Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Occasional Contributor

Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Dealing with the emotional and physical impacts after treatment. I had my 18 months of treatment. And now trying to deal with getting back to a 'normal' life and it's so hard, trying to navigate my way and figure out how I feel about everything along with feeling very isolated, and wondering if I am meant to be this sad after treatment? I feel like I just had so much support through treatment and once that stops it feels very cold and isolating....is it just me? Or is this common? I feel very scarred mentally from it all.
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Super Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Hi Maggie, I can understand how difficult it is to adjust after everything has finished. I was 'fine' while my husband was going through chemo, but it was about twelve months after that I had a breakdown. I just couldn't let go of what had happened- I guess it was only after the 'to do' list finished that I had the opportunity to process everything. Counselling helped me adjust to the 'new normal', and realising that everything had changed- some things got worse, and some things got better. It's really common for people to feel this way. Give yourself time, and be gentle with yourself- you've been through a hell of a lot. Sending gentle hugs, Emily
Super Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Hi Maggie I think everyone feels isolated after they finish treatment. Life has often changed dramatically and with it so do we. Then we find ourselves having to get used to "new normals", which eventually bec9me normal. Not always easy to go through and I found I needed to mourn the loss of my old normal before I could move on. Julie x
Occasional Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Thank-you both, it is really hard, my friends try and be helpful and I am starting to get frustrated because so much has changed, and I know they can't understand. I just wish it was over, not sure how I am going to adjust, but it takes time.... Thank-you x
Super Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Yes it does take a bit of getting used to the new you after treatment stops.The mental side of what you have been through also takes as much as the physical side it will improve but you need to take as much time as you need and as Emily wrote be gentle with your self,it is very hard for others to know what we have been through we all respond differently,but love understanding and caring from others goes a long way to help our healing. kj
Occasional Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

This is true, I didn't realise the total impact it had. And how easy it is to fall apart when you hear something when your expectations are different! I need to find my footing in the "new" normal post treatment. I understand it will take time, and the time I need is just that. Thank-you for replying and reminding me I'm not alone, I am hoping to find a support group near home, and going to a wellness seminar in november, am hoping these things will help adjust. Cheers, Maggie.
Occasional Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

I wonder how you are doing now, seven months after your original post?  I still remember the awful feeling after I'd been waved off from the hospital when my treatment finsihed.  I was grateful that the horror of chemotherapy had ended but at the same time terrified that no one was 'doing anything' now to make sure that they'd got all the cancer.  I left my job six weeks after the end of treatment and a month later had a complete break-down because I didn't have a reason to get up in the mornings any longer and couldn't hide from my feelings of despair, terror, anger, etc any longer.  It was impossible to explain how adrift and alone I felt and it wasn't until I found a support group that was set up mainly for people post-treatment that I gradually worked my way through all the grief at the loss of my old life and came to terms with the reality of my new life. I now facilitate support groups with the same organisation. I have written a book ("Journey to Me": http://janegillespie.com.au/book.html) about that tumultuous time and how I came through it to a wonderful new place, where I am happier than I ever before.  If you would like a copy, please email me at hello@janegillespie.com.au.  I'm happy to let you have it for $15 post-free and could send you a PayPal invoice or give you my bank account details if you just wanted to do a Net transfer.  I hope you are feeling more 'you' these days or at least more at peace with the new you.  Sending love and understanding... 

Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Hi Magagie,

   I really doubt that any of us ever get back to a normal life. As a matter of fact I am not even sure I want to. During my normal life is when I developed cancer. Now in my life as a survivor I have learned so much about how to avoid becoming a cancer patient again. I doubt that in my normal life I ever gave more than a moments thought to those small niggling ailments that when awareness was thrust upon me turned out to be cancer. It was not just me either. I went to a well respected doctor . I told her I thought I had colon cancer. She told me I was too fat , lose weight and I will be fine. I asked if I could have a colonoscopy anyway . She asked me exactly what I didn't understand about too fat.  Several months later and a different doctor. You have a loose loop of colon , it just keepss filling and emptying , see me in three months , you will be fine. A few weeks later ,same doc. I have a major problem ...DO SOMETHING. He said ok ,just to cater to your paranoia I will put you in for a scope. Woke up from the scope . Turned out to be stage 3 c colon cancer into 6 nodes. Had an operation and chemo. This is my new life , not normal but as a survivor. I know what precautions I need to take and at what intervals. I never miss tests . I take notice of what my body tells me and I make sure I pass that information on to doctors. Last january I started year 20 of survival. It has not been perfect and a lot of my problems stem from long term side effects from treatment. BUT no cancer.  I am treating my long term side effects in the same way and I am surviving them as well.   One of the things I hear so often from survivors who have just been turned loose after treatment is I feel abandoned , no one is doing anything for me. Please do it for yourself. Make notes , ask questions of your docs about what you should expect about your ongoing treatment and then hold them too it.. Best wishes to everyone Ron.

Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Hi Maggie, I'm still in the very early stages f recovering from surgery and commencing surgery this week.  I had to do a big shopping epedition a few days after diagnosis to prepare for being away from home and returning after surgery.  I stood in the isle of toothpaste and spent 20 minutes trying to decide what toothpaste to buy.  I'd read that a certain ingredient cause thyroid cancer.  Couldn't remember what the ingredient actually was and really struggled with the toothpaste. I told my husband later and he told me to stop.  I wear dentures.  I clean the dentures with toothpaste and then rinse it off.  The toothpaste doesn't actually go in my mouth.  It made me realise that I had to stop stressing about everything.  The worst had happened.  The diagnosis.  I had to see the diagnosis as lucky because it was picked up early and that gave me a great chance at survival.  Life will be different.  I can't change what has happened.  I can only live my very best life in the future to the best of my ability.  

 

That;s all any of us can do.  Maybe join some groups away from cancer.  When I finish my radiotherapy I'm going to join a group to play mah jong and going back to Tai Chi next year.  Plan a weekend away, a holiday,

something you want to learn or an outing of any kind.  

 

I hope you have come through some of your feelings and that life is improving for you every day.

Contributor

Re: Post treatment- the side effects once its done and dusted

Sorry meant Radiotherapy - not surgery again.

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