A breast cancer survivor describes how exhausting it is to live in constant fear of cancer and how she plans to combat it in 2022.
I am not a social media influencer, so I really don’t know how the whole collaboration thing works. I know it has something to do with partnerships. I know “collab” is a buzz word these days. So, I decided to try out and see how it feels in the cancer world.
I’ve been a cancer survivor for 11 years and 161 days as I sit down to work out this new collaboration. And no, it hasn’t been painful, and I am not painfully still remembering the details … yes, all said with sarcasm.
If it seemed hard to tell by the fact that I know my “cancerversary” down to the exact day, yes, my cancer anxiety and fears still plague me. They follow me around like a lost puppy begging for some TLC and love. I am still a work in progress and proud of it. I seek therapy and support for my cancer fears, even after all these years (and days) and I am proud to say it.
Unfortunately, I took the road of keeping cancer anxiety with me instead of parting ways with it after time like so many other survivors I know. It was an unfortunate road I took and therefore, I need to keep walking it, hoping to still find the fork in the road that leads me away from the constant anxiety.
I also took on a partnership with PTSD. The “fun” thing about PTSD is that it lets you forget a lot of the bad stuff. There are some parts of my diagnosis of breast cancer at the age of 32 I simply don’t remember. But, there is PLENTY that I have the delight of reliving constantly thanks to those four letters:P.T.S.D.
So, I’ve decided to try and throw my nemesis off its game as we head toward yet another year together. I’ve asked my anxiety to collab with me. I am assuring myself there is no way it saw this coming. I mean 99% of the time, I spend my day running from it, fearing it and/or succumbing to it once again. It’s truly exhausting to live in fear of cancer. Just ask the 11 years and 161 days I’ve been through since diagnosis.
Here’s my genius plan to collab with anxiety. I’ve made some rules. Anxiety hates rules, so it will be interesting if it agrees and follows.
RULE #1: We acknowledge each other’s existence. I see the anxiety and it sees me. We agree to live together but I agree to acknowledge its existence and it agrees to just step to the side when the tools I use to battle its dominance work on suppressing it for the day. I am sure it will be back tomorrow, but our agreement is for each today as it comes, not for tomorrows.
RULE #2: We don’t discuss the past. My breast cancer happened. We all know that. It happened then, not now. Eleven years and 161 days ago. Nothing can change that no matter how hard the anxiety pushes me on that. So part of the collab is the anxiety drops the past fears.
RULE #3: We agree to a limited amount of time spent on the cancer fears. Currently, anxiety has asked for the stage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I think that is a bit too much as I am struggling to think of other things. So, I can’t give the anxiety the spotlight with quite the same amount of time. We agree to work toward 30 to 60 minutes a day of fear getting to take the lead on my life.
I am waiting for my cancer anxiety to sign this collaboration contract. I’ve given it time to review and decide. My deadline is December 31st, 2021. We need to agree on the new partnership to start the year. It’s about time I take back my life back and limit the intruders.After all, a huge rule of this collaboration is leaving the past in the past.
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