What scares you? Is it a scary movie, zombies, or germs?? What if one of the things that scared you the worst came to be?
You tried all you knew to do to avoid it… you ate right, exercised, didn’t drink or smoke, stayed away from sugar, soda, caffeine, and it still didn’t do any good. You were affected just like if you had smoked all your life, ate fast food daily, and sat on the couch drinking soda all day.
It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re healthy or not. It doesn’t care if there has never been another case in your entire family history, or if you have multiple relatives with it. Even non-smokers get lung cancer. It comes on like a tidal wave that engulfs you and everyone around you regardless of whether you are stage I or IV. And the worst part of it is, there is nothing you can do about it.
Of course there is treatment, chemo – radiation, etc, but there is nothing you can do to prevent it, or make it leave once it’s here, like if the medicine doesn’t work. I have been very blessed that my treatment has worked, and I continue to “get better” daily. I say that in quotation marks because with a stage IV diagnosis it’s a chronic disease, like diabetes, I will always have cancer… at least that’s what the Dr’s say, my faith tells me I will be healed one day.
But we’re talking about fear. Fear does no good. Being fearful, anxious, or terrified does us no good, especially when it’s a fear of something you can’t control. I am talking now about fear of the unknown. I see many times patients who are about to have a scan or medial test will worry. The appointment is a week away; they will have the test and then have to wait a week for results. The entire time they will be in a panic. Why?? What do you accomplish by having all this anxiety in your life? Nothing. You can’t change the outcome by worrying about it. Until you have the results, good or bad, there is nothing you can do, so don’t fret about them. Once they are available, you can do what has to be done.
I have scans every 3 months. My diagnosis was 4 years ago. If I had made myself sick with worry before every scan, every blood test, every Dr’s visit I would be in a padded room by now. No one could withstand that much fear and anxiety for that long a time and not need psychological help. I go into my scans with an open mind and positive hopeful thoughts. When I get the results, (which only one was bad – and even that one wasn’t that bad), I am ok. Did my positive attitude help me have a better result? No, I don’t believe it did, but it surely didn’t hurt. And if the attitude was helpful to me mentally and emotionally then it certainly was good for me.
My mom was a worrier. She was always fretting about something big or small. I got her the book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff – PS: It’s all small stuff”. She read it cover to cover more than once. She remarked to me that she wished she’d had that book years ago – she might not have so many grey hairs…
Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace. Remember that and as the song says, Don’t worry, be happy.
by Norma Pitzer-Kelly