When You Are Trying Not To PANIC: How To Remain Calm

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Wednesday I went in for a mammogram. It was the second one I have had, and it already seemed pretty routine to me.

That isn’t to say I didn’t have the odd “what if” thought. My mother had breast cancer in her 40’s, the same age I am now, and about ten years after she thought she had it beat the cancer came back and then slowly over a span of 5+ years cancer took her from me days before what would have been her 61st birthday.

However, I reminded myself I am not living my mother’s story, I am living my own. I haven’t felt any lumps whatsoever. I eat right (mostly). I exercise. I keep at a healthy weight. I nursed my babies for longer than most moms do.

Yes, I know these things won’t ensure that I never will receive a cancer diagnosis. But, I try to live my life thinking more on what I can do to prevent one than dwelling on what will happen if I do.

7 things to do that will help bring you calm when you are trying not to panic.

Still, I was unprepared for the nurse to call the next day and leave a message on my machine asking me to call her back.

I was unprepared for her to say, “The Doctor sees something he wants a better look at.”

I was unprepared for her to schedule yet another mammogram and for her to tell me they may do further testing.

My  “what if” suddenly turned to “I am trying not to panic!”

 7 Ways To Calm Yourself When You Are Trying Not To Panic


The first thing (okay, honestly the second thing, I texted my husband first) I did was to start shooting up prayers. Lord be with me. Lord calm me.

7 ways to maintain calm when you are trying not to panic.

Spend Time in God’s Word

As I write, I haven’t done this yet. The day is in full speed, people are up and moving. I have problems getting the quiet I need to concentrate on the word during this time of the day, but tomorrow morning I am planning on some extra quiet time–just me, God, and His word.

Ask Friends to Pray

I have a handful of close friends who I asked to start praying, and I know they have and still are.

 Allow Yourself to Cry a Little

I think being strong until you know all the facts is a little overrated. For me, a good cry helps me get back to reality. A good cry helps me relieve stress, worry, and panic.

I am not talking about an all day affair here; I am talking about taking a few minutes, perhaps an hour to just feel all you are feeling and lay it all out there at God’s feet.

7 ways to maintain calm when you are trying not to panic.

Plan a Few Things to do While You Wait

Waiting is the hardest part. I have been waiting since Thursday morning. If you are reading this Monday, March 14th, 2016 before 8:30 am EST–the time of my follow up appointment–I am still waiting.

Our family already had a fun family day planned for Saturday in honor of my birthday, and as I type this Thursday, hours after the phone call, I am planning to keep that family day on the agenda.

I am also planning to curl up with a fiction book Sunday and lose myself in someone else’s life story.

Remember God’s Got it

Truly, this is out of my hands. I can’t do a thing about it, but to sit, wait, and pray. The last is the most powerful of the three because in prayer God reminds me He is near, He is holding my hand, He has this.

you are never alone

One More Thing…

If you are reading this and you too are waiting, I want you to remember…YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am not looking up statistics because heading to Google right now would not bring me calm, but I am pretty sure that across the world today thousands of others got the same type of call you and I did and now they too are waiting.

We are in good company. Reach out and get hugs from those who have been there. Know you are not the only one to panic, to shed tears, to think crazy “what if” thoughts and “what now” thoughts.

I am right there with you. How about we both agree to just breathe.

UPDATE: They have decided what they are seeing is a cyst and not anything to worry about -for now. But the whole scare convinced my family to do something pretty crazy and yet so amazingly wonderful.




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  1. Prayers for you. The hardest part is always not knowing and having to wait to find out. Hoping it is nothing but good news for you ahead.

  2. Every member of my Dad’s family has had one form of cancer or another. As I enter the second half of my 30s, it has really begun to weigh on my mind, too. I’ll be praying for you, and I hope you have a very boring appointment today!

  3. “A better look at” could be (not trying to bring on the panic) but just about anything – which is good! So many tests that are helpful to find major problems can also unleash smaller problems that may not have even crossed your mind in the first place! As it is after the time of your appointment, I certainly hope everything has went alright and that it is one of those much-less things (or, literally, just something the doctor wanted to look at, and turned out to be nothing!). Health is a crazy thing, and I wish you the best.

  4. Rachel Anderson says:

    Very thankful you had a good outcome. I am waiting, too, but I wanted to share what I have learned over the years. Being a nurse for 25 years has also aided with this thought:try your best not to assume the worst. Call backs don’t necessarily mean something is wrong. I take it as a sign of your physicians diligence. Wait and see, pray, talk to your friends, go outside for a walk. Your ideas on managing these feelings are great. Prepare for the possibility of bad news and a time of challenge but don’t spend your energy yet. Sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof.
    That being said we must remember we are all finite beings and it is best to keep our affairs in order and contemplate how we want to live.

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