Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Hi. This is the first time I have posted something. Looking for advice on how to handle all the new hurdles that come with "after cancer". I had head a neck cancer last year. Have now gone just over one year since been given the all clear. However, does anyone have trouble coping with what I call the "repurcussions" of surviving? Is anyone else finding that one problem gets solved only for another one to pop up? I won't bore you with all the hurdles I have to go through just to get through the day, and will have to for the rest of my life, but just wanted to ask this one question. Today I was told I have an underactive thyroid and get to my GP within a week. Since treatment I have been constantly cold, tired, forgetful and other people have all said it will get better with time. Apparently having an underactive thyroid explains all those symptoms, and more that I have. Anyway, being severely phobic, they have to do lots of blood tests at first to get the medication right. I just feel like I have gone through all this, and now been landed with this new horror story. And today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me. Don't get me wrong I am happy to still be alive and everything I have is manageable, but will it ever stop? I look forward to thoughts from other people who have gone through the same thing.
Reply
0 Kudos
11 REPLIES 11
Highlighted
Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Hi Tashie, My dad had all of these wonderful sayings . I sometimes wish he didn't use them so often on me. The one that defines my life after cancer is "If life doesn't live up to your expectations,,,,lower your expectations." I am now one month short of 15 years clear after stage 3 colon ca into 6 lymph nodes. am I happy? No. Am I well? No. My immune system no longer exists thanks to long term effects of chemo and auto-immune disese. My kidneys are shot ,I have several types of auto -immune arthritis. I have type two diabetes. I have just had a scan that shows an enlarged heart,congestive heart failure and pulmonary odeema. I have lowered my expectations. I don't expect miracles to save me and I don't expect an even break. A good day is when nothing really bad happens. The irony of it all is that given all the problems I have I really don't care. What's the point of worrying . Life has thrown everything at me including the kithen sink and it still hasn't killed me. So why worry . If i die tomorrow it will come as an anti-climax. So my advice Tashie is live your life to the best of your ability and then some. Don't worry about the small stuff like staying alive just get the most out of every day.... Big happy birthday hug...Ron.
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Hi Tashie Head and neck cancer treatments leave terrible side effects which are tough to get your head around and certainly make life challenging! There are a bunch of us on a facebook group and it is a very active group that offers heaps of support. It is called survivors of head and neck cancer if you are interested. It has a base of 600 plus members and all very active and supportive to one another. I am wondering if I need to get my thyroid checked as I couldn't stand the cold last winter and normally it doesn't particularly worry me. Take care Julie
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Thank you for your comments Ron. Sounds like you have been able to come to terms with all the nasty surprises that keep getting thrown our way. Are you like me and just throw up your hands and say of course! What next! Your right - a good day is when nothing bad happens. I hope after 15 years it will finally be done with you. Make sure you celebrate your 15 year mark. Thanks for the birthday hugs. Just felt a bit down and depressed to get that news on your birthday (or any day really) Tash
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Thank you Julie. I will certainly check this site out. Have been trying to do it on my own and it doesn't always work. Friends etc are very supportive when you are going through treatment but afterwards --- they seem to think that everything is okay and should go back to normal. I have had to have two different biopsies in the last year and all I seem to get from people is "you'll be right" or "you've been through it before, at least you know what to expect". Doesn't help. It may be a good idea to have your thyroid checked. The last biopsy I had I told them to just do a full blood work - check everything. This was the only thing that came up. Apparently radiation can affect the thyroid gland. People kept laughing at me when I said I was cold - now I have reason for it. Tash
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Tashie Your welcome. :) Friends can be wonderful but most don't understand the extent to which we suffer when we get a cancer diagnosis. I guess we have to be understanding of them also and never the twain shall meet, perhaps? At least on this particular issue. Radiation can affect the thyroid of head and neck patients and lots suffer from thyroid problems afterwards. It is good to at least have a reason even if the reason isn't that great. Take care Julie
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

I know that head and neck cancers can leave people with so many side effects from treatment . It's amazing how some do cope . Check out the site mentioned as you will get so much help there . An underactive thyroid is usually diagnosed by a simple blood test . This will be repeated, after the gp has had you on the medication for a while ,to check if the dosage is best for you . I went on the medication a few weeks after my radiation finished . Later the dosage was increased . I had been borderline for needing medication for about 8 years . You will only need to take a little tablet each day if you have an underactive thyroid and it is very inexpensive too . Having an untreated ,underactive thyroid could lead to serious health problems but treatment itself is simple .
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Hey Julie Your right. Friends can be wonderful but sometimes it is hard to make them understand that just because treatment is finished it doesn't mean you are suddenly "back to normal". I know I didn't understand that, until it happened to me. Thank you for referring me to the facebook site. Tash
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Hi there Yes, I am amazed by the amount of side effects that occur because of treatment. I have also been left with hearing problems and now have to wear two hearing aids. At least I now have an answer as to why I am always cold, tired, forgetful etc. I don't have a problem with taking a tablet each day, that doesn't worry me. It is just the fact that I am extremely phobic about the sharp things they use to do blood tests. My doctors are now trying to come up with a way for me to be put out with gas to have the blood tests. The anaethetists don't like using gas on me as my throat has been damaged by the radiation and they find it very difficult to put a tube down. I can have the twilight stuff but doctors are very reluctant to do it just so I can have a blood test. I can see a major battle on my hands.
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Cancer - the gift that just keeps on giving

Hey Tash Yw re the site and hope you get some value out of it. It is hard to adjust to the "new normal". I also have some hearing loss, just found out after my job medical and have to apparently seek further assistance with it, not sure what that entails just yet though. Julie
Reply
0 Kudos
Post new topic
Talk to a health professional
Cancer Council support and information 13 11 20Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.