Anxiety over cancer

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This year has been rough.  Went to the doctors around this time last year as my periods were getting heavier and more painful. After the usual tests came back clear I was sent for an ultrasound shortly after xmas during which they found a cyst on my kidney (nothing regarding periods). Recieved an appointment to see a urologist who then sent me for a ct scan at the end of February. Ct scan was inconclusive as do what it was but did confirm a 2cm x 1.5cm cyst. Doctor wanted a biopsy done to find out what it was as there were different treatment options. Had biopst at end of March and after chasing uo results was told that it was cancer.  Went in for a partial nephrectomy on the 22nd July and recoveres well from surgery. Have never been told what stage or grade it was although my GP says it was low all the surgeon told me of the pathology report was that it was graded 0 for coming back.

So that's my story on my cancer. I am now having extreme anxiety problems. I found a lump behind my ear a few weeks ago and panicked. Was given anti biotics and it went away, In the last week I have had a uti which I thought cleared up but getting symptoms again and I have also found another lump at my ear. I can't help but constantly worry and am living in fear of cancer returning or that there was spread after all.

Can someone please help

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  • Posted

    Hi Margaret

    Sorry to hear that you are suffering from anxiety

    It is natural to be concerned after being diagnosed

    I had a radical nephrectomy just over a year ago (100mm x 90mm tumor on my left kidney). Am now just over one year since the op and am being monitored every 4 months as they thought it might have spread into my lung. Thankfully it doesn't seem to be the case so I am truly grateful to my surgeon and medical team. I sometimes feel a lump here or there and it is natural to be concerned. I have an incisional hernia due to the op but it's ok to worry as i did until my GP explained that all was ok and these things happen (I thought it was something much more sinister.)  I don't know the grading scale (mine was a T3 something) so a 0 sounds really positive. Please try not to worry (I know how it feels from first hand experience) once you hear the "C" word it is hard not to think about it when you have a little lump or a gland feels sore.

    Keep positive as it sounds like they are looking after you. Ask your consultants secretary if you are very worried. They are very he;pful. (mine were brilliant).

    I know it's hard but keep positive and I wish you well.


    Regards  Steve

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    • Posted

      Hi Steve

      Thanks for your reply, and I hope everything stays positive for you.

      I am very grateful that things were caught early and my surgeon and staff at the hospital were great. I am down at my GP on Thursday so will get everything checked out. Thanks for the advice about contacting the secretary for help, if the GP can't help I'll do that.

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  • Posted

    Hi Margaret - what a year you've had.  Very good news that the tumor has zero chance of recurrance. I am guessing from what you said that you still have both your kidneys too--did they take part of the affected kidney out or was the tumor on the surface?  Good thing you took care of it and didn't wait around.

    I would feel like you do, anxious about more cancer. i believe it's good to not ignore symptoms and to take care of things, like the lump by your ear. If it went away with antibiotics, it seems very likely that it's an infection but maybe you need to take the antibiotics longer. i know tyou will check with your doctor, and if you're seeing your GP, maybe try seeing an ENT just to get all the info possible.  UTIs are unfortunately common. i just think it's good to always have things checked out.  

    Are you into any kind of holistic health approaches?  if you had a tumor and are having an unusual infection that comes back, it could be a sign that your overall health or your body generally (immune system, etc) are overburdened and not functioning at the best level and might benefit from some extra support and nurturing.  All those medical things, CT scans and surgery, are stressful for the body too. 

    I had a tumor removed in September, it was on my  pancreas. Fortunately it was not malignant, it was 1cm and probably had been there since at least 2006 (based on old blood test evidence), it's a rare thing called an insulinoma. It gets your attention because it secretes insulin into your blood which then lowers your glucose. The first time i had mine checked this year, after some really scary neurological symptoms, glucose was in the critical range of below normal, it was 32. The lowest normal range number is 65.  The only treatment is surgical removal.  Other than that, all you can do is to eat every two hours to keep your glucose from going too low, with major weight gain. I had the surgery in September. 90 to 95% of them are not malignant (Steve Jobs had a malignant one), and mine wasn't malignant, but the surgery was major, 10 inch incision and i am only just starting to feel kind of normal except for some tightness and pulling on the left side of my abdomen and one of my left ribs is sticking out.  I am glad that it's over, no more hypoglycemia.  twice i woke up in the morning laying on the floor and no memory of how i got there. You can have seizures and coma and brain damage and even death, so surgery is necessary.

    The main thing that has helped with my anxiety about cancer, which i first started having back in the 70s because i had some undiagnosed symptoms that persisted for years and got gradually worse over time, has been doing holistic stuff--i guess it has made me feel like there are things i can do to reduce my risk of cancer, i started this in the early 90s and got dramatically better, the symptoms i'd been having went away, completely, permanently (i now know they were caused by hepatitis C).  But i will google anything to death that i don't understand, trying to learn more about it.  I guess that is related to my anxiety.  

    My mother, back in the 1960s when i was 14 and she was in her 40s, came home from work one day early and her left abdomen was swollen up really big. She was on her way  to her GP. At her GP's office, she was immediately sent right to the hospital and the diagnosis was a malignant kidney tumor.  It was surgically removed, the whole kidney. There was no chemo or radiation, the surgery apparently got it all.  

    That was her first cancer.  In those days they used to give women unopposed estrogen for menopause and she was taking that. They later figured out that unopposed estrogen causes pelvic organ cancer and they no longer treat menopause in that way. She had cancer of the endometrium when she was in her 50s. Her uterus and everything but ovaries was removed. No chemo or radiation, they believed they got it all and apparently they did.  She is now 96 and hasn't had any more cancer. She has been living on one kidney, apaprently that is working out fine.  

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.  Sorry to hear you have had a tough time too.  

      They took away part of my kidney with the tumour, that was the best plan.  

      Can I ask about what kind of holistic therapies you do, I am willing to try anything.  The last few weeks have been constant worry, I thought I was over that after I got my results back but just keep panicking. At the GP on Thursday so will see where we go from there.

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    • Posted

      Margaret--i tried just about everything holistic that i read about. It was a couple of years before i got internet that i first got into that so i could do websearches for info.  but on the first floor of my apartment buuilding there was a health foods store and they had a books section and i started reading and buying some of those books, some of them advised a whole range of different holistic things, nutrition, diet, herbs, supplements, body work like massage or acupuncture. It's paid out of pocket so i was limited, so i started with Chinese herbs.  i went to a Chinese medicine doctor and she gave concoctions of herbs and i faithfully took them, 4 days i day, i had to cook them on the stove and drink the brew.  I used to have abnormal liver function tests. While i was doing the chinese herbs, i did start feeling better, not perfect, but much better, and was very happy when my liver funciton tests came out in the normal range for the frist time since i'd been paying attention to them. It happened two times in a row, i would have it tested every 3 months or so.  I stopped going to that doctor because it was too expensive for me. And my liver tests went back to abnormal again. 

      i tried all kinds of supplemntsi, including colon cleansing herbs.  I tried just about everything.  I went to a homeopathic doctor and he referred me to a nutritionist who he said was special, not like the others. At that time i was trying vegan diet, no animal products, for about a year. He said the nutritionist would probagly recommend meat. She did---beef and fish, though no chicken. i was desperate and she inspired my confidence, so i followed her suggestions, no salt, no sugar, no caffiene, many things were not on the diet she recommended. Each person is different, not everyone gets the same diet recommended. There were so mnay things not on my diet. i shifted to that diet. Within a couple of weeks i was feeling a lot better, actualy feeling great. She said i would have many ups and downs during hte healing process,and htat turned out to be true. The ups were times of feeling really healthy, where i felt confident that my health was good. The downs were when i would get some kind of symptom that would worry me, usually worry about cancer, depending on the symptom, she said i would probably take about a year nad a half to be healed.  i don't know if it took that long, maybe more like a year of ups and downs, but then it leveled out to where i truly was in really excellent health, all my different symptoms went away, headaches, weak legs, foggy head, i just felt good, i had all the energy i could want, i was never fatigued. I was strict in staying on the diet for about 10 years, and then finaly started slacking off.  Still, the old symptos did not come back, but i did get that insulinoma.  My plan is to get back into the nutritional practices that seemed so healing before, 20 years ago. My nutritionist learned how to work with people on how to eat from Henry Bieler MD, he wrote a book called Food Is Your Best Medicine, and my nutritionist, Eileen Poole was her name, followed along with Bieler's way of doing things, but she really worked intuitively. sadly, she died earlier this year. she was about 88 years old. 

      When i got into the holistic thing, i began trying to avoid avoidable toxins i the environment. As i thought of it,  endeavored to minimize exposure of my body to toxins that would weaken my body, and i supported my body with the kind of nutrition it needed, that seemed to result in really good results.  If nothig else, it did give me a feeling of empowerment, that i wasn't just helpless and waiting for the next bad thing to happen, i felt that i was doing things that were resulting in good health and safety from illnesses.  So it was a head trip that relieved my anxiety about being threatened by illnesses.

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    • Posted

      Margaret--see if they have books health food store. Sometimes they have someone who works there who has experience in healing, including their own. There's always the conflict of interest that if they work there, and then they recommend products, you don't really know if you can trust it but if they are just nice people who will share experiences about healing, it could be some help.  Now that there is almost limited info on the web, you shouldn't need to buy any books, unless you enjoy reading them for their own sake.  Just about anything can be read about on the net, from many different angles. 

      I just googled 'anxiety about cancer recurrence' - lots of links.  

      Can also try googling 'healing nutrition,' something like that. I've found that generally healing diets, including the one i was on, emphasize protein and vegetables and de-emphasize grain carbohydrates, especially bread and pasta. On my diet, i didn't have wheat. I had brown rice and unsalted rye bread, and oatmeal. Rice cakes. But sadly, lately i've been reading reports about rice having too much arsenic in it. i really like rice, sorry to hear that. Too much arsenic is associated with different kinds of cancers. i had other grains to, millet and qinoa. Kamut. spelt. But just not a lot. My nutritionist said about bread, "less is more."  I think the Paleo diet is an example of a healing strengthening diet. Also, the kind of diet recommended for people with hypoglycemia. These are all similar, a lot of overlap.

      i'm thinking of you today, and your visit with your doctor. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks again for the information.

      Got on ok with doc. Another ueine sample sent away so will see what that shows ( hopefully nothing) and the lymph node behind my ear she is going to check out in two weeks.

      Went into our local health food shop earlier today but they didn't have any books. Advised me to go to the library or look online but as you said probably won't need any book as there is loads of websites. 

      Will check them out over the next couple of days and make a start.  Also thinking of trying a new hobby that will help me take my mind of things, not sure what yet though. 

      Thanks again


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  • Posted

    Hello Margaret, We have to stay positive they say. But please get all the info on your type of cancer. Macmillan website, but I prefer calling and speaking to a Nurse (very mature, kind and knowledgable). Beating Bowel Cancer website or call their Nurses. Cancer Research helped too. You could try a Cancer Charity group close to you or your hosp. e.g.Maggies. Any of these you can join their forums and get a lot of info from others having been thru the same.

    It takes a while but with every little bit of info. it helps with anxiety we all get from waiting for results of one thing or t'other and we really don't know what we are worrying about, because we don't know. If this makes any sence.

    I have been suffering bad headaches and today was told by my chemo nurse that all the scans have shown clear. It could be many things but that one is ruled out. So now I'm not worried about that.

    It was 1 yr ago I was diagnosed and 1 yr later after treatment and op it may have spread, this I won't know until end of chemo. but not to brain.

    Hope this helps some, but please get all the info you can. It was Maggies who helped me at first with info I couldn't get from Hosp. and Drs.

    If you want my help, I'm happy to give but think you would do better with info from the cancer charity groups.

    Wish you well, Daffs

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    • Posted

      Thanks daffs. 

      There is a local cancer centre nearby and my GP said I should make an appointment to see one of the councillors there but unfortunatly I am also a full time carer for my disabled son so have found it hard to get time. I'll see how the docs goes today but if I don't get any answers that I'm satisfied with I will give McMillan nurses a phone. Thankyou again


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