Bladder Cancer - Management of Fear through education
Last updated: February 2023
I have battled fear of recurrence for six full years. All of the tips from bladdercancer.net's A Guide for Navigating Recurrence Anxiety have a place in diminishing the paralyzing fear and anxiety of cancer returning. Some of us are born with a distinct foundation of calm and acceptance, but sometimes that's just not in our nature! I am a bona-fied worrier, so concentrating on those facets of Bladder Cancer that I could control vs those that I could not was one of the first challenges I had having been rendered NED in June, 2016.
Focusing on the things I could control
One thing I could control was my involvement in my own treatment plan. With my Oncologist's help, I was able to plot two or three options I might have if any of my CT scans indicated a recurrent metastatic cancer. Over time, these options have grown and branched off into more successful and specific treatment regimens and options for metastatic cancer. We no longer live in a world where it is a winless war. Therefore, as it should be, the longer I remain cancer free, the more confident I can be in the depth of options available to me to fight a recurrence. It's up to me, however, to remain "up" on emerging medicines and treatment options such as immunotherapy and targeted treatments.
Another initial lesson I learned was to not always assume that one doctor, or even one team was going to be up on the latest clinical trials or approvals. I charged myself with doing research and staying educated for the benefit of my own piece of mind.
Keep learning more!
Educating oneself on subject of emerging medicine is not for everybody, but keep in mind it does not require a lot of scientific or technical skills. Because of different advocacy organizations like this one, staying educated can be as simple as joining and online community and posting a question. After a while, you can start to see patterns and places online that are used to spread valuable and legitimate information, versus those that rely more on conjecture or advertising. There are lots of ways to keep the worries at bay - For me, turning and facing cancer was a lot more liberating that trying to distract from it. There are no wrong answers, however! Just know that answers are out there for you as you need them.
This is my story.
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