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Another newbie

progrocker
Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2018

Hey folks,

I was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. I am 54 years old and just had my first chemo treatment.  I have a good doctor, a great support system, but I am paralyzed  with fear. I can't put one foot in front of the other. Can anyone help me with coping mechanisms? Thank you!!

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4894
Joined: Jan 2013

Take a nice deep breath, and a step back.  

Those first weeks after diagnosis and the start of treatment, are very overwhelming. It is a natural feeling, so ride it for a while; but not for too long. 

Don't allow the fears to consume you. If you can keep your head above water for a few weeks, then you'll get into the swing of things, and before you know it, you'll be fine - well, as fine as one can be, with Cancer. 

We are all a bit different, and finding something that works for you, may take a bit of trial and error.  Some like to watch funny movies or comedy programs, some like to read, play or listen to music. Finding your distraction will take time, but you will get there. 

I found that guided imagery really helped me during chemo.  Now, I immerse myself in nature. Listening with my ears, my mind and my heart. 

Be patient with yourself. Its a terrible shock, being diagnosed, but soon you will be in the swing, working your way though threatments in your own, personal way. 

Good luck!

Tru

plsletitrain
Posts: 253
Joined: Jul 2017

We're facing a life-threatening illness, after all.  Its not easy.  I'm glad you have a wonderful support system.  Try to be strong and tell yourself you can overcome this.  If you're a believer, pray constantly.  You can seek advice or you can just vent here, we're all here to listen.  For me I also battled with being depressed and felt losing the battle and fear and I would just cry.  I tried to debate with myself and told myself that I'm a mere mortal and that one day I'll be gone (I just hope not soon) so I try as much as I can to beat cancer so I can still have more years to live with my young kids.  Try to distract yourself, do what you did pre-cancer and try to live as "normal" as possible so you can forget that you're dealing with this.  I found it help me a lot to forget that I have cancer.  It's that elephant in the room but I try to ignore it if I can because there's nothing I can do and worrying just adds to stress and stress can trigger cancer.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Welcome to the forum. Sorry for the diagnosis that brought you here. Where do you have mets that made it stage four? And what chemo are you on? What's the next step for you? Not being nosy but if we know more of your story it's helpful for helping you.

Yes, you'll be shaken to your core for a while. The big C. It's scary. But you get to the point where you have to just live and can't focus on it all the time. When your treatment plan is all laid out you'll know what your path most likely will be. Knowledge is power and knowing what's coming gives a bit of a feeling of having some control over the situation.

Try to avoid Googling it, it's often old or useless information or all doom and gloom. Talk to us on here. Unlike the majority of professionals you'll be dealing with, we've been there and  know what it's like to live with cancer and the treatments and side effects and all the ugliness of it. As well as the good stories of hope and success that we all need. Several people are stage four on here including me. But I don't expect to be gone anytime soon. 

Jan

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6247
Joined: Feb 2009

I'm sorry that you are here.  It is common to be scared beyond belief as you have no idea what to expect.  The waiting for answers, treatments, tests, etc.  It's such a whirlwind of events that sometimes you think that your head can't spin anymore.  One thing you have is that you are happy with your doctor and that you have a good support system.  That is very important to help you get through all this.  Also, coming to this board will also help as we are here to answer those questions you either forgot to ask or things they just don't tell you.  Please keep us posted as to how you are doing and if you have further questions.  Wishing you well going forward.

Kim

progrocker
Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2018

Thank you so, so much for the advice here. It really helped and I will be referring back to it .. and hopefully I can be in a position to help others one day. Jan, it mets to liver (2 small spots) and both ovaries and nearby lymph nodes, which were all taken out. You all are an inspiration to me

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Ovaries, that's interesting. Do they think it's still colon cancer in the ovaries? Typically, colon cancer goes to the liver and/or lungs if it's going to spread. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Freaking cancer, it just sucks.

Jan

progrocker
Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2018

Yeah they do but I am going to request a pathway review. I am also going to get my path reports reviewed through the MD Anderson second opinion program. It is a bit odd....

BRHMichigan's picture
BRHMichigan
Posts: 368
Joined: Jul 2017

I try to remember the advice that God does not place fear in our hearts. Sometimes that helps chase it away. This disease knocked me OUT for months after diagnosis. Somuch of the fight is psychological- I truly believe that. It definitely teaches us to enjoy one day at a time. And be thankful for all the good days. 

I hope you'll be able to conquer the fear and spend your time living! 

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 910
Joined: Apr 2017

Meditation helps me, as does the acknowledgement of my own mortality.  When I confront the issue it takes away some of its power.  I try to find the best in each day and live it to its fullest.  Sorry you are here, but you are among people who understand.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Meditation/mindfulness is a wonderful thing to learn. It helps anytime you're scared or going through something unpleasant. Stress is the enemy when you have cancer and this helps a lot.

Jan 

Kazenmax's picture
Kazenmax
Posts: 361
Joined: Feb 2016

"My knowledge that I will die gives focus and meaning to every day that I am alive."

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night." Dylan Thomas

So sorry you are here. Take control of the things that you can and let the rest go.

Good luck

K

 

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Not quite as eloquent as those quotes but they make me think of the meme with Charlie Brown and Snoopy sitting side by side on a dock. Charlie Brown says "one day we all die, Snoopy" and Snoopy responds "yes, but on all other days we live'. 

Jan

progrocker
Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2018

This is such a fabulous thing to keep in mind, Jan. Thank you!

Peter_S's picture
Peter_S
Posts: 98
Joined: Oct 2018

I was told i had colon cancer last Monday, I won't know what stage until the surgery. I do know that I'll never allow anyone to give me an experation date and I hope you won't either. Cancer is one of the most terrible things in the world but medical advances, the boundless support and deep heartfelt love - even from folks we don't know is amazing. It's amazing to be here and not have to explain or feel pressure because the people here are living it too, many of them for a very long time.

Life is still good and it can still be and will be always full of wonder and great beauty which is something no number relating to a stage of cancer - any stage of cancer can take away. So stay strong and I hope to hear an update from you soon Progrocker - Peter

progrocker
Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2018

Thanks, Peter. I really appreciate that, and I agree! Good luck with your surgery

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