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"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." - Mark Twain.

In August, I contracted COVID; I experienced tremendous pressure in my chest and went to the emergency room. They did blood work, and one returned with some concern. The test came back with some concern about blood clots. So, a CT was done. One of the things they found was that I have an enlarged thyroid. My doctor scheduled an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed four suspicious nodules. A biopsy was scheduled, and I WAS SCARED,

The thought of cancer overtook me. I was terrified. Both my parents died of cancer, and their death was haunting me. My mind went to places where it did not belong. I started thinking about some of the treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation and wondered how I would withstand it. My parent fought hard, did all the suggested treatment, and still died a brutal death.

I realize that my life is worth living. I still don't know how far I am willing to go if this is cancer. After researching thyroid cancer, I found thyroid cancer is very slow-growing, and the thyroid is usually removed. (I can handle that treatment.)

Waiting to have my biopsy caused me much anxiety. I had issues sleeping, focused on the upcoming procedure, and allowed myself not to use methods to alleviate my anxiety. For two weeks, I was miserable when I didn't have to be.

Anxiety can be challenging, but various methods can help manage or reduce its intensity. Below are five methods to reduce anxiety that can be done at home:

Relaxation Techniques: Engage in deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery. These can be done in the comfort of your own space and can have immediate calming effects.

Journaling: Writing down your feelings, fears, and thoughts can be a form of emotional release. It can help you process and make sense of what's causing your anxiety. Setting aside a dedicated time each day for this can be beneficial.

Aromatherapy: Certain scents, like lavender or chamomile, are believed to have calming effects. Consider using essential oils in a diffuser or as part of a relaxing bath.

Mindfulness and Meditation: Apps like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer offer guided meditation sessions that can help you focus on the present moment, grounding you and reducing feelings of anxiety.

Creating a Calm Environment: Designate a space in your home as a "calm zone" — a corner with a comfortable chair, soft lighting, calming colors, and perhaps some soothing music. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, spend some time in this area to center yourself.

Remember, it's crucial to find methods that you enjoy. While one method might work wonders for one individual, another might benefit more from a different technique. Regularly practicing these activities can help in developing a routine that counters anxiety.

I made it through the biopsy. I was anxious before the procedure but calmed down once I got in the room. The nurse took my blood pressure before the procedure, and it was high. After the procedure, my blood pressure was perfect!

Once I let go of my anxiety, the whole world got easier. I learned that I need to remove my first anxiety reflexes and use some of the above suggestions. Life is too short to waste it on fear.

Have a great week.

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