Conversations with the Father of a Cancer Survivor
March 23, 2018 – Kim Johnson
Guilt Is Good, Says One Cancer Survivor
March 23, 2018 – Kevin Berry
What Does Radiation Therapy Do to the Heart?
March 22, 2018 – Ryan Hamner
Thoughts from the Mother of a Survivor
March 22, 2018 – Kim Johnson
Women's History Month: Women as Leaders, Builders and Survivors
March 21, 2018 – Tamera Anderson-Hanna
Mt. Everest in the Day to Day
March 21, 2018 – Heather Millar
It's Not Always Cancer
March 21, 2018 – Mike Verano
Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Cancerversary
March 20, 2018 – Bonnie Annis
On Turning 40 and Celebrating Another Year
March 20, 2018 – Dana Stewart
Women's History Month: Honoring Senator Ellis, Pioneer, Legislator and Cancer Survivor
March 20, 2018 – Felicia Mitchell

Pushing Past Cancer-Related Anxiety

It's important to make the effort to push past the anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis.
PUBLISHED March 02, 2018
Kim is a nursing student who is hoping to find her place amongst the phenomenal oncology nurses and doctors who cared for her sister. She loves reading, volunteering and enjoying the outdoors of Colorado.
There are many emotions that come from having cancer in your life. For me, the worst was the anxiety. While everybody experiences this emotion on some level, the kind that comes from cancer is a vastly different variety. It is a constant feeling that is not only an emotion but also a physical manifestation when things were at their worst.

The anxiety I felt caused stomach aches, fevers, nausea and headaches. It was a leave-you-breathless kind of anxiety that others may not be able to understand. It is hard to find a way to cope with this kind of anxiety, because in the end, it feels like the only thing that will fix it is for cancer to go away.

At its core, anxiety begins in the mind, and I am somebody who struggled with anxiety before cancer. So, with cancer and all the unknowns that it brought to my life, my anxiety got exponentially worse. I began to think so much that I rarely slept. My brain was on a constant cycle of thinking and I was unable to shut down to provide a sense of peace for sleep. This cost me dearly, and a state of exhaustion and sleep deprivation became a constant in the three years that my sister had cancer.

As my sister's caregiver and the one charged with her medical choices, the thought of making wrong choices weighed heavily on me. I am a perfectionist and when I felt like I wasn't getting it right, a lot of anxiety followed. I was devastating to feel like the choices I was making weren't good enough, especially when life hangs in the balance.

When something would go wrong, I would be left heartbroken. It perpetuated this cycle of helplessness that I wasn't quite sure how to end. Now, I can see that I needed to focus on what I could control and do my best and try to let go of the rest. In spite of the desire for cancer to go away, it just doesn't work like that.

You do need to find ways to cope that work for you. Cancer can sometimes be a quick process, but more often than not it is long and involved. It requires stamina and a certain mental strength to endure. For me, it took a long time to find anything that worked, and even when something did work, it did not work for long.

The only thing that provided any consistent relief through cancer was finding an escape into nature. Sometimes that meant a long walk around the hospital campus to get out of my own head and process through the long days. When my sister was home, that meant long hikes with my twin and our dog to get away from it all.

It can be exhausting trying to work through a list of solutions and suggestions, but I personally can vouch that it is more than worth it. Because even if something works only once, it is better than not trying and having nothing work at all.
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Psychosocial Aspect Topics CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In