Topic: Stress!

I'm sure that stress does not help the battle against cancer.  I'm posting both to get some feedback and to rant a bit and hopefully feel better.  I don't know if there is any clinical data that suggests stress has any kind of a consequence on cancer or on cancer treatment - but if anyone has any info on this please pass it along!

I have really struggled with how to use my "good" time;  the time that I'm  not nauseous and fatigued from the chemo and the cancer.  My family means the world to me and I have 2 big goals right now both related to them:  1.) Provide as much as I can financially by building up and maintaining our business.  Due to previous health issues with PSC I was never able to get a great life insurance policy for them.  2.) Spend as much quality time with them as I can, make good memories, and make sure that they know how much I love them.  Also to leave behind special letters for my kids for important days, etc (I've talked about that here before). 

The problem is that goal #1 is stressing me out more than I have ever been stressed out before.  The business is successful and viable long term but it has just turned into a tremendous amount of work lately and it seems like all of the things that could go wrong have all gone wrong at the same time!  I know I can get back ahead of the workload eventually, but it is stressing me out tremendously.  Under normal circumstances it would be quite stressful, but now I'm adding cancer and chemo to it - going back into work evenings after chemo treatments and then trying to have enough left in the tank to work on goal #2.  It's been like like this for about 2 months now except for a couple of short getaways.

We just got back home today from a 5 day vacation to Florida with the family and that was a fantastic time.  I didn't do much work at all and spent all of that time with family.  But - upon checking in with work today, I found out about several important things that need to be done in a short period of time on top of the catching up for the last 5 days.  I was prepared to go back in and grind to get caught up and running smoothly but not for a whole bunch of new work just put down on my plate.  It's not like I can have someone else do it or ask my boss to help out because I *AM* the boss and there is noone else who can do most of this work.  I guess I'm babbling now, but I'm sure you get the picture.

I can't do a good job of working on goal #2 if I'm so stressed out and behind on goal #1.  Ugh.  Any words of wisdom from those of you in similar circumstances?  I really can't choose one goal/priority over the other because they are both so closely related!  It's a little bit scary to know that frequently CC patients go from doing fairly well to being put into Hospice in a short period of time.  It certainly puts a sense of urgency on all of the important things!

Thanks for listening and for any feedback. 

Rick

Ulcerative Colitis 1990, Stage 0 colon cancer and subsequent colectomy with J-pouch in 7/2005, PSC 7/2005, Klatsin CCA 8/2009

Re: Stress!

Hi Rick. We are so glad that you had a a wonderful vacation with your family.
When I found out last October that I had another kind of rare cancer after taking care of Teddy for 4 years who has CC I asked my Oncologist if stress could have contributed and he said no. Years ago I asked a gastro guy, when I developed ulcers, when I was married to brand X, if my work stress could have contributed. He asked if I liked what I was doing and I said I love my work. He said, then you will never get sick from stress if you like what you are doing.   With all that said, and various opinions I am sure you will get, my suggestion would be to try very hard to just think about today. I know it is  easier said than done but you may be jumping ahead of yourself on the CC. Don't compare others to yourself as each case is so different. Have you thought about talking to someone professional? I sure hope you can find a way to de-stress some, this is so very hard let alone adding all that stress to it. If it helps, then feel free to keep on venting, we all have broad shoulders!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Stress!

Hi Rick!

Here is a link regarding your question on stress and cancer.  I tried to post this last night and had written a lengthly reply only to bump the keyboard and wipe it all out.....sigh....it was stressful!

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/fact … isk/stress

As to your other problem, all I can offer is my opinion.  I know it's hard when you're the boss and need to be the one making all the decisions.  Do you have a trusted employee that you've been mentoring that could possibly take on some of the more mundane tasks?  That would free you and your energies up for the most important stuff.  I know sometimes when I am stressing over job and home it helps to simply write a list.  Then I try to prioritize the MOST important things and give them a number.  Stupid and simplistic but it does work and helps me keep that "control" issue in check...lol.

It's a credit to you that you are so concerned.  If you weren't such a good husband and father this would not bother you so much.   From an outsider's view you are doing an amazing job.  I love the fact that you and your family had such a wonderful trip.

Always feel free to come and vent and rage and laugh and plan here.  We are all on this journey with you!

Hugs!

Pam

My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: Stress!

Rick....In addition to the great responses from Lainy and Pam you might want to consider contacting Dr. Giles.   The situation is one experienced by many.  You are not alone. 
The wish for much strength is coming your way,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Stress!

Thank you all for your words of wisdom and also Pam for the link.  Whether or not stress will cause cancer to advance seems debatable, but the goal nonetheless is to eliminate and reduce it!  I have to work on this and try to accept that there is only so much that I can do - it's in my best interest to do it as efficiently and well thought out as possible though.

I have never been a big fan of seeing a phychiatrist, but if this type of professional can help me to align my thoughts and control stress then it might be worth a try.  I have just been through so much already on my own that I feel like I can take this on myself and I don't like to ask for help very often.

Rick

Ulcerative Colitis 1990, Stage 0 colon cancer and subsequent colectomy with J-pouch in 7/2005, PSC 7/2005, Klatsin CCA 8/2009

Re: Stress!

Dear Rick.....I believe a misconception excist regarding the use of a therapist.  Reaching out in a stressful time to someone who can help us sort out our feelings and emotions is not a sign of weakness rather; it demonstrates a sign of strength.  Have you had a chance to peruse the questions and responses by Dr. Giles?  You can find him on top of the page, patient support, ask Dr. Giles.  It may give you an understanding as to what an excellent therapist is able to convey to those reaching out for advice and guidance.   And, you have already been practicing it with all of us on the board.  You have my greatest admiration, Rick. 
As always,
Best of wishes are coming your way,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER