Why the Anxiety? I Took a Good Look at My Life Over the Last Four Years

Doctor Says I’ve Been Through A Lot… I see what he means now that I wrote it all down.

Before 2017 I was sailing through life pretty much without a care in the world. Other than a few health issues that forced me into retirement, life was quite satisfying, home was cozy, and I had my little farm and animals to care for. Then everything changed, but that’s life right? Some of us handle stressful situations better than others, unfortunately, I’m one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t. Bad news is a trigger for major anxiety, which in time, affects my health in various ways. Usually my digestive system goes completely haywire.
I opened a small antique business around this time to help keep my mind busy, this was very helpful for my anxiety because it took up so much of my time. It was fun too, husband and I spent a lot of time looking for treasures to fill my store.

What Started all This Anxiety Anyway?

First traumatic thing was dental implants. Had all my upper teeth replaced with implants… OMG. Those commercials on TV are not at all honest with the experience, or the maintenance required after the procedure. Glad I did it, but it was not an easy experience to say the least. Especially when dental ANYTHING is always a stressful situation.
In 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was devastated. Didn’t know what to expect, had long wait times between doctor appointments, and the needed tests before treatment were numerous, again, with long wait periods in between. Stress and anxiety took over and I was sick over it all for a month, which led to more tests to see why. A colonoscopy, endoscopy, later an ultrasound… the findings? Normal. Diagnosis, probably anxiety.

Soon after, I had lumpectomy surgery, twice, a week apart to remove a small mass in the breast. Two weeks later, a port was inserted in my chest for chemotherapy treatments. A week later, Chemo treatments began, every week for 12 weeks. Five days after chemo ended, radiation started, every single morning for 30 days. When all that fun stuff ended, I had a monthly maintenance injection through the port for 5 months.
When I was finally done with my treatment, back to the hospital for the removal of the port.

Am I Done Yet?

No, now it was in my best interest to have a hysterectomy. Two months later, back in hospital for major surgery. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they sent me home that day, with a catheter, to be removed the following day. Are you kidding me? I was pissed that I couldn’t stay in the hospital over night, I was uncomfortable from the surgery, and the catheter just made everything worse. Anxiety was sky high.

About a month later I needed dental implant maintenance which was incredibly stressful while in the chair, and the following day needed a crown on a lower molar. Those two experiences triggered an anxiety attack that landed me in the ER with facial numbness… which led to a cat scan to see if I had a mild stroke. No sign of a stroke… again, thought to be a severe anxiety attack.

By late Fall of 2019 things settled down for me but life had drastically changed. Soon after my diagnosis I re-homed the animals on my farm because it was too hard to care for them during chemo. I also no longer had people boarding their horses here. Basically the farm was nothing more than a naked piece of land. The break from all the barn chores and property maintenance was nice, but more importantly was having the freedom to relax and recover from the trauma of chemo and multiple surgeries.

Early 2020 I decided to have chickens again, the beginning of having a little farm life activity on our property. Things were starting to look brighter. But then…. the pandemic hit. Lock downs, curfews, and fear of the unknown was the new normal. Groceries were being delivered, shopping was 90% online, and a home office was the new workplace. Fourteen months of staying home didn’t bother me much at first, but in time I think it definitely took a toll on my mental health. Especially when it was so hard to get Dr appointments for things I needed. Anxiety, silently returned, only this time, not as manageable.

As I look back at the last 4 years it’s much easier to accept anxiety as kind of a residual effect from the trauma my body has been through. I think the best thing for me right now is to accept the present, be grateful for getting through the last 4 years, and most of all, being cancer free. If managing anxiety and a digestive disorder is going to be my beast to battle… bring it on, I’ve fought bigger.

Life… to be continued.

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