I only allow anxiety to take up 15 minutes of my days.
Recently, I read an article that reminded me of a dear friend who had melanoma of the eye. He was told that after the treatment of a radioactive seed placed behind his eye that a recurrence could happen. The scariest part was the the rest of the sentence.
Next time it would rear its ugly head in the liver, and not the eye. This hung over him like a guillotine! He had to find a way to get through each day in a more positive way. His wife expressed that he always appeared strong, although she knew he struggled!
When I was first diagnosed with lymphoma, his advice to me was to make an appointment with worry. He said, “Give yourself 15 minutes, at most,” to deal with your anxiety each day. Before he did this, he told me he was immersed in his fear. He worried 24 hours each and every day, losing valuable living time. Obsessing over a possible devastating recurrence wasn’t helpful for him or his family. He ended up being one of the longest survivors with this kind of melanoma… 19 years. Perhaps his philosophy helped.
I took his words to heart. It made sense to me. Making a specific time to deal with my anxieties and worry about my diagnosis (for me, it’s every morning before I get out of bed) allowed me to let it go for the rest of the day. Before this approach, my worries smothered and crippled me, at times, ruining a good part of my 24 hours. Now, I find that I no longer wake up from a cancer alarm every morning and I don’t go to bed thinking about it each night.
Making this appointment with worry kept me from continuously dwelling on my diagnosis of an incurable, but indolent, cancer. Before trying this, I found that I constantly said to myself, “Stop thinking about this,” many times throughout the day. This appointment approach helped me considerably.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took awhile to work on this new plan so that it became a new normal for me. It was worth it. It helped to protect my soul and keep it calm.
Talking to others with cancer and/or taking the time to read some of these blogs can help all of us learn from those who are willing to share their experiences for our benefit. These words of advice that have helped others are worth considering and at least trying, even when you first think, “I can’t do that.” Give yourself a chance. Step out of your normal comfort zone and push yourself. You never know how it may help you in the long run.
Thank you to my dear friend, Stuart Bass, who still inspires me every day. May his memory always be for a blessing.
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