I was wondering what effect the stress of chemo along with work stress might be having on me so, of course, I started researching it. I found this information in Cure magazine: According to the National Cancer Institute, psychological stress combines an individual’s emotional and physiological reactions when confronting a situation where the demands may exceed the person’s ability to cope. Simply put, the body is constantly bombarded by “stressors” of its external environment. It responds by releasing stress hormones, such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol (hydrocortisone) to help the body react to the stressful situation with speed and strength, while at the same time increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. While small amounts of stress are seen as beneficial, studies indicate that chronic high levels of stress could be harmful and increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and depression, among other illnesses. Stress beyond an individual’s ability to cope may also lead to unhealthy coping behaviors, some of which may affect cancer risk, such as overeating, smoking, or abusing drugs or alcohol. And newer studies indicate stress creates a cascade effect that promotes an inflammatory response in the body, which leads to a friendly environment for cancer. Again, it makes me wonder about the effect Mike's accident had on me.
Emory Winship Cancer Institute's Burke likens dealing with cancer stress to how an oak weathers a storm versus a palm tree. In a hurricane, the rigid oak may snap, but the palm bends with the squall. Learn to adapt, like the palm, to changing conditions to help you continuously manage stress, he says. He recommends reintroducing daily routines, having fun again, being productive at work, volunteering and being involved with family and friends. But most important, he says, give yourself a break and accept help from your support system. So, even though I have a terrible singing voice, I think we need a night out at a Karaoke bar! Who's with me?