Set Aside the Post-Treatment Anxiety to Embrace the Moment

Set Aside the Post-Treatment Anxiety to Embrace the Moment
Once you have cancer, it will follow you around like toilet paper stuck to your flip-flop: You’re constantly reminded of it, and you’re constantly afraid of it coming back. The anxiety after cancer treatment ends is sometimes crippling. It’s like having the Grim Reaper as your neighbor. He’s an annoying guy who walks over to your yard and says “Howdy-ho, neighbor!” and steps on your rose garden. He ruins your day when you least expect it. Death stalks you. The anxiety touches down quickly like a tornado, and will uproot your day; happiness, faith, and courage snap like trees in the vortex. It’s anywhere and everywhere — at the gym, watching television, clicking through Facebook. What is this lump? Why am I coughing? Oh no, my friend on social media had a recurrence?! That means I’m probably next. It’s a paralyzing nightmare that we live daily. Cancer is completely irrational and unjust in choosing if or when it returns. It’s a never-ending game of Russian roulette. Every cancer survivor I know lives with some form of anxiety due to cancer. And don’t get us started on the self-loathing and guilt we feel as survivors, knowing that others have died from the same disease, yet we are still here on this Earth. Why did I live? Why the heck did I get cancer? Was it because I (insert bad behavior/bad vice here)? Is it going to come back? It’s a senseless inner debate we replay over and over in our heads. I ask myself these questions, but I am not prepared for the answers. I really don’t want to know why or how I got cancer, or if it will come back. Because what if the answer is my own fault? What if the answer is two months from now? I don’t want to know. I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned from having cancer is to live
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One comment

  1. Sylvia Stratford says:

    Now this is such a sweet and poignant article. You very well described our inner feelings I think most of us breast cancer survivors have. It is the managing of a difficult situation
    which is not solved by the cancer treatment. What comes next shows who we are.
    It challenges us to the core of who we are and I think for the better.
    We realise our lives are not infinite and maybe we are not around forever.

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