Oh boy, have I been there. That’s a hard one to shake, at least it was for me. Control ended up getting me through it.
The first time it happened, I think I just wore myself out with cleaning closets and other projects that I felt would make it easier on my family when I was gone. I know that sounds really morbid, and I guess it is, but my thought was: I’m feeling good now, so I might as well tackle this chore while I can. It’s not an approach I would recommend but it did make me feel I had some control when everything else was beyond my control. As I said, I think I just wore myself out.
The second time it happened, I focused on the health points I could control: diet, exercise, mental focus. Before I was diagnosed, it was easy to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and do some form of meditation more often than not. After I started chemo, my good habits suffered, either because I didn’t feel well or, at times, because I was feeling sorry for myself. So when the feeling of dread hit, even after I started feeling well, I focused on giving my body complete support. If I wasn’t able to go outside to ride a bike, swim, or walk, I did a minimum of 30 minutes of walking inside the house with the music turned up, singing my heart out (Fight Song became a favorite). I planned, shopped, and prepped meals a week ahead, with alternates I knew I could tolerate if I started feeling nauseous. I started doing Yoga Nidra healing meditations when my mind was too distracted for regular meditation (I highly recommend Kamini Desai’s Yoga Nidra app - 36 minute healing shift session, very rejuvenating and empowering). That just snapped me out of it. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t still wonder when the next shoe would drop but I was somehow at peace with it all.
I carried that “peace” into the third time it happened. Somehow it gave me the determination, or maybe it was stubbornness, to search out and find the next step. It was about control again: when this happens, I will do that. When the worst case happened, I had a plan. And so when I ran out of chemo options and was put in the wait-and-watch waiting room, I already had the next treatment planned out. And that’s where I am today. I’ve made it successfully (fingers crossed) through my treatment plan, I’m feeling really good and hopeful, but I’m also mapping out the next step when that next shoe drops. But here’s the thing: it’s not depressing, it’s really OK.
Nov-2009 Early stage CRC found during routine colonoscopy
2010, 2011, 2014 F/U colonoscopies, all clear
Jun-2016 CRC during followup colonoscopy, surgery, Stage 4, KRAS, MSS, inoperable lung mets
Aug-2016-May-2018 Folfox, 5FU & Avastin, 5FU, Folfiri & Cyramza
Aug/Sep-2018 YAG laser surgeries (Germany), 11 nodules removed
Nov-2018 clean CT scan
Mar-2019 New lung nodules
Apr-2019 Dec-2020 Xeloda/Avastin, SBRT, cont. Xeloda/Avastin
Dec-2020 Progression, considering all options