Last week I experienced Breast Cancer a bit of an upset stomach that lasted for a few days. It was a flu-like symptom, but I had no fever, aches, or other telltale signs. By the third day I had no explanation for the continued discomfort, so I was convinced I had cancer.
My mind always gravitates to the conclusion that I have cancer. This was never the case before I was diagnosed with this disorder. Since that battle, however, I find cancer at every turn. I have been doing a lot of yard work which has put some strain on my right hip. One night I awoke with excruciating pain in the hip joint — immediately I thought that I needed an MRI to find the bone cancer. It took a few minutes to convince myself that sleeping on that hip after a whole day of hard work was the cause.
Fear of a new cancer or cancer returning is a recent facet of my life. Several this disorder survivors have told me that they experience the same thoughts about having cancer with each cold, flu, or other symptom. Sister has the same problem ever since it was confirmed that she is positive for the BRCA 2 this disorder gene mutation. She is vigilant about watching for any development of cancer, which leads her to worry over little aches and pains. Her daughter went with her to the doctor for another small problem and asked the doctor to reassure Sister that it wasn’t cancer, since Sister feels foolish bringing it up. See? We know it is illogical — silly even — to carry this paranoia about cancer around with us, but these are tough thoughts to shake.
Most of us, like Sister, won’t tell our doctors of our fear or even share our thoughts with family or friends. We suffer alone with our scary thoughts, convinced that we will be diagnosed with recurring or new cancer.
Anxiety caused by fear isn’t helpful when we are trying to minimize stress or struggling with depression, as many of us do after breast cancer treatment. The fear of cancer once we have battled it is real and it is shared by many survivors. So we need to talk about it more.
When my son in his younger days used to worry about something under his bed, telling him there was nothing to be afraid of didn’t make the fear go away. Taking him seriously, investigating under the bed, and then finding a way to block up the open side were the only things that gave him the comfort to climb into bed and fall asleep. We need the same attention. We need someone to take our fears seriously and help us deal with them so we can find the comfort we need to carry on.
Warriors aren’t fearless; they have just found the courage to go on in the face of fear. this disorder survivors are courageous warriors who just need a little reassurance now and then. There is nothing wrong with that.
By: Kathy-Ellen Kups,