Yet, despite the fact I am almost a 4 year relapse survivor, I sometimes find myself worrying if he will ever return again. If I see bruises on my legs, or I feel unusually tired, or I get dizzy when I stand up, that anxiety creeps up on me. While that anxiety used to be more of a challenge for me, in the past year or so, I decided in the past year or so, not to dwell on it. The Livestrong video above best expresses the reality of this fear but also the many ways in which you can deal with it so that it does not take over your life. Unfortunately, it seems we hear of relapse happening more often than we'd like. But, what is far from the truth is that relapse means death. I remember when I first relapsed, my friends from school would tell me that someone in class said that the leukemia relapse I had might be fatal because they knew someone who had died from it. THAT IS NOT TRUE!!
First of all, get the facts from your doctor. While I am not a huge fan of statistics (simply because I had less than a 10% chance of relapse but it happened anyway), it might make you feel better to know the statistics for your cancer. More importantly, though, you have to maintain hope and positivity. This quote from baseball player Mickey Rivers clearly describes why such hope and positivity is essential:
“Don’t worry about things that you have no control over, because you have no control over them. Don’t worry about things that you have control over, because you have control over them.”
You have no control over whether or not you relapse, SO DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WORRYING ABOUT IT!!! You have complete control over your attitude and outlook on life, SO DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME FEELING ANXIOUS OR AFRAID!
However, I definitely acknowledge that this is easier said than done. Therefore, I highly recommend, as do the videos, that you get extra help if you need it! There are many resources out there to help you deal with the fear and anxiety caused by the uncertainty of relapse, so don’t hesitate to get help before you lose yourself in fear. Think of it this way: I lived 10 awesome years after my first treatment ended before confronting cancer again because I never worried about relapsing. When I relapsed, I just fought it as best I could and now I am back to living a full life again! Take advantage of every day, week, and year, there is so much you can do with your time that is so much more worthwhile!
My dad told me this saying he heard recently, and I think it sums up all of this very well:
"People who live in the past are depressed, people who live in the future are anxious, and people who live in the present are content."