CSN Login
Members Online: 14

coping with fear

anthony g
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello all I'm new to this board today. Abiut 1 year ago I was diagonised with throat and chest cancer...Im happy to say that on april my first pet scan came back clear. I thought that was the end of a long year of pain and depression. I lost 25 lbs,,and being only 140 lbs to start with, well now i look horrible...trying to gain weight back and having some success..I live in fear everyday of this coming back..I have no happiness in my life ,,,no emotions of love ,,,I try and put on a happy face for my two sons who are 20 and 24,,and im a single dad...anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on how to deal with this...

BeenThereDoneThat
Posts: 29
Joined: Jul 2009

First, congrat on the great news....and 'all clear' checkup. Awesome!! You and your sons should celebrate.

I know what you are feeling. Even though I have been 'clean' from over 5 years there are still times that I drell on thinking about the 'return'. This is normal, and don't worry about it. What helps me is to keep busy with other things that take my mind off of 'me'. It's too easy to get focused on what is happening to us, and we forget to take the time to get involved in other things.

I was able to spend some time volunteering at a local cancer center called the Wellness Community. They were very open to all.......people just diagnosed, those going through treatments, survivors, and the families of cancer patients/survivors. I was amazed how much people appreciated advice and 'I know what you are going through'. It took my mind off me and I enjoyed helping others feel a little better.

Again, everyone is different, so do what makes you feel better. My family really helped. I think you might be surprised at your sons' reaction if you 'tell it like it is'......you will be amazed at how much they want to help (and can help).

Also, don't fret the weight. I too lost 40 pounds. I gained 20 of it back. Remember that the scars and the weight loss are battle scars of your battle with cancer. Good news is that you are winning!

Keep your spirits up.

anthony g
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

Thanks for you kind words and helpful insight on how I can deal with this. I will take your advice on volunteering. Funny , I was think on doing that, mabe at the Childrens Hospital near me. The one thing that touched my heart was seeing children aflicted with cancer and how happy they were.
Again thanks,
Anthony

Artray
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2009

it sounds like you've been given a new chance and I hate to think of you 'losing' this opportunity by dwelling on the 'what if'. We all have that as part of our daily lives but in order to make living worthwhile we need to live 'in spite' of those thoughts and make the time we have, however much or little it is, as full as we can.

coachman
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2008

Hello: I am now a little over two year survivor of throat cancer. Completed radiation and chem in February, 2007. Yes there certainly is fear, anxiety, depression and many other emotions associated with this dreaded disease. My support system is very good and they all try to keep me up. I have good days and bad days but thanks to the Grace of God I am still alive. Life is certainly not the same now. I was a perfectly healthy 58 year old when diagnosed. Now having just turned 61 I have seen more doctors and had more doctor appointments that I did my first 58 years of life. I pray your sons are close to you as they can be your support system. Yes I do have many side effects from radiation and chem and sometimes I just wish I would have allowed myself to die. I have a litle grandson who is eight, a wonderful wife, three boys, and one girl who I have fought to live for. What was normal for you before cancer is probably forever gone. However you will be able to live with the new normal in time. Someday I will be whole again. Hang in there and God Bless!

pmfennell's picture
pmfennell
Posts: 28
Joined: Jun 2009

Hello Anthony,
I am a six year survivor of throat cancer. I too have felt the anxiety and depression that goes along with the battle. I have found volunteering, participating in support groups and taking part in this board helps a lot. I volunteer evry year at the hospital where I did treatment for their fund raising event. This year we raised over 2 million dollars for cancer research and support for families. Talk about rewarding! I still have good days and bad days. To fight the bad days I try to focus on and do things that make me happy. Reaching out to others and helping them through their battle with cancer is always helpful for me. My life has forever changed because of cancer, but I go on living and doing things that are satisfying to me. And, weight loss is normal. I lost 65 lbs and gained back 30. It took me time to do it, but I am healthier for it and move around a lot better without the extra weight. Congratulations on your PET scan. Reach out to your sons as well. I am sure they will provide support. Good luck and God Bless.

anthony g
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

I appreciate everyone support and comments. Im trying to cope with this , but everyday brings a new challenge. I have a girlfriend..im 57 ,,,and i have not felt any emotions of love or intimancy with her since this has happened to me. I feel so bad for her...she is very supportave of me and will do anything to make me feel happy. If it was not for her I would have delt with this alone. MY sons are very supportave but i try not to let them know how I feel. They are 24 and 20 and I dont want them to worry about me. Tomorrow is my second pet scan, Im so worried , depressed and having a hard time dealing with this. I want to tell my girlfriend to just leave me, she needs to be with someone who will love her as she does me, but I just dont feel any more happiness in my life and it reflects on how i treat her. Without returning any love to her both physically and emotionally...well its just not right. I work 10 hours a day and come home and just sit on the couch and watch tv..I dont want to go out..i dont want to do anything...I guess I need to see a doctor for this depression, because it just wont go away...She wants me to be the person I was before this happend ,,but I dont thing thats possibe now...

BeenThereDoneThat
Posts: 29
Joined: Jul 2009

Anthony,

You are dealing with a lot. Don't feel like you are the only one with these feelings. I was expecially nervous with each checkup....I am a 'natural worrier'.

You also should talk to your doc about your feelings. I did. While there is a stigma about needing 'emotional' help...it is real and medical, not 'in your head'. Your brain can only take so much worrying, and I guess its defense is to stop making the 'leveling' chemicals that we need. That's what happened to me. I did get some medication (Lexapro) and it helped me. Only your doc can determine if this is best for you. I didn't have any side effects that some get. Again, just what I did. Still worth a talk with your doc.

Again, the emotional side of this is as important as the physical.

As for your girlfriend wanting you to be the person that you were 'before'.....I don't think that you will.....you'll be a better person!

George

jkinobay's picture
jkinobay
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2007

Everything you are experiencing is perfectly normal and to be expected. I tell my friends and relatives that with the diagnosis of cancer comes a feeling of a virtual trainwreck, or a head-on car crash, only I walked away from it. Forever changed but able to walk away.

Keep in mind that caregivers are God's assistants and quite often they mean the difference between a happy ending and a not so happy ending.

Having said that, in my experience, there are two very distinct worlds when it comes to cancer...........one is on the inside, from the patient's view..............the other is from the outside, from the caregivers view. The caregiver cannot relate, as hard as they may want to and try to. Its just different on the inside looking out.

Here's a suggestion. Do you have a local support group that meets on a regular basis? The beauty of a support group is that you get both perspectives at the same time. In our support group there meetings there are patients and caregivers, often in corresponding pairs. So, caregivers can coach caregivers, patients can coach patients, and of course they can all interact. But, the benefit is that you have all perspectives plus experience. It will be good for you.

I hope you have one. If you have trouble finding one start by asking your chemo or rad oncologists if they know of one. If you don't have one, start one. I learned a long time ago (really, only 2 years or so) that the best way to improve my outlook and attitude and to keep my mind out of the wrong places was to get active in helping others. Which is why I stay in touch here at the CSN.

Give it a thought and maybe a looksee.

Keep us posted. JK

pattynonews's picture
pattynonews
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

Just be Thankful that your pet scan came back clean, and be blessed with what you have, If you live in fear everyday that is going to come back you will drive yourself crazy, My husband is fighting the fight everyday and we are blessed to have another day together, Yea Im scare of the future and not having him around but I have learn I can not make my self crazy just enjoy and be thankful,

pattynonews's picture
pattynonews
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

Just be Thankful that your pet scan came back clean, and be blessed with what you have, If you live in fear everyday that is going to come back you will drive yourself crazy, My husband is fighting the fight everyday and we are blessed to have another day together, Yea Im scare of the future and not having him around but I have learn I can not make my self crazy just enjoy and be thankful,

pattynonews's picture
pattynonews
Posts: 176
Joined: Aug 2009

Just be Thankful that your pet scan came back clean, and be blessed with what you have, If you live in fear everyday that is going to come back you will drive yourself crazy, My husband is fighting the fight everyday and we are blessed to have another day together, Yea Im scare of the future and not having him around but I have learn I can not make my self crazy just enjoy and be thankful,

anthony g
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

Well gang, I had my second pet scan ,,and while the week wait was to say the least,,stressfull...the results were great. My doctor came into the room and said...whats that sad look on your face...the results show no abnormalities...absolutely clean this in addition to my ct sacn....phewwwwwww....funny though while is was a great feeling , i was not as happy as i thought i would be....mind you,,,i do feel great and i keep saying to myself,,im now a cancer survivor..not a cancer paitent,,i guess im still dealing with the side effects of the chemo....loss of feeling in my hands...still a sore throat,,and sore neck,,,,im thankfull everyday for the end results....i live in a samll town in pa called swarthmore..about 15 miles east of philly....if i can be of any help to anyone near this area. as in talking,,helping in any way please drop me a note...I fell ive been given a second chance in life..and if i can help someone else ,,,well that would make me happy.
Anthony

Tanager75
Posts: 87
Joined: Aug 2009

Fear is not new to me but the cancer was diagnosed in June. I have completed the Chemo and Radiation and now waiting to heal. When it comes to fear, I support the opinions expressed by some that working with others has been my best remedy to forget my own fears. The childrens hospital sounds like a great idea. Best wishes and I'm glad to hear about the great test results.
mark

anthony g
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2009

Mark, Hope all goes well with your healing. I agree the opinions here are great....sometimes hard to do with my work schedule...10 hr days...but ill continue to live life in spite of my fears...at the very least..try too...again..good luck..
anthony

BeenThereDoneThat
Posts: 29
Joined: Jul 2009

Anthony,

Thrilled to hear about your good news! That is awesome! I too had a strange feeling after getting a 'thumbs up' after all my follow-up checks.......not as 'high' as I would have expected. I guess going through what we went through makes us wary of both lows....and highs.

Let's both make sure that we enjoy every day, and never let the turkeys get you down!

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network