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Dealing with survival father

Clara2012
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2016

hello,

My name is Josien and I'm 32. My father was diagnosed with lungcancer in november 2014. The tumor was as big as his left lung. My father had 34 radiation treatments and 3 chemo's. In may 2015 his whole left lung was removed. In june we've recieved the news he was cancer free. I admire my father very much, he picked up fitness 2 hours a week and to this day cycles for 40 minutes every day. I started to notice everyone moved on, and at this moment nobody in my surroundings isn't scared. They just moved on. But I am still afraid, every single day. And in december my father will have the yearly check up. I have a therapist and she knows of this fear. She says it's normal, but I don't have the idea that what I experience is normal. I was wondering if others have this as well? I also feel guilty, I should be happy and reliefed, but I'm so scared. Till a couple of weeks ago, I was in a severe depression. I have to say, my father did survive but in august last year my father in law totally unexpected died of a heart attack. So that's kind of 2 things in a year. But still, I'm so afraid for my father. I want to let that fear go, but it's difficult. I hope there are others who can give me advice, I'm dutch, but I want to discuss this not on a dutch forum. 

Sincerely,

Josien

caretothepeople's picture
caretothepeople
Posts: 18
Joined: May 2016

Hi Josien,

First off, it is great to hear that your father is doing well and we can only hope that his progress continues. What a journey you and your family have been through. Cancer is nasty disease and wreacks havoc on families. Cancer carries with it so many emotions. Often we assume that after treatment is over, that we will feel relief and it's scary when that's not the case. Cancer leaves in its wake fear anxiety. I think many survivors and their family members can relate to the worries you have about the cancer returning. Its sometimes referred to as "fear of recurrence". It is a common, normal reaction (as your therapist said), but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with!

The American cancer Soceity and many of the major cancer organizations and facilities offer lots of excellent information about managing the fears and anxiety of recurrence. There's a lot of great education out there freely available that you can read up on. Most often, it will mention things like identifying and managing triggers, for example things like anniversary dates od diagnosis or driving past the hosipital may be triggers for some people. Thinking about certain times of day, situations, or thoughts that make you especially anxious about the cancer coming back can be a place to start. Managing these triggers and developing coping mechanisms is hoepfully something your therapist can work with you on!

Its wonderful you are seeing a therapist and it sounds like you have a strong support system around you with your family. You're investing in your well-being by tending to your own mental health. Draw on your father's courage and perserveance at times of struggle. Also, there are lots of great support groups out there. It can often help to connect with other family members and survivors to talk to other people who have been there, share similiar concerns, and to learn from one another. Your local Am. Cancer Society chapter may be able to point you towards on in your local community or ask around at the doctor or hospital. Don't go it alone!! There's caregiver groups on this forum, too, which may be another place to post and find support.

You can do this. Stay strong.

-Mel

 

eclc
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2016

Josien,

I've always referred to what you're describing as my black cloud.  It has followed me around for the past 19 years....since I was diagnosed with lung cancer and lost my entire right lung.  I did chemo and radiation following the surgery (carboplatin and taxol) and have survived the past 19 years cancer free.

There have been 'scares' along the way and I joke with my wife that every little ache and pain has got to be cancer.  I've joked that I have 'shoulder cancer' when my shoulder hurt...'knee cancer' when I twisted my knew.  I understand that it's very tongue in cheek but it illustrates the worry we have after 'surviving' cancer. 

I wouldn't worry too much about your dad's check up.  I'd actually look forward to it because a clean scan/check up means that he is likely cured.   It sounds a lot easier than it is though...I know.  I remain hopeful that your dad's check up is uneventful.  As for you, I wish I could say that the black clouds go away but that hasn't been the case with me.  If anything, it shows the love you have for your dad and the important role he plays in your life.

Good luck Josien...let us know how things go.

pat

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