Anyone else plagued by anxiety and borderline hypochondria?

APny
APny Member Posts: 1,995 Member

I try to follow Fox’s advice and think positively and try to remain upbeat and optimistic. But I just can’t help at times being consumed by anxiety so bad that I wake up with my heart pounding and nearly suffocating. Every single ache or pain or discomfort is filtered through the Big C word and I’m convinced that the occasional ache in my hip or rib is a bone met, that lightheadedness or tingling in my foot is mets in my spine or brain, that stomach ache is from it having spread to my pancreas or liver… good God, how do I stop the horror movies in my head. I manage to function fine for the most part then suddenly I become overwhelmed with frear and anxiety for the future.

Fox, and everyone, I need you to talk some reason into me, lol. My 1 ½ year follow ups are coming up next month and along with ovarian cysts, one in each, we’re following I’m already a nervous wreck with anticipation. Not to mention cysts in each kidney as well.

Sorry for the venting but I just don’t want to stress my husband or dump all this on him. He’s gone through so much with me and I want to remain positive for him but at the same time I need to talk about this. No one else seems to want to hear it and I usually get a “oh you’ll be fine. Stop worrying.” Well, that just doesn’t help, no matter how well meaning.

Thank you for listening and blessings and/or good karma to all.

Andi xo

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Comments

  • There is a fine line between

    There is a fine line between vigilance and anxiety, which can lead to hypochondria.  I think it is natural to be anxious around the time leading up to scans and waiting for results. Fortunately, I have not been plagued with random pains since my awful back pain in January.  Worrying to the point of having a panic attack is unhealthy.  I have faith in the plan that the medical team has laid out, and I am encouraged that as a stage 1 partial nephrectomy patient with a 2.9 cm tumor, the odds are in my favor of no recurrence.  That does not mean that scary thoughts do not creep into my head every so often, but for the most part, I feel like I got lucky, and I am lucky to be getting scanned/watched going forward.  If something comes up as a result of a scan, it can and will be dealt with.

  • Footstomper
    Footstomper Member Posts: 1,237

    There is a fine line between

    There is a fine line between vigilance and anxiety, which can lead to hypochondria.  I think it is natural to be anxious around the time leading up to scans and waiting for results. Fortunately, I have not been plagued with random pains since my awful back pain in January.  Worrying to the point of having a panic attack is unhealthy.  I have faith in the plan that the medical team has laid out, and I am encouraged that as a stage 1 partial nephrectomy patient with a 2.9 cm tumor, the odds are in my favor of no recurrence.  That does not mean that scary thoughts do not creep into my head every so often, but for the most part, I feel like I got lucky, and I am lucky to be getting scanned/watched going forward.  If something comes up as a result of a scan, it can and will be dealt with.

    It's interesting isn't it?

    Stage 4, grade 4. I often find myself with sith some minor ailment thinking "Is this what its like to die?' and then I think"you silly sod.

    I find I do better when I regard my symptoms individually. When havent I had an an aching back?.

    I dont have any advice but I do have unexpected symptoms. My thyroid is upset leaving me with the hormonal balance of a post menopausal woman!

    A bit of a surprise I can tell you!

  • tkmj914
    tkmj914 Member Posts: 43

    It's interesting isn't it?

    Stage 4, grade 4. I often find myself with sith some minor ailment thinking "Is this what its like to die?' and then I think"you silly sod.

    I find I do better when I regard my symptoms individually. When havent I had an an aching back?.

    I dont have any advice but I do have unexpected symptoms. My thyroid is upset leaving me with the hormonal balance of a post menopausal woman!

    A bit of a surprise I can tell you!

    Footstomper,
    I love reading

    Footstomper,

    I love reading your replies, you make me laugh! I am so new to this but my anxiety has calmed down a lot, I am trying to focus on the fact that it was caught early and I am one of the lucky ones thus far. I am hopeful that my prognosis is good as I have been told but it's amazing what our minds can come up with if left to run wild.

     

  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181
    You know Apny,

    count your blessings first. Be thankful that you are alive and survived a nephrectomy. Second be thankful that you are being closely monitored by your cancer specialist team. And be thankful that they know a whole lot more about this than you, me, and the rest of us on this board. They also won't tell you about plan B until necessary, but they have it in place. Be it surgery, drugs or radiation. All by specialists. You have to accept that they have the options covered. If you can't be confident about that, then consider a cancer team that you can believe in.

    As for having strange pains that let your imagination run amok, tumors do not "float" around. You don't get pain in a hip that turns into pain in the shoulder, that turns into pain in your stomach and so on. If you get hip pain from a tumor, it doesn't just stop hurting after a week or so, then turn into something else.

    I have said this a hundred times. Always "spin" negative thoughts into positive ones. It is behavior modification and takes lots of practice. Don't say the weather is too cold. Say it has been warmer and will be again. And so on, and so on.  We learn this at a young age but forget how to do it. You learned as a child to always say please and thank you, to respect your elders, and so on. It always cracks me up when people are asked, "How are you?" and they answer "Not bad." I want to say, "I wish you felt worse, maybe you would be happier." Why not ALWAYS say, "I am Great!" ? Then it not only improves your mindset but now the other person recieves positive feedback. The result is that not only are 2 people better for it but it can become contagious. Talk about spreading Karma. So easy to do. It takes behavior modification but it is yours and for free if you want it. Just think about how many people you have avoided through the years due to their downer attitude.

    Remember my post from last year. I was at a picnic and someone made the stupid remark, "Don't worry about cancer. Any of us could get hit by a bus and die tomorrow." At which time I asked how many times they thought about dieing from being hit by a bus during the last year. "Well, er, none." was the reply. That's when I told them that having cancer was like getting a song stuck in your head that you can't get rid of. So what I did next was to start whistling x-mas songs in the heat of a july picnic. After an hour or so I had almost everyone whistling or singing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." I got a happy song stuck in their heads and everyone was in a great mood. Karma.

    It takes practice but whenever things are getting you down, take that negative energy and restate your feelings with the positive spin. Behavior modification at it's best. Remember ALL time spent worrying is Never recoverable. It's like blowing your money on something you don't need instead of paying the rent. Your choice.

    I could go on for pages with stuff like this. I taught myself to do this at about 18. It works for me. The one single thing I hear more than anything else is "You've got such a good attitude." Shoot, If I'm going to die soon, I am not going to waste whats left of my life if there is nothing I can do about it. Hang in there Apny.

  • tkmj914
    tkmj914 Member Posts: 43
    Andi,
    wishing you the best

    Andi,

    wishing you the best news on your upcoming scans! I am a total hypochondriac so I can relate to that. My first scan comes at the end of October,I'm sure I will be a looney at that time. Best wishes to you.

  • Sheeple
    Sheeple Member Posts: 19
    I used to feel much the same

    I used to feel much the same way. But eventually I just really got tired of feeling that way. Now whenever I have an odd pain here or there the first thought I think is, that can't be cancer, not that could be cancer. One instance of pain is not sufficient for me now to worry over. I'm too stressed out over other things in my life to deal with the additional self imposed stressor of cancer thoughts. I even came to dislike my former self that was full of worry and deleted my original account on this forum because I don't want to be associated with that person any longer. The doc said he got it all out, and was confident I was free and clear to live worry free. It was a long process but I turned myself around to seeing things his way. That was probably easier for me to do knowing that I topped out at stage I. 

  • Allochka
    Allochka Member Posts: 993 Member
    Sheeple said:

    I used to feel much the same

    I used to feel much the same way. But eventually I just really got tired of feeling that way. Now whenever I have an odd pain here or there the first thought I think is, that can't be cancer, not that could be cancer. One instance of pain is not sufficient for me now to worry over. I'm too stressed out over other things in my life to deal with the additional self imposed stressor of cancer thoughts. I even came to dislike my former self that was full of worry and deleted my original account on this forum because I don't want to be associated with that person any longer. The doc said he got it all out, and was confident I was free and clear to live worry free. It was a long process but I turned myself around to seeing things his way. That was probably easier for me to do knowing that I topped out at stage I. 

    I haven't had cancer (my

    I haven't had cancer (my partner did), but I had hypochondria, and still do to some extent. It started out of the blue 4 years ago after my first miscarriage.

    I wish I could give a good advise how to cope with it. But I can't, there is no ultimate curative strategy. What helped me in the past - I simply got sick and tired of living like this. Believe me, having cancer in anamnesis is better than having severe hypochondria. I visited hypochondriacs board some time ago - oh my, this is a doom and gloom place! Here, on the board of cancer survivors, atmosphere is so positive and light, humor and interesting discussions are present. Hypochondria board  is the most dreadful and gloomy place... 

    I ask you with all my heart to start fighting hypochondria tendencies right now, before it is too late. It could ruin life for good. You are a survivor, you are given gift of life again - do not waste it because of obsessive thoughts! Health anxiety and joy of life do not co-exist.

    odds are in your favor, life is beautiful - try to stick to these thoughts! Now, when my partner's follow up scans are approaching, I simply forbid myself to think about them well in advance. When I start thinking of it - I switch to smth else, using all my willpower. I allow myself to think and worry only a week prior to scans or so...

    sorry that I can't give a more valuable advise. But please just understand that you are given life again - do not loose your life because of health anxiety. This is not normal living, fight it and get your joy back!

     

     

  • mrou50
    mrou50 Member Posts: 389
    Not alone

    I too worry about aches and pains and when I have bad cough I think holy crap I am dying.  Than I just figure wait a second I woke up and I am breathing, so hey it cant be that bad.  It is hard not to worry sometimes though but with great support I seem to work my way through it.  Hang in there and appreciate every day and think happy thoughts, and when the bad thoughts come, go to your happy place, go to your happy place, go to your happy place......

  • marosa
    marosa Member Posts: 333
    mrou50 said:

    Not alone

    I too worry about aches and pains and when I have bad cough I think holy crap I am dying.  Than I just figure wait a second I woke up and I am breathing, so hey it cant be that bad.  It is hard not to worry sometimes though but with great support I seem to work my way through it.  Hang in there and appreciate every day and think happy thoughts, and when the bad thoughts come, go to your happy place, go to your happy place, go to your happy place......

    That post could have been mine!

    Apny, I was getting ready to post something very similar to what you wrote!  After having my partial and surviving serious surgery complications, time went by and I got my life back.  Xmas arrived, I partyed, I had fun, I was me again and feeling super.  Just that numbness all around the incission and belly, that was mainly what made me remember what I had gone thru, period.

    Then as time went by and I started reading and learning more about kidney cancer, I started getting a little scared sometimes and even as I find this place so great and with so many amazing people in it... I also started freaking out a bit.  Fox said something the other day about newbees posibly getting a bit like this on ocasion with the rollercoaster rides and sad losses.  For me it has been so at times.

    Thing is Im a hypochondriac and I had been doing so well in that aspect ever since I had to get up my courage to face the diagnosis and the surgery... and now I have a cold and have been having the worst fears letting my mind drive me crazy.  In my family we get cists and lumps in the scalp, they are benign, so now I have a few more of what I have had for decades and now I think at night oh could this be cancer related?  And so it goes!

    I so happy to have had read the replies, specially from Fox.  One thing is being vigilant and following our medical advice and another thing is lossing one's mind! Im sick of worrying and scaring myself.  I have soooo much to be grateful about!  It's a beautiful Summer, I live 5 min away from the beach, Im a photographer and I'm riding a good wave on my art at the moment.  It's not that I don't enjoy life, I do, but deep inside I have been living scared.

      Apny let's wake up and smell the coffee!   Thank You Fox for your precious advice, you are so right!  Guys, sorry for my spanglish english,  Footstomper you the 1st. !

     

  • APny
    APny Member Posts: 1,995 Member
    marosa said:

    That post could have been mine!

    Apny, I was getting ready to post something very similar to what you wrote!  After having my partial and surviving serious surgery complications, time went by and I got my life back.  Xmas arrived, I partyed, I had fun, I was me again and feeling super.  Just that numbness all around the incission and belly, that was mainly what made me remember what I had gone thru, period.

    Then as time went by and I started reading and learning more about kidney cancer, I started getting a little scared sometimes and even as I find this place so great and with so many amazing people in it... I also started freaking out a bit.  Fox said something the other day about newbees posibly getting a bit like this on ocasion with the rollercoaster rides and sad losses.  For me it has been so at times.

    Thing is Im a hypochondriac and I had been doing so well in that aspect ever since I had to get up my courage to face the diagnosis and the surgery... and now I have a cold and have been having the worst fears letting my mind drive me crazy.  In my family we get cists and lumps in the scalp, they are benign, so now I have a few more of what I have had for decades and now I think at night oh could this be cancer related?  And so it goes!

    I so happy to have had read the replies, specially from Fox.  One thing is being vigilant and following our medical advice and another thing is lossing one's mind! Im sick of worrying and scaring myself.  I have soooo much to be grateful about!  It's a beautiful Summer, I live 5 min away from the beach, Im a photographer and I'm riding a good wave on my art at the moment.  It's not that I don't enjoy life, I do, but deep inside I have been living scared.

      Apny let's wake up and smell the coffee!   Thank You Fox for your precious advice, you are so right!  Guys, sorry for my spanglish english,  Footstomper you the 1st. !

     

    Thank you so much everyone;

    Thank you so much everyone; you’re all unbelievable sources of inspiration. I’m so grateful to have found this board where I can voice my fears and anxieties.

    Every one of you is right. I do trust my team and I do have confidence in them. I just need to get a grip and a perspective. And yes, focus of the positives of which I fortunately have many.

    Marosa,Mrou, tkmj914, you totally get me and I get you. I agree, Marosa; let’s enjoy the summer, the beach, and smell that coffee J

    Footie, you’re hilarious. I want not just courage and strength but your sense of humor.

    Allochka, Sheeple, Positive M, such great perspectives and I needed to read that. Thank you!

    “It always cracks me up when people are asked, "How are you?" and they answer "Not bad." I want to say, "I wish you felt worse, maybe you would be happier."

    LOL for saying that, Fox, I love you. You made me laugh out loud for real J And I do remember the bus anecdote and also the Christmas song switch. You’re so right, you’re always right, and I’ll have to keep remembering these pearls of wisdom when the darkness starts creeping in.

    You guys all rock. Love you all xx

     

  • foxhd said:

    You know Apny,

    count your blessings first. Be thankful that you are alive and survived a nephrectomy. Second be thankful that you are being closely monitored by your cancer specialist team. And be thankful that they know a whole lot more about this than you, me, and the rest of us on this board. They also won't tell you about plan B until necessary, but they have it in place. Be it surgery, drugs or radiation. All by specialists. You have to accept that they have the options covered. If you can't be confident about that, then consider a cancer team that you can believe in.

    As for having strange pains that let your imagination run amok, tumors do not "float" around. You don't get pain in a hip that turns into pain in the shoulder, that turns into pain in your stomach and so on. If you get hip pain from a tumor, it doesn't just stop hurting after a week or so, then turn into something else.

    I have said this a hundred times. Always "spin" negative thoughts into positive ones. It is behavior modification and takes lots of practice. Don't say the weather is too cold. Say it has been warmer and will be again. And so on, and so on.  We learn this at a young age but forget how to do it. You learned as a child to always say please and thank you, to respect your elders, and so on. It always cracks me up when people are asked, "How are you?" and they answer "Not bad." I want to say, "I wish you felt worse, maybe you would be happier." Why not ALWAYS say, "I am Great!" ? Then it not only improves your mindset but now the other person recieves positive feedback. The result is that not only are 2 people better for it but it can become contagious. Talk about spreading Karma. So easy to do. It takes behavior modification but it is yours and for free if you want it. Just think about how many people you have avoided through the years due to their downer attitude.

    Remember my post from last year. I was at a picnic and someone made the stupid remark, "Don't worry about cancer. Any of us could get hit by a bus and die tomorrow." At which time I asked how many times they thought about dieing from being hit by a bus during the last year. "Well, er, none." was the reply. That's when I told them that having cancer was like getting a song stuck in your head that you can't get rid of. So what I did next was to start whistling x-mas songs in the heat of a july picnic. After an hour or so I had almost everyone whistling or singing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." I got a happy song stuck in their heads and everyone was in a great mood. Karma.

    It takes practice but whenever things are getting you down, take that negative energy and restate your feelings with the positive spin. Behavior modification at it's best. Remember ALL time spent worrying is Never recoverable. It's like blowing your money on something you don't need instead of paying the rent. Your choice.

    I could go on for pages with stuff like this. I taught myself to do this at about 18. It works for me. The one single thing I hear more than anything else is "You've got such a good attitude." Shoot, If I'm going to die soon, I am not going to waste whats left of my life if there is nothing I can do about it. Hang in there Apny.

    Fox,
    Have you read The Power

    Fox,

    Have you read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale?   I remember there was a copy of this book in my home when I was a child, and I remember casually reading it.  I just took a long plane trip an I read it through.  Everything you say reminds me of what Dr. Peale says in his book.  Maybe you could write The Power of Foxy Thinking?

  • adman
    adman Member Posts: 336
    Ha Ha Ha.....

     

    Sorry, is this a trick question?  ;)

    How about all of us :)

     

     

  • foroughsh
    foroughsh Member Posts: 779
    Apny
    I was exactly how you

    Apny

    I was exactly how you described in your post after hearing "C" word up to few months ago. My friends and family's reaction was/is the same. I ended up being worried and crying in the middle of nights, no matter how hard I tried to copy Fox, Djennie, footstomper,..... but few months ago I started making myself busy with things I love to do, now after few months I feel much better and stronger, Ihave my next follow up this weekend but still feel confident. So I suggest you do the same,it might help you as well. When you make yourself tired by walking, runnig, Yuga, exersices,.... You'll have better sleep at night and brighter morning in the next day. May you hear NED again and again.

    Forough

     

     

     

  • APny
    APny Member Posts: 1,995 Member
    foroughsh said:

    Apny
    I was exactly how you

    Apny

    I was exactly how you described in your post after hearing "C" word up to few months ago. My friends and family's reaction was/is the same. I ended up being worried and crying in the middle of nights, no matter how hard I tried to copy Fox, Djennie, footstomper,..... but few months ago I started making myself busy with things I love to do, now after few months I feel much better and stronger, Ihave my next follow up this weekend but still feel confident. So I suggest you do the same,it might help you as well. When you make yourself tired by walking, runnig, Yuga, exersices,.... You'll have better sleep at night and brighter morning in the next day. May you hear NED again and again.

    Forough

     

     

     

    Adman, that was funny J

    Adman, that was funny J

    Foroughsh, thank you for good wishes. And yes, good point about keeping busy. I’m a teacher so have a lot of time on my hands in the summer. Come fall I’m sure I’ll have less time to be so self-indulgent and focused on every ache and pain. I do use the treadmill every day and that does help. I used to do yoga so I really should go back to it. It’s very calming. It’s the nights when I wake up that are the worst. Or when I’m not feeling great and have some minor issues. Then wham! I immediately think METS and scare the $hit out of myself. I’m so glad you’re conquering your fears and anxieties.

  • Galrim
    Galrim Member Posts: 307
    All the time...

    for the first 2 years after surgery.

    Until I finally went to a therapist who gave me one simple tool: The fear will never go away completely, so greet it, face it, 5 minutes every day, and then tell it to bugger off because thats the time you will spend on it. Take control.

    /G

  • Jojo61
    Jojo61 Member Posts: 1,309 Member
    Galrim said:

    All the time...

    for the first 2 years after surgery.

    Until I finally went to a therapist who gave me one simple tool: The fear will never go away completely, so greet it, face it, 5 minutes every day, and then tell it to bugger off because thats the time you will spend on it. Take control.

    /G

    Apny, your post has come at a

    Apny, your post has come at a very timely moment. I am currently undergoing some issues that I finally decided to go see the doctor about. But first, I found myself googling my symptoms - never a good idea! I have found that I am suffering from many diseases with these symptoms! LOL. 

    My friend was telling me tonight that she has discovered that she loves eating beets. She said she has been eating them a lot. But nobody warned her that if you eat a lot of them, your body voids in a dark reddish color. LOL. She said she thought she was dying!! 

    The trick, I think, is finding the fine line between deciding if it is important enough to go to the doctor or not. When I was first diagnosed, I told my doctor that he would be seeing me often at first as I would be coming in to see him for every ache and pain. And I did. And he was wonderful. Now, I am returning to normal in my doctor visits. But if symptoms are persistent, go see the doctor!

    Foxy is always bang on with the attitude messages! (I, too, always hate the "could be hit by a bus" analogy). Many times, I have caught myself about to answer "not bad" to the question of how are you? and think of Foxy and say "great!" It is a struggle, sometimes, but we are allowed that. We have been through a lot!

    So here's to continued good health! And remember - beet juice won't kill you! :)

    Hugs

    Jojo

     

  • APny
    APny Member Posts: 1,995 Member
    Jojo61 said:

    Apny, your post has come at a

    Apny, your post has come at a very timely moment. I am currently undergoing some issues that I finally decided to go see the doctor about. But first, I found myself googling my symptoms - never a good idea! I have found that I am suffering from many diseases with these symptoms! LOL. 

    My friend was telling me tonight that she has discovered that she loves eating beets. She said she has been eating them a lot. But nobody warned her that if you eat a lot of them, your body voids in a dark reddish color. LOL. She said she thought she was dying!! 

    The trick, I think, is finding the fine line between deciding if it is important enough to go to the doctor or not. When I was first diagnosed, I told my doctor that he would be seeing me often at first as I would be coming in to see him for every ache and pain. And I did. And he was wonderful. Now, I am returning to normal in my doctor visits. But if symptoms are persistent, go see the doctor!

    Foxy is always bang on with the attitude messages! (I, too, always hate the "could be hit by a bus" analogy). Many times, I have caught myself about to answer "not bad" to the question of how are you? and think of Foxy and say "great!" It is a struggle, sometimes, but we are allowed that. We have been through a lot!

    So here's to continued good health! And remember - beet juice won't kill you! :)

    Hugs

    Jojo

     

    Galrim, that’s great advice!

    Galrim, that’s great advice! I Love it. I suppose I’m still just a year and a half out and facing follow up scans and x-rays next month so I’m getting a little jittery.

    Jojo, OMG, I do the same. Google the hell out of every symptom and end up convinced I have it, lol. I need to stop that and you’re so right; it’s a fine line between when to be concerned and when it’s nothing. That’s a funny story about the beet juice; something I’d do J

    Thanks for good wishes and I’m hoping your recent issues have been resolved and it’s nothing to be worried about.

    Hugs back, Andi

  • Allochka
    Allochka Member Posts: 993 Member
    APny said:

    Galrim, that’s great advice!

    Galrim, that’s great advice! I Love it. I suppose I’m still just a year and a half out and facing follow up scans and x-rays next month so I’m getting a little jittery.

    Jojo, OMG, I do the same. Google the hell out of every symptom and end up convinced I have it, lol. I need to stop that and you’re so right; it’s a fine line between when to be concerned and when it’s nothing. That’s a funny story about the beet juice; something I’d do J

    Thanks for good wishes and I’m hoping your recent issues have been resolved and it’s nothing to be worried about.

    Hugs back, Andi

    Galrim's advise is great,

    Galrim's advise is great, will try to use it.

    and about Dr.Google - first comandment for every hypochondriac (or borderline hypochondriac) - DO NOT GOOGLE !!!!! Until you start following this rule, there is no getting better :-)

  • Nana4life
    Nana4life Member Posts: 78
    Amazing people

    I just have to say to every one of you......Wow, you all are amazing and beautiful people. You all are what is right with our world!! Thank you!! 

     

  • anmazon
    anmazon Member Posts: 144
    Anxiety/Hypochindria

    Good morning.  

    I've been a wreck since my first diagnosis and radical nephrectomy in 2013, and it has only gotten worse since my second diagnosis and partial nephrectomy this summer (proof that I was right--it DID come back).

    I've found a couple of things that work for me.  I found a great church with a loving and supportive congregation.  I've started yoga.  And I've been taking care of a friend's house--I've got half an acre of trees, fruit and roses that I tend to.   It is wonderful to see the beauty that exists because of my hard work. It is nice to just sit on the patio when I'm done and watch the quail, bunnies and roadrunners (and a wild turkey one day) and enjoy the serene surroundings. 

    And I've got a prescription for Valium for the days that it's really bad.  Unfortunately, they do happen, and while I don't encourage better living through pharmaceuticals, I am thankful to have them there when I need them.

     

    Anmazon