6 Ways to Stop Worrying About Your Cancer Returning and Live Your Life

 6 Ways to Stop Worrying About Your Cancer Returning and Live Your Life

6 Ways to Stop Worrying About Your Cancer Returning and Live Your Life- ichhori.com


A cancer survivor offers advice to those who are experiencing anxiety and fear as a result of cancer taking control of their lives.



For anyone who has had a head-on collision with cancer and survived to tell the tale, I know I am not alone in worrying that mine will return. The fear of landing back in a chemo chair, being suspended in the air in the radiation vault, or worse, having yet another surgery to remove it is suffocating at times.



Wouldn't it be better if I focused on living the days I've been given instead of feeding this never-ending worry?


Nonetheless, my concern is not unfounded. My oncologist sees me twice a year for check-ups. Every year, I have a blood test to see if my CA-19 tumour markers are increasing. Then I meet with her, and she asks, "How are you doing?" Which I always respond, "Fine."


After all, how could I not be fine after surviving pancreatic cancer nine years ago and still be alive when few survive two years and even fewer survive five? This one doesn't make me sweat.


The second, on the other hand, is quite different. I'll have a blood test as well as a CT scan for this. Every day in the weeks leading up to it, my anxiety level rises to the point where I feel like an overinflated balloon about to burst. A swarm of "what ifs" bombards me. My mind gnaws on the possibility that this is the one where she looks away and says, "I'm sorry but..."


Given this, I've been wondering how much I should worry about something over which I have no control. How do I stop worrying about the recurrence of my cancer? For me, I've discovered that it's beneficial to:


1. Take care of myself.

There is something to be said for eating properly and getting enough exercise and rest. I am fortunate to have a partner who ensures that I eat properly, even forcing me to eat my broccoli. And because the gym I go to is close by, I no longer have the excuse that it's too difficult to get there.


I've made a deal with myself to make sure I go: if I'm not outside doing yard work or shovelling snow, I go. As an added bonus, my yard looks great and my driveway is always shovelled.


Getting enough sleep hasn't been difficult because I read before bed and use a fan to create white noise to keep me from waking up every time the house pops or groans. Take proper care of yourself.


2. Accept my cancer may come back.

Nobody knows if their cancer will return, but if mine does, I'll just have to deal with it again. I am confident that, like my first encounter with it, I will step up and face it. After all, what other option do I, or any of us, have? Accept that your cancer may reoccur.


3. Embrace my worry and fears by writing about them.

While it may appear counterintuitive, writing about your worries and fears can help you deal with them. Repressing them rarely works. Putting them out of your mind will only result in them exploding at the most inopportune time.


Rather, it is better to embrace your worries and fears. While I've never been committed to keeping a journal, as bestselling author Joan Didion once said, "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see, and what it means." What I want and what I'm afraid of." As a result, writing about your worries and fears can assist you in coming to terms with them.


4. Have a talk with myself.

When I've written about my worries and fears, and I find myself worrying again, I sometimes have a conversation with myself that goes something like this:


"I'm scared," my mind says. "What if my cancer reappears?"


"Why are you worrying about something over which you have no control?" I asked.


"But I — I need to worry about it!" says my mind.


"Don't you have anything better to do?" I asked.


"But — but what if it comes back?" I thought.


"Stop it!" I exclaimed. This nonsense is driving me insane. If it reappears, we'll deal with it then. For crying out loud, can't you think of something else?"


While this conversation does not always work, it does help to calm me down. Have a conversation with yourself.


5. Meditate or pray, or both.

Let's face it: dealing with cancer can be overwhelming on good days and impossible on bad. I encourage those who have no faith in anything outside of themselves to meditate. This can help to relax a person's mind.


For me, praying, which is a form of meditation in and of itself, has helped me realise that as much as things appear to be out of control, there is a higher power, or God if you will, who has things under control no matter how crazy they appear to me. Meditate, pray, or do both.


6. Live the best life I can.

Instead of worrying about things over which I have no control, I've discovered that it's better to concentrate on living the best life I can. Rather than living within myself, even in this COVID-29 whirlwind, I try to get out and have coffee or lunch with a good friend, preferably someone who hasn't faced cancer.


Why? A conversation with another cancer survivor can sometimes lead us down the rabbit hole of cancer rather than living our best lives. I've discovered that I need to talk about "normal" rather than "cancer-normal." Make the most of your life.


Rather than worrying about a future that none of us can predict, focus on taking care of yourself, accepting that your cancer may return, embracing your worries and fears by writing about them, talking to yourself, meditating, praying, or both, and then living the best life you can.

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