The hardest part. You’re sitting there being pummeled by your own thoughts, and terrible ‘what ifs’ are abound. It starts with the lump and waiting for a doctors appointment. The worry and anxiety creeps in. It doesn’t stop with the official diagnosis though. Your mind takes over at each turn and change.
Being scared, worried or even down right petrified makes it hard to think. Focusing becomes challenging. Remembering things that you used to be able to remember with ease suddenly becomes a significant test. Now we are feeling like we are barely treading water, and guilty that we can’t keep up with the basics.
Plus the emotional roller coaster. Flipping between a steady positive confidence to being absolutely crushed with every new sensation. Wondering if what you are feeling is normal, or maybe it is the cancer growing and moving and wreaking havoc in your body. Did they get it all? Is the chemo working? What if it has already spread?
Those little aches and pains of before are acutely prominent now. They seem to get worse as the waiting drags on.
How can I manage the waiting?
For me the best way to manage the stress and anxiety of this start and stop waiting game that is cancer treatments is to know when to expect things. Have an appointment that you know should be scheduled? Call about it. Haven’t heard your results yet and you should have? Call about it. Leave a message, call again, and keep going until you get answers.
The illusion of control allows me to calm the anxiety. If I am at least following up then I am doing everything I can. Playing with my kids and being in the moment is also helpful. Getting into my garden and enjoying the flowers and ponds allows me to escape. Even if just for a minute.
Waiting for my pathology report is practically torturous.
How does it feel to be cancer free?
Well… I don’t know that FOR SURE yet. 3 weeks and 2 days. Tick-tock.
To myself. Knowing this is hard, SO HARD. So give yourself grace and understanding and I will strive to do the same.
You know that you would do that for a friend, so be a friend to yourself. Those that are supporting us through our journey can rest assured that we are truly trying our best. Emotions run high, sensitivity to seemingly innocuous topics has the potential to cause problems.
I put my trust in this: those that are truly there will understand, won’t pass judgement, and will be willing to listen.