Most health care providers give you advice on how to battle side effects from chemo or radiation. For anyone who has undergone cancer treatment, we know what medications will help with nausea or what creams to use after radiation. No one prepares you for life after cancer.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my InstaStories yesterday. I’ve had a cold for the last week and a half and my mind immediately goes to cancer. It’s so hard to think rationally that my runny nose and cough is simply the common cold. I even made an appointment with my doctor for confirmation that it is indeed a cold and it will go away with some rest and cold medicine.
Life after cancer is hard. Every ache and pain brings me back to those days when I was first diagnosed. It brings me back to sitting in that chemo chair not knowing how I would feel the next day, week or month. It brings me back to having no strength to even take a shower or walk up the stairs. All those memories come flooding back when I am simply trying to leave them in the past. It’s hard. Really hard.
Even posting the below picture brings me back to all the smells and feelings of sitting in the infusion unit. The feelings of being scared. The smell of the saline for my port and the hospital chicken noodle soup that I tried to eat. I can’t even wear the same clothes I wore to chemo. Just looking at them makes me sick. Is this just me?!
I thought I would share some tips that have helped me battle anxiety. I’m always looking for more so please share anything that’s helped you. We can all learn from each other.
5 Tips to Help Battle Anxiety
1. Breathing. Whenever I feel myself getting anxious, I simply take a few deep breaths and close my eyes. Just focusing on my breathing and not thinking of anything else, can make the mind calm down. Try counting to 10 very slowly and with intention.
2. Yoga. I absolutely love yoga. It’s so relaxing and fulfilling to me. There is a mind body connection that you can’t really get from other workouts. What’s better than lying in child’s pose for 5 minutes?! It’s the perfect combination of breathing, stretching and meditation.
3. Trying not to think too much about the future. Focus on the present. This tip is really, really hard and I’m trying to get better at it. I’m a planner. I always want to think of what could happen next week or next month so I’m prepared both mentally and physically. It’s been really hard for me to stop thinking about the future. I’m trying really hard to focus on the moment and simply not worry. Easier said than done. Am I right?!
4. Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been amazing for me. I went all throughout chemo and it helped immensely with my side effects. I go every other week and I feel so much better after. It helps with my joint aches and hot flashes from Tamoxifen and it definitely helps with anxiety. I highly recommend it. There are so many proven benefits.
5. Turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. A part of life after cancer is the constant worry. I feel like all of my thoughts can be negative and a lot of “but what if it’s back?!” Turning these negative thoughts into positive ones can be really helpful.
Instead of “That cough is probably cancer!” I rephrase it to “Monique, you went to the doctors on Monday; they checked your lungs, cough and other symptoms. You simply have the cold. It will go away.”
It may sound silly but talking to myself in my mind and reassuring myself that my negative thoughts are most likely untrue, helps.
Are there any tips that help you? Comment below!
As always, keep smiling!