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What to Do for Fear of Recurrence after You’ve Had Cancer…

12 May

Belleruth,

My husband died from lung cancer in 2011 and not three months later I myself was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I have many of your CD's (I don't know if I could have gotten through treatment without them, by the way) and listen to one or another of them at bedtime, every night.
Something I really wish you would address in a future CD is something to help with the fear of recurrence. Things always seem so much worse at night, when you are alone in the dark. That fear is not the same thing as anxiety. Please consider this.

Best,
Denise

Dear Denise,

I agree that fear of recurrence is different from anxiety. It's a real fear. We hear this a lot - during chemotherapy or other treatments, even if they're unpleasant, you at least have the feeling that you're actively doing something to beat back the cancer.

Then the treatment phase is over, and you're "in remission", but miss being able to do something, don't feel as safe – even if you are.

This is actually the main reason we went back and recorded our Healthy Immune System imagery - so people who liked using imagery during treatment, would be able to use it to help stay well.

The General Wellness imagery also addresses this, although in a more metaphoric way. I'd recommend either of those.

Between the loss of your husband and your bout with cancer, I think it's safe to say you've had a hellish and highly traumatic couple of years. My hat is off to you for managing all this. Perhaps the Healing Trauma imagery would also be appropriate. I think it's the best imagery we've got, and so does our musician-composer, Steve Kohn.

And even though it doesn't relate to immune cells directly, the uplift you can derive from it would be good for your health and well-being – it's kind of a metaphoric journey through a hellish landscape, which gets transcended by diving deeper into your own heart – hard to explain, but I think it probably applies here.

I wish you the very best, Denise. Power on!

All best,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.