Coping with anxiety while waiting

Posted by ventibug @ventibug, May 29, 2018

I would welcome the suggestions of others for strategies for coping with anxiety while awaiting the next whatever. CT scans have never given me good news; I look forward to being surprised with good news after cycle 2 of chemo, when team takes the next look. Currently on a 2 week break from chemo due to the need for time to heal wound infection. Sent photos of healing progress to oncologist. I pretty much had it together that he would recommend another week of healing. He recommended 2 more weeks. Since Ive already had a recurrence (last CT news), i am worried my cancer is growing while I wait to be able to resume chemo. I dont disagree with the plan. My inquiry is how to cope with the anxiety? Things that work for me sometimes: knitting; getting lost in a good book; joking with friends; playing with my dogs; praying. Ordered Dr Amit Sood’s book today (thank you, llwortman) to improve mindfulness skills. All suggestions humbly appreciated, Ventibug

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@brown1

L
LL had pain in my head,and had to go to er. they said I have brAIN CANCER. i HAVE TO WAIT 6-7 WEEKS TO SEE A DR. iS THIS NORMAL

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Dear Brown,

It has been five hours since your post, and you have received the best advise I have ever seen in such a short time. I hope we are not overwhelming you!
It has been five years since my surgery for mouth cancer; but I still remember when I was diagnosed as it had been a week ago. And I will give you my spill about organizing, because you have already gotten very good advise about looking for doctors and about Mayo Clinic. The only contact I have had to Mayo, is my sister's cancer and this blog. I have spent lots of time at Mayo Scottsdale, where my sister had her treatments, and it has been first class in every way.
Well, right after I had my diagnose, I had a pep talk with God. He gave me fortitude. My second stop was at Staples, where I got a binder, dividers and paper. I called it "my life project". First divider was for doctors. I got some recommendations and researched them on line. Printed the pages with their resumes and pictures and placed them in the binder. Second binder for several copies of my diagnose. Third for several copies of my medical history. Fourth for medications. Five for questions and paper for answers, and so on and so forth. Very important, a divider for cards. You will collect cards from the different doctors that will be involved in your treatment. Organizing yourself will take the time you have to wait for your appointment, and have you focused in a positive way.
Please have someone come with you to your appointments and take notes and remind you of your questions.
Hope this advise will help. And I wish you success!

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@cweeks18

HI TERESA, MY NAME IS CHUCK, I AM A SAILOR AND NOT SMART WITH WORDS, IE,ANXIOUS , WHEN OUT A SEA, I AM ANXIOUS TO GET HOME. BUT I DONT LIKE ANY THING ABOUT MY CANCER. BBUUT I SURE LIKE GETTING HOME. RESP. CHUCK.

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@cweeks18 Let us remember there is both positive & negative anxiousness. Sometimes we experience them at the same time like when we're having a consultation. This is commonly referred to as mixed emotion. It is normal as long as we handle it accordingly to benefit not detriment.

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@54321

I am dealing with only 20% kidney functionality – not really the same issues as your illness. I am not sure when I will am going to have to start dialysis but I know it will have to at some point.
I am on pins and needles every time I have to see Dr ( now it will be nurse NEULOGY – will be seeing me approx every month. So nerve racking. I really would like more info per visit. This waiting is awful.

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@54321 Even though I have no clue what it feels like to have failing kidneys I am no stranger to challenges of survival. When your down & out please come to Mayo Connect where we all have 1 major thing in common – we are all there for each other with strength in numbers. We honestly want a better quality of life for each other regardless of rather we are donor or recipient or both. There is always someone to share the ups & downs with & that always turns grief in to relief if even but for a moment. But that is a moment born in humanitarian spirit of love & kindness

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@hopeful33250

Hello @54321 and welcome to Mayo Connect.

I am glad that you posted about your anxiety about waiting. Even though the health issues are different – the stress of waiting remains the same, doesn't it?

You mention wanting to get more info per visit. That is a great idea. It is good to advocate for yourself and get as much information as you need to be comfortable about what it going on with your health.

Have you considered writing down the questions you would like to have more information about and then asking the doctor or nurse? Sometimes this will help to organize your thoughts before the visit.

I look forward to hearing from you again as we all continue our waiting.

Teresa

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@54321 @hopeful33250 Seven days I would not have been able to appreciate how hard waiting is but you are not alone. I would love to immediatly schedule a transplant surgery as a donor want to be. But I also know success in these matters depend heavenly on making sure all the T's are crossed & It's are dotted. There are great tips & ideas for people on this journey to handle stress including using Mayo Connect to follow stories of people like you & I.

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@stellgma

I had a brain cat scan at Mayo yesterday and will be needing open brain surgery in a few weeks. I feel extremely anxious and scared. The anticipation of the “what if’s” that could happen is the scariest.

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@stellgma Hopefully all goes well with you & yours during these all around trying times. Have faith there is hope for you. I have a friend who has lymphoma cancer (brain lymphoma) for which surgery & chemo are not options. She has such a positive attitude it takes someone who knows her well to see right through her to her anxiety. In her words "The silver lining is knowing my family will miiss me but my death will not be in vain." To me she is beautiful inside & out.

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@maxaz1

This is a great topic…. 6 years ago my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. We were horrified, and we spent the next 2-3 years waiting…Waiting for the next bad thing. We watched and waited for symptoms to develop. We interpreted every little twitch as the beginning of the end. We were in full panic mode, anticipating and dreading the worst possible developments. It took us that long to learn to cope with the fear, the depression, the anxiety…until we finally understood that the advice and care the doctors were giving us was empowering – allowing us to live our lives with the best possible outcomes. Note that I speak as though we both got that diagnosis….After being married to this guy for 38 years, that's what it feels like. Our best days have come from enjoying our family, being together doing the daily activities of life – as well as we can, as much as we can, we talk about the symptoms that have developed – to the doctor, to our family, to each other. Shame and embarrassment and dread no longer control our daily life. Small pleasures are the best!

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@maxaz1 Thank you for sharing both positive & negative repercussions of major illness. Some useful techniques I've learned are not to dwell on the symptoms except when they cannot be ignored at the moment, when they can't be ignored distraction by focusing on something meaningful (interaction with an animal/ person, research of whatever your IT is) to you. It can be inanimate or living as long as it drives you to do more so that it takes your mind off of the symptom. Though it may not replace the symptom it should relieve it.

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@cweeks18

HI TERESA, MY NAME IS CHUCK, I AM A SAILOR AND NOT SMART WITH WORDS, IE,ANXIOUS , WHEN OUT A SEA, I AM ANXIOUS TO GET HOME. BUT I DONT LIKE ANY THING ABOUT MY CANCER. BBUUT I SURE LIKE GETTING HOME. RESP. CHUCK.

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@beckyjohnson Good thoughts about positive and negative anxiousness! Thank you for adding that to our discussion.

Teresa

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@stellgma

I had a brain cat scan at Mayo yesterday and will be needing open brain surgery in a few weeks. I feel extremely anxious and scared. The anticipation of the “what if’s” that could happen is the scariest.

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Thank you for your encouragement!

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@stellgma

I had a brain cat scan at Mayo yesterday and will be needing open brain surgery in a few weeks. I feel extremely anxious and scared. The anticipation of the “what if’s” that could happen is the scariest.

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@stellgma You're welcome. That is one of the reasons we are here.

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@cweeks18

HI TERESA, MY NAME IS CHUCK, I AM A SAILOR AND NOT SMART WITH WORDS, IE,ANXIOUS , WHEN OUT A SEA, I AM ANXIOUS TO GET HOME. BUT I DONT LIKE ANY THING ABOUT MY CANCER. BBUUT I SURE LIKE GETTING HOME. RESP. CHUCK.

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@hopeful33250 Thank you. It seemed appropriate when considering how easy it seems to be for so many of us at so many steps & on such a variety of levels to be understandably anxcious. Might I add a good majority of it is in moving forward which is creating positive energy that we are accuratly labeling "anxcious".

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Hi Becky,
I’m shelly. Waiting and stress….yuck!!!!! With my initial go ‘round with breast cancer, I found two incredible, life saving books, Peace, Love, and Healing,and Love, Medicine, and Miracles, both by Bernie S. Siegel, MD. I’ve read them both several sites and written all over the pages. They are my “go to” books!! Very easy read and so uplifting and informative. They not only give me peace, but empowerment over my own body!
I also start digging in my garden. Somehow getting in the dirt helps my stress level tremendously! I am able to get in touch with my emotions. I can cry, scream, laugh at myself, call my cancer names… etc. it’s my time and no one can bother me!
At this very moment, I am also waiting. Almost four yrs. ago I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Now I have a new mass under my collarbone and the top of my left breast is swollen. Tomorrow I hear from my oncologist. Can I just. Sleep until then…lol, out to the garden

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@shellshocked
Hello Shelly and welcome to Mayo Connect!

I am a volunteer mentor and I just saw your post. I can certainly understand your concern. Waiting is a difficult part of this process, isn't it? I am glad that you have found some support through reading and digging in your garden. I appreciate your recommendation of the books by Bernie Siegel. At Connect we all learn from each other.

You mentioned that you are waiting to hear from your oncologist. Will this be regarding the results of a biopsy or some other test?

I certainly wish you well and I hope that you post again. I look forward to hearing from you. At Connect we are here to listen to your concerns and support you through the process of healing.

Teresa

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