Hi Trying, I’ve only been on this journey for two months now so I might not be the best to comment, but I’ll give my two cents anyway.
I am afraid; absolutely. Every day, to some degree. Some days though I can still live “happily” mainly by focusing on what I’m doing that day and that day only, the things I have (all my senses, my partner and family, that I’m fortunately not in pain, etc), and not thinking too much about the future and all the “what ifs”. I guess this is called mindfulness and it is REALLY hard, but my psychologist is a big advocate and I can see the benefits.
I also have to tell myself that there are just so many possible “imagined” fears about the future (the majority of which will likely not happen), and I have enough real challenges now and real good things to appreciate, that I can’t possibly worry about everything. I have to focus only on the real and the now, and deal with the future as it comes.
I don’t know if I’ll ever feel “normal” again like before my diagnosis, but maybe there’s a “new normal” I can make peace with so I can live my life to its fullest. The thing I find hardest is that due to my personal circumstances I have had to give up in the short term so many of the things that used to make life feel “normal”, so I now have to work on re-establishing some sort of routine and identity beyond someone who just gets cancer treatment, in order to achieve my “new normal”.
Getting help from a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist is a great idea. I had to visit a few to find one that I ‘clicked’ with, but it’s definitely worth doing and persisting with. Also exercise helps my mood and overall well-being a LOT (and as a bonus, is proven to lead to better health outcomes and reduced recurrence risk). I’ve also heard lots of good things about meditation though have yet to get started myself (planned for mid-Jan).
Best of luck, keep talking and asking for support, and focus on the good news when it comes - down from 10 mets to 2 is great news!
Male 37 years; Melbourne, Australia
10/2018 Dx: 3.5 cm rectal adenocarcinoma, 10 cm from verge. Well/mod diff (G1-2), T3bN1bM1a.
3 enlarged local lymph nodes and 4 liver lesions.
MSS, MMR-proficient, mutated in NRAS (G13R).
CEA: Oct-18 = 12; Nov-18 = 14, Mar-19 = 2.4
11/18 - 6 cycles neoadjuvant FOLFOX
12/18 - DVT, started clexane
3/19 - Liver resection, R0
4-5/19 - Long-course pelvic chemoradiation (45 Gy w/ Xeloda)
07/19 - Planned restaging scans and ULAR w temp ileo