My (28) partner (35) has just finished gruelling treatment (chemotherapy + radiotherapy) for aggressive lymphoma. He was first diagnosed 6 months ago and has had his treatment at the hospital I work at. While finishing what will hopefully be last treatment is happy news, I have found it difficult to adjust to the new normal of life after cancer. The changes in our lives and personalities (both good and bad) are becoming abundantly clearer as we start to go out again and try to re-integrate into social circles. We both continued to work full time during all of this, but our burn out is becoming a bit clearer now that the distraction of active treatment is no longer there. We used to be people who travelled to get away from stress, so COVID definitely has not helped with the mental health either.
We were told that most relapses occur in the first 2 years which weighs heavily on me. The line between my professional and personal life has been blurred during this, and the memories of treating very sick people with relapsed haematological cancer in my earlier rotations also weighs on my mind. It is to the point where if he has a small sweat in the night I am unable to fall asleep for the rest of the night.
What were some changes you saw in your experiences after cancer? Is there a best way to approach these next 2 years?
You have some great (and curly) questions in there.
I had stage 2 bowel cancer that was treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Like your husband, I also continued to work throughout my treatment (I took 2 weeks off from work post surgery and continued working throughout my 6 months of chemo) .
I also had the increased risk for the 2 years post treatment.
Assuming you're in Australia, you probably aren't travelling much for a while anyway, so you're a bit stuck! You'll definitely have to find another distraction.
Try to find something you can sink yourself in to and that you enjoy. A distraction is the only way.
I won't lie, that scan at the 2 year mark is anxiety inducing. But then, so are all the scans. There is always that damn voice in the back of your head. The what if.
We all try to deal with it as best as we can.
Changes? I think that the changes he'll experience will depend on the severity of the impacts from surgery and chemo. Also potentially you might need to consider the psychological impacts. That will vary person to person.
For me, the main changes/impacts for me were the side effects from surgery and some neuropathy in my hands and feet. It doesn't seem that I have much to complain about.
Life goes on and we always find a way to live with any deficits.
All the best .
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