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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

W - The Watchful Will Win

#AtoZChallenge

When it comes to cancer, timely and early treatment makes a world of difference to the final outcome. Also, my doctor says, right treatment the first time is the best treatment. So, what can help us get the right timely treatment or keep a check on recurrence? It is being watchful. Be confident, be positive, but also be wary and watchful. 



Cancer like many killer diseases creeps in silently until it becomes a bit late for us to notice something is off. Screening and regular health checkups will help in early detection of any disease. Many people have lost their battle to immediate recurrence, a period when they thought the battle is over and are relaxing. My mom was one of them. Sigh!

Some of us love to think of selves as those favored people with whom nothing can go wrong. The bad things always happen to others. Then there are the opposites who usually feel everything bad is happening only to them. Both of those mindsets can be dangerous to our health. Thinking nothing will go wrong and ignoring what has to be done, can allow certain illnesses to progress to dangerous levels to show symptoms. Also, constantly worrying about illnesses and diseases that do not exist but we think exists, can be dangerous in itself. “Killed by worry” is a possibility.

For those with family history of cancer, or at higher risk, a regular screening plan should be formulated after consulting healthcare workers. Also watch your healthcare plans and insurance policies. Believe me, I have been in a very bad financial crunch after my cancer experience and I know how tough it is to fight for paying the regular bills along with cancer.  

After my cancer experience, I overdid the watching part. After my third chemo, I saw another lump on my non-operated breast which scared the &^%& out of me, but later it turned out to be a clot which went away with a few massages. Later there was scar tissue left on the operated spot which looked like a lump which again was scary. It took me sometime to realize the difference between being watchful and having an irrational fear of cancer coming back. I found the balance between the two to be on watch but not fearful. 


Apart from physical illness, some more dangerous emotional challenges like fear of recurrence, anger, guilt, depression or chronic anxiety may silently make entry into our life without us being aware of them. It is very difficult to deal with them when they settle down comfortably. Nipping them in the bud is easier. 


In the past 25 years, I have realized that there are many screenings which are very important at regular intervals, and some are recommended though they are not required. Not being an oncologist, I have no right to name them, but I would suggest everyone to evaluate, get different opinions and finally settle down with a follow up plan after cancer treatment. I have realized that some of the scans I went through were not necessary much later. 


Besides cancer, it is important to watch your emotional/mental health as well. Chemotherapy can wreak havoc on both your body and mind. Chemobrain is not a myth. Side-effects like hair loss, fluctuating blood count, nausea etc happen immediately after treatment, but there are other side effects called late effects that may develop months or even years after cancer treatment ends. Long-term and late effects can include physical and emotional changes which need your attention more than the immediate side-effects because they are here to stay. You need a plan to deal with them. 


It pays to be watchful of your treatment plan, side-effects, follow-up reports and general health as well. When it comes to cancer, the watchful are the winners.



3 comments:

  1. Irrational vs "appropriate" fear, how does one even navigate this thin line?

    Very nice to see your face and hear your voice in the video! ❤️

    https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2021/04/a-z-2021-early-bird-catches-worm.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Being watchful is so important, and of course, following through with concerns instead of brushing them off with, "I'm fine. No worries."

    Thanks for sharing the video! I liked seeing you and hearing your voice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 'The Watchful will win' covers two extremely important points that are not taken into consideration when we talk about cancer--regular check-ups/screening and financial planning.
    Watching your short interview is so inspiring Farida.
    You're a star.

    ReplyDelete

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