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Cancer Is All About Worry

Cancer is all about worry. 

Cancer causes a domino effect of worry. One worry leads to another. When you first find your lump or whatever clue finally gives your sneaky cancer away, you worry about what might or might not be. You worry about if you should tell anyone, make that doctor appointment, or schedule that diagnostic mammogram. But finally, you do what you have to do.

Cancer is all about worry.

When you realize you need a biopsy, you worry some more.

You enter a new, more intense worry zone.

Cancer is all about worry.

Then a few days later your worst worry is confirmed. You hear the words, you have cancer, and wham, bang, the floodgates of worry open up.

Shit, now you need an oncologist.

How did this happen?

Gnome project worried - Creative Commons

Cancer is all about worry.  

So you worry about how to pick one.

Then you worry about what is or is not the best treatment path for you to take.

And once you do,

You worry about whether or not you chose the right one.

Cancer is all about worry.

You worry about surgery and what kind (if any) to have. You worry about recovery, pain, chemo, radiation, drain tube paraphernalia, having one breast, having no breasts, choosing reconstruction or not choosing reconstruction, losing your hair, throwing up, not sleeping, looking sick, feeling sick, neuropathy, lymphedema, gaining weight, losing weight, being tired, what you will eat, what your partner might think (or if you’re single and don’t want to be, if you’ll ever have a partner at all), what will happen to your sex life (or if you’ll even have one again).  And so on and so on…

Cancer is all about worry.

You might also worry that you might be the first person on the planet unable to handle any of it. (Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who worried about this). Other women (and men) have handled this crap, you should be able to as well, right?

Cancer is all about worry.

You might worry and wonder why you do not feel brave, courageous, strong or warrior-like, even when people tell you that you are. You might worry that you are a cancer failure, in more ways than one.

Cancer is all about worry.

And if your cancer has a genetic link like mine does, you worry about your siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews and other family members getting cancer too. And you worry about passing on the damn cancer to your own kids.

Cancer is all about worry.

On top of all these cancer worries you also have the ‘ordinary’ worries, the normal worries of life.

You worry about your job and if you’ll be able to keep it. You worry about your kids, your parents and friends and how much to tell them. You worry about paying the bills, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, buying groceries, walking the dog and so on and so on. You worry about everything you must do, as well as about all the things you know fully well you cannot.

And let’s not forget, you worry about dying.

Cancer is all about worry.

Eventually, if you’re lucky enough to have an ending point to active treatment, you worry about the darn little white pill you’re supposed to take (and all the nasty side effects that might come with it). You worry about how to pick up the pieces of your life (or if you even can), how to put one foot in front of the other and how in the world you’re supposed to muddle through this thing called survivorship. You worry and wonder if you’ll ever find the old you again, or even remnants of who you once were.

You worry you will not be so good at this thing called survivorship either.

Cancer is all about worry.

You worry about recurrence and wonder how long you’ll be NED (no evidence of disease). You worry and wonder if and when the other shoe will drop.

Again, you worry if you will be able to handle it if it does.

If you’re metastatic, well, the worries are of a whole different kind. It wouldn’t even be appropriate for me to imply I know what my metster friends worry about. But I know there is much to worry about.

Cancer is all about worry.

And why do worries seem, well, more worrisome, in the middle of the night?

Worry. Worry. Worry.

Yes, cancer is all about worry.

So, suggesting a cancer patient need not worry is probably not helpful.

What is your biggest worry right now?

How do you calm your cancer worries?

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Cancer Is All About Worry #cancer #breastcancer #health #womenshealth #mentalhealth #advocacy

Gogs Gagnon

Monday 17th of August 2020

Great blog, Nancy. My mind is always on cancer recurrence, especially when it's time for follow-up tests. I have a blood test this Friday, and the worry is starting up again. To help, I keep myself distracted for the most part, but I find connecting with others that understand, extremely comforting as I'm not alone.

Nancy

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

Gogs, I hear you. Surprisingly (maybe), I don't worry that much about recurrence. Maybe I'm in denial, but the way I see it, I can't control that. I always tell myself, why worry about something until you have to? Of course, recurrence worries are always there in the back of my mind, but I try to keep them there. Good luck on Friday. I hope all goes well. Thank you for reading and sharing.

Kristie Konsoer

Monday 17th of August 2020

I currently worry about my treatment drug failing and side effects worsening in my hands and feet. I handle them by trying to stay focused on what I know I can do each day. I also try to ignore my worries as they usually don't make things better for me.

Nancy

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

Kristie, As someone with mbc, you have way more than your fair share of worries. It's wise to try to focus on things you can do/control and also to try to ignore worries. Of course, this is way easier said than done. As you well know. Thank you for reading and commenting too.

Mary Beth Hamel

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

8 years ago I had stage IIB HER2 Positive ER/PR Negative breast cancer double mastectomy and chemo and in remission cancer free. Now they are saying my Lymphocyte count is high with immature and abnormal cells. Back to the oncologist on Tuesday to get the results of the blood tests she just did. I do not want to do this again to my family. 2 of my daughters are due in September. Almost want to hold off getting results till after that. About 5 years ago she discovered a mengionoma in my brain that they said didn't look like cancer that it was probably benign. There is always some worry once you've been diagnosed with cancer.

Nancy

Friday 8th of March 2019

Mary Beth, Indeed there is. Hope your blood test turns out okay. Thank you for sharing.

Linda Boberg

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

Today I am FULL of worry. My cancer markers are up on my blood tests and although my mammogram and ultrasound were clean, the oncologist says 'something's cooking.' She makes me even more panicy. Then she said the scheduling department would call the set up the PET CT scan. They have yet to call (two weeks later), but I took control of my own health and called and set up the appointment for tomorrow. But I am worried. I don't want to go through all this again - that's a normal response, right? Last time I was (unknowingly) affected by a brain tumor that left me numb to everything. Now I'm aware, know what I'd have to go through based on what the oncologist said I 'might' have to do. So I get the scan tomorrow. Then wait to hear what it shows. Cancer is worry. Too true.

Nancy

Thursday 7th of March 2019

Linda, So much worry. Hope your scan went alright.

Lea Acord

Friday 2nd of March 2018

I'm three years post breast cancer surgery and chemo. I identified with everything you wrote. I got over my worrying by having to worry about someone else. Six months after I finished chemo my husband had a pretty severe stroke which requires me to be his full time caregiver. My biggest worry now is that something will happen to me and I won't be able to care for him. This is huge for me. I have some backup but it is costly.

Nancy

Friday 2nd of March 2018

Lea, I am sorry to hear about your husband's stroke. So much for you to worry about, though of course, so much is out of your control. My best to you both.

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