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How do you handle the anxiety

gloriamdeo
Posts: 8
Joined: May 2012

Hello, brave women. :) I was hoping you could offer advice on how to handle the anxiety that comes with this disease. I was not what you'd call an optimistic personality before diagnosis, so getting cancer makes things rather more challenging. It's been about 2.5 years since my diagnosis of 3C, surgery, and chemo, but I still have a hard time with worrying. I have a 4-month CA125 test coming up in mid-December, and my always present anxiety has ramped up that much more. Every little ache or pain or "strange feeling" causes me to get obsessively worried. Like right now I'm worried about my tummy feeling bloated, some small, odd pains in my mid and lower back, and a strange 'hitch' feeling in my right hip and leg. Basically, when any 'abnormal' physical thing happens, I worry that it's the ovarian cancer coming back or some new cancer popping up out of the blue. And I know the anxiety won't relent until I receive some good news that gives me renewed hope, like if my CA125 turns out to be under 10 or something. If that happens I might get a week or so of gladness and relief, and usually diminishing of physical issues, but then the worry will just start creeping back and building all over again.

Do you folks experience this too? How do you deal with it? I try to approach each day with thankfulness for Life. I feel like other people expect me to be this upbeat, strong, extroverted 'survivor' person. But if I'm honest I think I'm depressed most every day.

Thanks very much for anything you can share on how to handle the worry. Assuming I am not just going nutty..:)

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

I think we all experience anxiety in one way or another. I am quite similar to you. I have just passed my 3 year anniversary and have been on a "chemo break" for 8 weeks. I got my CT scan and bloods done earlier this week and am waiting for results in 2 days.

I am naturally an optimistic person and throughout recent times have coped by "burying my head in the sand" and pretending I am OK. I am not deluded and think I will get cured. I am realistic and know what my prognosis is, but if I sit and think about it my stomach churns, I feel sick & I will get a panic/anxiety attack. I've been there before my diagnosis and I could not cope with cancer if I keep having anxiety attacks.

So I cope by concentrating on everyday boring, mundane issues. Trying to be "normal" I still go to work (only 3 days now), I carry on with my social life, I do as much housework as my body lets me before the tireness gets me and I write. I am also on medication for depression which is probably the biggest help.

I too have aches and pains in my stomach. I am bloated at the moment. I get the occasional headache and I have convinced myself that I now have brain cancer!!! I know I haven't but I think we are so scared of the cancer that we think it has taken over our bodies and is on the loose.

In some ways I am happy. I know that sounds incredible but I have this re-newed outlook where I am enjoying being with my family. Every moment spent with them is precious and lovely. My friends have been amazing and I know I have a whole bunch of people around me who are looking out for me and who care. I feel blessed. However the biggest joy in my life is my 14 month old grandson. He looks at me as if I am his whole world. He gives me so much joy and happiness. I do have times when I get upset at the thought of leaving him (and my children) but I cannot afford to waste precious time thinking like this.

Who know how long we've got - it may be years. No one knows. They are bringing out new drugs all the time.

Sorry I've gone on a bit. Writing really helps me with my fears and feelings. Today is one of those days where if I write things down I am less afraid. It has always helped me, why don't you try writing a journal. I have one and it is now 88 pages long!!!!

Hope you can find some peace, take care. Tina xxxxx

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 735
Joined: Jul 2010

But I am also a realist. Don't worry about other people's expectations, you have to focus on yourself. I love the Ativan that the doctor prescribed me, if I have a day where I get weepy and down I take one and it really helps. I am almost ready to ask for an anti-depressant also but am not sure if it is depression or just feeling bad from the chemo. I also try to find something to keep me busy when I can't do any physical activity like knitting or making teal bracelets .
Colleen

kikz's picture
kikz
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jun 2010

an upbeat person who tries to find the silver lining in every cloud. Like Colleen, I am also a realist. I have come to terms with the fact that I may not have as long a life as I always assumed I would. I have learned to be in the now, acknowledge and be grateful for each day. Having said that I am not pollyanna. I have my moments. I have a CA 125 monthly and am somewhat anxious as I wait for results. I had to face the possibility and then confirmation of recurrence a few months ago which burst my bubble of cancer not returning. I mourn each loss and then move on. It is the only way I can win this game and take the power from cancer.

We all have to find our own way.

Karen

Felicia_205's picture
Felicia_205
Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 2012

I have found that exercise helps alot. I take that frustration out at the gym. With weights or I will run on the treadmill while zoning out to music that brings my mood up. It makes me feel like a stronger person that can take on anything. On days where I am having extreme anxiety I take clonozapam.

ptharp
Posts: 190
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi. Well, I am still trying to figure it out. I am newly diagnosed with only 2 chemo treatments under my belt. Right now my brother is fighting a rare blood cancer and is not doing well. He is on life support as of yesterday. I think I am also depressed. Everyone tells me hang in there...you will fight this. But sometimes I just wonder what has happend to my life. I am sorry. I am having an emotionally poor day. I wish I could give you some advice but I am still new at all this.

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2012

I thought about it every day. Every day I swore I felt a twinge or pain. Up until last week when my mom had a heart attack. I got a call at 6:30 AM from my dad and was in line at airport security at 8:30. Ever since that moment my dad called it was all about my mom and not me. I was there for a week and at the end of that week I realized that I had not had one pain or ache or anything. IT was at that moment, I realized most of my "pains" were me imagining them or bringing on the pain. Back to work this week and it was somewhat busy. No pains again....

I am not saying you are imagining your pain I am merely saying that for myself when I think about the cancer I get a pain. When I keep myself busy with other stuff I find my self feeling great and no pains.

Here comes the holiday season. I will pour myself into that and see how it goes. The only pain I have had is in my shoulder. It comes from sleeping on my right side.....

I finished treatment at the end of June and it has taken me until now to start putting aside the fact I have cancer that is in remission shall we say and go back to the way my life was. I must say it is nice to be back to normal.

Just wanna say - just realized since I have been typing this and talking about it I feel a slight pain in my stomach . LOL

lovesanimals's picture
lovesanimals
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sep 2011

I totally understand your feelings of anxiety and fear, which go hand-in-hand with a cancer diagnosis. At the time of my own diagnosis, I was already on an antidepressant for anxiety, panic attacks and mild depression, so I have to say that emotionally and mentally I feel like I'm doing pretty darn well. Knowing how my body is "wired", I think that I would be overwhelmed with anxiety without my medication. I still make a point of reminding myself that I'm lucky to be alive and to try to enjoy each day as it comes and not think too far ahead in the future (sometimes easier said than done!).

Regarding aches and pains and twitches, one of the women on this board, I believe it was Carlene, once said "Not everything is cancer!" While we definitely need to be vigilant about our bodies, I also try to remember her advice.

Take care,

Kelly

gloriamdeo
Posts: 8
Joined: May 2012

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, advice, and well wishes! I'm new here and am sincerely moved by your courage, personal strength, and care for each other. Thank you for blessing me also. :)

I'm feeling quite a bit better overall, and I hope you all are having as great a day as possible, with minimal aches, pains, and no worries!

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