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.
- Cottage Grove, MN
- Member Since Aug 2012
Their Diagnoses (1)
- Survivor: Breast Cancer
- Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Female, Age: 66, Stage IIIA, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know
- View this journey (6 Experiences)
ACLewis51 posted an update
I sometimes get angry that I require a sleeve, a swell spot, and a breast prosthesis to make the world forget including me. I am not a morning person and it takes just that much more time to get ready in the am. It i had not completed the therapies and the surgery, I would not be here today. Extra laundry etc,
How do you not worry about the return...
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.