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Coping with Anxiety and Stress during Cancer

Like most when dealing with cancer, Stress and anxiety can become overwhelming. Have you ever seen people at the doctor's office or hospital who are fighting cancer who seem calm, have it all together, and you wonder, "how are they so relaxed and happy?


People have there own ways of copy with Stress and anxiety, some of them meditation, prayer, reading, exercise, and several other things.


I will share with you a couple of things that get me through a tough time; hopefully, you can find some that help you.


There's no question that when you are first diagnosed with cancer, you are a basket case, anxiety levels are through the roof, Stress rules your life. Some things you may experience are panic episodes, insomnia, or too much sleep inducted by medications or alcohol, flu-like symptoms that I caused by anxiety and Stress. These are real, and they will affect your body and mind to the point of severe depression.


What made it worse for me is when I was diagnosed in 2012, I had just lost my wife in October 2011, and my dad in April 2011, both from cancer.


Being a very spiritual person, I first moved to prayer. I'll be honest; some were angry prayers. I prayed almost hourly and read my Bible. These kept my mind somewhat occupied. Then, one night when lying sleepless in my bed, I had a thought, and I had prayed it several times. It's in Gods' hands! Sure we say it, but I believe it, and when I woke the next morning, I felt different, like a weight was lifted. Over the next few days, my life was getting back to somewhat normal. I went to work, and this routine also helped.


Next, all the doctor visits, and the test began. I visited five doctors in my first week, had X-rays, a CT scan, a Pet scan, ultrasounds, an MRI, and not sure how many gallons of blood I gave! Oh, did I mention I had surgery the next week to remove and biopsy a lymph node?


That is when the anxiety kicked in big time. Every time a new test came up, I could feel it building, almost to the point of panic. Then I remembered something I was taught in the military. We learned that Learning to control your physiology, to manage your anticipatory responses as you remain in a stressful situation, are the first steps to controlling your brain's response. Say what, you ask. This is not some special powers within but is as simple as the right breathing in a time of panic or anxiety. Yep, breathing.


In the Air Force, we were taught something called the Four -Square breathing method. And yes, it works! Here it is


  1. Empty your lungs by breathing out

  2. Breathe in for four seconds.

  3. Hold the air in your lungs for four seconds.

  4. Exhale for four seconds.

  5. Hold your breath, lungs emptied, for four seconds.

  6. Repeat until you feel the calmness and focus takes over


Give Four -Square breathing a try, practice for a few days, and every time you feel panic coming over you. It works for me and thousands of military, Police and first responders around the world, and I hope it will help you.


So, began with prayer, talk to people, get you feeling out. Talking about your feeling does help. Don't expect a two-way conversation; some people don't know what to say in situations like this. Let them just listen.


God Bless you on your journey and stay tuned for more articles and updates. Please subscribe so you don't miss out


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