Sometimes, when you are living it, you focus on one perspective and miss everything else around it. Sometimes all it takes is a friend to make a comment that helps you re-see the issue from a different perspective.
The theory behind cognitive behavioural therapy is that you can change how you feel by changing how you think. For me, this matters, because I will find myself feeling down or thinking about worst case scenarios – catastrophizing. Worrying. And sometimes, it takes the help of a friend or family member to change the perspective.
On June 17th, I celebrated 6-months cancer free (woo-hoo). But with this came worry. I saw a graph once about recurrence rates, and it had a bump at 6-months and a bump at 5-years. I think this happens in part because 6-months and 5-years align with doctors visits. It isn’t that it is 6-months post treatment – it is 6-months after my last visit. Anyways, that timing is coming upon me soon. I found myself worrying because no one I know has had a recurrence after I met them. That is – I know people who have had recurrence or worse progression, but they were diagnosed with this before I met them.
As an aside – progression is a term I’m becoming more familiar with and one that I haven’t used on this blog before so people might not be familiar with it. The term recurrence is usually used when you have a local recurrence of the disease. This is when the disease is found again in the same area. A local recurrence may happen if a new tumor appears on the chest wall or in the opposite breast (not that common). But progression is when the disease spreads – it typically means that you went from an early stage to metastasis (stage 4) or if you have already been diagnosed stage 4 it means the cancer is growing again.
So I don’t know anyone who was diagnosed at the same time as me who have had a recurrence or progression. I know that statically, this means that someone will .. and sometime soon .. and this worries me. I mentioned it to hubby and he immediately put a different perspective on things .. he said, no one has and maybe no one will .. that it is a good thing that no one has .. it made me think that I need to change how I think. I should be celebrating that no one has, rather than worrying that someone might. It may sound like a little thing, but it is actually a huge shift in perspective – and that shift helps me clear some of the fog that is my current brain …