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Reducing stress and anxiety' effects on my mind and body


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I have noticed that my body's tolerance for stress and anxiety seems to be much less as I deal with cancer. I have always been a bit "excitable", but I notice a lot more issues with my physical and mental health when stressful situations arise. Quiet, peace and tranquility seem to make my body feel so much better. Too much travel, visiting, decisions, frustrations and my level of pain seems to rise. My ability to "cope" does not seem to be as effective as when I was "healthy". Has anyone else experienced this? It would seem since I no longer have a job that I would be more productive at home. I do meals, grocery shopping, laundry, bills, and general light housekeeping. I thought since I was feeling well that I would be able to do some hosting of guests at our cottage. And now I find it is making me feel overwhelmed. Am I crazy here? I just want to rest, relax and keep my serenity and sanity. Is that crazy?


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I just can't do it ALL anymore. That is part of the problem we discussed in the Air last week. I look fine, I act fine, but I just can't do what I used to. The biggest difference is that I can't multitask anymore. I used to be the queen of multitasking, now it overwhelms me and exhausts me. If I had company coming or a party to plan, I could organize the whole event, cleaning, shopping lists, decorating, etc. in my head. Now I have to make copious notes and still can't focus on menus, or shopping lists. Everything takes longer because I can't think as clearly or shop as efficiently. As a result, I no longer enjoy having company and for the first time in almost twenty years did not throw my annual summer party. Last week three different people called to say they were coming for a visit within days of each other and I started shaking, crying and was unable to function for a full day just thinking about it. After they all left, I was exhausted for days.

When I am stressed, tired, anxious, the pain does get worse, mostly at night. I tend to tense up in my sleep and wake up to sore bones, muscles and headaches. This is where we have to adjust to the "new us". Stress and anxiety cause us exhaustion and pain, so now we have to figure out how to have less of it in our lives. That is the hard part, because the things I loved to do (entertain) now cause me stress. So, now instead of big parties, I will settle for just having another couple over. I did actually put on my big girl panties and told one friend that wanted to come for several days, that no, I wasnt up to it. That was a first for me. There is still the problem of mothering though. Because no matter how old my children are, I will always worry about them and stress when they are stressed. But, if I can lessen the stress everywhere else, then I will be able to handle the "mother stress" better.

Somedays, when my day consists of going to the lake and then going from there to the Sound and all I do is read and float and sleep, I feel a bit guilty - but I feel so much more relaxed, stress free and happy, that the guilt goes away quickley!

So, no, you are not crazy! You are a very sensible woman working to keep her health and sanity!


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I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. I have night time aches and pains that are not horrible but worrisome. They seem to be worse when I am stressed and outside of my comfort zone. I do know I have damage to my spine and ribs from mets, but had not talked to anyone about what a "normal" pain level would result from that damage. My scan about a month ago showed stability, but I worried about it until I noticed the correlation between pain levels and stress.

My husband is having difficulty with me not wanting to go to our cottage EVERY weekend. He seems hurt and talks as though I have just "decided" I don't want to go as often. I have told him how what I used to enjoy has become "stressful". The 1 1/2 hour drive, packing clothes, food, and all my meds. I take 3 injections a day, so that also includes things like alcohol wipes, syringes and the medications. It sounds like you have had some time to work out and accept your relationship with your husband and how your cancer has affected it. I am still working on that. We are used to spending a lot of our free time together. So, when he goes to the cottage alone, I am lonely at home. I am trying to learn to put my health first and not be influenced to go along and then be miserable all weekend.

I am a work in progress. I feel like we are travelling similar paths, so I can really relate to your thoughts.

I am sorry you have not been feeling well. It is a part of this experience that I have a hard time accepting. I hate that anyone has to hurt and suffer. It is something we just can't control, but have to find a way to live with and accept the best we can. I am thinking of you floating in the water and running your toes through the sand. That makes me smile.


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