Calming the gut brain
This may seem like a humorous question, but I'm asking in all seriousness, since I have long-standing chronic stressors in my life over and above my current health problems. Given my current situation, those chronic stressors are not susceptible to easy fixes. Hence my interest in the possibility of other strategies.
My major medical situation is that I was diagnosed (then age 73) last year about the end of summer with inoperable adenocarcinoma of the pancreas; probably already with lung mets.
At my most recent medical evaluation 2 days ago, my oncologist was not satisfied with the response of my tumor to gemcitabine – abraxane, so has decided to switch me to a different 2-drug therapy, the details of which I am fuzzy on at this point, other than it involves one oral med and one to be administered via an infusion pump over 46 hours. This new therapy is scheduled to start around 10 days from now.
In the meantime I am feeling abandoned to my own devices – "abandoned" being the key word. Rationally I realize that is not so. But I'm finding that my emotions (anxiety leads the crowd) are not so easily ratcheted down. Hence the question that heads this post.
Additional recent observations leading to my question are:
Learning to switch off negative thought trains, even temporarily, has helped some, particularly when I am preparing to go to sleep for the night.
Unexpectedly, I have discovered that I am much more comfortable physically when I have congenial visitors or can experience some rare tranquility in my life.
This has somehow led me to remember the evidence that we have a larger "brain" in our gut than the one in our heads.
Does anyone have any experience to share that indicates what approaches have worked or not worked?
I'm prejudiced against pharmaceutical approaches since my professional experience in health care indicates that one drug prescription frequently leads to the necessity of prescribing another drug to treat the side effects of the first, which then may need another prescription drug to prevent the new side effects.
On the other hand is there even such a "thing" as talk therapy for the gut-brain? Or anything else that has proven effective?