Leukemia survivor: How I cope with fear of a recurrence

It’s been six years since I was first told that I had no evidence of acute myeloid leukemia. But thoughts about recurrence still pop into my head from time to time. I don’t think they’ll ever completely disappear, but the fear has lessened with time. Here’s what I’ve learned about coping with these fears since I entered remission. Be mindful of your thoughts I remember the first time I came down with the flu a few months after I’d completed my treatment. Even though I knew it was flu season and everyone around me was sick, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d had a relapse, especially since I’d exhibited many of the same symptoms just prior to my leukemia diagnosis. I set up an appointment my family doctor, who prescribed me some medicine and ran bloodwork to make sure my blood counts were fine. And they were indeed OK. I realized then that I shouldn’t allow a fear of a relapse to consume my mind every time I get sick. Getting sick occasionally is part of life, and if I wanted to resume a normal life, I knew I needed to accept that. Distract yourself from overwhelming thoughts One method I used to cope was distraction. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I tried to direct my attention toward something else. For example, in the beginning, I had trouble sleeping many nights. But I found that watching reruns of my favorite comedy shows pulled me back to the present moment and put a smile back on my face. I particularly liked watching episodes I’d already seen because I could fall...