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my struggle with negativity

mohawk66
Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2013

Tomorrow I'll finish my third week of radiation and Monday I'll start my second round of chemotherapy.  All in all I'm having a very good day. My energy level is up today, which is great. The calm before the storm, I guess, with chemo next week. My throat pain, which had been getting worse for several days, has dropped off and last night I had a really good night's sleep. That really helps. I've been able to keep my weight up which is great.

I'm struggling with negative thoughts about treatment outcomes and the future. It kind of feeds on itself since I've heard that a negative outlook can contribute to negative outcomes, so I just beat myself up more.  The weakness I'm feeling also doesn't help. I try to keep remembering that I'm dealing with the treatment and the treatment is dealing with the disease, but it's hard. I'm really frustrated with myself and my thought patterns right now.

Thanks for being here to listen. I don't know what I would do without an outlet for all this.

Marty

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1991
Joined: Jun 2012

I believe that God has a plan for each of us. I was honestly, too sick and too tired through tx to give allot of thought to the outcome. In fact, when I received NED results, it had to sink in that the cancer was out of my body. I think I am a bit more anxious a year post tx about remaining NED than I was during tx. I try to remind myself to "take it as it comes and deal with it". When negative thoughts start, I try to push them away by thinking I am wasting time worrying about something that may not happen. If something bad happens, there will be time to worry then. I often think if things turn south that I could be looking at today and saying "those were the good ole days", so I try to live each day as if they might be.  Many of us have taken loazepan or xanax to help with some of those negative feelings too. You are not alone, my friend. If the negative feelings get to strong, talk to a professional.

Candi

fishmanpa's picture
fishmanpa
Posts: 1127
Joined: Jan 2013

Marty,

I found that half of the battle we fight is with ourselves and our attitude. Just the fact that you opened up in this forum and acknowledged you're struggling is a victory. While there are some that can navigate this voyage and circumvent the negativity and depression that often accompanies it, there are equally as many or more that need a sounding board and some help in dealing with something as invasive as cancer. 

I'm fortunate that past health scare experiences have taught me the valuable lesson of what a positive attitude can do.  While I recognize the symptoms of depression having dealt with it after my heart attacks and surgeries, there are still times I get caught up in the vortex of negativity as well. If anything, I'm too hard on myself. While it's Ok to feel a little sorry for yourself, it's not healthy to remain in that mindset nor is it healthy to get preoccupied with the "what if's".  

Does your cancer center have social services or an oncology counselor to speak with? They did at Johns Hopkins and I took advantage of speaking with them several times throughout my treatment, both by myself and with my caregiver. They helped me/us keep things in perspective. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Charles Swindoll. In so many words he said:

"Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we handle it"

With cancer, it's as if we leave one reality and start existing in a parallel universe...the cancer universe. We lose control of so many aspects of our lives that it can be and is overwhelming. The one thing we can maintain control of is our attitudes. Grab onto that with both hands! Please seek out a trained professional to assist you. 

Positive thoughts and prayers

"T"

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8100
Joined: Sep 2009

You are a work in progress, if you are dealing with it, if nothing else you are involved and making an effort...

Consider this, you are in the best place that you can be under the circumstances. You are seeing people probably pretty much every day. These people are trained to deal with anything and everything you can and will encounter.

There is nothing expected of you other than surviving treatment, take in hydration, and calories, fight and realize that you will make it through this... (regardless of your attitude, LOL)...

Don't thnk of the future, nor the past...only the present, everything else is on hold right now. That is all that you have any control over, and even that you really don't have much control over.

Take it a day at a time, that's the largest chunk of time that you have nearly any control over...

Hang in there, you will survive...

John

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 3069
Joined: May 2012

Marty,

There is no secret to dealing with your thoughts, you just do.  You have to have confidence in your plan, your treatment and not let the negative thoughts run the show.  The treatments which are kicking the c _ _ p out of you are also doing the same to your cancer. You sound like, at week 3, you are handling the side effects well, seize those pluses and exploit every positive moment you can.  I was fortunate like you and slept well through treatments.  I also had to take 1 Lorazapam for every day under the mask so I was happily medicated.

You are in the thick of it; you are fighting the battle on numerous fronts, but winning the war all together.  Before you know it, the treatment will be over and you will be on to healing and living life.

Be strong, stay positive,

Matt

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 874
Joined: Aug 2012

Marty,

I think it's perfectly normal how your feeling....whether it's now or later those thoughts of the unknown do creep up there. I would say to try and stay focused on what that treatment is doing for you....It's SAVING your life right now. When it's all over, you will be so relieved to have it over and will then focus on recovery. And yes, those thoughts may very well creep up again during that time too. Stay close in contact with someone or here to express your fears. My loved one is 5 months out from treatment and is doing much better physically and mentally....most will come back. The rest is something you will work through. He was on Ativan (sp?) for awhile and felt he was not in control even though it helped him. He stopped it about 3 weeks ago and he still is doing well without it. I did catch him today sitting in a chair staring into space and I quickly said , "Hey, tell me what your thinking about"....he smiled and said "not much". I will continue to help as a caregiver to keep him on track with his thoughts.

Keeping yourself around positive people, talking about your fears, keeping busy and living life as it is will help you tremendously. It's a work in progress, but you have to snap yourself out when you know your thinking too deep about it. Don't give "cancer" the time of day....it doesn't deserve it. Enjoy each day and BELIEVE you will beat this....Forever!

God Bless,

~C    

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8100
Joined: Sep 2009

He was thinking about me and fishing in Florida...., and of course, "watching" me drink a Corona in front of him..., because that is how I roll, LOL...evil

JG

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 874
Joined: Aug 2012

That's what was on his mind...LOL. Last night after golf league he was pouting over wanting a beer. Said he had to get out of there because everyone was having too much fun...LOL. As a non-drinker myself, I didn't know it was supposed to be fun. He laughed and said, "it just takes the edge off and feels good". I can think of better ways to do that...Laughing

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3822
Joined: Mar 2012

from you is the snowball effect....think a negative thought, then admonish yourself for thinking it because that negative thought will hinder your recovery, and on and on it goes, and you're trying to fight the thoughts which keeps you thinking them....snowball!  Being scared, thinking that the C isn't going to go away, that you might die from it, etc are so normal....how can a person be told they have cancer and not "go there" now and again.  My advice?  Don't fight the thoughts....accept that being scare is normal....you can also counter them with what you do know and with what you want. You know you're in the heat of battle right now...every day when you get your radiation, literally say "take this you little suckers"....What you're thinking is not going to affect your cancer...but being positive does make treatment more doable....that is a fact....you only have to get thru this one day, tomorrow will be here soon enough.....  "this day my throat doesn't hurt so much...it's a GOOD day"....sometimes it's an hour at a time. 

One of the best things I ever learned in my life was that the human mind can only think about one thing at a time....it may "feel" like you're thinking more than one thought, but it ain't so.  Learning this lesson, brought with it the idea that I can counter any thought at any time, even if it's just for a moment....

Some of us are born with an upbeat way of thinking, and some of us were born having to work for it (I'm one that has to work for positive thinking)....

p

 

HobbsDoggy
Posts: 165
Joined: Feb 2013

I could not go though it alone.  I needed physcial help, but even more I needed help just dealing with all my thoughs and feelings.  I think your thoughs are very normal, at least they were for me.  There were a few weeks when I didn't care much if I survived or not, but I keep going on as I just wanted to keep up the battle and my wife kept telling me to fight.  A couple of times I could have punched her, twwo weak though, good thing as she could have beaten me up easily.  Do beat yourself up for beating yourself up, its all part of the deal.  Watch for any gimmer of hope and any glimmer of I will come out the other side of this and think about that as long as you can.

As everyone on here told me it does get better and it did, still slowly, but better.  Keep us posted on how you are feeling.

rachel12yrsuv's picture
rachel12yrsuv
Posts: 432
Joined: Feb 2013

Marty,

none of us went through this and got up and saw rainbows everyday! Lol. It's just somewhere in that self doubt you find an inner courage to lean and trust on God!  And usually somewhere in the treatment is an aha moment where you just know you are gonna pull through.  If not for my faith in The Lord, without a doubt I would not be sitting heard a 12.5 yr survivor of  NPC stage 3.  I remember one night the pain was intense and the nausea wouldn't quit I said my prayers and told God that I told everyone I loved them and if He wanted to take me tonight would be good. The next morning I woke up and nothing changed but my attitude and I said ok you don't want me yet so I am going fox what I have to to win and that was all I focused on.  I have had many blessings in my life and to tell you the truth one of them(of I don't server want again) was cancer.   It bought me closer to the Lord and a greater appreciation for life itself.  Ha g in there you'll get it and then you'll no now what that crazy chick meant!

 

God bless,

 

Rachel

LaughingGirl
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi Marty -

I am a person who believes with every fiber of my being that God puts us on the path He has laid for us and He never gives us something we can't handle.  This is such a deeply ingrained part of my being, I rarely worry about future plans as I just assume that God will take care of things.  That being said, as a mother of three teenage/pre-teen children, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn't help some of the "what ifs" from forming and occupying my thoughts. 

One thing I found tremendously helpful was that, early on, I alloted a certain amount of time per week to allow the inevitable negativite/scared/what if thoughts.  I rarely utilized all the alloted time each week (which was a plus near the end when I had to draw from the bank).  The amount of time you put aside each week is really immmaterial, I think.  What I believe is the true benefit of this strategy was that it was my way of acknowledging that the situation I found myself in was not ideal and just as importantly acknowledging those feelings and allowing me to "process" them.

Another strategy that I found really helped me keep a positive outlook was focused prayers.  From the beginning, I knew I would spend the time on the treatment table in prayer.  (What a blessing to have a guaranteed 20 minutes each day set aside for prayer - time that no person or event could take away.)  So, each day, I took a look at my circle of family and friends and identified a single person who was hurting or in need of prrayers.  Then, during my treatment I would spend that time praying for their needs.  I believe this helped me in many ways, but it definitely kept the negativity from creeping into my immediate conscience.

Prayers for you as you finish your treatments.  I will be 3 weeks out on Friday and will re-iterate what others have said, it really does get better.

Blessings,

Becky

Tim6003's picture
Tim6003
Posts: 1497
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Marty ....

I have no grand words of wisdom or advice.  So many good comments on here already.

In your words I see so much of me (I am still NED and 16 months out from last rad).  I remember being soooo disappointed in myself because I have been in church most of my life and always considered myself a man of faith....I happen to believe in the power of prayer and one of those that subscribes to people can still be healed (now I sahre this and mean no offense, I obviously don't know your beliefs if any) ...anyways...having five kids and a  young wife (11 years my younger) I truly found myself, what's the word I want to use here, maybe several words will do, I found myself doubting, worrying, fearing, fretting ...all the words I would not think I would do as a man of faith.  My daughter even asked me "why Daddy" .....and I had no answer. 

 

Now I must tell you my friends, my  church and extended family prayed for me often, some of my friends here on CSN prayed, some sent positive mojo ....and I have met so many, so many folks here on CSN but also around me in my personal geographic area that I have been able to understand and help much more than ever (I hope I have been a help).  My cancer truly made me a better person and more sympathetic, empathetic, sensitive those around me who are struggling with illness..and it even made me a better husband and father (I like to think I loved my wife and children more than I could imagine, but truly durng and now after my fight with c I can honestly say I have an even deeper love appreciation for my family) .....

So for what's it's worth and as you have read in the comments, we all have been there and no matter what you think or worry about or frett over, I truly believe does not matter.  I truly believe prayer and the profession of your team treating you does matter.  Sounds like from your posts you have a pretty darn good team, and many of your friends here on CSN got your back with whispered prayer....I whispered one tonight before I hit the post button....and truly your words (thank you for being candid and sharing) remind me of how I was often times during my battle as well.

Hang in there Marty.....I can't wait for you to meet Mr. Ned and be sharing your experiences here on CSN for years helping others in the situation just like you are in ....thought I wish no one had to go through what we are going through (and did).

Best,

Tim

NOTE:  I was sure to whisper that prayer ..and just wanted to say thanks again for sharing how you felt .....it helped remind me how human we are in tough times....

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