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Blood Cancer Anxieties: Loss & Progression

Blood Cancer Anxieties: Loss & Progression

In this series, we discuss causes of anxiety for those facing physical illness and its side effects. Phrases in bold are the words of our community members across various conditions on what it’s like to deal with these anxieties.

You don’t feel like the same person you were before. You may wonder how long it will take to feel “normal” – or if you ever will.

“There’s nothing I can do to make it go away”

While you try to control what you can and prevent the worst of your condition, there’s a lot more that’s out of control. When it comes to progression and recurrence, you might wonder what will come in the next five, ten, fifteen years. It can be scary to imagine how symptoms and side effects might change or intensify with time.

“Not being able to do anything the way I used to do it”

This can be most obvious when it comes to being accountable to others. People mentioned missing work and being less able to care for their children, spouses, and aging family members. Day to day, there are the challenges of chores, the difficulties of continuing old hobbies, and pressure to be there for others the same way you used to be.

“I wish I could participate in life”

Most noticeable are often the social changes; not being available or spontaneous. Hopping in the car for a last minute road trip may be a thing of the past – or at least a lot trickier than it used to be.

“Resentful that your life has changed”

Going out to eat can become an ordeal. A day at the beach can be more stress than fun. Others may not understand the degree to which your life has changed, from exercise to intimacy to daily errands.

Community members also expressed feeling helpless and being concerned about their future, particularly when they saw no hope of a cure.

loss and progression anxieties

Seeking support

It can help to remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way. If your family and friends are supportive, consider sharing some of these anxieties with them. Sometimes they won’t be able to understand, in which case support groups and online forums can provide a place to vent. If your anxiety is interfering with daily life, you might find counseling or other therapies helpful.

Here are some ideas for coping when anxiety sets in:

  • When you’re feeling limited or frustrated, make a list of what you do well. It can be something concrete, like your mean poker skills, or something subtle, like empathy or decisiveness.
  • Exercise as you’re able! This can include quieter exercises like meditation, stretching or yoga.
  • Give your mind a break – but do something you really enjoy, not just a temporary distraction.
  • Create or do something for someone else. This can help you get out of your own head and feel productive.
  • Read an article by Carole McCue on Finding a New Outlook on Life.
  • Read an article by Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo on acknowledging the depression that may come with a blood cancer diagnosis and finding support.

What worries and fears do you experience? What are your tips and tricks for dealing with them? Share in the comments below:

Comments

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    I use exercise or deep breathing to help with my anxiety. They both help me tremendously!

  • bluchs
    11 months ago

    I actually find myself worrying a lot, and I do fear the loss of my independence again.
    At first I was so sick, my son had to do everything for me(Thank God I Have Him)
    He had to feed me, bath me, carry me, at first he moved into my house, then I moved into his house, it was not fair to him to be away from his own family.( He is married and has 5 kids )
    But I got well enough to move out on my own again.
    but I am getting worse again, so I fear, once again the loss of my independence.
    I am loosing the ability to do physical things now, I can’t lift or climb, etc.
    I used to like to build things, now I am in to much pain, so I just can’t.
    The side effects from the medication I take is terrible.
    I can not participate in life any more, with my weakened immune system, I am scared to be around anyone.
    I do find myself having to depend on others now, and I was always so very independent.
    The next 5, 10 or 15 years? Wow, I pray for even a couple more years?
    My mom died at 72 years old, which at the time, I thought was much to young, now, I pray I see 72 years old??
    My Dr.’s seem surprised, that I am still alive, My oncologist, said ” it is Gods will ”
    My pain Dr. has asked me what I am doing to stay alive?
    I tell them both, diet and prayer?
    I do fell very isolated and depressed now, I moved to far away from my son, it’s only 28 miles, but it is the wrong direction.
    He is actually coming over to see me tomorrow morning.
    I think, He wants to build a pole barn and put a father in law apartment in it??
    He mentioned it once before, but I did not want to see him go to the expense, and then, I die on him?
    But now, I think, I will Jump on it?
    I did get a pet cat, to help with anxiety and loneliness,( she was a senior rescue ) She did help. ( I would recommend it ) I saved her, and She saved me!
    I was recently told, that if my son asks again, that I should say yes, that it would actually help him fell less helpless.
    It is very hard.
    I wish I could give some good tips or advise?
    All I can say is, stay close to those who want to help, keep your faith in God and Pray for Yourself, and all others who suffer from this blood cancer we have.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    I agree that you should let your son help you. As a caregiver, I know how important this is. He loves you and wants to be there for you. I’m sorry you are going through so much. I will continue to send prayers.

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