• Waiting for the other shoe to drop

    Asked by Jalemans on Friday, October 24, 2014

    Waiting for the other shoe to drop

    Does anyone feel like I do or have some advice? I feel like I am stuck just waiting for the cancer to show itself. I realize I will never hear "NED" because they don't have a way to know & all they can tell me is no tumors. The counselor tells me I just need to find a way to put it out of my mind. I felt better when I was doing chemo & felt like I was doing SOMETHING. Just sitting & waiting is depressing in itself. How do I pull myself together when this is hanging over my head?

    I had a recent lymph node scare (still waiting for the final pathology, but they said no cancer cells). This really hit home when they talked about "making me comfortable". I am just really having a difficult time dealing with the situation. They gave me an antidepressant & I am not weepy all the time now, but I still have to figure out how to deal.

    Any thoughts?

    20 Answers from the Community

    20 answers
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      "Just put it out of your mind"? Is she out of her mind?
      It certainly isn’t easy to stop thinking about cancer when it is part of your life, and I know the exact feeling of just waiting for the other shoe to drop....
      It has been over 4 years since my initial diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer, then I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and thyroid cancer along the way. Just more to worry about!
      But keeping busy has kept my mind off of it a little, I go out and exercise every morning, keep seeing friends, and I set goals to work towards, my current goal is practicing for another dance performance and working on my choreography, and I also am working at preparing my yard for winter by replanting, etc... but obviously I’m always thinking of cancer otherwise I wouldn’t be on WhatNext, but reaching out to other cancer patients does help me from worrying about myself. Now I worry about others like you! ;-)
      And I know the feeling of having to be actively doing something to fight the cancer. I exercise to fight it, and I’m always looking for ways to improve my diet, and I’m also always looking into other and better options for treatment. That helps me deal with it and makes me feel like I am being proactive.
      But my pets help me a lot! They keep me in the moment and keep me from feeling sorry for myself! If you’re a pet person it is a wonderful distraction from cancer!
      Well now I am off to the cancer center again, after a busy morning exercising and walking doggies.
      I’m probably not much help, but at the very least I wanted to let you know that you are not alone!
      Hugs!!!!

      almost 7 years ago
    • gonewest's Avatar
      gonewest

      Yes, ma'am, I do, all the time. I have never been NED. This stage 4 tcc doesn't keep me waiting long before it rears its ugly head again. Three months after my nephroureterectomy my cystoscopy was dirty with cis and pappilary growths. Three surgeries for that plus 2 rounds of immunotherapy and scans came back with tumors in both lungs. Awaiting yet another bladder surgery next Tuesday and a lung biopsy after that. I cannot have chemo. My remaining kidney doesn't have the function to handle it. My dad is dying in Florida and I want to go see him. I would love to have even a moment of independence from cancer treatment. I deal with this by treating each day as a bonus. If I can get up, shower, do the grocery shopping, tidy up the house and play with the dogs it's a great day. I am present in the moment more now than ever before. I know it sounds cliche but just to sit outside watching the many birds of prey circle with their crow lookouts circling and diving is therapeutic. My friends take me on day trips to the mountains. I treasure the good days. On bad days I pamper myself with new movies and take-out. My dogs and cats are my constant companions.

      almost 7 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      There's no way this is ever going to leave your mind. You need to find a way to live your life as best as you can while you have it to live. If your counselor doesn't specialize in cancer patients, maybe you should find one who does. I know it would be hard to counsel somebody if you've never been in their position, but counselors should be trained to do just that. I can't say we're all not scared, because we are. I try to live my life between appts. Right now, I just have 1 appt for my first cancer and I'm waiting for my appt for my 2nd cancer. As of latest results, they are both in remission. But, blood work is coming up. Until then, I plan to enjoy Halloween.

      almost 7 years ago
    • Hoping4ever's Avatar
      Hoping4ever

      How ironic is to feel this way after finishing your struggle with chemo and all the trauma surrounding it. Do you have friends or family members who might help you through this adjusting period? Cancer is not a death sentence you know , and like every hard obstacle, needs to be faced and then we ,as patients ,move forward. You need to seek professional help because you can not cope while harboring such painful attitude. Go out. Bring change into your life . Get used to the idea of being alive and well, but first search for a good therapist who can really help. Good luck.

      almost 7 years ago
    • Jalemans' Avatar
      Jalemans

      Well, I didn't really "finish" chemo, I was hospitalized twice while going through it & since they don't really know if it will do any good, we just stopped it. My little dog had to be put down in February (he was 19, so I know he had a long life). In my case, if new tumors show up, I am afraid it really IS a death sentence (they say 6-12 months). There are no new tumors, however, so it isn't like I am in that position. I am just "stuck" & depressed. I agreed to give the counselor at the cancer center a try, but NP says she will get me in elsewhere if I need it. I am trying to get some exercise - walked around the track a couple times yesterday, but today I am not feeling it. I do not want to be all doom & gloom, but I can't pull myself out of this funk. Thanks for your advice. I will try harder to get some exercise & maybe set out the bird feeder to watch from the deck.

      almost 7 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I was exposed to heavy doses of radiation when I was a child. One so heavy that I and my brothers had radiation burns. Ever since then I have been waiting for the shoe to drop. Cancer took out friends, neighbors, and colleagues. I always knew that cancer would get me. But after my last scans the Dr. says Remission. Now I find that a heartattack is more likely to take me out than cancer. Life is always fatal. Now I guess I'll just start worrying about rogue comets and super volcanoes
      Jalemans in my opinion Dr's should never say "we will make you comfortable" unless the patient initiates the topic.

      almost 7 years ago
    • gonewest's Avatar
      gonewest

      Jalemans, exercise is a conundrum. You can't wait until you feel like exercising to get exercise because your depression keeps you from feeling like doing anything. Exercise definitely elevates mood naturally. Go on and at least get outside. The sun will help your vitamin d levels. (Sunscreen, please.) I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your precious dog. Do you have another dog you could walk? If you don't, perhaps some neighbors would let you walk their dog. I'll bet there's a little pup around who'd be very grateful to go walking with you.

      almost 7 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Jalemans, you have a bright and quick sense of humor. You love, love, love your Munchkin. You aren't in chemo now, your nodules weren't filled with cancer ... you aren't going to die from cancer today or tomorrow and hopefully not for years (or ever) into the future. At this point, you may well be more likely to die from something else .... or not die at all!

      I will never be NED either apparently. It seems I will always have treatments interfering with my life. One day, this lung cancer will probably kill me. I probably won't live to be an old woman like my grandmothers did and mom is. BUT I AM ALIVE TODAY! And so happy about that!

      This week, I walked my dog with a friend and her dog every morning. I came home, cleaned up, and dashed out each day - to a movie, out to lunch, to my mom's ... when I come home, I collapse on the couch with my dogs and play on the computer or watch TV or both. I don't have time to dwelk on having cancer. It isn't that the knowledge isn't there or that it doesn't occasionally stick its head up and remind me that I am really sick, but it isn't in the forefront of my mind very often at all. I concentrate on living, not on dying.

      I just saw a cool quote of John Lennon's. You may have seen it. I never had. It went something like this: When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life.

      Do you like to read? Do you like to watch movies or to sew or garden? I love to take pictures and am constantly looking at everyday scenes and thinking about how I could make them into a meaningful picture. I love to play with my dogs and trying to teach them new tricks. I can't really concentrate on doing things I love if I don't make cancer and the thought of it killing me one of these days take a backseat to them. If possible, I lock those thoughts in the trunk and only let them out briefly before shoving them back in.

      You've been through a lot, like so many of us have. But, you have plenty of good times and life left. Don't let your worries rob you of that time. (And really. What are you accomplishing by worrying all of the time? Will it make you healthy? Or just eat up time that you could be using to enjoy life and living? )

      almost 7 years ago
    • gonewest's Avatar
      gonewest

      Hey Live, I love the Lennon quote.

      almost 7 years ago
    • kashubian's Avatar
      kashubian

      I know how you feel, we've been living scan to scan, every 2 months... then the scan showed a lesion, more scans, then another and now we're heading back to treatment. Even after his surgery, we didn't get that big sense of hope that it was gone, narrow margins and all. The following round of chemo was done hoping to get a few cancer free months.

      I don't think you really can "forget" it, but you can focus of living, on the small joys in life. Focusing on all the blessings can help get it out of your mind for a while. Sometimes it's the unexpected laughter, other times it's the especially beautiful sunset, or the kitten he caught that is blind in one eye but constantly makes us laugh (he loves to pounce the other cats, but has horrible depth perception), those small things. Maybe journaling could help you keep perspective? Perhaps joining your local cancer survivor support group could help? Sometimes networking with people who have been there or really get it that can finally help you find a little peace.

      Hugs and good thoughts your way.

      almost 7 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Hey Jalemans October is adopt a shelter dog month.

      almost 7 years ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I know how you feel after I stopped radiation I tried to tell people it was easier to go to radiation than to wait for what's next, but I love the shelter dog idea! My shelter dog turns 4 this month and he has been the best nurse I could ask for. He doesn't leave my side.

      almost 7 years ago
    • Keith59's Avatar
      Keith59

      It's a psychological battle indeed. Stay strong and think positive. Prayers for you.

      almost 7 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      IronMom45

      I hear what you are saying when you say there is no test with uterine cancers to say yes today you have crossed the finish line and are NED. Last week when my onc told me that I felt like he had taken my finish line away. I thought that at end of tx I would have a scan to say all clear. He says no scans just ca125 which also isn't enough to say yes NED. So I went into a bit of a tailspin trying to figure out how do I go on never really knowing. I go on watching over my health I guess with frequent exams, ca-125 etc and never take a day for granted. Think if we had some way of saying NED we would feel better until that ever happens we will have to have hope we will be ok combined with being aware of how we physically feel. Prayers and hope for not only your wellness but peace of mind.

      0 Likes More less than a minute ago

      almost 7 years ago
    • djy's Avatar
      djy

      I have a hard time also - but it was the same right after my hysterectomy n I was hyper sensitive for about a year n then I forgot I even had cancer - 12 years went by till it showed again. I still am seeing my drs often, they seem more concerned then me. I was walking around for at least 2 years with active cancer and didn't even know it. I keep reminding myself that we don't know when our last day will be and it might not be cancer that takes us. You might want to get some meds for depression. It has been 4 months now since I finishd radiation. I didn't really do chemo as I had a really bad reaction to both cisplatin and taxol. Stand-up for cancer has added uterine cancer to study by their dream team and new ways of treating cancer are being found

      almost 7 years ago
    • virg112012's Avatar
      virg112012

      Each day has the possibility of death coming to your door and from many other reasons, not just the cancer. Once you are done with treatments and are feeling better. Take time to live and love every day. Volunteer and get out of your house , exercise and get your mind of having cancer. Be thankful for each day. God be with you.

      almost 7 years ago
    • HOBO's Avatar
      HOBO

      Oh Jalemans you sound so much like me. In the last 25 years I have been so focused on working, raising two stepsons, running a household, taking care of my mom who had three bouts of cancer, Losing my father in law, having an alcoholic sister, and so on. I paid more attention to every living thing except myself. I was super woman. I could multi task with the best of them and never, ever believed I was a type A person as both my mom and sister were and growing up there was not room for a third. What I never realized, when I was finally able to control my own world I was never going to let go. Ha! Let's face it. We never really do control our world, but we do learn to live with what we are given and learn to make the best of it. When I was diagnosed, my life came to a halt. I was not super woman. I was frustrated. I was not going to stand for letting cancer control my life. It took me over four months to realize God had given me a time out and I needed to relax and deal with this and not keep fighting It. Oh I still have my moments when I want to try to control life. But I have found by relaxing and accepting this "slow down" time I have been missing so many pleasures in life because everyone else always came first. I am no longer needing to accomplish more in everyday than before. Please make a list of things that make you happy. I don't mean things like cruising around the world, or solving the Ebola crisis, etc. But simple things like hearing the birds chirp, the rustle of leaves in the yard, or the smell of freshly brewing coffee, or hearing a cat purr and so on. These are all little pleasures we CAN find in everyday life if we will just stop and really be in the moment. It may only last thirty seconds before our mind races off to cancer again but I promise you the more you can train yourself to do these small things slowly you will feel better. Please be kind to yourself. When was the last time you soaked in a nice warm bubble bath and really concentrated on how good the warm water makes you feel. How about putting on some favorite music that makes YOU happy. I know it sounds silly, but I found the more or longer I could learn to really feel the little pleasures the less I concentrated on this ugly disease. Trust me, it took me many months to get here. I have even learned to stop and smell the fresh warm towels I take out of the dryer. It has not been that long ago that I would instead run in the laundry room, scoop up the towels, get them put away as quickly as possible because I had other things to do. And I still do, but it is amazing what just five seconds can do if you stop and really soak in the moment. Please know I am not judging you. I was struggling, frightened, almost obsessed with being well and making sure it happened TODAY! I have had to slow down. And let myself be okay with it. Oh sure, I still have days when I don't practice what I preach but if I can catch myself, slow down and turn small things into pleasure, I really do feel better. Now, tomorrow when I am struggling I hope you will remind me to slow down. I can get myself worked up and before I know it, I have lost sight of things that make me happy and I am worrying and fretting all over again. I also keep in touch with friends or other folks that remind me there will always be someone better off and someone worse. Not everyday has been promised to be fun, fair or easy. But, I can escape the XXXX of cancer if I let myself. I do attend a weekly support group, see a therapist monthly and try to remind myself to relax. Sending you big warm hug. This is the best place to come and vent. I would never have made it this far without the warmth and kindness of folks on this site. Everyone has always shared what worked for them. You can pick and choose what works for you!! Thinking good thoughts for you.

      Jane

      almost 7 years ago
    • IbelieveinGod's Avatar
      IbelieveinGod

      Exactly what Jane said you have to live every as if your last make a bucket list and do them stay busy cause your mind can't beat you if you let it the more positive the easier everything gets but cancer is a word not your life

      almost 7 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      @ The first time I got "expiration date" I simply dumped the bucket list I realized that they were things I really didn't want to do. I do have a "Bible Bucket list" I have been reading the Books of the Bible in the order which they come to me I also watch every sunrise and thank God for every day (But I did that long before cancer) That still hasn't stopped me from waiting for the next shoe to drop which in my case looks to be a heart attack or maybe a super volcano. Super volcanoes were my childhood fear before cancer.

      almost 7 years ago
    • IbelieveinGod's Avatar
      IbelieveinGod

      You okay I know how tough cancer is I thank God my doc never gave me an expiration I probably would have flipped so I can't tell you anything about except to let you I here if you want to talk before I was diagnosed I was working in the field as an code office ft worth doesn't have any big hills but I was looking down from a hill and I don't know what heaven looks like but what I saw that day I thought it was heaven a weird feeling came over me so I started getting close to God I knew who God was but that day I felt a difference. During tough times I pass a billboard where I know God was talking to me and people who didn't have docs appt at docs come up to me and I would calm down read spams when I was anxious and I a peace I never felt before would happen.

      almost 7 years ago

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