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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Always * Offline
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Severe anxiety about cancer - November 8th 2016, 03:24 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of suicide, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread therefore might not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

My grandfather recently died because of cancer and now a friend of mine has cancer. In both cases I've gotten extremely fearful of getting cancer too. I'm so scared of getting breast cancer. I am totally convinced of it because my beasts aren't totally smooth and there's this lump numb in my right boob.

I talked to my doctor and they checked it out and said it was nothing to worry about. Nothing has changed in 6+ months since and logic would dictate that it's actually nothing but boobs being boobs but I can't shake the intense fear I have about it and how if I were right I'd probably die. I've already decided if it happens I might kill myself if assisted suicide isn't legal by then. The fear is pretty severe. And when I told my boyfriend that I was so scared I'd planned to kill myself if I got cancer rather than slowly waste away he got really upset, but it's only because my anxiety about cancer is really severe.

I've done many google searches, which have, again, reinforced that (most likely) nothing is wrong and so many web pages that tell me nothing is wrong BUT those are pages on breast cancer websites. How is that supposed to reassure me deep down? Like "oh yeah hey you're probably ok but.... let's look at some cancer info website because you might DIE!"

I live in a place where I can see a doctor for feee. But I also don't want to waste my doctors time about my anxiety-induced health fears. I'm in no rush to go. I mostly just want to know I'm not alone.

It's legitimately so terrifying. I'm also really scared my friend might die. She's to young to go but I'm not God.

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Re: Severe anxiety about cancer - November 10th 2016, 12:52 PM

Firstly, I am really sorry to hear about your grandfathers passing from cancer, and now your friend being diagnosed with cancer too. I do understand where your extreme fear of cancer comes from. I also want to apologise if anything I say comes across as ignorant- I don't know an awful lot about cancer, but I'll try to be sensitive.

I do understand how much of a threat cancer can seem. With no known cause, and no known cure, it is a scary thought, more so if you have known someone suffer with the disease. While it's natural to be concerned about things that are a threat to our health, when it becomes consuming, the fear can seem more disabling at times than the threat itself. Checking your breasts and going to the doctors is a healthy step. You needn't feel like you are wasting their time at all. I may be wrong, but regular checking of the breasts, can lead to earlier appointments and if diagnosed, earlier treatment that may have more of a success rate. I do know that sometimes that's not the case, but you can take some comfort from it.

Breasts being breasts, are never alike and can feel differently during the different stages of the menstrual cycle. Sometimes the odd lump can be nothing more than a harmless cyst. Though it is good to check your breasts so that you can get an understand of what is 'normal' for you.

I think it comes down to finding a balance between checking and looking up things online, and trying to remain calm. While looking online can be reassuring, I do understand that it can also fuel the anxiety too. You aren't alone with this, as many people, me included, worry about cancer of life-changing illnesses. I'm also wondering, are you happy with your life at the moment? I'm not sure if it's the same for you, but when I was at my lowest, I did notice that my fear of illnesses became worse and it also got worse when my dad passed away too.

I think, in the bigger picture of things, we like to think that we have control over our destinies. And so when something like cancer becomes a reality, it makes us realise that we have less control than we thought. I am really sorry to hear about your friend. No-one knows what the future holds, so for the time being, it may be worth thinking of ways you can spend quality time together, rather than worrying about what may or may not happen. At the same time, it's about trying to find the balance too, as it's only natural that you would worry about these things, so if it helps, you can always talk about your fears....getting them out into the open and having someone reassure you can be helpful.

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Re: Severe anxiety about cancer - November 14th 2016, 12:20 PM

When I was, oh, 16-17, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, among other things. My biggest problem was an irrational fear of rabies. Now, rabies, like cancer, is a terrifying and deadly disease. Incidentally enough, some of the symptoms of rabies (hyper-activity, increased heart rate and body temp) are also symptoms of panic attacks.

I had a whole routine for about 5-6 months. I'd wake up, and immediately check what I thought was a rabies infected animal bite on my right leg for signs of swelling or itchiness. Of course, because I've been itching and picking at this spot for a long time now, it is a little red and irritated. This sets off the initial panic.

Then, I went for a drink of water. Another term used for rabies is hydrophobia, or fear of water. Of course, I'd drink the water fine. Every. Single. Time. However, hydrophobia is one of the later symptoms of rabies. Naturally, my panicked brain would default to that flawed judgement and I'd fall even further into my panic attack. I digress.

In the end, the only thing that helped me was my therapist and the meditation technique she taught me(On top of her therapy, of course). I know it might sound silly, but mediation is a real thing. Tried and true. I'd recommend getting a therapist and having them teach you. Most of them know how to do it. But, I can give you a brief guide on how to at least try it out. Some people prefer different ways, so feel free to do some research online too.

Most important part is quiet. Try to find a place without distractions. White noise is fine, or things like fans or maybe even the sound of distant traffic. But if you live in a super noisy area like next to a railroad, or have a generally noisy house, it'll be very difficult to focus.

So, find a nice quiet and comfortable spot. Somewhere you can relax your body. Close your eyes, and start to focus on your breaths. Feel the air rush in through your nose, down your throat and into your lungs. Feel your lungs expanding, as they fill with air and push your chest slightly. Then exhale out of your mouth, and do it again.

Keep doing this, while focusing on how your body feels while simultaneously trying to think about nothing. Check on your body. See how your arms feel. Your legs. You might feel a bit of a rush thru your limbs. For me, it kind of feels like energy rushing from the earth into my body. For some, it can feel like a shield of blue energy around them, or simply like a warm blanket falling over them. Of course, it's all in your head. Just nerves and synapses.

For me, the best spot I could find to meditate was my therapists' office. It was quiet, nice and cool and had the most comfortable couch I've ever sat on. After a half hour to an hour of meditation, I'd feel like a new person for the rest of the day. Like all that weight on my shoulders was taken off. I'd feel... good. Just give it a shot
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