If you are excessively irritable and sometimes display raging anger, you are likely experiencing underlying anxiety.

The uncertainty associated with a diagnosis of cancer is often very difficult to bear, because no matter what is done the good news are not guaranteed. As a result, we are buried in a sea of worries that can sometimes become so out of control that the act of worrying can also become a source of worries as well.

Obvious signs are fits of anger that are disproportionate to the situation and that are uncharacteristic of your personality.

You may not be aware of it, but the others (other family members and friends) will, and therefore it is important to acknowledge their opinion.


Nightime is often the most dreaded time of the day, because with cancer anything can happen such an emergency or a serious problem with the patient.

As it is the only time that we “unplug” so to speak from it all, we may feel disarmed and weak; it is as if our being “unplugged” threatens the patient’s survival.

As a result, sleep is hard to come by, or if it does, it does not last for long.

In this condition, you may experience short periods of sleep throughout the night during which you fall in deep sleep for a few minutes at a time. This type of sleep is not restful or regenerative, as the waking is usually abrupt.

You may also experience panic attacks during the night, seemingly out of the blue. They often are the result of an accumulation of sleep debts and growing anxiety.

For my part, I had great difficulty falling asleep, because I dreaded the one phone call you never want to have, and that kept me up at night until early in the morning. Somehow, I did not have that fear during the day, it only came to me at night.


Cancer is a demanding disease, as it involves multiple doctor’s appointments, long waits, and extra personal care for the patient. Consequently, we often sacrifice certain aspects of our life to make more time for the patient.

Eating is typically one of the things we sacrifice, which results in the adoption of very bad eating habits. For example, we might eat at odd hours of the day, or we might eat unhealthy or non-nutritional food items while outside on our errands.

Compounding that is the effects of mood on eating as we too may struggle with the ups and downs of moods associated with living with cancer. There might be days when we feel despondent or beat, others when we feel anger and rage, and others yet when we are extremely worried.

Those mood swings in turn contribute to loss of appetite or binge eating, which causes havoc to your health and exacerbate anxiety.


~ Be mindful of extreme changes in yourself

~ Be prepared mentally to go through an emotional rollercoaster throughout your loved-one’s struggle with cancer. There will be a succession of good days and bad days – sometimes one after the other – and therefore it is important to check in with yourself.

~ When your life is starting to turn chaotic, reserve some time for your self during which you can meditate or exercise.

~ Give yourself some time during the day to “unplug” from it all. (It is easier to do during the day than at night). During that time, read a book, go for a walk, watch a good movie. That is your time to recharge

~ Release negative emotions. Cry if you have to, but not in front of the cancer patient. if you have pent-up anger, punch a bag, run a sprint, or scream your lungs out.



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