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The Fear of Recurrence
The Word 'Recurrence' is enough to Give You Nightmares
Fear is the biggie: the insurmountable gruesome horror of life after cancer.
Really, you have no control over whether cancer comes back or not. You’ll follow the doctors’ advice, take the nasty drugs, but beyond that little is scientifically proven to cure you.
This lack of control is unavoidably scary. The chance that cancer will return can keep you awake at night, burning all other thoughts away.
Scanxiety, as you wait for your regular scans and then the days, sometimes weeks or months (!!) for the results, is hell on earth. I’ve found myself rocking on the sofa, as if dementia has taken me early, so incapable of thinking beyond the dreadful assurance that cancer has come back.
You look for guarantees, a way to take control, but there is nothing and all you can do is wait until you can be hopeful it won’t return.
This waiting sometimes stops people living: one big wait until you can be assured you will survive. You stop making plans, scared to commit to the future. The fear of it returning and the fear of needing to cancel plans, means you don’t make any. But then you stop enjoying life.
I was the worst culprit of this. My life ground to a halt, my social life non-existent, while I waited. It’s only with time that I’ve learnt to live despite the anxiety.
I've stopped letting The Fear take over my life by throwing myself into other things. Writing helps: channeling my thoughts down another medium.
Even if I'm writing about negative-stuff, the fact that I'm putting my thoughts down on paper, or on the screen, processes them. It reorganises my feelings and analyses the causes.
And frankly, it just gets thoughts out of my head!
Why not try Morning Pages, the practice of writing three pages each morning of stream of consciousness, getting down whatever floats through your mind? There are countless people championing it as a way to rid the negative and focus on the positive.
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