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Anxiety

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

I am five weeks out of treatment and the anxiety is becoming overhelming. This site has been very helpful, but I haven't found many questions answered about the emotional healing.
I understand my body is still in the throws of radiation. The Cancer Center in Rhode Island has been wonderful with support, but I'm still feeling lost. Which is difficult on my family. They have been supportive through treament, but I need them now more than every. Feeling anxiety when I need to leave the house. Is it a good idea to start work part-time? Lost in myself in Rhode Island. ~Carol

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 503
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi - I found going back to work to be an enormous relief. It made me feel like I was back to somewhat of a normal life. And it was really good to see the people again and get back into a more social atmosphere. It may depend on what your job is (how busy is it? is there a lot of stress?) and how supportive they are. Part-time is good. You're probably still somewhat weak and/or tired from all you've been through.

lizdeli's picture
lizdeli
Posts: 521
Joined: Jul 2009

What you are experiencing is what many of us have. I felt that way for at least 3 months and to be honest my anxiety level first started to go down following my first scan post treatment. My doctors had me on something mild to help with the anxiety. I went back to work about 3 weeks post treatmetn and that helped me a lot. But when my mind wasn't busy I would revert to thinking way to much about it.

Once you get past the first set of comprehensive post treatment scans, tests, etc. I'm hoping you will experience the same degree of decrease in anxiety.

Wishing you well,
Liz

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2939
Joined: Jan 2010

This is completely normal! I think most, if not all, of us go through that. I describe it as a feeling of abandonment. You go from having people take care of you every day, such as going to radiation, to being on your own (or at least that's how it feels!). It gets easier as time goes on. Your work will help you get back in the stream of things. Best wishes!

sissy310
Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

I agree with Liz and Martha...the anxiety is normal. I did not have less anxiety until after my first set of scans and a subsequent biiopsy. I still have anxiety from time to time before a set of scans or if something comes up 'abnormal' or even if there is a tiny bit of blood when I got to the bathroom. I take ativan on those occasions and find that it helps get over that hump. Keeping busy is also a good idea. It does make one feel more normal and back to 'normal' so to speak. Plus you were around medical people for 6-7 weeks straight almost every day and then suddenly, it diminishes. It kind of makes you feel out there and alone. But you are not alone. The group is still there if you have concerns and we are here to help minimize any anxiety or fears you have or simply to listen if you want to vent. Marilyne

alis7910
Posts: 80
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi:
have you thought about having therapy? It helps to have someone who can be objective just to talk about your feelings.I went back to work once the pain diminished because I felt restless and needed to get out of the house. Also, body work like massage, acupuncture and/or Reiki helps balance out your energy and body, mind and spirit.

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

I have been seening a social worker at the Cancer Center. I will find out today when I will be having my scan. Thank you for your sharing your experiences and support.

nonichol's picture
nonichol
Posts: 114
Joined: Jul 2010

I found the emotional aspect after treatment to be the hardest part. It was like my brian was finally able to start processing what I had gone through. And being fatigued from treatment, financially strained, and thrown into to menopause (probably the worst part).

I had to go back to work 6 weeks after treatment, I was afraid I couldn't make it, as I travel 4 days a week. The first time I had to drag my suitcase with me through the airport I was exhausted, not to mention I could barley lift the suitcase into the overhead bin (people giggled as I was trying to lift it and I just thought "if you only knew", but looking back work helped me emotionally and physically. We do what we must.

Oh yeah, I also had to accept the fact that people who haven't been through this can't relate to me and frankly I got the feeling it made them uncomfortable to discuss. That is why I still check in here, I know, you all know what it is like.
Hang in there!
Norma

7243
Posts: 223
Joined: Feb 2011

I too was overwhelmed with anxiety after treatment. I had always been a confident, independant woman, yet I felt such overwhelming anxiety and my confidence was dealt a devastating blow. I found it difficult to even leave my home and meet friends for lunch after treatment ... when in treatment we have the support of the radiation oncology team, chemotherapy nurses, etc. and when treatment is over we tend to feel abandoned and alone, not to mention we now are focused on "did the treatment work"? This anxiety and stress is well documented ... there is an NCI publication, "When Treatment is over" you might find helpful. Here is the link: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/life-after-treatment

Check it out ...

I continue to struggle with anxiety and I'm 6 months out ... I also suggest you see if there is a center for integrated living that might offer something like Mindfulness Meditation or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes. I'm stating an 8 week class ... Guided Imagery is also helpful: www.healthjourneys.com There is a great woman who's tools you may find helpful: Bellruth Naparstek is her name. I use the anxiety, general wellness tools and others. I load them on my ITouch and listen routinely and when stressed. See what you think.

Hang in there. Keep up with your counseling and best of everything. I really understand. It does get better with time, so be loving and patient with yourself. XO

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2939
Joined: Jan 2010

I might also recommend a book titled "You CAN Beat the Odds" by Brenda Stockdale. I attended her seminars and got lots of good advice which is all included in the book.

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

I just started back to work this week almost 7 months post treatment. I understand your anxiety and suggest don't push yourself too much. I re-entered the workforce doing something I enjoy and is not overwhelming or too stressful. You will know when the time is right for you. . .you won't need to ask us if it is right. You will know. I did it on my own time and in my own way. For me 5 weeks following treatment would have been way too soon as I was experiencing some confusion and memory problems that have now subsided.

Although I have been a Pilates fan for many years, I just discovered a series of excercise videos by Trudie Styler (the wife of musician Sting) that calm and center me. They include yoga, Pilates, ballet, cardio . . .and all have modified moves to accomodate everyone. Very soothing and effective delivery. You might find them helpful as well.

Blessings to you! Keep us posted.
Angela

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

Well, I'm taking the big step this morning and going back to work part-time. I will be able to set my own hours. I work at a local college for the dean of the school of nursing. The dean was an oncology nurse, so she understands and has been very supportive through the cancer and 3 times with my husband. But it is a scaring step to take. I've been in my own world for 12 weeks and now I have to re-enter the world that did not stop. Hope it is the right choice. ~Carol

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2939
Joined: Jan 2010

Wishing you the best as you return to work today, Carol! I'm sure all will go well. Your boss sounds like the best!

z's picture
z
Posts: 1257
Joined: May 2009

Hello Carol, I hope you had a good day today. I know when I went back to work after 7 weeks, I had anxiety, because I have a physical job, where I walk and stand and lift and push, I just went a lot slower, and went my what my body was able to do. Eventually, I regained all of my stamina allbeit, it took about a year. Slow and steady. I'm glad you went back to work, its good to get back to normalacy. I wish you well. Lori

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks for all your well wishes. I did start working part-time this week. It was the right choice for me. Having a routine and being out of the house for 3 to 4 hours a day has taken away some of the anxiety. The first step was hard, but I'm glad I did it.
~Carol

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2939
Joined: Jan 2010

Good for you for going back to work, Carol. It sounds like it was a good decision. Distraction from this disease can be a very good thing and I'm sure work will help you with that. Good luck as you get back to your job.

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 503
Joined: Jun 2011

Glad to hear you are back at work. Just remember to take care of yourself. When your body says it needs rest - rest. Congratulations again!

cap630
Posts: 150
Joined: Jul 2011

Thank you all for your advise and support. I'm working about 20 hours a week. It has helped me move forward. I have lots of help trying to find the "new normal" and I am letting myself heal. First scan and scope coming up soon. ~Carol

mxperry220
Posts: 360
Joined: Mar 2011

I think this is a norm for us anal cancer survivors. I am 33 months post treatment and still have anxiety if I have an appointment or need to be out of the house before 10:00 A.M. I think a lot of mine is psychological. It has gotten better over time. I soon realized no one knew what an emotional toll this type of cancer had on me. Friends and family thought after treatment I was fine but they were not fully aware of the side effects of radiation and chemo treatment for anal cancer. It seems the radiation really irritates the colon/rectum area for many months after treatment. I still have some urgent bowel movement symptoms. Never knowing when this may happpen really makes me nervous when I know I have a public engagement. This seems to be a new norm for me. You might check to see if your medical facility where you received treatment. My oncologly area had a cancer support group. I never signed up for this but probably should have. No one understands what anal cancr is all about until they have been there. The problem is this cancer is so rare the probablity of an anal cancer survivor being in a support group is minimal. One other bit of advice, never be ashamed to discuss anal cancer with your family and close friends. This includes any side effects you may be having post treatment. I know this has helped me in my journey through this awful cancer.

Hope this helps some.

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

First, apologies for the many repetitive posts above. I'll blame it on my unpredictable laptop.

Mxperry is right about finding support, which I do here on this site. I have not sought out anotlher cancer support group locally because I am afraid it will all be about breasts or cervixes or prostates. No one can even begin to understand anal cancer, and it's brutal treatment, like we do.

Just a couple of weeks ago, in my new job, I came across a customer who shared that she was a two-time cancer survivor, having recently finished her final round of radiation for breast cancer. I mentioned that I was a survivor, too. She asked me what kind of cancer and when I told her, the funniest look washed over her face. She had been treated for anal cancer in 1989 in Germany.

What are the odds of me running into her? A God-send is what it was.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2939
Joined: Jan 2010

I have been SO very blessed in that I have personally met five anal cancer survivors--one just today! And I am to meet another one in person on October 8th. Luckily, my rad onc and my med onc both recognize not only the rarity of this cancer, but the need for support of those who get this diagnosis. They have both referred people to me. Mark my word, there are going to be more and more people diagnosed with this cancer in the future and it will someday come out in the open. I am very thankful for everyone on this site who give me support and encouragement.

z810840b's picture
z810840b
Posts: 212
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Carol-We have all gone through this.I think i became MORE anxious when i finished treatment, than when I was going through it .When i was going through treatment i had a plan. I knew what I had to do....fight the cancer .After I finished treatment....then the fear crept in.."what if it's not gone?' " "What if it comes back?"I even suffered from anxiety attacks.Gradually things got better.My life got more normal..I went back to work ..( i freelance) .I am over three years NED.Im feeling pretty good.I still have side effects from the radiation..but very tolerable.Sure, I get anxious a couple of weeks before a scope...but i talk to myself..and get through it.So Carol...everything you are feeling ???So normal...So expected. Good luck...Hugs...alyse

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