About 8 months ago, I was diagnosed with melanoma, I had it removed and then was called back into the doctors to have more taken out. One thing I regret is shutting down during that fortnight or so, because I didn't hear, nor did I take in anything that the dr's told me about my melanoma. My best friend did the listening and the talking and pretty much held me together. All I heard was melanoma...and all I could think was cancer. I got the all clear though, so I consider myself one of the lucky ones.
This week, I had a bit of a scare. I found a lump under my arm...an ultrasound and three doctors appointments later, I was told that I had two enlarged lymph nodes under my arm, but the ultra sound was clear of cancer. Second time lucky.
While I'm one of the lucky ones, I struggle to live with the fear that one day this will spread. I know deep down that it will...call it a feeling, call it intuition...call it paranoia...call it whatever you want but whatever it is, I'm convinced that it will happen. I try to live my life to the fullest and make the most of it, but it's difficult because deep down I carry this fear with me.
I'm a personal trainer and I'd convinced myself after my diagnosis, that if I stayed strong, fit and healthy I could prevent it from spreading. The scare this week taught me that it's not the case. I can't do a thing about it. And that's a hard lesson to confront too. One of my friends has just been told that his melanoma has spread into his brain. They found it in his lymph nodes and now it's in his brain. He's healthy, he's fit, he's strong and still it's spreading. I could be facing this...this is what could be ahead for me. I don't think I'm mentally strong enough to go through it. I'm too afraid of it.
I lost my pop to cancer, I saw what it did to him and what it did to my family. I don't know how to face that happening to me.
At the moment, I'm cancer free, but this thing is inside of me and somehow I have to find a way to live with that and to live with the fear.
Hi Amity, I'm in a similar situation (sort of). My husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 3 years ago, which is incurable. He had chemo, went into remission half way through (big yay!!) and has been doing brilliantly ever since. BUT, there's always that thing about when will it come back...
I discussed this with my counsellor one day (I needed counselling to come to terms with everything that happened), and he said that because we were both being vigilant with his health, because we knew the threat he was facing, any changes that happened would be noticed very quickly, and it would be caught very early. I found this fairly comforting, and I hope you do too. In the meantime, don't forget that you are healthy today. Sending big encouraging hugs, Emily
I've been in remission from NHL since January this year. Learning how to cope with and manage the fear of recurrence is very tricky. I find meditation, keeping a diary and generally doing activities that I really enjoy helpful. I have a massive sweet tooth so I bake a lot. The happiness I feel when I'm eating a dark chocolate brownie I made from scratch is greater than whatever fear I have. I eat a brownie every day!
The scary thing about cancer is that it doesn't discriminate. Young, old, healthy, not so healthy - everyone is potentially in the firing line. There are things you can do to reduce the risk (eg quit smoking, slip slop slap, diet, exercise) but the risk will still be there.
I take things one day at a time and try not to worry about things beyond my control.
A wise person once said "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived".
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.