During chemotherapy its very easy to slip into a world full of anxiety, the worst time is between surgery and waiting for treatment. The fear is that the cancer is spreading especially if you have had lymphnode involvement. I waited quite a long time before my surgery and treatment because I needed another surgery and then ivf, then the oncologist appointment and the chemo date.
All I could think of is that small cells were breaking away and spreading around the body. It’s not a nice thought and everything you see and read ends with that person passing away. I met some ladies in the same boat as me and found out they had anxiety medication. This can help but it seems to be a constant state of anxiety especially before each cycle.
People can also get anxious about leaving the house and being seen. After I told everyone my diagnosis I became anxious once I saw someone I knew whilst I was out shopping or having a coffee. I try to act normal and forget about cancer as much as I can. I think people are shocked how normal I am sometimes. Once you see someone who knows you then get into a conversation about it and it reminds me that I’m a cancer victim. Which is quite sad in a way as it’s great going out and being ‘normal’.
A lot of breast cancer ladies fear secondaries, cancer cells can break away and find a new home somewhere else in the body causing secondary cancer which can be harder to deal with or fatal, this is our dark cloud and the ‘cancer cloud’ will follow us all around for a long time. We need to find a way of beating this cloud as it will only hinder our happiness within our ‘new normal’ lives.
Why worry about something that may not happen? If time is short should we be wasting it worrying? Can we control the outcome? I think it is a gold idea to get checked out regularly. I can imagine every ache and pain is a fear it’s spread so its best to get checked out to find out the exact cause and put your mind at ease.
Things that can help:
The ladies on the younger breast cancer Facebook forum are very positive we share our problems but also discuss how to overcome fear and anxiety. We laugh about silly comments people make about how we have cancer due to our diet or we should try alternative therapies to chemo, it’s a great place to speak to others like yourself
- Write a diary filled with highs as well as lows.
- Mindfulness exercises to clear your thoughts, there’s often a lot of appointments going on and financial issues to sort out and your mind can become completely full of all these issues to sort.
- Yoga or gentle exercise at home can really help to relieve stress.
- A chemo friend of mine Leonie Cox wrote a list of ‘fab things to do at 40’ list to focus on the future and fill her new life with fun things to look forward to.
- Positivity – looking at the positives of treatment, the chemo is killing those cancer cells and we are lucky that chemo is now a kinder drug thanks to research.
- Avoid looking at statistics they are often from the US and out of date. I love hearing about real people who are still alive at 80 and speak of breast cancer like a small blip in the road.
- Read books to distract your thoughts of cancer.
- Socialise, despite the fact the conversation will turn to cancer people are just concerned about you and you soon go on to talk about many other things. It makes you still feel included and loved and can fill up an empty day.
- Find someone you can talk to when you do have a really bad day, a day where you just need a good cry in the bath (I have had a few days like this) it’s good to speak to someone even if it’s messaging ladies on the forum or texting someone close, friends or family. We all need reassurance from time to time.
- Macmillan or maggies centre offer courses on how to deal with cancer, how to overcome the fear and what’s next in your life.
- Your oncologist can arrange counselling for you which can really help you to move on from your negative thoughts.
Don’t do what I did and buy a puppy, walking in the rain picking poop up whilst on chemotherapy wasn’t the best idea. Although he is very cute.
One of my fears became my veins, I didbt want anyone messing with them anymore as they became weaker with each round. I started to feel dizzy and sick when cannulas were fitted and nurses were unable to get blood from my weak tortured veins. One nurse popped my vein and the next nurse injected red chemotherapy into the same vein three weeks later. It all just made me very phobic and sent me light headed and dizzy each time.