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Overcoming fear

staceyf
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2005

I am 55 and am extremely afraid of having my first colonoscopy. I know the procedure won't be that bad, but both my parents had colorectal cancer and ended up passing away. I was the primary caregiver to each of my parents and went through a LOT of emotional trauma in doing so (for almost 5 years). My daughter is helping me realize I must overcome this fear and have the test. How do I learn to let go of all the emotional burden and fear I've held onto for so long?

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

The fear you are having is not for the procedure itself but what happens after the procedure, so I am not going to get into the whole, "it's really not that bad" discussion.

Because your parents both had and died from colon cancer is even more the reason to have a scope done.

I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer the day after my 27th birthday. I went to three doctors before I had one take me seriously (the first visit in 2001). I have probably been living with cancer for around five years. I have zero risk factors, no family history, nothing. Mine started as a polyp. A polyp that could easily have been taken care of before turning cancerous.

Why am I telling you this? Just because we have or don't have pre-determined factors does not necessarily tell you what the outcome will be. Colon cancer runs on my husbands side... not mine.

After my diagnosis, I have asked each of my family members, friends, everybody I know to have a colonoscopy. My husband plans to have one with me on my "one year anniversary." My sister (who is the most likely genetically to get colon cancer) had one and came out fine. My father-in-law had a small polyp that was removed without all of the drama. That is the key. He had his scope and was able to prevent re-living my nightmare.

The advances and knowledge they have on colon cancer these days is amazing. They have an amazing combination of drugs that work very well. The key seems to be finding it early. And what better way than to just schedule a colonoscopy. You will feel much better when things turn out ok. And if they do find something... well, then you have found it now rather than later and have that much better of a chance of fighting it successfully.

Remember... we have a lot better tools these days than when your parents were ill. I am very sorry that you had to lose your parents to this aweful disease. I recommend working hard not to lose yourself to it as well.

If you can't convince yourself to do this test for your own good, at least think of your daughter and family. They deserve to have you in their life. I really hope to not offend you, but I know that I would feel terrible if my family lost me because I was afraid to have a colonoscopy.

Best of luck,

Patricia

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Staceyf, If I was in your shoes I would be afraid too, it is normal especially since both your parents had colorectal cancer. That is a good reason to have a colonoscopy. Remember most cancers caught early are easier to beat. Perhaps you could talk to a social worker or any other therapist to help you take control of your fear. Most oncology Depts. in a hospital have social workers to help patients. You could see any therapist to help you with the emotional trauma. It is important that you have the colonoscopy, you may find out you do not have cancer.
All the best, TereB

cvs57's picture
cvs57
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2005

Stacey,
Its natural to be afraid, so nothing wrong there. One of the answers to fear is deep breathing. You may want to try it. I went through my post-treatment scans alone and it was no big deal. We all have the courage, we don't draw from it. Wish you well and hugs,
CVS

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