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It has been years since last treatment

jaxmagicman
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2012

And every test I go to has come back clean. I had type II Hodgkin's Lymphoma and after 6 months of chemo, 1 month of radiation and 1 surgery, everything was gone except scar tissue. Except every day I think about having cancer again. I feel like every day I wake up I am going to feel another lump, or start to feel tired.

See that was the first sign. I started to sleep a lot. Too much my wife said. I had never slept like that since she had known me. At first I told her it was because I was getting older. After all I was 28.

Now I pretty much can't sleep a whole night. Every time I lay down, I fear that it is because I might be sick again and that is making me tired. I am not sure what to do, so I have come here.

What do you guys do to help with this feeling? I have been cancer free for three years. July 09 was my last Radiation treatment. I go to the doctor every 6 months. I get PET scans and CAT scans once a year. I get x-rays all the time. But every time I am sitting in the Dr's office I can't help but think he is going to find something again.

I now have a new born, she is 5 months old and while I did not have testicular cancer, we were worried that I might not be able to have kids because of chemo. But sometimes when I am with her, I start to cry because I picture missing all of her big moments in life.

So that is why I have come here. I need to know how to move on. How do I put this behind me and stop being so emotional about it. I am a 32 year old man who is on the verge of crying almost every day.

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Jax!
First of all CONGRATULATIONS on 3 years and your new daughter!! Babies are such little miracles of life! They open up strong emotions in a parent, like fierce protection and immense love. Emotions usually not experienced until that baby is in your arms and you’re not used to dealing with them. Every parent has that fear of “what if something happens to me”, so it’s not just cancer survivors (but we definitely have more of a reason to worry), this is a NORMAL feeling.

What you are feeling is anxiety. It's an everyday part of our lives and somehow we need to manage it. Mind over matter? Easier said than done. When those thoughts crawl into my head I tell myself to STOP. Just STOP. Sometimes I have to say it out loud, but after a while I realize….hmm, I haven’t thought about it in a few days. Kind of like re-training your brain. We have limited control over our lives, and sometimes we have to let go and let God. Other times we need a little counseling or medication to help us get over the worst of it and be able to LIVE.

A journal might help you get the feelings out so the urge to cry will lessen (although it’s tough not to get weepy when you look in your baby’s beautiful eyes, it’s so overwhelming to think about their future anyway!).

You are doing everything right with your appointments and scans. Enjoy your time with your baby NOW, she will never be 5 months old again! What a lucky girl to have you for her Dad!

You are stronger than you know!
Hugs!!
Cat

jaxmagicman
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2012

Thanks for the great comment. I will try to tell myself to stop. But right now that isn't working. I might have to seek professional help at this point. I am afraid to be tired. I push myself to stay up to 2-3 AM almost nightly. Then I force myself out of bed at 6 or 7. That may be why I have been so emotional. Maybe my body is tired and that is just how it is.

But I have come here for others to share how they got over it. I guess in a way, none of us do.

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2101
Joined: Aug 2011

Hello Jax,

Congratulations on your child and the remission!

You're probably not getting enough rest which is not good for you
and certainly isn't helping with your situation. You're very human
and have been traumatized and I certainly understand where
you're coming from.

You can't let this rob you of life's joy :). I think counseling would
be a good idea to help you understand and deal with this. Also, it
might help if you spoke with your doctor about it and get on some
anti-anxiety medication to help you sleep better. It was a life
saver for me - especially during that "wait" before treatment started and
throughout the experience. I still take it but have dropped it down to
1/4 the dose prescribed.

Thanks for sharing and keep us posted on how you're doing. We'd love pictures
of the baby too!

Hugs and positive thoughts,

Jim
DX: DLBL 4/2011, Chemo completed 10/2011, currently in remission. :)

po18guy
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2011

Since this concern is affecting your sleep and your marriage and family life, I think that you should talk it over with someone who is qualified. It is a fact that many die each day simply commuting to work. There are thousands of accidental deaths each year from slips and falls - the bathtub being a most dangerous spot. Yet, we cannot stop working, or bathing. You received an excellent response to your treatment, and nothing but good news ever since. Yet, it's not enough to provide you with comfort. You find no solution inside of yourself, so the solution will be found outside of yourself.

We all have some "scanxiety" when that time comes round. I have been scanned every two months for almost four years now. Lots of opportunities for worry there. Yet, we live one day at a time, don't we? I had a poor prognosis that dropped to very poor when the cancer returned immediately after treatment. Yet, here I am, over three years later. What I found was that the more I faced death, the less power death had. Due to my Catholic faith, I look forward to the next life, knowing that a compassionate and loving God will take care for my loved ones once I'm gone. I find tremendous comfort in that.

If you are a man of faith, then I advise you to dive deeply into your faith. If not, then please consider what you believe, or do not believe. Look into counseling, as you have indeed experienced a traumatic event. I am blessed each morning that I awaken, yet I must also be ready to go. It is not an either/or situation, but a both/and situation.

Avantgardener's picture
Avantgardener
Posts: 32
Joined: Apr 2012

Jax -

My lymphoma was diagnosed on 4/13/12, and anxiety has been a BIG issue for me too. I was in the hospital for almost a month, and there is just not much to do in there to take your mind off things.

I've been home for a little over a week. In that time I've found that the things that make me feel better and help me cope tend to be physical things - anything that burns off my excess energy and shuts off what I call the "monkey chatter" in my brain. I joined a yoga class and went to my first one yesterday, and I think that will be very good for me. It's as much mental as it is physical, and really helped me to release a lot of tension and relax. The other thing that helps me is dirt therapy - working in the yard. I love planting things and watching them grow, it's very therapeutic to get outside and just breathe the fresh air and enjoy a beautiful day.

I also got a prescription for anti-anxiety meds from my doctor, which I'm not necessarily advocating or suggesting that you do, but talk to your doctor about it. I don't take them often, but at 3AM it is a godsend. Over the past few years I've buried two husbands, lost my job, lost my best friend, and now been diagnosed with cancer - I think there are times in life when you do need help.

I'm looking for a good counselor, but haven't found one yet that's a fit. It can take several tries to find one that you feel like you can work with, but it's worth the effort when you do. Unfortunately the one I had years ago and loved relocated out of state so I have to start from scratch, but they're out there if you look.

You have a lot on your plate with a new baby and being a cancer survivor - please let us know how you're doing.

Rupsig
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2012

Very good decision to join yoga.will keep you better.

anliperez915's picture
anliperez915
Posts: 757
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Jax,
It's very understandable to be afraid once we have children that depend on us! I have three kids (18-14 and 4 yrs old) and sometimes I get scared of leaving them especially my youngest little girl, I really do think its normal to be scared. I don' t know what my situation is right now I just had Rituxan in Feb. and I still have to go and get more test done to see if the medicine worked. So not sure if I'm in remission or not, but I'm sure I'll feel like you if I'm ever in your position. Like Jim said maybe some counseling will help you, I went to see one back in December because it was really hard for me to accept it ( I think it helped a lot to just be able to talk to someone about the fear). Take care and sending positive thoughts your way!

Sincerely,
Liz

vinny59's picture
vinny59
Posts: 1031
Joined: Nov 2006

I have had cancer twice in my life, this last one was stage four lymphoma,it, has consumed me emotionally. I have been in remission for a little over a year now. I still have activity in my left hip, of which they said, they will keep a eye on. I really try to live each day, I force myself to think how bad it was while I was in treatment. I try to focus on my wonderful wife and family, and it does get me through the day. We will never feel normal again. But I thank God every night that I'm still here! Stay strong my friend, and their is nothing wrong with getting some counseling. Vinny

jaxmagicman
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2012

You guys are all great. Thank you for the comments. I think I will look for some counseling. I guess the next question is, where to start. When I read some of your stories, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for. I did not mention in my first post, but I have another child as well. He is 10 now though, so he was already around 7 when we first found out. He actually handled it better than I did. He went to the doctor's office with me and got all the info pamphlets and read them. He knew more about the disease than I did.

Funny story about him. Because I was on Bleomycin, he read a pamphlet on that. It said that I would lose my hair. Well the only thing that happened was that it thinned out. So one night he comes to me with the Pamphlet and says, "How come you didn't lose your hair?" He was concerned that they were not giving me enough. :)

Anyway, I see everything I have to be thankful for and for some reason, it doesn't comfort me. It should. I see some of you guys with worse stories than me (cancer 2 times, month hospital stay, etc) and it should make me stop and say, "Hey, you have it good."

Avantgardener's picture
Avantgardener
Posts: 32
Joined: Apr 2012

It truly is all relative, isn't it? Perception is everything.

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2101
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Jax,

Loved the story about your son. Children can be amazing until
they become teenagers (so I've been told) ;).

I am so inspired by this person. He demonstrates how strong
we can be.

Inspiration - Nick Vujicic

Attitude is Altitude

Hugs,

Jim

Toughasnails
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2012

I Hear you brother I was thinking this as I am at the start of treatment what if it does not work and come back, I too say stop like Cat advised! Writing helps journal your thoughts and prayers, manifest positive only. I am not religious but I have faith, I say this prayer every day that I came up with when I got the DX nine days after I finally got engaged to the real love of my life at the age of 48. I walk in faith knowing you have always taken care of me and always will. There may be days and moments when I have my doubts but I know that you will always take good care of me always. Offer it up as often as you can. The second I got my DX I served cancer an eviction notice and it is forever try it evict it tell it it has no place in you or anyone in your house or in this world tell it to go to the light and come back as something good.

Seeking help from a professional is always a good idea they are there to help you find your way. No fear is unreasonable I learned that in therapy when I went through a divorce. You had a life threatening disease it is natural to be scared and worried about reoccurrences. You are here and you have this beautiful little gift God gave you to take care of you are a survivor teach her to be strong too.

Be positive it is 90 percent of the cure.
Tough as nails

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