Author: Aideé Granados
… .and to finish grinding it, nail cancer of the left big toe.
Most cancer survivors face a reality called "possibility of recurrence." That sucks.
If you are or live close to a survivor, you know that it is relatively easy to think (and feel) that cancer can be all over the body. Even on the nails! (It's a saying).
Here is a bit of what other survivors have shared with me and that personally I have had to live:
a) If we cough, it could be lung cancer hurts, it's gone to
b) If an ankle, wrist, shoulders! bones!
c) If we are constipated or have diarrhea, it could be colon cancer
d) If our head hurts, God save us from a brain tumor!
e) If we have terrible dermatitis or new moles appear, it may already be on the skin
f) If a lymph node becomes inflamed ...
g) If you get bruises ...
h) If you lose weight...
i) If you gain weight….
j) Etc., etc., etc ...
I can follow you .... It is not easy to remove these thoughts. However, it is NECESSARY to know how to handle them and put means to generate positive and rational thoughts, and thus #survive this reality.
I share some practical ideas to achieve it, some based on the experience of Karen Hartman, who has accompanied many cancer patients throughout her career as a social worker:
a) Identify what causes recurrence anxiety. Perhaps the knowledge of other cases similar to yours (remember that there is no case like it in the whole world), be it from friends or even famous people. Maybe it's the recurring checkups with doctors and hospitals. For other people, seeing pictures or other memories of the treatment period causes anxiety. Some symptom, pain, the finding of “something” in the body… A couple of weeks ago I was saying to a friend: “Yes, the cough may be related to cancer. However, it can also be related to 100 more real causes! So it will be better to ask the experts and get rid of doubts as soon as possible ”.
b) Make a plan before anxiety hits. If you have already identified what it is that causes you this terrible uncertainty, you can do things to prevent it. Have on hand a list of distracting activities and people to call who knows how to help you. Practice some relaxation strategies, such as deep (diaphragmatic) breathing or mindfulness exercises. Avoid at all costs feeding the "monster" that lacks foundation and certainty.
c) Talk about it. I love this! Talking is one of the best ways to release negative emotions, the ones that hurt us on a physical level. I only recommend that you choose well who to talk to. Talking about these feelings so serious for you with how many people you go through your day, will not bring you relief. I assure. In advance, find and define with whom you can talk about this. My recommendation? Someone who knows how to listen. I dare say that what you need is to speak, not to receive sermons. Talking you can clarify for yourself and measure how serious your concerns are.
d) Focus on what you are doing today for your health and well-being! This is my FAVORITE resource. You are a champion! I'm sure you do VERY GOOD things to maintain your health. Acknowledge them. Congratulate yourself. Celebrates. And with great objectivity, identify where you are failing and where you need to be more disciplined and hard-working. Personally, I have a list stuck in front of me where I write all the things, therapies, health rituals, foods, exercises, supplements, doctors, prayers, treatments that day by day, week by week, I have done and do for my health and well-being.
e) Consider talking to a stress therapist. Always talk to your doctor about whether you have been able to adequately handle this fear or anxiety about recurrence. If you identify that it is something constant, that it prevents you from functioning in your day to day and that it is already affecting your health, ask to speak to a professional in this field who can help you.
f) Try and learn about alternative, complementary or integrative therapies. There are other means and natural practices that add to our overall health. Find a professional naturopath. Many hospitals begin to have what they call "integrative oncology" where not only oncologists treat you as a patient, but also nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc. And all this helps a lot to maintain a state of peace and well-being.
My last recommendation, which I take word for word from one of my integrative therapists: Don't Be Afraid. Fear only brings problems and zero benefits in this case. Do not be afraid. I know that sometimes it is complicated. You can put means so that this anguish passes as soon as possible. In this article, we have already seen at least 6 strategies to deal with and alleviate this state.
I am sure of this: If we put adequate means to be healthy, we will achieve our goal. As simple as that. How many means and resources are we really doing and allocating to maintain and improve our health? It is a totally personal question that deserves to give us some time to answer. How much do you do TODAY for yourself?