Cancer Phobia

That’s me….with my wonderful husband.  We were going out to help celebrate a friend’s birthday.  A friend who also had breast cancer and was my first connection to the most wonderful, supportive group of survivors I’ve met.

Birthday’s seem to become more important after you have faced cancer and the thought of dying.  My own birthday is approaching and while I am extremely blessed and grateful to be coming upon this milestone, I am also finding myself increasing in my stress and fears of reccurrence.

You hear a lot of talk about getting use to your “new normal” after having cancer.  I’m not sure I know yet what my “new normal” is.  I guess coloring my hair and styling it different so the thin, bald spots don’t show as much, drawing on eyebrows, painting my lifted damaged nails, dealing with hot flashes and putting on cute sundresses over my prosthetic so that I look “normal” to others is part of my “new normal”.  Limitations in what my body is willing to do is part of my “new normal”.  Taking lots of supplements, eating healthier and, unfortunately, going to lots of doctor appointments is my “new normal”.  Some of these changes are good things, however some are not.

While I try very hard to fight the Cancer Phobia and fear of reccurrence, some days are harder than others.  The American Cancer Society estimates that at least 70% of survivors experiences fears of recurrence.  I think the other 30% are very good at masking (a.k.a. lying) about not experiencing it.  With every new ache, pain, cramp, twitch, bump, etc. comes a nagging fear that ….”it’s” back!

I tend to be a very busy person and not one at all to sit around and mope or even just sit around and do nothing.  I keep myself active and at times it does help keep my mind off of the elephant in the room.  I also do believe in the power of positive thinking so I try to think positive so that things will indeed turn out positive.  But, I’m not going to lie to myself and say that I feel great all the time.  I admit, I feel scared and anxious about what may be happening to my over slashed (4 surgeries and more to come), over poisoned (chemotherapy), and over burned (sooo much radiation and scans with x-rays and radioactive materials) body.  Each month brings new joy as I wake up breathing each morning and I spend another day with my family and friends, but it also brings new worries as I’m hypervigilant of all the signs that my body is still struggling to heal.

I am a fighter and will never give up in my quest to be healthy and live as long as I can, but every once in a while a good ‘ole fashion cry in the shower is a great stress reliever.  So, as I learn every day what my “new normal” is looking like, I’m going to keep eating healthy, exercising, researching new ways to help myself (and hopefully others) live longer and feel better and keep the Cancer Phobia at bay.  If you have any stories, recipes, or health tips you would like to share I would love to hear from you.

-Kristen
Choosing healthy living over dying :)

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8 thoughts on “Cancer Phobia

  1. Kristen, you are beautiful. Keep up the fight. You are also amazing for spreading the message to others about what they can do to increase their chances of survival. Many people with cancer have no idea what to do and think the only method of treatment is the one their doctors prescribe. Happy early birthday and may you have many many more. xx- Somer

  2. Kristin, thanks for your inspiring and honest blog. Recurrence is usually rolling around in my head and I try to keep it at bay as best as I can but it is something that is always “there”. You look great! Keep fight the good fight! Also…have you found anything that will help peeling nails? I have never had this problem before and didn’t have it during chemo but have had it post chemo. It’s very frustrating!

    • Unfortunately I haven’t found anything for the nails. I have obviously tried lots of different veggies and wheatgrass shots to help with hair and nail growth with little success. I have also tried Biotin but it didn’t help either.

  3. Hail Mary. Rely on her to take some of you worry away. I promise if you talk to her she will listen and give you some peace. I love you.

  4. I think no one really understands cancer except for people who have it. Keep fighting Kristin. I do actually find it hard commenting because so many people I know lost their fight. Then again I know people who have changed due to their diet only a small amount due to chemotherapy & radiation. Your blog is important to those people who get told we cannot do anything for you anymore, which my Mum was told after fighting breast cancer for 7 years. She was devastated and felt alone. When my parents visited me here in Australia for a holiday a couple of years ago we went for walks through the rainforest, picnics on the beach, swimming in the ocean. We did so much and then when my Mum returned to Scotland she went for a checkup and was told more cancer has spread to other parts of her body. She was so fit and feeling great finally laughing again and genuinely happy with her life during her holiday… She had a lot of support as you do also, but sadly lost her fight. There was a clinic here on the Sunshine Coast of Australia which tried alternative ways of fighting cancer. Two cases I know of are men that I used to work with. Both diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Both told there was nothing that could be done for them as it was too advanced. They went to the clinic and they cut sugar out of their diet and other things. They also strengthened their bodies with weight training. I see them both often and they are proof that poising and burning your body is not the only option to fight cancer.

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