be whatever it is you want to be about having cancer. Whatever those feelings are...get them out now! Because in time you will realize that you need to spend all of this energy on your recovery process. Don't deprive yourself of these feelings, just get them out at that moment, and move on...I used to cry in the beginning, but I just look at those moments as emotional cleansings...and move on. I really didn't want to make this email so long, but that is the passion I have about approaching, and fighting cancer. We must devy everything that this disease tries to do to us, because if we don't then we are letting cancer control our lives. One thing to do is...get out of the house every day. I just came back from the mall where I have lunch, read my book, and people watch. Get out of the house EVERY DAY! Otherwise you are spending too much time alone, and talking yourself into a state of depression. I hope this email is of help to you...lol, Russ
It's tough to stay positive, even though, as humans, we are hard-wired to ignore the negative. :) I just take things day by day...I do often think of "the end" too, but I'm not sure it should necessarily be seen in a negative light... it is the one thing we are guaranteed and there is nothing wrong with thinking about it and preparing mentally.
I just keep up with the treatments if cancer is still rearing its ugly head, and avoid walking in front of buses at all times. We're all trying to stay alive here :)
I try not to worry about things I have no control over. I just live life like I may die tomorrow, because I might. Of cancer, or, as Nancyjac says, maybe getting hit by a bus (I am super clumsy and am more likely to get hit by a bus).
I have some bad days where I have a little pity party for myself, but then I move on and enjoy my life, because I am lucky enough to be here living it. I live my life to the fullest for those that can't.
I think we all go to that "what if..." place every now and then and more often during the first year post treatment. As your life grows and changes, these anxious feelings will probably subside. If they don't - therapy, medication, yoga, meditation and other alternative treatments really do help. I was very anxious for a long time and all of these modalities have helped me over the hump. Although the "what if..." is still there, it doesn't generally intrude on my everyday life. When it does, I have tools to help me cope.
When we live with time, we have the past, right now, the future, and our imagination that can think about anywhere in time.
We can't do anything about what we call the past, the things that have already changed. So, there's no point in worrying or feeling positive or negative about that. All of those experiences are useful to us where we are right now. If we were conscious in the past when we were a single fertilized cell, there wouldn't have seemed to be much hope whatsoever. It's fantastic that we're here at all. What if I don't divide? I am going to grow into a whole human? Geez they're huge. It will take forever. I will never make it. I'm going to die anyway before it's built. What's the point?
All we have is right now in our being, in our bodies, our thinking, our feeling and behaving. All there is, is right now, and you're on a very strange ride in an awesome vehicle. Yesterday, you experienced right now in your vehicle, When tomorrow comes, you will experience it right now. If now is all there is, then what makes yesterday yesterday and tomorrow tomorrow is change. Time is a measurement of relative change. Without change in the physical world, none of the things we perceive as good or bad are possible. All material things inevitably change, like a river flowing along. If we freeze the river, we cease to exist in body. In Buddhist thinking, part of our suffering comes from not accepting this impermanence-- wanting to control or stop everything from changing-- attaching ourselves to the material world. You can be positive about right now, and today, because here you are, dancing the dance of life. You can handle and most of the time feel positive or okay about right now, and "what next." There are problems, but you're here. When you wake up in the morning, you can say, "I hope to have a good day today," and feel at least a little positive about your odds. Grab onto today, and focus your mind on what you do have. I'm not much of a praying person, but there's a serenity prayer used in programs for people struggling with addiction that goes--- grant me the ability to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Tomorrow always gets here by itself. Where the difficulty in feeling "positive" comes in is thinking about the future-- thinking about change and "what ifs," especially when it involves the near future-- next week, next month, next year. It's easy to feel positive if you're 4 years old, because your big problems are-- what if someone takes my crayons? and you may be able to expect a whole life ahead. Unless your dog died, you might not even have a close experience of death, or realize the temporary nature of life. The future is filled with too many possibilities for change to get your mind around them all. The future looks pretty lousy for our physical bodies if we all look 200 years ahead. None of us will be here. My doctor is dead. I will be dead. You will be dead. We'll all be dead in body, and forgotten. 100% of doctors who live long enough will lose 100% of their patients. So far the universe has done an excellent job of killing everyone for millions of years, and I'm more confident in the universe than I am in any doctor. Inevitably there will be changes that we don't like, and that we can't do a XXX thing about. But there are things we can do right now. Marketing experts know we hope for change for the better, and that we're terrified of changes we don't want to see. They even package this for politicians who of course can give you neither hope nor change for everything you're worried about. It's true of any party. There will be no change unless there is change from within. Without that, the long-range future doesn't look good for any of our species. Tough to feel positive about that if that's where you put your mind. It's difficult to feel good if you focus your mind on the tens of thousands of children who die each week just because they don't have food. When we change our minds, we change our lives.
We try everything to prevent the changes we do not like. For example, people cling to their things so much that they pay a fortune to other people to protect them from change-- damage to their homes, theft of property, auto insurance, health insurance, liability. The grass grows, and we cut it down. It grows again, and we cut it down again. When the last man dies, the grass grows high. You are bigger than anything that could happen to the cells of your body. You are awesome, and part of an even bigger awesome that's beyond anything the imagination or science has been able to grasp. Take a look around. This place is amazing. No one has all the answers, but you are a part of something wonderful. This is a passing glimpse at it.
I think that we all have our bouts with doubt and negativity. I know I do even thiough I tend to try and show a constant positive attitude outwardly. This has caused some friction with my wife as sometimes she does not think I am taking the situation seriously. But underneath the exterior I do have my moments of doubt and worry and quite often. Having somew place like WhatNext to express them seems to be healthy for me. I also have learned that if you are positive more that half the time you are probably positive enough and any time you get down if you have someplace to go to get an attitude pick up that helps. So find some places like here at WhatNext to get that pickup. I also view the recurrance of cancer sort of like the whack-a-mole game when it pops up again me and my doctors hit it again. We all here sincerly hope that your cancer does not come back ever. Good luck!!!
The first time I had breast cancer was 9 years ago, and right after finishing treatment, I decided to start a non profit for an inner-city low income high school in our county. I had always wanted to start a 501c3 that would benefit kids and figured it was time to get started! That project kept me busy and believe me, it felt terrific to give a $10,000 scholarship away less than a year after founding the BHS Pay It Forward Scholarship organization! We now give 3 - $14,000 scholarships away every year.This has been a challenge, but one I love, and it has certainly given me a positive attitude--I never thought or worried about cancer coming back.
My cancer came back, worse, this August and going through chemo,I have my bad days, but try to have them at home and only around my husband, who is very understanding and HAS to put up with me! I sure don't want to be dreary around my friends...why push them away from me when I need them so much now?
What seems to keep me going now is being silly about my wigs and hats. They make me laugh, which puts me in a better mood. For example, wearing a turkey hat over my "halo" will be my Thanksgiving Outfit for next Tuesday's chemo. I went as Joan Bon Jovi (mullet galore) for Halloween. I guess I'm an exhibitionist--which makes me happy--to make other cancer patients smile or even laugh.
I decided I'd much rather be pleasant about having this horrid disease rather than feel sorry for myself. Yes, cancer a second time totally sucks, but I'd rather have a kick XXX attitude about it rather than a "poor me" one, any day!
Its always in the back of my mind, but not necessarily in a bad way...I come here, I go to breast cancer.org and I volunteer in the breast cancer community.......but for each day that I am NED (no evidence of disease), its one more day that I'm walking this earth....yes, some gals do recur soon but there are also many long, long term survivors...I am 6 years 9 months since Dx....
All these answers are absolutely perfect!!! My sincere thanks to everyone for sharing their personal feelings and profound wisdom!! Being in my first year, I too have these fears and they are so heightened when I read an Obituary that states "losing a long battle with cancer". Today, I am leaving this Site with a new attitude. I especially appreciated the thought that if I had this many years ago, before today's technology, that I most likely would not be a survivor -- so this time of my life surely is a "BONUS" -- so I should be appreciating and cherishing each and every moment instead of wasting away this gift of time with worry. Also, the thoughts on time - our entry into this world -- our journey -- our passing -- the idea that none of us will be here in so many years from now -- even our doctors. Everyone is in the process of dying - not just us cancer patients. I also like the concept that these bodies are just a vehicle to carry us through this life in this world -- our spirits will be perfect when we return home to our eternal Father --- and the best part -- there will be no cancer or chemo there!!!
Robin, I think what you are experiencing is normal for all of us. Some of us tend to fret more than others. I get a headache and as I take my Tylenol I wonder, is it something more than just a little headache? I have a backache, take a Tylenol, and wonder for an instant, could that be the start of bone metastases? Worrying a little bit is fine, but please don't let it ruin your day. I just talked to a lady who has been cancer free for seven years. I met another one on this site who has been cancer free for thirteen years. We need to hear positive stories like theirs, and embrace the possibility that we will be around for years and years to share our stories of survival as well. Have courage and stay strong. You have accomplished much already!
I'm so glad you posted this! I have been on an emotional roller coaster this morning and it's only 9:00 a.m.! The first thing I decided to do was log on to WhatNext and then I saw your post. I'm still going through treatment B.C Stage III with an aggressive cancer and I have four little girls and it's really hard not to be scared. But as I read everyone's answers to your post I started to feel calm and relived. I'm not alone, take it day by day, and breathe. Thanks again for the post.
I think each of feels that cancer is just around the corner...my breast cancer didn't come back but I got Lymphoma. truth is, we could have a stroke, a heart attack, or be hit by a train! none of us knows how long life will be.
You can't live your life worrying about it. You have to try and be positive. And if it does come back, they can treat it. I have a 50% chance of my lymphoma returning. That's a terrible set of odds, but I can't let it stop me.
I am going to survive and if my breast cancer or my lymphoma come back - I will get my sorry self to the hospital and suck it up and take the treatment... because we are survivors!
Not feeling the tough love today? Mediation, counseling and things like yoga really help :-)
So many great answers. Yes there are times when it's hard to stay positive. Both of my cancers came back - My stage 1 Kidney cancer was surgically removed (nephertcopmy) in Nov 1995 and metastasized to my liver in June/July 2009. I had a lumpectomy in 2010 for stage 1 trip neg breast cancer, followed by radiation treatment, I did not receive chemo, because I was and still am being treated for the Kidney cancer. In April/May of this year the a breast cancer lesion was discovered on my liver during a follow up scan.
I have my days, heck weeks where I feel everything is bleak. I remind myself that the oral chemo that kept my kidney cancer stable was approved only a few weeks before I was put on it. That there are many new treatments in the pipeline, and that I am still here kicking and screaming.
At the time of my diagnosis (2006) I had two very small grandchildren. They were the reasons I stayed as positive as I possibly could during my treatment. They would bring me pictures that they had drawn that I kept on my refrigerator and I would laugh each time I looked at them. My husband became my caretaker (something he was not at all comfortable doing at the time), but he did it with grace and it prepared me to take care of him when he developed leukemia and eventually died. Every day is a gift and what we do with that gift is what makes us who we are. God Bless.
I had Thyroid Cancer in 1984, Right Breast Cancer stage 4 in 2006, Left Breast Cancer non-invasive in 2008 and thyroid cancer again in 2010. During all of this I put myself in my oncologists and endo doctors hands, used my support (family and friends) as they felt they needed, and prayed (All things are possible thru Christ, who is my strength) and last of all look forward in life. Don't look back, find a song that inspires you (Josh Wilson - I Refuse) and write the words out, post it where you will see it every day, find a saying that reminds you why your a survivor (Max Lucado - Today I Will Make A Difference). Enjoy the life that has been given you and count your past experience as part of who you are today. I would not be the person I am today without these experiences, I currently have active thyroid nodules in my throat that are so tiny and slow growing that while we watch them, I do not let them control my thoughts of life. Live life, be there for your family and those whom you cherish, no one knows what tomorrow will bring but be ready for an adventure that will enhance who you are and how you can help others.