THE BLOG
04/22/2015 11:16 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Breast Cancer: My Lesson on Stress

2015-04-20-1429567170-8187321-womenstressreflection.jpg

Republishing on This the 7th Anniversary of My Last Cancer Surgery

So last week I wrote all about stress and how to handle it. And this week I got a chance to practice what I wrote and I am still laughing at my very inept approach and its subsequent outcome. On Friday, I had to see my physician for a pre-op exam and my blood pressure had gone to places that I had never heard of. I couldn't believe my ears when the doctor told me that it was because of stress that I was internalizing. What? I didn't feel stressed. I know what stress is and how to deal with it. This just couldn't be. Well, it was.

Over the weekend, I had to follow up with blood pressure checks and the blood pressure dropped but then on Monday when I had to go back to the doctor's office, it was right up there again so I was started on medication. I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if I am cleared for surgery on Thursday but I sure learned a big lesson.

Stress does not always manifest itself in ways that we recognize. I have had no external signs that I was busy stuffing away all of the emotions that I was feeling. When I did take the time to figure out what it was that was bothering me, I realized that I was trying to be "strong" and "brave" and I tried to rationalize everything by simply focusing on whatever positive aspects that I could find and ignoring all of the other feelings that were lying just below the surface. In addition, my brother had passed away just a few weeks ago on the operating table during his 12th cancer-related surgery.

But all was not lost. Because I did take the time to try to figure out what really was going on, I was in a better position to discuss the appropriate course of breast cancer treatment with my doctor to produce the best positive results for me. It also helped me to understand that sometimes there are just too many things going on at one time for a person to handle and there is nothing wrong with getting the professional help that is needed. In my particular case, as soon as I started the medication, I was immediately aware of the fact that I felt differently and my doctor did indeed know exactly what was wrong and what would fix it. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

So tomorrow when I go back to the doctors for another blood pressure check, I feel like there is a really good chance that the levels will have fallen to something that is acceptable to allow for the surgery. I really don't want to have to postpone it to a later date after having to wait so long for this date. But, I also know that if I do have to wait, it is because that is the best thing for me at this time and that is what is most important. And I also know that if I do have to wait, I will ultimately understand why.

I am still laughing at myself over this incident and I hope that I have learned this very valuable lesson so that I don't have to repeat it again. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to know what it is like to have that stress gone and to know that life can be even simpler than I had realized. I realized that there is a level of life that allows for so much joy and happiness on a daily basis and now I know that as happy and content as I felt before, there is something even better. Wow, what a ride!