We all have waiting times

Posted by Nancy, Alumna Mentor @1nan, Apr 5 11:07am

Even connect mentors have times that are experienced by all those who come to Connect. We have some form of test for our various conditions and then we have to wait for the results. I have been so impressed by many of you who have experienced extreme anxiety over those tests yet have overcome that anxiety and learned to get through the process and stay in charge of your responses. I have been doing this test and waiting since 2002 and next week have a three month lab check. I am so grateful I don’t have anxiety with the wait, but I do have curiosity and even project what I will do if I don’t like the outcome. I have admired @loula, @suz22, and @evamarie0077, and many others for how they have taken charge of life, getting past so many negative aspects of times of waiting. I wonder if you ladies and others would share with other Connect members how you got past letting fear rule your life, or perhaps share what has helped you the most. Those experiences might very well help others. Thank you. Peace, Nancy

@1nan– I also agree with how well @loula, @suz22, and @evamarie0077, have handled their fear. I don't think that it ever goes away though. For me, after 23 years of cancer, it's always about putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I get a foot halfway there and it's stuck for a bit or a while. I don't do well with anticipating but I'm a pro at last-minute fears and barge ahead. Unless I am very ill, each new day I get up. When my foot hits the ground I at least get up and make coffee and wash up. I used to have the dry-heaves but after I had cancer that kind of put things in perspective.

At times I'm positive that it's the momentum of the Earth that carries me to the next step. After cancer, the pandemic, or any other life-threatening event fear is always there, at least in the distance anyway. So I think that even if we move ahead it is a ruling force. One I tolerate, but it's there.

Merry

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@1nan

What a great topic. Yes, having tests and waiting for results is difficult for us all. I have had three occurrences of a rare form of cancer, carcinoid cancer. It's a peculiar type of cancer. As it usually isn't found the typical way, i.e., CT scans, x-rays, MRIs, etc. (unless of course, it has metastasized). Therefore, doctors have to go on, what I call a "fishing expedition" to find any recurrence. As my carcinoids have been found in the duodenal bulb, that means the way to find them is to do an upper endoscopy "EGD" (put a tube with a camera down the esophagus and thread it through the stomach and into the duodenum).

This is a timely discussion for me, as my next EGD is later this month. The good thing is the results always are revealed at the time of the procedure. While a biopsy is done, a good GI specialist knows what they look like and when I leave the hospital I know if I'm clear or not.

Do I feel apprehensive? Of course, I do. It's only natural and human to fear the unknown. However, I try to practice thankfulness as much as possible. For example, I'm thankful that I'm going to a renowned hospital and have a good doctor on staff there. I'm grateful for the health insurance that will take care of this for me.

In addition to thankfulness, I think that if worry continues to distract us from living our life, we have to take action. By this, I mean doing something that you really enjoy. So, it could be yoga, taking walks, spending time with friends, reading a good book, watching a movie, or binging on a Netflix series. Whatever I really enjoy, I just do it!

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@1nan Reading your post again this morning, the doves are cooing, over-wintered Canadian geese are honking. A brilliant sunshine is making its way through the laundry room windows on the east side of the house, belying the fact it is only 30 degrees outside. In the waiting period that I am in right now, juggling new diagnoses and previous ones together, these things remind me that life goes on regardless. A mix of feelings and emotions are normal, and those of us with life-altering situations see these in enhanced lights. Worry, questioning, fear. But also, gratitude and peace.We seek out whatever distraction may appease the frenetic merry-go-round inside our heads, realising "it is what it is" until we have concrete paths to adjust to and follow.

I am grateful to read your words. May we all learn from each other, support and grow with each other.
Ginger

REPLY
@merpreb

@1nan– I also agree with how well @loula, @suz22, and @evamarie0077, have handled their fear. I don't think that it ever goes away though. For me, after 23 years of cancer, it's always about putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I get a foot halfway there and it's stuck for a bit or a while. I don't do well with anticipating but I'm a pro at last-minute fears and barge ahead. Unless I am very ill, each new day I get up. When my foot hits the ground I at least get up and make coffee and wash up. I used to have the dry-heaves but after I had cancer that kind of put things in perspective.

At times I'm positive that it's the momentum of the Earth that carries me to the next step. After cancer, the pandemic, or any other life-threatening event fear is always there, at least in the distance anyway. So I think that even if we move ahead it is a ruling force. One I tolerate, but it's there.

Merry

Jump to this post

@merpreb Merry, I am so grateful that I don’t go through fear in that way, but I certainly do appreciate and feel so sorry for those who have that experience. I have found that this time I am thinking about it more because my last Mayo Clinic appointment in January left the impression that they are considering it a matter of time before I am no longer in remission. While it is more curiosity that I am experiencing right now, I find it comforting to “know my enemy” and know that I will be able to deal with whatever happens because I have done it before. There is a lot of self-confidence that comes from believing and knowing that fact. I guess that is because it really is not an unknown, but rather like revisiting an experience. Is there anything in that thinking that might be of help to you? Nancy

REPLY
@hopeful33250

@1nan

What a great topic. Yes, having tests and waiting for results is difficult for us all. I have had three occurrences of a rare form of cancer, carcinoid cancer. It's a peculiar type of cancer. As it usually isn't found the typical way, i.e., CT scans, x-rays, MRIs, etc. (unless of course, it has metastasized). Therefore, doctors have to go on, what I call a "fishing expedition" to find any recurrence. As my carcinoids have been found in the duodenal bulb, that means the way to find them is to do an upper endoscopy "EGD" (put a tube with a camera down the esophagus and thread it through the stomach and into the duodenum).

This is a timely discussion for me, as my next EGD is later this month. The good thing is the results always are revealed at the time of the procedure. While a biopsy is done, a good GI specialist knows what they look like and when I leave the hospital I know if I'm clear or not.

Do I feel apprehensive? Of course, I do. It's only natural and human to fear the unknown. However, I try to practice thankfulness as much as possible. For example, I'm thankful that I'm going to a renowned hospital and have a good doctor on staff there. I'm grateful for the health insurance that will take care of this for me.

In addition to thankfulness, I think that if worry continues to distract us from living our life, we have to take action. By this, I mean doing something that you really enjoy. So, it could be yoga, taking walks, spending time with friends, reading a good book, watching a movie, or binging on a Netflix series. Whatever I really enjoy, I just do it!

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 Teresa, how very true it is that focus on positive things in our lives can overcome many negatives. Unfortunately many people can’t get past their fear enough to switch thinking. We all know that getting information is great help and people can learn to take control of their lives. And it is no secret that having support of others can make the ultimate difference. That is why I put such high value on Mayo Clinic Connect and all of the members and Mentors and Monitors who provide that support. And personally speaking, I truly value knowing being alone can actually be an option. Is there any one thing that you have learned that helps you the most in facing your fears? It may help others. Nancy

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@gingerw

@1nan Reading your post again this morning, the doves are cooing, over-wintered Canadian geese are honking. A brilliant sunshine is making its way through the laundry room windows on the east side of the house, belying the fact it is only 30 degrees outside. In the waiting period that I am in right now, juggling new diagnoses and previous ones together, these things remind me that life goes on regardless. A mix of feelings and emotions are normal, and those of us with life-altering situations see these in enhanced lights. Worry, questioning, fear. But also, gratitude and peace.We seek out whatever distraction may appease the frenetic merry-go-round inside our heads, realising "it is what it is" until we have concrete paths to adjust to and follow.

I am grateful to read your words. May we all learn from each other, support and grow with each other.
Ginger

Jump to this post

@gingerw Dear friend Ginger. You are so good at observation of your surroundings and then beautifully describing them to us. Then you extract something deeper in meaning that can offer help, hope or inspiration from what you see. It is a gift that seems to help you find soft landings when life has tossed you around. Your acceptance of, “it is what it is” would be a blessing to those who become immobilized by fear and don’t know where their feet are, let alone where they want them to go. I wonder if what you actually do is rename your fear and then deal with your more familiar reality. If so, how might that be told or shown to others so they could get “unstuck” and find a less scared path?
Peace, Nancy

REPLY
@1nan

@merpreb Merry, I am so grateful that I don’t go through fear in that way, but I certainly do appreciate and feel so sorry for those who have that experience. I have found that this time I am thinking about it more because my last Mayo Clinic appointment in January left the impression that they are considering it a matter of time before I am no longer in remission. While it is more curiosity that I am experiencing right now, I find it comforting to “know my enemy” and know that I will be able to deal with whatever happens because I have done it before. There is a lot of self-confidence that comes from believing and knowing that fact. I guess that is because it really is not an unknown, but rather like revisiting an experience. Is there anything in that thinking that might be of help to you? Nancy

Jump to this post

I love your phrase, "know my enemy." So important, @1nan.

To answer your question in the following post I would say that the one thing that makes it possible to move from fear to more helpful thinking would be educating myself about the disorder(s).

The more I learn about a health problem, the more control I feel. It helps me to talk with doctors with a bit more confidence and clarity and to enter into the treatment plan more fully.

Thanks for your comments!

REPLY
@1nan

@merpreb Merry, I am so grateful that I don’t go through fear in that way, but I certainly do appreciate and feel so sorry for those who have that experience. I have found that this time I am thinking about it more because my last Mayo Clinic appointment in January left the impression that they are considering it a matter of time before I am no longer in remission. While it is more curiosity that I am experiencing right now, I find it comforting to “know my enemy” and know that I will be able to deal with whatever happens because I have done it before. There is a lot of self-confidence that comes from believing and knowing that fact. I guess that is because it really is not an unknown, but rather like revisiting an experience. Is there anything in that thinking that might be of help to you? Nancy

Jump to this post

@1nan– I'm glad that you aren't going through this fear in the way that I do. I agree with comfort in “knowing my enemy” I love the way both you and Ginger express yourselves.

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@hopeful33250

I love your phrase, "know my enemy." So important, @1nan.

To answer your question in the following post I would say that the one thing that makes it possible to move from fear to more helpful thinking would be educating myself about the disorder(s).

The more I learn about a health problem, the more control I feel. It helps me to talk with doctors with a bit more confidence and clarity and to enter into the treatment plan more fully.

Thanks for your comments!

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 Teresa, thank you for the kind comments. I believe you named the one thing that is key for everyone. That is educating ourselves. And I have seen you helping members find their way in doing exactly that. No matter how else we navigate through our worst nightmares we can’t fight what we can’t see. You are a good example and many benefit from your guidance. If you think of a way we can all do that better, please share. Nancy

REPLY
@1nan

@gingerw Dear friend Ginger. You are so good at observation of your surroundings and then beautifully describing them to us. Then you extract something deeper in meaning that can offer help, hope or inspiration from what you see. It is a gift that seems to help you find soft landings when life has tossed you around. Your acceptance of, “it is what it is” would be a blessing to those who become immobilized by fear and don’t know where their feet are, let alone where they want them to go. I wonder if what you actually do is rename your fear and then deal with your more familiar reality. If so, how might that be told or shown to others so they could get “unstuck” and find a less scared path?
Peace, Nancy

Jump to this post

@1nan In 12-step groups, FEAR is "False Evidence Appearing Real". So, you're right in that I really look into what is causing my fear, to figure out what is true, what is false. As you, Teresa, and Merry and others know, understanding your body, learning the health issues you face [be they physical, emotional, or mental], and how everything interacts, assists in making decisions, and removing a lot of the fears. I am someone who first looks at things in a logical sense, with few emotions, which for me, helps the "realness". I make the effort to not be afraid, sometimes quite a herculean effort, so decisions can be made with a clear head. I look at all the facts, understand what may be in the near or far future, and remind myself about being flexible.

Ten, five, even two years ago would I have ever guessed to be where I am today? Nope! But "it is what it is" and the best way to honor myself and my Spirit, is to address it all head-on and in my warrior pose. My disorders are not who I am.
Ginger

REPLY
@gingerw

@1nan In 12-step groups, FEAR is "False Evidence Appearing Real". So, you're right in that I really look into what is causing my fear, to figure out what is true, what is false. As you, Teresa, and Merry and others know, understanding your body, learning the health issues you face [be they physical, emotional, or mental], and how everything interacts, assists in making decisions, and removing a lot of the fears. I am someone who first looks at things in a logical sense, with few emotions, which for me, helps the "realness". I make the effort to not be afraid, sometimes quite a herculean effort, so decisions can be made with a clear head. I look at all the facts, understand what may be in the near or far future, and remind myself about being flexible.

Ten, five, even two years ago would I have ever guessed to be where I am today? Nope! But "it is what it is" and the best way to honor myself and my Spirit, is to address it all head-on and in my warrior pose. My disorders are not who I am.
Ginger

Jump to this post

@gingerw I love what you said, "address it all head-on and in my warrior pose." I've always benefited from word pictures and the words, "warrior pose" create a great word picture for me. Thanks for that!

REPLY

I had breast cancer treatments 29 years ago- a long time ago. Everything has been fine, but I still get a chill when it's time for the annual mammogram. I used to be "hysterical" around the time of year when I was diagnosed, not now. I know that if something new is found it's not the initial cancer, but a new one that can be treated. I also have the motto "it is what it is and I'll deal with it".

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