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    Kandrida asked a questionNon-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

    Post cancer anxiety, how do I cope?

    31 answers
    • Kandrida's Avatar

      Maybe if my neighborhood isn't surrounded by flood waters there is one or two places I may be able to go to. Flooding in my home is not as likely since I live on a hillside, but all exits are lower and potential flood zones. Mostly just hoping that my husband will be able to work from home that day.

      about 5 years ago
    • jhale17's Avatar

      From Cure.com by Barbara Tako

      Fear of Recurrence: Practice Makes It Better
      Breast cancer and melanoma survivor faces her fear of recurrence and offers two benefits of living with constant uncertainty.
      PUBLISHED: APRIL 10, 2016

      Discussions >>
      Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
      “I am afraid of my cancer coming back.”

      Every time I say it or think that, it is an acknowledgement of a fundamental truth for me — uncertainty. Every time I choose to face it, a little bit of cancer’s power over me is reduced. “Fear of recurrence” is the technical name. I learned that the doctors’ jobs were to save my life. My job was to cope with the fear and uncertainty … for life.

      It is the ongoing fear and uncertainty that impacts my thoughts and emotions. A cancer diagnosis means being sentenced to a lifetime of conscious uncertainty — whether someone is diagnosed in their 20s or up into their 80s and beyond.

      The uncertainty is difficult because most humans don’t live well with uncertainty. We are creatures of habit and routine. We are planners and organizers who like to operate with an illusion of control in our lives. Living with cancer is living with an acute awareness of our own mortality that probably wasn’t there with that mental and emotional intensity and frequency before cancer.

      Intellectually, we all know we are mortal, but even our society doesn’t deal with death and dying very well yet. We don’t talk about it. We don’t collectively look at it and discuss it. Many of us, faith and belief systems aside, are not taught how to face our mortality. When an event like cancer thrusts this awareness of uncertainty upon us, we can choose to use it as an opportunity to learn. I am still a student in progress.

      The chance to learn is the good part of my fear of recurrence because the truth is that we all live with uncertainty, but cancer patients are just more aware of it. Practicing the art of coping with an uncertainty that shakes us to the very core of our being helps us to manage our cancer diagnosis and offers an opportunity for us grow as individuals. While a cancer diagnosis stinks, some good comes from it too — a little bit, anyway.

      I was terrified and shaken to my very foundation when I was first diagnosed in my mid-forties. Though less intense than it was in the first weeks and months, this uncertainty and fear of recurrence remains with me years later. Before cancer, I had sort of gone along in life with the emotional belief that all the really bad stuff happened to other people. Ha! My perspective isn’t the same any more, but that change, that lifetime of uncertainty and fear of recurrence, is not all bad as the weeks, months and years from my diagnosis have passed.

      There is gratitude. I don’t take life for granted. I am more grateful for so many more things, big and small, in my life now. My head isn’t in the sand, though some days I would like to put it back if I could. I appreciate feeling well on the days I feel well. I appreciate good weather when there is good weather. I truly enjoy a brief moment of connecting with a friend or a stranger. Many life moments really are amazing. Life is good, and I am afraid my cancer will come back.

      There is perspective. In some ways, I am more awake since given this life of uncertainty. I don’t sweat the small stuff so much. I try to live more honestly with myself. I listen to my emotions. I try to be conscious of my thoughts and what I am saying to myself. I have clarity in my life priorities that I didn’t have before cancer. It truly is time to grow my faith, to make the people in my life my ongoing priority, and to make and actively pursue my bucket list. And I am afraid my cancer will come back.

      Don’t underestimate or shrug off the gifts of gratitude and perspective. They may be very internal changes or you may use them to change your life. I am grateful and I am growing my perspective and I am afraid my cancer will come back.

      It is your choice, not cancer’s choice, what you decide to do. I make myself try and try and then try again.

      - See more at: http://www.curetoday.com/community/barbara-tako/2016/04/fear-of-recurrence-practice-makes-it-better?utm_source=Informz&utm_medium=Cure+Today&utm_campaign=CurExtra+email+Unsponsored+4%2D15%2D16#sthash.e7fSBTWr.dpuf

      about 5 years ago
    • jhale17's Avatar

      We all respond to stressors whether real or imaged as it is built into our brains. This type of response is helpful in emergencies. Stressful episodes do happen but most of the time everything is all right. Please remember this – most of the time everything is all right!

      There are ways you can break free from your brain being on relentless auto-pilot looking for any type of stressor and applying the fight or flight response whether needed or not. You can learn techniques to gain control of these auto-reflexes and then evaluate non-emergencies in a non-stressful manner.

      One example is to take each new anxiety raising situation and closely scrutinize it as to what you can do with it in regard to achieving a favorable outcome.

      To do this one physiologist suggests using this tool. When you are faced with a concerned decision, take time to make yourself aware of what you can and cannot do about its outcome. This approach grades stressors into one of three categories of Zero, One or Two (0, 1 or 2.)

      The 0 is where you have no control over the outcome.

      The 1 is where you have some control over the outcome.

      The 2 is where you have complete control over the outcome.

      Evaluating your options to resolve issues provides guidance on where your efforts should be apportioned. It should also provide relief for those issues that are outside your control or you have little control. For the latter I use the phrase – delegate and disappear. Stressors where you have little or no control over should not weigh heavily in your mind. Acknowledge you are participating and accept only the part you have responsibility and let others resolve the issues.

      I have made inroads to change or better control the reptilian part of my brain that deals only with eating, fight or flight and reproduction. It is that part of the brain that is invariably reacting unhelpfully to most things.

      My discoveries as to how to better manage thoughtless reactions in my cancer journey have been acquired in bits and pieces over the last fifteen years; it is still a work in progress. What I have learned is mindfulness does provide stress reduction resulting in more times of wellness. Remember most of the time everything is all right.

      Mindfulness is one of the terms that has come into use for achieving stress relief,

      Wikipedia www.Wikipedia.org says in part;

      “According to the American Cancer Society available scientific evidence does not suggest that meditation (mindfulness) is effective in treating cancer or any other disease."

      This is understood – mindfulness is not a treatment for cancer. What it also says is;

      “Research has shown meditation (mindfulness) to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure, decreasing anxiety, as well as improving numerous other physical and mental health conditions.”

      I feel mindfulness is a tool to help survivors deal with cancer and its treatment.

      I hope you too can soon come to believe that most of the time everything is all right.

      about 5 years ago
  • Kandrida's Avatar

    Kandrida asked a questionNon-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

    Post cancer scan. Has chemo cause serious heart problems for anyone?

    8 answers
    • Schlegel's Avatar

      Chemo can cause all kinds of cardiac problems including congestive heart failure ten years later. We had a cancer cardiologist speak to us at the North Carolina Cancer Survivors conference last year, but that is as much as I remember. If you think you may have had a heart attack, get yourself to a doctor immediately. In the past two years I have gone to Urgent Care three times with chest pain to rule out a heart attack. They sent me to the hospital the first time and called an ambulance the last two times. Heart is fine, and the doctors treated me with respect each time.

      over 5 years ago
    • Kandrida's Avatar

      Dr appt went well. All is actually normal thank goodness! Aparently the heart can show up different shades of gray and black depending on the angle of scan and what the heart is doing at the point of the scan in its location. I was advised to take my anti anxiety meds if/ when i start having panic attacks again. (Hate taking meds! Ugh!) Scans are all good and clear! Next scan in 3 months. Cervical cancer screening tests with OB onc later this month!

      over 5 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar

      Great news! (Whew!) Fingers crossed for continued all-clear!

      over 5 years ago
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    Kandrida shared an experience

    Procedure or Surgery: So I had my 3 month check up PET scan for Lymphoma last Thursday. (My cervical cancer scan is later this month) I waited around to get my own copy of the scan images. And from what I can tell my lymphoma has not returned nor do I see any sign of the cervical cancer cells. Whew!

    However, a chamber of my heart is lighting up like crazy! Anyone else had this happen?

    I pulled a no-no and looked up possible reasons for why the heart would show up, and some answers are like "okay that makes sense" damage is repairing from chemo treatment. Though there are others that say it could indicate sign of a minor angina or heart attack happened recently.

    Now I had a monster of a panic attack on the way home from holiday vacation at my parents and in-law's, and can't help but wonder if it wasn't really a panic attack but an actual heart attack or something. I have been unusually tired ever since we got back, and I have experienced some pain and discomfort in my chest since as well.

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    Kandrida posted an update

    My heart hangs heavy this morning... I just received news that my uncles battle with recurrent renal cell carcinoma has ended at 10am. He struggled to breathe, and was unable to regain his breath. I am saddened. I do not know how else to feel.

    I am also feeling a deep guilt that I am trying hard to reconcile within. That I survived my cancers. And also the feeling that mine will return as his did. Makes me wonder what the future holds. How long will this feeling last? Will it ever go away? How do I move past it? I have no clue....