Menopause

My Cancer Story: White Pants and Worry

White Pants Up Close

Brace yourself for some TMI.

On a recent trip to Dallas that featured several mother-daughter shopping outings, Laura pulled white pants from the rack. “I bet these would look good on you,” she said. “They can be dressy or casual and are great for summer.”

I tried the pants on. Laura nodded her approval. Next came the underwear discussion. My child is a  pro on what to wear under white pants. I found it difficult, though, to plunk out a chunk of change for two inches of fabric.

But that’s not the TMI part of this post. This is:

“We can wear white pants without worry!” menopause types like to say, honoring the fact that periods are over. But blood, and the fear of blood, means something different to me now. Blood, several years into menopause, was the red siren that launched my journey into endometrial cancer. (Please don’t panic if you see blood. There’s only a one in eight chance it’s cancer, but DO see your doctor.) In my case, the blood was bad blood.

My surgery and recovery went well, and as Cliff reminds me if I get mopey, my prognosis is quite good. Yet I live daily, (actually many times a day) in fear that I will discover blood. Every bathroom trip, every change of clothes, brings on the possibility. Cliff’s suggestion is not to look each time. I’m trying that and am having some success; however, habits are hard to break. For now, the NOT looking reminds me there’s something scary I could be looking for.

To those of you who are cancer survivors: how do you deal with the fear it will return? Any tips?

And thanks to Laura for suggesting I buy white pants. Hate cancer! Love my new pants!

white pants

Cancer recurrence: I found this article on Cancer.net. I had a light bulb moment when I read the heading: “Accept your fears.” I was able to accept the cancer, especially since the prognosis is good. I never really wondered why me? Stuff happens. Instead of trying to figure out how to banish all fear, maybe I can have an easier time if I accept it like I did the cancer. Worth a try!

21 thoughts on “My Cancer Story: White Pants and Worry”

  1. My situation is different because I don’t have a “sign” to look for multiple times a day like you do. That would be tough! But, remember, you aren’t too far past a terrifying situation. I think it will get easier for you not to be afraid. I give myself permission to fear the worst during oncologist visits, otherwise I rarely worry about it.

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    1. That’s wonderful that you’ve figured out how to not worry in-between. And thanks for reminding me it hasn’t been that long. I need to tell myself that some. I always think I need to put my head up and move on, and sometimes, it might be better to cut yourself some slack!

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  2. I totally understand how seeing blood can be frightening. I almost died from hemorrhaging from the uterus. I remember thinking, please do not let this be something that would make me have to go to the hospital, as I sat alone with the hemorrhaging not stopping. Next thing I knew I was awakened by my husband with an ambulance on the way. I had passed out. The sight of blood will never be the same. Normal memories of menstruation suddenly halted — blood from the uterus meaning something entirely different, and not normal, not benign – something frightening, something life threatening.

    But, as time goes on, the fear lessens. One is whole, and as long as one goes forward striving for health, I believe the danger is past!

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  3. I must add that, of course, my life threatening situation wasn’t related to cancer. The concerns and successful resolutions are different. I guess what I was trying to emphasize, though, is how important I believe positivity is in regaining and sustaining health. And, how powerful being active in doing things that you believe will sustain and promote health is, as I really think this can help dispel debilitating fear and worry.

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      1. Hi Barbara,

        I actually don’t do anything “formal” so to speak. But, I think of my body (or the part of my body that I am concerned about) as being healthy. So, I might think of greeting my body in the morning with something like, “Hi, healthy happy body!” And, in terms of being active in doing things to sustain health, I also research factors that make cancer and other diseases difficult to exist or develop, and then incorporate certain foods, etc. into my lifestyle. So, nothing formal. But, in doing these kinds of things, I feel less worried, and I am then confident that my body is healthy and healing.

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  4. Yes, you are, indeed amazing, Barbara, with all that you do on your website and for us Friends for the Ride! I hope that my little personal “tips” may make some sense to at least some people! But, I am not a cancer survivor.

    I was so really hoping to find out how other cancer survivors cope with the worry of recurrence of cancer.

    But, on a lighter note about those gorgeous white pants from the Loft – wear them if you feel liberated! But toss them if you feel nervous about spotting, etc.! No worries!!!

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    1. The intent being to reduce a trigger point for worry! Not that you would actually ever have any spotting, but why have something around that might make you think about it and worry!

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  5. Not sure. Guess the fear for me is fading… I figured, I am done with treatment, I have reaped good mental benefits from the whole experience, I love not having periods, I love wearing white jeans, I love the person I became thru this experience, I am done with C, period. Gone, not to return, ever.

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