Crazy Town

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After having had f-bomb cancer, the thought of a potential of a recurrence is never far from my mind. A recurrence occurs when cancer comes back after treatment. It can come back in the same place as the original cancer or elsewhere in the body. While I don’t dwell on it (I really don’t!), I am acutely aware of its potential. After all, my body already duped me once. Who’s to say it won’t do it again?

Last week, I had several encounters with women who have had recurrences. GULP.  One woman told me, “I was diagnosed with Stage 1 and after finishing the treatment was given a 96% chance of cure. Now, I am Stage 4. I got f-bombed.”

Here’s the thing: thinking about the potential of a recurrence often feels like a visit to Crazy Town. The more you think about it, the more crazy it can make you feel. The added pickle of the visit is that it is easy to get stuck in the muck of Crazy Town.

The truth is that a trip to Crazy Town is completely normal. Though it feels rotten, you are NOT crazy. In fact, a trip to Crazy Town is to be expected. It’s just part of the f-bomb cancer experience. HOWEVER, when you feel like entering Crazy Town, the key is to keep on moving. Drive through. DON’T STOP.

The ways that I cope with Crazy Town Mishegoss* include:

Have you ever been to Crazy Town? If so, how do you cope?

*Mishegoss is a Yiddish word for craziness.

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Comments

  1. invonvehognix says

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  2. says

    I very much appreciated your readers comments on "visiting crazy town". I had to smile at Diane's comment about "having a co-op in crazy town". I too have had my crazy town episodes but try not to brood and dwell and worry about a recurrence. I am 11 years "in remission" as Kim says. Most of the time I keep the FBC way down deep in my psyche so that it doesn't control my life. Just addressing this blog, though late, because I so very much relate to your readers who have written here.

  3. Lynn Glace says

    I've been to Crazy Town with other things that have happened in my life since my FBC diagnosis. Seeing the word recurrence though does take me close to Crazy Town at times. I cope with everything by going outside and literally kicking the ground at weeds with my Muck shoes. Sometimes I'm just too lazy to go get a garden tool. I can't wait to garden. My Mom loved to garden and I feel I'm carrying on her tradition. After she died I took some of her special plants and planted them in my garden. I also figured since I can't travel I'll do it by being on the internet. I love interacting with some of my followers on twitter. They post beautiful photos of places in the world.
    Also knowing that other people share my fears helps me a lot.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your note, Lynn. Crazy Town certainly isn't limited to FBC. For sure. I love your coping mechanism of kicking the weeds. Yah for you. I bet it feels so good. Normalizing fear and knowing that you are not alone are indeed hugely helpful. Thanks again for writing!

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing this piece. It is so helpful to know that I am not alone. I work very hard to keep my head in the zone and not go to crazy town. However, there are times I have trouble controlling it. Thanks for all the great suggestions. I find I try to keep myself very busy doing things I love. I definitely don't try to waste time anymore on things that don't bring me joy.

    When I first started therapy after my diagnosis my counselor talked about living in the moment and not “future tripping “. This was so hard for me who was always a planner and a slight control freak. I did not like losing control. It took me awhile to get it and accept it. I read a quote the other day in the NYT that made a lot of sense to me. The author said once you have cancer, mortality is nolonger abstract and your innocence is lost. I think that is very true. I am definitely at point where I try to get the most everyday and enjoy every moment. For this I am thankful.

    Jennifer

    • says

      Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks a million for sharing your experience and feelings. "Future tripping" is an interesting concept that I hadn't heard before. Boy oh boy does it ever make sense. Mortality sure is no longer abstract. Not at all. The Silver Lining is that I am much more focused on being as present as I can be…& reminding myself to get back on track when I drive through Crazy Town.
      Thanks, again!

  5. Diane says

    Oooooo, Crazy Town, I have a co-op there but I try not to visit very often.
    TV is my escape, I will watch anything that catches my attention…..also I'm addicted to scrolling through the animals on Pinterest. I hate to admit but Grumpy Cat makes me laugh…..
    Since I've had a reoccurrence and am now living with FLC, I talk myself into not wasting time on being anxious and enjoy what's around me.
    Actually, I just got safely home from Crazy Town and so happy to be back!!!

  6. Kim C says

    I have an arsenal of things to keep crazy town at bay – mindfulness, meditation, yoga, diet, supplements and the support of others. I firmly believe that each diagnosis is different and I no longer dwell on my health. I'm in remission. I never say Cancer Free.
    With that said, during the course of my volunteer work, I told my cancer story to a group of people with a cancer diagnosis. An angry woman came up to me afterward and told me to wipe the smile off my face! That she had the same diagnosis as me and was in remission one year longer than me and she has a recurrence. I said I was sorry to hear this and hoped she might consider the integrative program. She didn't join. Driving home that day I cried for her, for me – for everyone with a cancer diagnosis and everyone suffering in any way really. I fastened my seatbelt and headed directly to crazy town! I still think about her and the pain she was going through.
    I'm moving through a divorce right now and found I was having more and more difficulty with crazy town. I'm coping by taking a break from volunteering and will return once I heal myself. I'm a volunteer and can take a break. I feel for those people working in difficult jobs, who may be feeling vulnerable and must continue to work. I have more empathy for those working in health care who may be a little harder to get along with or seem distant. We are all human and doing the best we can do with the emotional health we have.
    I am of the opinion that, in Canada, we need to do a lot more in terms of supporting the mind, body and spirit of cancer patients and those working in stressful jobs in healthcare. We have a long way to go, but there are shifts happening. My volunteer work helps me to know I'm a very small part of that shift. :D

    • says

      Dear Kim,
      THANK YOU for sharing your story. Sometimes, it's the little things that push us into Crazy Town. The key, as you have so eloquently pointed out, is keeping it at bay through wonderfully healthFULL and restorative activities.
      Thank you, again!
      Hollye