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Can't seem to shake anxiety


Marianne1

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Hi all, I haven't posted in a while so here's a little summary.  I was diagnosed with stage 2A back in January, had lobectomy end of Jan with some complications that kept me in hospital for 2 weeks.  But then recovered from surgery fine, underwent 4 rounds of chemo which went pretty well too.  My first scan after surgery was done about 2 months ago and was clear.  Even though that is all behind me and I will finally get to return to work soon, I cannot seem to stop thinking about possible recurrence.  My next scan is in August and if that is clear, I can go to every 6 month scans.  My thinking is that because my tumor size was kind of large 4.5 cm, I will probably have a recurrence.  I know I shouldn't dwell on this, but cannot seem to help it.  I am going to see a therapist about this but appointment is not for another 3 weeks.  I'm afraid I'm going to go bananas before then.   Sorry to be a bummer, but any encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

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Hello Marianne,

Nice to heat from you again. I’m glad that your physical recovery is going well.  Welcome to our club where it’s perfectly normal to feel like you are going crazy. 

Your doctors may not have shared that there is no correlation between tumor size and stage.  Big tumors can stay put while little sneaky ones get away. One of my friends had advanced testicular cancer over 30 years ago, to this day the cancer recurrence hovers in the back of his mind. It isn’t a huge focus but more like having a  “roommate”   They learned over time to coexist  

You might call the oncology social worker to ask for a referral to a support group as well. Living amongst other survivors can be very inspiring.  If you’re not sleeping or eating well, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask the doc for some meds.  It might take some time to get your “sea legs” as you settle into the new scan schedule. 

This isn’t a walk in the park- until you head back to work you might want to calendar in some nice self care activities like yoga and  myofacial release Message, yoga or a weekend getaway.  All of these things have empirical evidence to effectively manage the anxiety. 

Hugs to you! 

Michelle

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Marianne,

Welcome here. I understand your recurrence concern; I've had four!

You also are consulting with a therapist and that is the right thing to do.  I didn't and ended up deeply depressed, and afraid, and in pain, and etcetera. 

Maybe this prospective might help.  You've had a close encounter with a deadly disease and to defeat it, you chose treatment.  In choosing treatment one chooses life and doing so means a desire, perhaps a duty, to enjoy the life you have. This was so hard for me to realize because I was looking for "big picture joy". Big picture joy is a myth. Most of life is not joyful but there are moments. I was so confused I was missing the moments. Now I look for those small opportunities for joy everyday and when discovered, I revel in the moment. I search, discover and celebrate not everyday but most days.

A very close friend, a fellow lung cancer survivor,  passed last August. I wrote this about her and her life attitude.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Marianne,

I understand.  I will be having my 1st post op scan in October.  I would say that the worry of recurrence is there, or at least in the back of my mind daily. 
If you are able, exercise is helpful for low mood and anxiety.  Good nutrition is key as well.  However, If you are experiencing loss of sleep, poor appetite and low mood for more than a couple of weeks, it might be beneficial to have a medication evaluation.  Medication can be a wonderful support as you go through this process.   


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