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How do you cope with the worry and fear surrounding cancer? What helpful tips do you have to share..

...with others going through it?

Worry...we all do it, or have times in our lives when fear and worry overwhelm us, possibly none more so than when a cancer diagnosis turns up in our lives or the life of a loved one. In fact the word 'worry' is probably a major understatement in these times!

I remember long ago someone saying 'worrying shows you care', really?? Does it? Surely there are far better things we can do to support someone than 'worry' with/for them?

My mother was a great worrier, she would worry about everything and anything. I must admit it my mother's worrying used to infuriate me, because I am in the camp of firmly believing that worrying about something cannot and does not change anything for good in a situation. But it can cause us to deteriorate in mind and body if it runs away from us, or we don't keep it in check.

Suffering from anxiety and fear is completely understandable when dealing with anything cancer related. Just the word itself can strike fear and terror into our hearts. When we are dealing with the 'unknowns' of cancer is possibly one of the hardest times to gather strength and courage to help us.

What did you do? What are you doing?

What things help you?

Perhaps we can share some thoughts here to help others who are going through the nightmare of diagnosis right now.

It would be really great to hear about how you managed to get through those extremely difficult times.

Perhaps you're not managing, and this is you right now. If that is the case, you will find support here, and understanding of what you are experiencing and friendly people who care.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Lou x


  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Lou

    I remember that my Mum was a big worrier too. It used to drive me round the bend but as I grew older I began to understand what she had been through in her life. Her Dad had left her Mum when she was sixteen and their business subsequently went bust. During the Second World War, she and my eldest sister, then a baby, were moved away from the bombing in Tees Side and billeted on a farm in the country. Her brother, an airman was killed In1944 and she must have worried about my Dad who was in the firing line.

    As a teenager, I revelled in the music, fashion and freedom of the sixties and I was too busy having fun to worry about anything at all, including my school exams 😐️ Guess I was lucky as Uni wasn't a must in those days.

    Still, as you said Lou, a cancer diagnosis changes everything and almost always seems to leave physical and mental side effects and that was certainly the case with me. Following months of fairly intense treatment, I was told that I only needed quarterly infusions and blood test going forward and to go out and enjoy myself. Far from doing so, I started to feel as if I had been abandoned and slowly withdrew into myself, unable and unwilling to make conversation or to find the energy to do anything at all. Naturally, it was very difficult for my wife too and we started to fall out. We were lucky, because my doctor put me in contact with Macmillans and they persuaded us to receive counselling, both separately and together. It was not a quick fix, but it helped us to recognise that the cancer had changed both of our lives and how to work our way around that. 

    I am also on anti depressants, but it was the counselling which really helped me to understand what was going on in my head, and how to find a way forward. Macmillans offered me the counselling free of charge. Depression is an illness and you cannot snap out of it. People who suffer from it are not weak - it takes courage to ask for help.

    I think the good news is that you can get through it and get used to the feeling of vulnerability that always goes with a cancer diagnosis. I was lucky to find the help I needed via MacMillan and the lovely people here on LiveBetterWithCancer. 

    Rob x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Rob,

    Thanks so much for sharing in such detail how you have fared and coped with things since your diagnosis.

    I think it is so very helpful for others who are going through it, to know that their worries, fears, anxieties are not exclusive to them, but shared often by others. Hopefully knowing this, it will bring positive encouragement to others reading this.

    It is so good to know that you were able to reach out to find support and help from Macmillan and even here to help you work through the depression and to help you and Mary work through the impact of the diagnosis on your life.

    I suspect the fact our parents lived through the worry and fear that accompanied wartime certainly contributed to the way worry was woven into our family lives and experiences. It is only since I have been researching the family tree and history have I unearthed things the family went through.

    Hope you are having a good day,

    Chat later,

    Lou xx 😊

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Lou and friends

    I bumped into Sharon this morning. She is one of the friends I had made whilst attending a MacMillan Hope Course a few months ago. We had a lovely chat and reminisced about the coping mechanisms we had discussed during the course.

    We had talked about walking, Pilates, Yoga and Meditation amongst other things. Sharon had embraced yoga and her class are still doing weekly Zoom sessions which she loves. I had tried Meditation classes but did not really take to them though others have found them really helpful and enjoyable.

    I have noticed how popular the gardening and the Creative Club threads in 'Cancer Coffee Break' are and I am convinced that pursuing hobbies and interests and sharing them with others, is a great way to cope with anxiety and fear. I know that when I am sitting at my piano, I have no aches pains, fears or anxieties, just the joy of doing something I love.

    Chat soon.

    Rob xx

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