Anxiety due to Cancer

Posted by Bob, Volunteer Mentor @grandpabob, Sep 30, 2019

I am sure there are very few of us diagnosed with cancer that do not, or have not suffered from some form of anxiety. Anxiety, for me started at the time of diagnosis, Large B Cell Lymphoma, the initial shock of that knowledge was the trigger. It is not that it occupied every minute of the day, with everything else that accompanies cancer treatment, there was more than enough happening to occupy the hours. I also recognized that the triggers changed as I moved along the path of cancer care and treatment. Anxiety also led to some wakefulness which led to fatigue, other common side effects.

Some of the triggers of anxiety for me were: How early do we need to leave the house to make it to the appointment on time. Will I have any side effects from this session? Are the sounds of the IV pumps during chemotherapy going to bother me today? (interestingly, those pumps made me very anxious almost all the time.)

To combat anxiety, I took the following actions to lessen this symptom of cancer: Exercise, when I had the energy I walked out of doors, outdoor distractions helped to focus my mind on what I was doing in the present. I meditated and used “apps” such as “Calm” to take my mind off the stresses. When I could, I took advantage of a counselor who coached me to discuss how I was feeling about things.

Are you undergoing any anxiety? What works for you to reduce your anxiety levels?

@sqdncnws

From the moment I heard the word cancer I went into anxiety. I could only see the people I knew that had cancer and had passed away after much long suffering and pain. I was so afraid of chemo and all of it's side effects. I did not want my hair to fall out, I did not want to be sick and have no quality of life and then die anyway. The thoughts of chemo was and still is so horrifying to me. I have become obsessed with that part of cancer it is embedded in my mind as the worst thing that can happen to a body. After I had my surgery the dr immediately wanted me to sign up for chemo but I just could not do that. I wanted a second opinion before I would even think about it. I got my second opinion and he convinced me my cancer was only stage one and 6 treatments would be all I would take. I said ok and yesterday was my first treatment. There was a little problem with the first bag that made my mouth,tongue and throat swell up. The chemo was stopped, I was given a dose of steriods and it stopped the swelling and after that it all went ok. I am waiting on the side effects to kick in so I will know just what to expect. I am told it takes 2 to 3 days for that to happen so I am stressing out over that. Every day, hour by hour is making my anxiety kick in and because of that I am not able to eat and have not been drinking the liquids I need. It's getting close to my bedtime and I am anxious about lying down because I know that is all I will be thinking about. It's as tho my husband doesn't really care about what is happening with me and it makes me feel so lonely. I found out his way of coping with my cancer is acting like it isn't happening. He does take care of me and makes sure I have what I need.However I still feel like I am alone in this and don't know where to find a good support group to attend.

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@sqdncnws – I concur that anxiety and stress quickly follow after a diagnosis of cancer.

I see a few folks have already connected with you and have offered some of their experiences.
I was extremely fortunate that I had great support system when I was undergoing my various treatments.

I see that the support of your husband at this time does not seem to fit with your hopes and expectations.
As a husband, we can sometimes not truly understand what is needed for support from us at times. Merry makes a great point to have a discussion on expectations with your husband.

I want to bring to your attention the "Caregivers" group on Mayo Clinic Connect, a link is copied below.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/
Perhaps this is something that you could jointly investigate, that will hopefully find helpful.

Continue to reach out at anytime, as there are many members on connect that can hopefully provide you with peace of mind from sharing their experiences, or just listen.

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@sqdncnws

From the moment I heard the word cancer I went into anxiety. I could only see the people I knew that had cancer and had passed away after much long suffering and pain. I was so afraid of chemo and all of it's side effects. I did not want my hair to fall out, I did not want to be sick and have no quality of life and then die anyway. The thoughts of chemo was and still is so horrifying to me. I have become obsessed with that part of cancer it is embedded in my mind as the worst thing that can happen to a body. After I had my surgery the dr immediately wanted me to sign up for chemo but I just could not do that. I wanted a second opinion before I would even think about it. I got my second opinion and he convinced me my cancer was only stage one and 6 treatments would be all I would take. I said ok and yesterday was my first treatment. There was a little problem with the first bag that made my mouth,tongue and throat swell up. The chemo was stopped, I was given a dose of steriods and it stopped the swelling and after that it all went ok. I am waiting on the side effects to kick in so I will know just what to expect. I am told it takes 2 to 3 days for that to happen so I am stressing out over that. Every day, hour by hour is making my anxiety kick in and because of that I am not able to eat and have not been drinking the liquids I need. It's getting close to my bedtime and I am anxious about lying down because I know that is all I will be thinking about. It's as tho my husband doesn't really care about what is happening with me and it makes me feel so lonely. I found out his way of coping with my cancer is acting like it isn't happening. He does take care of me and makes sure I have what I need.However I still feel like I am alone in this and don't know where to find a good support group to attend.

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@sqdncnws– How are you feeling today after reading some of these posts?

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@sqdncnws

From the moment I heard the word cancer I went into anxiety. I could only see the people I knew that had cancer and had passed away after much long suffering and pain. I was so afraid of chemo and all of it's side effects. I did not want my hair to fall out, I did not want to be sick and have no quality of life and then die anyway. The thoughts of chemo was and still is so horrifying to me. I have become obsessed with that part of cancer it is embedded in my mind as the worst thing that can happen to a body. After I had my surgery the dr immediately wanted me to sign up for chemo but I just could not do that. I wanted a second opinion before I would even think about it. I got my second opinion and he convinced me my cancer was only stage one and 6 treatments would be all I would take. I said ok and yesterday was my first treatment. There was a little problem with the first bag that made my mouth,tongue and throat swell up. The chemo was stopped, I was given a dose of steriods and it stopped the swelling and after that it all went ok. I am waiting on the side effects to kick in so I will know just what to expect. I am told it takes 2 to 3 days for that to happen so I am stressing out over that. Every day, hour by hour is making my anxiety kick in and because of that I am not able to eat and have not been drinking the liquids I need. It's getting close to my bedtime and I am anxious about lying down because I know that is all I will be thinking about. It's as tho my husband doesn't really care about what is happening with me and it makes me feel so lonely. I found out his way of coping with my cancer is acting like it isn't happening. He does take care of me and makes sure I have what I need.However I still feel like I am alone in this and don't know where to find a good support group to attend.

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I can totally relate to your story! I have the same problems. I told myself, and anyone that asked, I was great, I was not sick from the Chemo. I in fact, had already been sick that morning. I stayed positive,I drank everything I needed too and still ended up in ER room with dehydration. I also ended up needing 2 large bags of blood, New Years Eve, at the Mayo. I wish I could be there with you.
I was told by my husband to “get back” it was the 1st month the corona Virus was found here in Minnesota. I really needed a hug, a shoulder to cry on. Nope not with him, he was staying so far away. I wish I could tell you how to get thru this journey…… I want you to know, it is now 10 months since I heard the words, large tumor in your lung …… it does not get easier, trying to figure the husband out, but I have found some love on these sites❣️❣️❣️ Thank goodness they have this.❤️

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