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Wait to Worry

Posted 6/4/2014

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  Thanks again to Barbara for sending this wonderful NPR piece, an interview with Steven Petrow. Mr. Petrow has a lot to say about the futility of worry, the importance of staying in the present and dealing with whatever presents itself at this moment. When I was growing up, my best friend's mother (source of a great deal of life wisdom) used to say: "It is pointless to worry. It is always the things that never occurred to you that end up being trouble."

  For those of us who are living with cancer, and that includes Mr. Petrow, I think that Mrs. Cosby's advice is not entirely accurate. It is reasonable for us to worry about our health, to worry that the cancer will recur. But it is also true that it may not, hopefully will not, and that some other life thing will come along to be problematic. In my own cancer life, I worried a great deal about a recurrence after my treatment in 1993. It never occurred to me that the next cancer trouble would be a brand new cancer, but that is what happened in 2005.

  Here is an excerpt from this interview and then a link. You can either read it or download it as a Podcast.

'Wait To Worry' About Challenges

PETROW: Well, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 26, and this
was 30 years ago this spring. So in part this essay is kind of born of looking back
over those decades and saying to myself, what did I learn? Hopefully, did I learn
something? And I do love this quote from the Narnia chronicles which says, you
must go a little way from here and then turn around and look back, and then at last
the true landscape will become visible. And so I think it's only looking back now,
that I'm able to really see properly.
But I got to the two year mark, where I was then supposedly actually cured. And
then I started worrying massively. Would I relapse and turn to some of the
standbys that I had - that I knew as a young man, which were drinking and drugs
and prescription drugs? And they didn't really work for me. And I had a very good
friend of the family who had been through something similar and had been
diagnosed with cancer. And she just said it to me for the first time when I was
whining and complaining and being self-involved. She said, Steven, wait to worry,
you can't worry about the things that you don't know. Worry about what's on your
plate today. But enjoy this life.


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