CSN Login
Members Online: 11

Birthday Anxiety

websterbr's picture
websterbr
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

On March 10th I will turn 27. I am not concerned about the age but it is difficult to get excited about the special dinner plans with family and friends when I am thinking how many more of these will there be? I don't have a timeline hanging over my head but I think of the day when we face the birthday when I am ill or not knowing how much longer I will have. It could be years and I should not be thinking about this because I could be worse off. Every celebration reminds us of this whole ordeal and rather than cherish the time I feel more depressed. I know, think positive but it is difficult when you don't know what comes next.

connsteele
Posts: 232
Joined: May 2011

I know how you are feeling. That's why I couldn't get into the holiday spirit this past Christmas and New Year's. Instead of being grateful, I was getting really down, wondering how many more Christmas times we would have with our son.

I know I need to, and want to, enjoy every minute we have with him...to be grateful that he's not experiencing headaches or seizures. But it seems so bittersweet. While "One day at a time" may be true, it's still hard sometimes.

I once heard a psychologist talk to a cancer support group. He said that a cancer diagnosis is like a box: in it we put all our sadness and pain and fear. Some days, we can put that box on the top shelf of the closet, and not think about it. Other times, we have to take it down, open it, and go through all the contents. It's not realistic, or even healthy, to avoid the box all together, but to be able to put it away on the top shelf every once in a while. I liked that analogy.

Is there something extra special that you can plan for your birthday? Something you haven't done before? I think that might help. All the best to you. And happy early birthday!

Connie
m/o David, age 34, AA3, dx 4-13-11

I_Promise's picture
I_Promise
Posts: 210
Joined: Aug 2011

B-day are hard. Yes it is akin xmas and new years.

I read once that the cancer has won if we stop making plans for the future, if we stop celebrating.

Nothing we say is going to take all of the anxiety away. But maybe like Connie said a few different things can help? (and if you don't want to celebrate, it is OK too; your family will support you). My sister has aa3 and you guys are close in age. So if she told me about her feelings surrounding her B-day, I would offer her this:

1) Celebrate but no number on the cake or anywhere. Or put a silly number like 6 years old or 102 years old (a 102 years old is running joke between my sister and I because this is the age we chose to die in our respective small little bed with a glass of champagne in our hand... of course that would make me mmmm 107 years old completely possible).

2) Don't celebrate the day of. Maybe like a month before or after?

3) do a vacation instead of 3 days in a row... road trip to the town next door .. or do a long week end to ... Paris. Or anything else. Use your b-day to do something you always wanted to do but could not. Force your whole family on a horseback tour; or a dance class (yes even the men of the family).

4) Finally believe that you are going to have many many many more B-day to come.

all the best,

J.

websterbr's picture
websterbr
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Connie,

I really like that analogy too. I will keep that in mind. We are planning to go to a steak house called The Keg Mansion. It was an other mansion that the owners died in that they made into The Keg. There are tales about it being haunted. Not sure if I believe it but it will be fun.

Brandy

chicken2799's picture
chicken2799
Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2009

I was diagnosed with AA3 on October 20, 2009, had my surgery on October 29, 2009. My birthday was on November 13, and everyone wanted to go to my favorite restaurant to celebrate. I was feeling so bad that day, and my husband kept telling me that we could just go back home everyone would understand. There was no way that I was going to just go back home, so he unloaded me and my 2 year old daughter out of the truck. When I walked in, one half of the restaurant was friends and family. There were over 50 people there, and I tried my best to feel good. It was probably 30 minutes before it was time to go that I actually started feeling better. I remember feeling the same way, “Is this my last birthday?” “How many more will I have?” I am glad that I went instead of staying home, because I had a great time even though I was not feeling my best! Although I have had a clean MRI for a little over two years, I still wonder what is going to happen. I agree with Julia, she has some very good options that you should consider.

Michelle

TAMMY S's picture
TAMMY S
Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2011

I have been playing this game with myself now over a year now. With being in our situation I think it is close to impossible not to think that way. This past Jan 2 of my cousins came in from out of town. It was the 1st time in YEARS that all the cousins were together in the same room. Although we were having a ball I can remember at one point thinking to myself this is the last time it's going to be this way. I do like the idea of the "cancer box"

cindysuetoyou's picture
cindysuetoyou
Posts: 508
Joined: Dec 2009

Like the others have all said, I can relate too. I also really had a hard time at Christmas and New Years. But Julia said this in her post on this thread and in an earlier thread: "I read once that the cancer has won if we stop making plans for the future, if we stop celebrating." This REALLY impacted me, and I thought, "I'll be damned if I let cancer take one more thing away from David and from our family." I don't have a lot of control over very many things, but I have control on whether we celebrate or not. So I plan even bigger celebrations and I feel like I am mentally thumbing my nose at cancer. It's another way to fight against cancer---a mental fight. It's hard, but our whole family goes along and I think it's way better to celebrate than to just ignore important dates. There's a picture in my expressions section of David at his 28th birthday party in July of this year. It was one week after we found out the totally devastating news that he had a recurrence. We planned a little party and it snowballed into a big celebration and it really touched David to see how many people care about him. They all gave him birthday cards with a lot of money in them. :)

I also love the idea of the box. Great idea! I'm going to remember that one too....

Blessings, love, and peace to you,
Cindy in Portland/Salem, OR

websterbr's picture
websterbr
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello All,
Thank you for your replies. I was starting to feel guilty about the whole thing but my feelings are a bit more validated now. I really like to idea of the box and the trips. In January my husband and I went to the Mayan Riviera for a week in a top suite. We felt like royalty. We went ziplining and dunebugging driving in the mud. It was awesome. We were celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary which will be in May and a delayed Christmas gift. My husband works for a hydro company and is on call a lot. When the power goes out he has to go work on the lines to get the power back up and running. A lot of our plans are ruined at the last minuted when he is on call.

I told another friend that in our situation we need something to look forward to in order to focus on something else. Since my surgery I went to concerts to see Guns and Roses, Rihanna. We went to see my husband's favourite hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings, then Mexico. We had something to do every month. This month is completely different as it is some down time. This week we decided that we are going to get another dog. Our yellow lab pup will be born the day after my birthday. My dog Walker seems bored and depressed and my husband and I are feeling sad as well. A new life into our lives will help us all.
In October we are going to Vegas with a group of friends. We have a lot going on it is just the day to day feelings that I have to put in the box.

Thank you so much for your help with this. I am very grateful that I found your all on this forum.

Brandy

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