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Feeling stress is a near-universal experience for anyone living with leukemia. If you’re in the “watch and wait” camp, you may worry about your condition progressing. If you’re undergoing treatment, you may worry about its effectiveness. If you’re a caregiver, you may worry about how you can support your loved one. And if you’re in remission, you may worry about the cancer coming back. No matter which type or stage of leukemia you live with, stress is almost a given.
Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety can help you feel better and support your quality of life.
Staying busy with enjoyable activities helps some MyLeukemiaTeam members reduce anxiety. One member wrote, “I’m having a good morning out with my granddaughters at their track meet. When I stay busy it becomes part of my therapy.”
Some members find prayer and faith helps them manage stress. One member wrote, “I’m getting ready to go in for my stem cell transplant. I’m a little nervous, but I know God is preparing my way for this healing.”
Others on MyLeukemiaTeam find comfort in support from their teammates. “I'm a little nervous as I go in for quarterly scans and blood work tomorrow,” a member posted. “I’m grateful for the support system I’m finding here.”
Mindfulness and cognitive behavior techniques are additional tools members use to manage negative feelings. “When I find myself having thoughts of resentment toward someone or my situation I try to redirect myself. I physically do something different to change my thoughts,” a member wrote.
These strategies may not make stress and anxiety disappear, but they can make these difficult emotions easier to live with. As one MyLeukemiaTeam member put it, “I am trying to live life to the fullest and not let the ‘what ifs’ ruin my day!”
On MyLeukemiaTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with leukemia, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Managing stress is one of the most discussed topics.
Here are some conversations about stress:
How do you handle stress and anxiety? Share your insights in the comments below or directly on MyLeukemiaTeam.