Years later, just hanging on...

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Years later, just hanging on...

I just saw my Professor of Radiotherapy and am now on 6 monthly visits. I have been 'free' of cancer for 4 1/2 years. I should be happy and enjoying life and yet I find that I am almost sabotaging my own efforts. I feel guilty for surviving when most in my self-help group have passed away, and I feel guilty for surviving when two friends who were diagnosed long after me have died, one only 28 leaving a 4 year old. My cancer, tongue and then neck cancer, have been linked to alcohol - so why do I tempt fate and have 3 glasses a night? Why do I refuse to 'take it easy' and look after myself? It is almost as if I am sending a challenge to the cancer to dare to return. I dread the 5 year mark. I can't speak to my family about this - it just upsets them so I actively push them away. Friends see me as a strong survivor and I don't seem to be able to tell them that I'm anything but strong. It has taken me a while to get up the courage to put this down here. Is anyone else going through a similar experience?
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Re: Years later, just hanging on...

Hi CJF - yes... I am 3 years on, no cancer in sight, and I find myself "sabotaging" my body left, right and centre. Sometimes I wonder if it's me being angry at my body for "letting me down" and getting sick when it was the last thing I expected. I wonder if I'm beating up on myself - some kind of subconsious challenge - daring my body to "do it again" - it's a hard head space to be in. Last week I had a memorial activity to go to for a friend who has died, and I found myself crying - just thinking, "I'm sorry, I don't know why you died and I've survived!" And I got this mental picture of her laughing, and reminding me that just because I'm here today, doesn't mean I'll survive tomorrow. So I got to thinking it's all about timing...my time will come, whether it's the cancer or not, so I need to let go these negative thoughts and just trust that I"m meant to be here, and get on with enjoying it. I suspect you probably are strong CJF - I think "strong" is about finding the courage to talk about the fear of survival. Surviving is bloody hard! Hang in there - 5 is only a number - it's not really what life needs to be about. :) Zen
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Re: Years later, just hanging on...

Hi Zen Yes, you are so right! i do feel angry at my body for letting me down. I was fit - at the gym 5 times a week, eating healthily and on the surface, well. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. I suppose I thought I was invincible. And now I know I'm not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. They helped to put things in perspective. I will try to accept that I have a life that needs to be lived, while remembering those whose life has ended.
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Re: Years later, just hanging on...

Hi CJF, You've been on my mind ever since I saw your post. I was just wondering if ringing the cancer council could help at all. I think you can do it anonymously and they just may have some suggestions or see things a little clearer for you. I can really relate to the bit about being angry at a body that lets you down. I am so pissed off with mine it's not funny. I don't trust it and am now always waiting for another thing to go wrong with it. Like Zen said, hang in there and good luck. Keep us posted on how you're doing.
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Re: Years later, just hanging on...

One thing I know, we (c/connections) ARE ALL STRONG....... Definition of Strength The quality or state of being strong; ability to do or to bear; capacity for exertion or endurance, whether physical, intellectual, or moral; force; vigor; power; as, strength of body; strength of mind, of memory, or of judgment.
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Re: Years later, just hanging on...

I get it about not looking after yourself properly.My cancer is not linked to any risk factors but I know that I stand in a better place if I become healthier. I should eat more veges, drink more water ,eat less carbs, eat no cakes and biscuits except those I cook myself and exercise more. These are my rules and I don't keep them but every day I tell myself to start afresh and be "good". I rarely drink alcohol and gave up smoking.I think that whatever I do the cancer will return when it decides and I do in fact believe it's not in my power to stop it . That's what this cancer does. The reason for a healthier lifestyle is enjoyment of the years left,whether few or many.
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Re: Years later, just hanging on...

You're all so right! I read an article about Mindfullness today. It talked about accepting life as it is at that moment, and accepting your thoughts and recognising them but not getting caught up in the negative chain of thinking that is so easy to fall into. Thanks for the tip about ringing the cancer council, Pimbok. I thought about it but after reading all the posts here I found that my perspective has shifted. I went to the pool today and swam a few laps. It felt good. I used to swim a lot but since my neck dissection I have reduced ability to use my left arm and usually find it very dis-spiriting to be unable to do the things I used to. Today I focussed on what I could do. Silly's right. It's about enjoying the life you have. I just need reminding. I think that finding so many people who have similar thoughts and experiences has made me feel less isolated. Thanks.
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