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Stress and Recovery

kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

I have been worried about the impact of stress on my health and with the discussion on another thread about this....well, I hope to continue that here.

The last year has been rough on my family. My emergency surgery and subsequent colon cancer diagnosis (complete with colostomy) was the week of my mother-in-laws funeral and my youngest son's 16th birthday. During my folfox treatments, my father was in and out of hospitals trying to get a diagnosis for his malnutrition, pain and general illness. He went to 6 different facilities looking for help. My sister was diagnosed with MS in December. I completed chemo in March of 2008 and had my colostomy reversal in May. Recovery was tough and kept me home bound for almost a month, just in time to make it to see my dad before he died in June. My mother became a widow at 60 after 45 years of marriage.

In July my CEA rose slightly (3.5) and in August I had a bad PET scan and a new stage IV diagnosis. Liver mets currently inoperable, watching 2 lung spots. Folfiri w/erbitux hoping for liver resection. When my boss heard this he cut my territory by 2/3, by email. This cut my hours down to a manageable amount while I'm on chemo, but it also cut my ability to earn a living. We didn't have enough time to clean up the financial mess from the first year of treatments and part-time work/pay before it all began again. We will be filing bankruptcy.

October: my oldest son's fiancée (she's 21) had been seeing her doctor for headaches but just wasn't right one morning. (She is currently living with me while she completes college (due to graduate in December) because we live close enough for her to commute.) My son and I took her to the ER where a CT showed a bleed on her brain. She was life flighted to a trauma center where an MRI also showed a blood clot on her brain. Because both of these stroke conditions were simultaneous they didn't feel they could do anything and they spent the night sending in neurologists telling us there was zero hope and that she would die. We yelled, cried, negotiated and begged until a nurse finally found a doctor that would fight for her. One doctor, but the facility would not nor would any other doctors. He called around until he found another facility that was willing to try. We life flighted her again. I lived in the family waiting room for 5 nights. Virtually no sleep, poor food options, lots of stress. She is home now and back in school. They have her on blood thinners and physical therapy but she is expected to have a 100% recovery.

Ok, there it all is. I'm in the fight of my life, but my life goes on. How do you avoid stress? How do you handle all of this and not let it impair your recovery? Why would I not be there for the people I love even if it impairs my health? I don't want to survive this and have lost everyone I care about because I wasn't there for them. It isn't (and can't always be) all about me just because I have cancer. I see others suffering.

So, what do I do? How do I mitigate damages? I have the most positive attitude that I've ever seen, I have lots of support, I go for free massages (I had one today), I take relaxing baths, I have FUN...my motto: I don't do anything that's not fun -- especially cancer! And, yes, I truly live by that. My only rule is that I must have fun every.single.day. No exceptions.

Thank you to those that made it this far and I apologize for length! That is an hour you'll never get back! LOL


tlsart's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: Jul 2008

Kimby, WOW!!!!!! Just when I was ready to give up I read this, you are an inspiration to all!!!
You hang in and have FUN and from now on I will to!Love,Hugs and Prayers, Theresa

kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

If I inspired you to have fun, then I guess my job here is done! LOL That is such a huge compliment. Thank you, Theresa.


tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5054
Joined: Feb 2008

Goodness! You HAVE had a lot of stress in your life in the past year. I always see prayer as the best way to relieve stress.It's very comforting.

Also, for a purely physical way to relieve stress, I light candles, run a bubble bath, and soak for awhile.

Thank goodness you were such a strong advocate for your son's fiance. She owes you her life!


kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Thanks, Gail. I do pray, too -- all day long! It becomes so much a part of your life everyday that I guess I take that for granted. God is part of my support system because He is such a dear Friend! My husband took our sons to a support group tonight and I took an hour and 1/2 bath! I have a HUGE tub with Jacuzzi jets and I just drain the hot water heater and enjoy! I had the added pleasure of watching Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Cancer" DVD while soaking.


2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Kimby,

You are amazing. I am so glad to hear your son's fiance is going to make a recovery. How scary is that to go from dying to 100% recovery. Puts credence to getting a second opinion, n'est ce pas?

In my dreams someone like you would come to my cabin in the woods for renewal of spirit to take a sauna, sit in the hot tub under the stars, get some (more) free massages, eat organically, get juiced, take long walks in our wilderness, practice yoga, and listen to the wolves howl at night. Then I would send you back to your life with a hug and some memories.

I have no answer for you. Life happens. Is it possible to step out of that vortex momentarily each day and find peace? For my peace I went internally when the world was (literally) crashing around me. My dx was a month before 9/11. I had to shut it out completely. The day after 9/11 I was at the Mayo clinic (what a ghost town it was that day--eerie) having my post-surgery appt. and disengaged from the mourning that surrounded me. I made a choice. Thankfully I didn't know anyone personally (that I know of) who was lost that day.

Your gig is closer to home. Just make sure you can decompress and you're not carrying/taking on others' stress to boot.

And come to the cabin. The sauna is hot.

peace, emily the juice chick

kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

I'm on my way! I would love, love, love to do just that. One day that will be exactly what you do, open your doors to fighters. You have the heart for it and a wonderful place for it, too.

It's so true that we all have a story. No ones journey through all of this is stress-free. We all have 'stuff' because we have lives and care for others.

Thanks you for sharing yours with us.


Posts: 872
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Kimby,

The things you and your family have had to deal with are just surreal. If I had some money I would send you for a month's vacation somewhere quiet & serene. You are amazing and an inspiration. I will keep you in mind the next time I feel like whining.

God bless,

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

Kimby, your story is a testament as to just how tightly God holds each of us in His arms. While fighting your own battle, you were able to advocate for another and give her the ability to fight! All we can do is just what you have chosen: enjoy the many blessings in your life and don't let the kinks bog you down. You go girl!

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Kimby,

Your spirit is so much stronger than your stress! I hope by sharing your story with us who really care, some of your stress was lifted. My heart goes out to you as you struggle with all that life has thrown at you. But you are amazing....laughing and having fun while dealing with huge obstacles. Your caring heart and your ability to laugh in the midst of such uncertainty will serve you well and help you heal. I'm visualizing you at Emily's retreat.....stress free!



johnnybegood's picture
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

i cant answer question about stress because i am in the same boat.i have colorectal cancer,my stepdad is a diabetic and is almost close to losing a finger on his right hand,and my grandmother who is 79 just had major surgery on her gall bladder and lower intestine. dont feel alone it is hard to fight for yourself and others too. this web sight is the best thing i have ever found.hang in there and try to keep on having fun. now when i have a bad day i will think of you having fun!!! lots of hugs johnnybegood

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