Cancer Q & A
with Kathy Kanavos
Ask Me Anything!
Kathy O'Keefe Kanavos addresses your
Logically, I know this is an irrational fear. Logically, I know the statistics on recurrence. Logic does little to ease my fears. All the statistics in the world offer me no ease.
The probability of me having breast cancer at 38, as the fifth of five daughters with no family history on either side of my family, were astronomically low.
The probability of being diagnosed with a second primary cancer, when I have none of the risk factors associated with lymphoma, were astronomically low. So I cannot seem to convince my mind that this will "probably" not recur once the treatments are stopped.
Sorry if I am coming across a bit harsh. My fears are winning over my mind and I need some kind words of comfort.
I understand your feelings and fears. I was diagnosed with stage two-breast cancer when I was 44 with no history of it in my family. Five years later, while taking Tamoxifen, an estrogen-receptor modulator treatment, I was diagnosed with recurrence.
This extended treatment in pill form has been used for 20 years to reduce the chances of recurrence or getting another form of breast cancer. It didn't work for me.
I'm not telling you this to scare you. Just the opposite. The way I look at it, there are some very special people who can survive cancer multiple times, and you are one of them. More women than ever before are surviving multiple cancers. And, like me, you now belong to a club to which you would prefer not to be a member, but the alternatives are even less desirable.
I, too, had anxiety attacks that defied logic. Emotion is not logical but it is a normal part of healing and thriving after surviving. Then I realized I needed to change my perception of illness, recurrence and remission.
If you catch a cold and then get over it are you in remission or are you cured? I view it as being cured. If you catch another cold, did you get it back? No. You got sick again. You got well before so you can do it again. You don't live on cold medications so that you will stay well. I am not in cancer remission. I am well. I am cured.
We all want to live a long and prosperous life. The truth is that we live from the moment we are conceived, until the moment we die. We all must die, that is the rule of life. And, who wants to live FOREVER anyhow? So, I began to focus on living life to its fullest and not focusing on inevitable, death. I will not die from cancer. I will die from life, just as I would have before cancer.
I hope you find this of some comfort. Life is a bag of sh#@ and giggles. Sometimes we must hold our nose while we laugh.
Ask me anything.
I am thankful for the many Blessings I do have in my life. But, living in unbearable pain from cancer and the therapy I have endured is so hard. The new pains and the old pains mixing with over 32 years of Migraines! I'm sorry. I do share too much when I should just talk of the good!?
I'm still grieving over friends who died during treatment and all of my favorite cats that passed during this cancer battle. I so miss them. My cats always cheered me up! Focusing on them helped me. I still have a few left but my favorites are gone. Now my bed is empty. They helped my migraines with their meditating, healing purrs. I've heard that the purrs cats emit are the same sounds in sound therapy!
My cats would sit on my broken bones or my surgical sites or by my head when I'd get my Migraines. That's hard to get over. I know the longer and further out I get from treatment, and if any of this pain ever stops and I heal, I can go on. Do you think I will ever stop missing my friends and my cats? Thank you for kindly commenting. Thank you for caring!
Wishing everyone their own wellness and healing!
Yes, it is very painful emotionally to lose loved ones during treatment. Unfortunately, that is one of the side effects of battling cancer that no one tells us about—casualties of war—when our "buddies" in the foxhole beside us don't make it.
I grieved for my fallen friends, too. Then I realized something very powerful. When it is my time to "pass-over" I will have many friends waiting for me. It will be a great "Welcome Home, Kathy" party. I think you will have many friends waiting for you, too. And, that includes your cats. Our fur babies are very important to us. It sounds like your kitties stayed around to take care of you until you were well. Then, unfortunately, it was their time to leave you to finish healing on your own.
Cats are very wise. My cat, Baby Cakes, was 26 years old when he passed-on. He was with me through both of my cancers, so I understand your grief at losing your fur babies.
Yes, their purr is magic and very healing. During my nap-time Baby Cakes used to place his head on mine, wrap his paws around my neck and purr so loudly that I could not hear the ringing in my ears from all my treatments. I would fall right to sleep.
Often when an alpha cat gets ready to pass on, it will designate another pet in the "pride" to take its special place with its human mother. Observe your cats and see who your most beloved feline child chose for you.
Ask me anything.
Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos is a two-time breast cancer survivor who penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Psychic Aspects of Healing.
She is represented by Scovil, Galen & Ghosh Literary Agency & Steve Allen Media. She's a phone counselor for R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, Q&A cancer columnist for CapeWomenOnlineMagazine, an inspirational speaker, mentor, cancer volunteer, and Cambridge Who's Who Executive Professional of the Year 2009-2010.
Kathy was recently interviewed on the Dr. Pat radio show, and told how her dreams found her cancer that the doctors missed. You can listen to a podcast here.
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