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Fighting Fear

survivor55
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Everyone!
My last chemotherapy treatment was December 8th 2011. On that day my oncologist told me that the results from my cat scan (I had one 2 weeks before my last treatment to "check on progress") were clean and I was cancer free. It has been 3 almost 4 months since then. For 2 months after treatment I was having blood work, cat scans, and PET scans, all which gave me the positive reinforcement that my Lymphoma was gone and everything was/is looking well.

This is the first month that I have gone since being diagnosed that I have not had that positive reinforcement that I am still clean. I have not had any lumps or bumps and have been feeling really well, besides being tired from all my school work! I am at college and away from home and have been finding myself very anxious. I cant help but think "WHAT IF".

I also often worry about my parents. They have done so much for me and we are very close knit. I know that this took a toll on them and I always wonder how they are really doing, not just the act they put on over the phone. 2 months before the finding of my Lymphoma my father was having complication which the doctors thought was Lymphoma. After testing his disease ended up being sarcoid and I know that he feels "guilty" that it was me not him. While I know I can talk to them about anything sometimes I make up different excuses to head home for the weekend so they don't worry about me!

I have been told and understand that this is completely normal. Almost all cancer patients have that what if question in the back of their mind. I was wondering if anyone had any helpful hint for overcoming these fears?

I wish everyone well!

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2418
Joined: May 2010

I am a survivor as well. Diagnosed with Lymphoma stage 4 in May of 2010. Been clean over a year. The thoughts you are having are perfectly normal. If you didn't think that way I would say you were not normal.Everybody on here has had those same thoughts. Even when they say they don't think about it anymore...Well guess what..they still think that way. Lymphoma scares the crap out of everybody. You really think differently after you get over the shock of the diagnosis. You start to realize you are not indestructible as you once thought. Anybody that has been hit by anything that could end their life will always think about life a little differently from then on. What stays on your mind is, What if it comes back. You never think, What would happen if I walked outside and got hit and killed by a car. Its very possible,but more than likely that experience has never happened to you. So it never crosses your mind. The person that has been hit by a car thinks about it everyday. Just remember there is nothing saying it will come back but it does on occasion and you have to be retreated. There are so many treatments out there and more all the time.Do not go to those Websites. They are outdated and just give statistics. They will scare the daylights out of you. Your father may feel guilty that its you and not him,but maybe you feel a little guilty because you feel he and your mother are worried about you. I am sure they are and it expected because they are your parents. Stick with this group and you will get a world of info and things you can relay to your parents about this diagnosis is not a death sentence. Its a real eye opener thats for sure and no walk in the park but can be beaten.Believe me I know what you mean about worrying about the parents. John

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2418
Joined: May 2010

I am a survivor as well. Diagnosed with Lymphoma stage 4 in May of 2010. Been clean over a year. The thoughts you are having are perfectly normal. If you didn't think that way I would say you were not normal.Everybody on here has had those same thoughts. Even when they say they don't think about it anymore...Well guess what..they still think that way. Lymphoma scares the crap out of everybody. You really think differently after you get over the shock of the diagnosis. You start to realize you are not indestructible as you once thought. Anybody that has been hit by anything that could end their life will always think about life a little differently from then on. What stays on your mind is, What if it comes back. You never think, What would happen if I walked outside and got hit and killed by a car. Its very possible,but more than likely that experience has never happened to you. So it never crosses your mind. The person that has been hit by a car thinks about it everyday. Just remember there is nothing saying it will come back but it does on occasion and you have to be retreated. There are so many treatments out there and more all the time.Do not go to those Websites. They are outdated and just give statistics. They will scare the daylights out of you. Your father may feel guilty that its you and not him,but maybe you feel a little guilty because you feel he and your mother are worried about you. I am sure they are and it expected because they are your parents. Stick with this group and you will get a world of info and things you can relay to your parents about this diagnosis is not a death sentence. Its a real eye opener thats for sure and no walk in the park but can be beaten.Believe me I know what you mean about worrying about the parents. John

survivor55
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2012

Thank you John,

Its nice to hear that it is normal. I feel as though many of these feelings are because I am away at school. While I have a support system here... there is nothing like the support system of a family. When I start to have these feelings its sometimes hard being away. I try to stay away from those websites... sometimes I'd rather not know!!!

Congrats on being cancer free!

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3147
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi,
My last chemo..(6 rounds of CVP-R) was in Dec 2010, and then I started my Rituxan maint on Feb 14th, 2011. I just had my one year CT scan last Tuesday and waiting for results. I'll tell you...the FEAR of recurrance is always in the back of my mind and now with waiting for the scan results the fear is front and center. I feel fine, no lumps or reason to worry, but I think no matter what, we will probably have some degree of worry for the rest of our lives. Hang in there, and when your fears get too much, hop on here and ask for support. Someone is always around to help out. Best wishes...Sue
Follicular NHL-stage3-typeA-grade2-diagnosed June 2010-age 61.

gpespinosa's picture
gpespinosa
Posts: 25
Joined: Aug 2011

Congrats on finishing your treatment and well as John and others have said, it is normal to think of the what ifs and if you dont think about them then thats not normal. I just celebrated my year of remission last week and I still think of the what ifs, and I am sure I will be thinking about them for the rest of my life. Its like any little pain, any little slight discomfort in my body gets the wheels going but then I have to take a deep breath, have faith, and know I am and will be okay. Its glad to hear that you have a great support system where you are at but im sure as you stated its not like being with family. As awkward as it sounds I felt I had to be brave when I was first diagnosed more for my family then myself. I am the youngest of 4 kids, and really the only one in my family, even extended family that has been diagnosed, thankfully no one else have even had a cancer scare. I knew they were all so worried and felt helpless, so I always felt I had to be strong and brave for them since they were all being strong and brave for me if that all makes sense lol. The best tip I can provide is to give it time. Things will get easier and the fear will become less with time. My son was not even a year old when I was diagnosed, I was so fearful of relapsing and leaving him. With time I learned to look at the bright side and accept that wether it be cancer, a car accident, old age, or some other type of weird freak accident, something someday will take me out, but i dont need to worry about that someday oneday, I just need to worry about appreciating each moment i have now. You are a survivor for a reason, and in time things will fall into place for you, but in the meantime feel free to vent or share stories with us. We are all here to support and help each other :)

Take care.
Gaby

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 1970
Joined: Aug 2011

You are not alone here. Anxiety and fear comes with the territory.
I found that Atavan has helped me tremendously (especially initially).
I found this article and maybe it will be helpful or provide direction.

Mayo Clinic Article - Managing Emotions after Cancer Treatment

As I tell many people, humor and attitude are strong free weapons in
this battle. Use them to your advantage :). Worry and fear are
unavoidable human reactions for everyone involved with cancer and not
just the survivor. I think learning to accept the fear and trying to
work with it is a better approach than trying to avoid it. You're human
and it's okay to be afraid.

I found this video interesting as well:

Dana Farber Discussion of Fear of Recurrence

I agree with the other responses and you are always welcome here.

Hugs and positive thoughts,

Jim
DX: DLBL 4/2011, Chemo completed 10/2011, currently in remission. :)
Members are sharing recipes!:
Recipe Sharing Project

survivor55
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2012

Thank you everyone for your support and kind words... all very helpful!!

cbpgill26
Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 2012

What kind of lymphoma did you have and congrats.

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3147
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Carol,
If you click on the persons picture or on their user name, (to the left of the screen in the blue box), you can read personal Bio's, of their cancer journey. Some post a Bio,while others don't....it's optional, but very helpful for others to understand what each persons cancer journey consist of. You can also view pictures they have posted in their Expressions by clicking on Expressions at the top of their Bio page. Once you are at their Expression page, to enlarge pictures, just click on the picture. If you need further help, don't hesitate to ask. It takes awhile to learn all of the in's and out's of the site, but someone is always around to assist you. Right now I am sure your more concerned about whats ahead of you, but eventually you will want to explore the CSN site with all of it's useful information.
Love...Sue

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