Nov 05, 2008 - 11:10 pm
I have been worried about the impact of stress on my health and with the discussion on another thread about this....well, I hope to continue that here.
The last year has been rough on my family. My emergency surgery and subsequent colon cancer diagnosis (complete with colostomy) was the week of my mother-in-laws funeral and my youngest son's 16th birthday. During my folfox treatments, my father was in and out of hospitals trying to get a diagnosis for his malnutrition, pain and general illness. He went to 6 different facilities looking for help. My sister was diagnosed with MS in December. I completed chemo in March of 2008 and had my colostomy reversal in May. Recovery was tough and kept me home bound for almost a month, just in time to make it to see my dad before he died in June. My mother became a widow at 60 after 45 years of marriage.
In July my CEA rose slightly (3.5) and in August I had a bad PET scan and a new stage IV diagnosis. Liver mets currently inoperable, watching 2 lung spots. Folfiri w/erbitux hoping for liver resection. When my boss heard this he cut my territory by 2/3, by email. This cut my hours down to a manageable amount while I'm on chemo, but it also cut my ability to earn a living. We didn't have enough time to clean up the financial mess from the first year of treatments and part-time work/pay before it all began again. We will be filing bankruptcy.
October: my oldest son's fiancée (she's 21) had been seeing her doctor for headaches but just wasn't right one morning. (She is currently living with me while she completes college (due to graduate in December) because we live close enough for her to commute.) My son and I took her to the ER where a CT showed a bleed on her brain. She was life flighted to a trauma center where an MRI also showed a blood clot on her brain. Because both of these stroke conditions were simultaneous they didn't feel they could do anything and they spent the night sending in neurologists telling us there was zero hope and that she would die. We yelled, cried, negotiated and begged until a nurse finally found a doctor that would fight for her. One doctor, but the facility would not nor would any other doctors. He called around until he found another facility that was willing to try. We life flighted her again. I lived in the family waiting room for 5 nights. Virtually no sleep, poor food options, lots of stress. She is home now and back in school. They have her on blood thinners and physical therapy but she is expected to have a 100% recovery.
Ok, there it all is. I'm in the fight of my life, but my life goes on. How do you avoid stress? How do you handle all of this and not let it impair your recovery? Why would I not be there for the people I love even if it impairs my health? I don't want to survive this and have lost everyone I care about because I wasn't there for them. It isn't (and can't always be) all about me just because I have cancer. I see others suffering.
So, what do I do? How do I mitigate damages? I have the most positive attitude that I've ever seen, I have lots of support, I go for free massages (I had one today), I take relaxing baths, I have FUN...my motto: I don't do anything that's not fun -- especially cancer! And, yes, I truly live by that. My only rule is that I must have fun every.single.day. No exceptions.
Thank you to those that made it this far and I apologize for length! That is an hour you'll never get back! LOL