The Effects of Extreme Stress on Cancer Recurrence

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Stress = Inflammation = Decreased Immune Functioning = Increased Risk Of Recurrence

As a 40-month Pancreatic Cancer thrivor who had 1 metastasis to my liver 8 months ago that was treated with an Ablation of that tumor, I am highly motivated to prevent any other metastases in the future.

As such, I pay special attention to the amount of stress I am dealing with at any given time.

As cancer patients, we can’t walk around in fear of stress and keep ourselves in a cocoon. We celebrate being alive and involved in all facets of life. Stress is a normal part of life for all of us.

However, when there are too many external stressors over a long period of time – that is when stress is dangerous for cancer patients.

Personally, the last 2 moments have been replete with an extreme number of “out of the ordinary” stressors compacted in one period of time.


So what do you do when this happens?
How do you unload the stress?

1 – You have to acknowledge it. To achieve this, you have to STOP EVERYTHING and get off the revolving “hampter wheel of stress/constant motion/addrenaline” and sit with yourself in a quiet place.
2 – You have to apply the Serenity Prayer: “Pray for the courage to change what I can, release that which I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
3 – For me, I check in with the 4 parts of my being: body, mind, emotions and spirit. Which parts are holding the stress and what do they need to release it?

My body needs exercise, quiet and rest, Tai Chi, deep breathing, relaxation exercises and meditation, hot soothing baths, massage therapy to release the stress points throughout the body and resume the flow of Chi energy), extra nutrition with fruits, vegetables, lean protein; create new recipes, spend special love-time with my kitty Hope, listen to relaxing Native American flute music, and plan a “de-stress” party.

My emotions of overwhelm and sadness need to be released by crying, writing, sharing my vulnerability, setting boundaries to keep me safe.

My mind needs for my cerebral cortex to be in control to evaluate problems and attempt to find solutions. I enable my cerebral cortex with slow, relaxed abdominal breathing.

I don’t want my midbrain Limbic System to be in control – spewing stress cortisol and adrenaline into my bloodstream and spiking Inflammation, which in turn depresses immune functioning.

For my spirit, I look into the mirror and notice how drained and fragile I look. I make eye contact with myself and send Streams of Love to every part of my being.

I ask God to give me His strength and guidance and then I RELEASE all the stress – every last bit of it!

Then I rest and give myself a chance to recover. I trust that help is on the way and that my life will return to its normal homeostasis.

I pray this article may help anyone who is currently overwhelmed and fragile.

I send you my Love and Prayers.