Some patients develop post-traumatic stress while going through the trauma of treatment. This can include anxiety, nightmares, disturbing thoughts, irritability, and other assorted symptoms.
“Patients dealing with cancer may have symptoms of post-traumatic stress at any point from diagnosis through treatment, after treatment is complete, or during possible recurrence of the cancer.” National Cancer Institute. (2015). Cancer-related Post-traumatic Stress. Retrieved October 29th, 2015, from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/survivorship/new-normal/ptsd-pdq
While undergoing treatment, I remember waking up from a nightmare feeling that even in my dreams I was being pursued by cancer. I also had anxiety and disturbing thoughts that would sometime spin me into a frenzy of panic. It helped for me to take deep breaths, talk to my nurse and doctor, seek comfort from family and other survivors, and to journal which allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings onto the page and out of my mind. It was definitely a time to accept help and not go through the cancer experience alone.
(This blog post was updated on October 29th, 2015)