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Fear

MelStar
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2004

I have a question for all you "experienced" people. Does the fear of recurrence ever go away? I know I've only been in remission for four months, but I feel the fear is there 24/7
and I really would like to move past it, but does a person really ever move past it?

Melody (formerly Mel in other posts, but I decided to use my whole name)

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Mel,

I don't think the fear ever goes away. I am 6 months off of chemo and every time I feel just a twinge of pain I think the cancer has come back. I also have friends who have been cancer free for several years and yet they still fear a recurrance. We can't live our lives in this constant fear, we must get on with living, but it is also the "nature of the beast". I just stay faithful to the thought that the chemo got it all and I'm going to be ok.

I also stay very busy and count my many blessings.

Kerry

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Melody--hey , love your name--kinda rings sweet!
I would be lying if I told you I was not afraid.In terms of cancer I guess I am more afraid of one day dying in pain--I have felt pain before when my epidural after I came out of surgery did not work.Have never felt pain like it before nor want to again.
As for my mental state I would say that I am not afraid of dying--just truly afraid of the thought of leaving my lovely wife and kids without a husband/father.
I sure do fear the detection of any more cancers--hey, I try not to dwell on it but the chance is there and I guess we all have it in the back of our mind.
I live my life now knowing that the cancer "may" get me but I also try to sort out my life now much more differently than I used to.
Once upon of time I used to worry about trivial things--the cancer has mellowed me somewhat now and there are a lot of things I just don't worry about anymore.Jen and the 3 kids(all adults now) are my number one priority--if they are happy--then so am I.
I don't think the fear will ever leave me Melody--but hey--we all gotta meet our maker sometime--is just a matter of time.
luv n hugs, kanga n Jen

Kathee
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Melody,
I had colon cancer 7 years ago. I had 12 inches (cecum area) removed-resectioned- 48 lymph nodes removed (cancer found in only 2) a year of chemo- 5FU. I just recently had a colonoscopy (June 03)- first one in three years....all fine. I guess since my mom and uncle also had colon cancer, and they survived, in fact my mom never stopped playing on her tennis team the entire time she was on chemo...I had very good roll models. They were always very positive. And when it's something this big, it's out of your hands. I do not eat red meat, I don't drink or smoke (and never did before my cancer...) I try to watch my sugar intake, and exercise,(which I tend to NOT do all the time :) )
I guess I have had times when I had stomach pains over the years, that I did get scared, but it's not as bad as it used to be. Right now my 11 yr. old son has Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage IV brain cancer..he is 11. I found out that colon and brain cancer are from the same family. Obviously there is something genetic going on...my fears are for my children now. But I have a strong spritual faith, believe in massage, noni juice, protocel and really counting my blessings rather than thinking of my misfortunes. I don't think it ever goes away, the fear, it just takes time and it's not so vivid as you continue to heal and get those clear colonoscopy's. Melody you will be in my prayers. God Bless.
Kathy

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Kathy, You are an inspiration to us. Thanks for sharing your story. You are also in our prayers. I have two daughters who I worry about also. You and your son will be in my prayers.

Kerry

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Kathy -

There is a hereditary form of colon cancer (actually there are several, but...) called Hereditary Non-Poly-posis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC). If you have it (which is a possibility since it appears so prevelantly in your mother's family), your kids will have a 50-50 chance of having the gene. Just having the gene doesn't mean they'll get cancer, but they should start getting regular colonoscopies (NOT flex-sigs!) at an age that is ten years younger than you were when you wre first diagnosed.

There are a number of websites with info on HNPCC and the National Cancer Institute was doing a study on it when I was diagnosed a couple years ago.

- Sponge Bob

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Melody,

I have been cancer free for 2 1/2 years now (I don't use the term remission...to me implies I am awaiting its return) and the fear has not left me yet. It's eased but the boogie man is still hiding in my closet.

I have tried to the best of my ability to use this fear to my advantage and make changes in my life that are more conducive to health...ie...stepping away from toxic relationships, making decisions in life directions that I feel will create more balance and harmony and joy for us all, and focusing on living rather than existing. With gusto!

On the flip side I am still working on reconciling that I may die "sooner" than others b/c of this disease. My time is already determined which is a mystery to me so I have to decide how I want to live each day. That is powerful and a gift for those who are forced to look their mortality in the eye...and stare it down.

Because I believe in the saving Grace of Jesus Christ, I have faith in where I will go post mortem. But that does not mean I particularly want to leave this life any time soon! :-) I have 5 kids: 17, 15, 14, 12, 4 and a husband I adore so I'm not ready to check out.

When we get to the point that we can accept this diagnosis as a gift in some respects then we can really live and not worry too much about the dying.....I say not TOO much....the scales will eventually tip in favor of focusing on living rather than dying and life will be good. Free of fear? Not yet....but the bigger travesty would be fear of really living.

You are part of an unique group of folks...cancer survivors...and we have the opportunity to show the world how it's done.

peace, emily who tries to profit from the fear

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Melody (much prettier than Mel, I must say)

I'm in pretty near the same boat as Emily. I'm in remission. Since my cancer is genetic and I have seen it recur twice in my mom, I'm always on the alert. I don't think that fear will ever go away. But, I believe that there is a plan for everything and, like Emily says, the time and place of my death are pre-determined. I don't let it consume me, but I'm not in a hurry to get to the front of the line either!

Get out there and enjoy life - face it, we're all terminal! I'd just prefer to die in bed at age 95. (shot by a jealous husband!)

Stay well!

- SpongeBob

MelStar
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2004

Thanks, everybody, for your input. I don't feel like such a big baby now. I'll try to put the fear in the background and get on with the positive side of my life.

Melody

nanuk's picture
nanuk
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Melody: When I had my cc surgery 3 years ago, I asked the doctor what the chances of recurrence were, and he replied, "something else'll probably get you first.." I thought a lot about that, and realized that my LEASE on life had just been renewed, and that as long as I could see steam on the mirror each morning, it was going to be a good day..remember that FEAR stands for "forgetting everything is alright", and that;
Yesterday is a cancelled check,
Tommorrow is a promissory note,
and today is cash...spend it wisely

Bud

nanuk's picture
nanuk
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

a lot of people find refuge in you also Emily.. bud

QUEENFISH
Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2004

I am the fifth generation to have colorectal cancer in my family. I must say that I understand where Kathy is comming from. I worry mostly about my daughter. My doctor wants her to start colonoscopys at the age of 24. Problem is, I was told the same thing after my fathers death, and I didn't do it. I continually tell her how important it is to be tested. As far as worrying about reoccurance, I have it constantly on my mind. I also, believe in my faith and Noni juice . I am still on chemo, have been for almost a year, and I have several more months to go. I think the threat of reoccurance will , however, keep me on my toes as far as diet and testing go. So, maybe I can turn my worries into precautionary measures. Sorry to ramble, the chemo brain just takes over sometimes.
Thanks,
Lisa

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