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Public Group active 4 years, 9 months ago ago

A group for survivors. Tell your stories and discuss your plans.

Cancer Fear (8 posts)

  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 9 months ago:

    We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I had a troubling case this week of a woman diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago but never came to see the oncologist due to fear. Truth of the matter is, she was curable then, but now is not. Trouble is, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this and probably won’t be the last.

    I’ve heard that just hearing the “c” word can create such paralytic fear. Please share with others what this fear feels like and how you got over it.

  • Profile picture of Mary Hayes-Sharp Mary Hayes-Sharp said 5 years, 9 months ago:

    Rick, you remember how frightened I was, but I couldn’t imagine not fighting for my life. I wanted to live, had so much to live for, loving husband, grandkids, wonderful friends, just an amazing life. Went though some things during my cancer battle that I never thought I would be capable of. Now, over 4 years later, it was so awesomely worth it. Perhaps, some poeple facing cancer let fear take presidence over thier love of life. Perhaps, they believe that cancer is stronger than they are. I thought that at one time and still held that thought until I found myself ready to begin the battle. When I talked to you at my very first appointment, I changed my mind. Why? Because you offered me hope. That’s what these folks need, HOPE! The woman who came to you 3 years after diagnosis hadn’t talked to you when she needed to. I wish there could be some way of reaching men and women before any illness occurs. some way to spread the gift of hope to be tucked away and opened whenever the need arises, but I don’t know how we could accomplish that. Does anyone?

  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 8 months ago:

    I totally agree Mary. I think people carry with them the preconceived notion cancer is a death sentence. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    I personally think there needs to be a lot of education and change in language. People need to know that you can live a very long time after a cancer diagnosis. They need to understand that the quality of life can be excellent. The language choices we’ve used: victim, battle, fight of your life, lost the battle etc need to be replaced. Each persons experience with the cancer journey into survivorship in different. Some very physically challenging, some very easy. All very very emotionally challenging.

    I’m very interested in how people addressed their fears. Any takers?

  • Profile picture of Mary Hayes-Sharp Mary Hayes-Sharp said 5 years, 8 months ago:

    Well, I used a lot of visualization. I “saw” myself enjoying life with my loved ones. I concentrated really hard on things I wanted to do in the future. It really helped me. It was stronger than my fear.

  • Profile picture of Mary Hayes-Sharp Mary Hayes-Sharp said 5 years, 8 months ago:

    Oh, and I hope you had a calm weekend being “on-call.”

  • Profile picture of Rena Bird Rena Bird said 5 years, 8 months ago:

    I don’t know that there is a sure way to get rid of fear. For me, fear is a signal that I need to pay attention and to be present to what is going on. When I got my diagnosis my stomach dropped out through my toes. I don’t think I heard a word my doctor said after the words, “Breast Cancer.” I cried, sure, but I never once thought about giving up. To be honest, I’ve been scared throughout my treatment, but I keep on because I’ve committed to the process of healing and living through this.

    Survival rates, calculations, odds, numbers–they are just that. No one can predict with certainty how much time we have on this earth. By going on in spite of my fear, I affirm the sacredness of this life I’ve been gifted. By going through the this treatment process I have invested in giving myself as many good years as possible, how ever many that turns out to be. To me each day is something to be grateful for, be it one or one million.

    There have been times when I have wanted to give up, stop treatment and just let whatever happens happen. Each time, a loved one was there to remind me that my life is a gift to them even if I didn’t feel at that moment that my life was important to me. Some days that reminder is all I had within me to keep going, and it was enough to walk through the fear.

    For me, it is not so much about overcoming fear as it is about acknowledging that fear is present and moving through it.


  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 8 months ago:

    Absolutely beautifully put. Perhaps the fear is a way to scare us into better living to reduce the risk of getting cancer. And in that way the fear may be beneficial. I just wish more folks would adopt a healthier lifestyle (stop smoking, eating better, moving a little) to affect that goal.

    So perhaps I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. I’d like people to be thoughtful about the choices they make with regard to cancer treatment, prevention and survivorship, as you have so beautifully stated. And some degree of fear my drive that. On the other hand paralytic fear, which upon hearing the “c” word sends folks into hibernation, is harmful. And probably results from an unrealistic expectation that a cancer diagnosis is equivalent to at least life without parole and at worst a death sentence.

    I’d love to change that expectation and replace it with yours. All o us are placed in this Earth for a short period of time. Each moment of that, with or without any diagnosis is precious. Let’s move beyond the fear savor each moment.

  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 8 months ago:

    NLawton says:
    I can connect with that same situation. i was working in a spine case. It was a 39 year old woman with young children, who while taking a shower , fell. She was ”clumbsy and stumbling a lot recently. She came to the operating room and when we wanted to position her, we saw it….breast cancer…untreated! To make a long story short, she denied anything was wrong and with counciling she went home in denial. I don’t think I ever fell so helpless. I did not know what to say. The first thing one thinks of is how could this happen? Many folks were ”angry” with her. But, I know that fear and can understand why a person just ”stops.” I remember stopping…but I still remember asking myself, What is the right thing for me to do? I am thankful I could continue on my journey. That was 33 years ago. My prayers are with that woman and her family.