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Cancer - Worries & Anxiety

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One of my best friends in California, and we go all the way back to college, asked me in an email how I’m doing. Her 10-year-old niece in Iowa had her brain cancer re-occur. How can I complain about anything after that story? That little girl and her family back are so brave and she is going through so much. Mine is nothing by comparison.

So two weeks later, I haven’t answered her yet. The reality is, I am feeling more angst about this surgery than I have before. I don’t have a friendly relationship with anesthesia. First of all, they have problems finding a vein to put the IV in. And I mean problems. My veins are small and my blood pressure is low so I don’t have easy marks to hit.

Then I have an extremely small mouth so it is hard to intubate me. It has to be done fiber-optically.

Last time it took me two hours after surgery to wake up. They told me to tell the doctors this next time, as I clearly got too much anesthesia. I can also sense the “fog” of anesthesia in my brain for the next month to two after the surgery. It is hard for me to multi-task. It is really hard for me to read and concentrate. I generally don’t pick up a book to read for at least six weeks.

But is worrying about the anesthesia an excuse to “be dramatic?” Isn’t it interesting how those feelings and self-judgments keep going around and around?

When my father died in 2002, the grief overwhelmed me for about two months. I didn’t want to socialize and couldn’t stand chit-chat. I didn’t want to talk about him, yet how could people talk about anything else? It’s common for people who have gone through crises—having trouble adjusting to the rest of the world moving on while they are going through their own hell.

When friends would ask me to do something I would almost have an anxiety attack. I just couldn’t do it.

In a sense, that is what I am going through now again. My friends have commented on how they don’t hear from me as much, and how I am home alone so often. (I’m usually the one making the social plans and am rarely at home).

I know that this time to be quiet and slow down can be really good for me. I also am no where near being totally withdrawn or reclusive.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.