Hi, I have now survived cancer three times. Last bout was bowel cancer - stage 4 aggressive. I had 30cm of bowel removed along with a heap of lymph nodes. I finished chemo March 2015 but only got the all clear two months ago and got my port removed. I really feel like I'm not coping with anything in life and everyone around me thinks that I should be over it all by now. My Mum doesn't even acknowledge that I have had cancer and breaks down if I even mention it. My friends all backed away during chemo and now my partner of 15 years wants to end things because he doesn't understand I'm not the same person as I used to be and I should be back to "normal" by now. He says "your always sick". Aches and pains that the doctors cant diagnose. I just cant keep up like I used to. I don't feel like I have anyone to talk to. You cant put any of this onto a new friend. I have asked my doctor several times for help and have seen one psychologist already but she was really not a good fit and didn't seem to understand any of what I'm going through saying "its easy. Just work out what you want and go get it." Not helpful. Trying a new one on Wednesday and I really hope this helps. Thats why I came looking for this site, thinking it would be helpful to talk to others that have been through similar stuff. I am usually a positive person and stayed enormously positive through the whole experience until now. I think everything is finally hitting me. I feel scared anxious and very alone. Ruby
Hi Ruby, I'm glad you've found this forum- you're definitely not alone. I haven't had cancer (My husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgin's lymphoma in 2011), so I can't see things from your perspective, but I know enough to imagine how tough surviving cancer three times must be! Was it the same type of cancer three times, or three diferrent types? (If you don't mind me asking).
I hope this psychologist is a really good fit for you. Please stay involved in this forum, it's a really good place to vent/ask/whatever. One of the best bits is you can access it 24 hours a day.
Love and hugs, Emily
Hi Emily, Thanks so much for your post. I hope your husband is doing well. I had three different cancers. First was cervical cancer then came melanoma then the bowel cancer. I was mostly upset when I was diagnosed because the specialist said that a skin cancer (adnexal carcinoma) I had removed 2 years earlier was a pre warning sign to bowel cancer but none of my doctors had ever heard of it before and didn't know to investigate further. It's so scary to know that it was a fluke to find my cancer and if it had only been a week later there would be no chance of survival. My Oncologist now calls me a cancer collector - not a name I would have ever imagined for myself. I have no history of cancer in my family what so ever and I live a reasonably healthy life - no drinking or smoking etc I don't even drink caffeine so this was definitely a surprise. Anyway I think this site has helped already because I feel a little better than I did yesterday and that's a step in the right direction. Thanks again, Ruby
I'm so sorry to hear you are going through that.
I've had cancer once so far - non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I've now been in remission for 2 and a half years and still experience aches and pains. From what my health care team have told me, I understand that this is from the treatment that I've had. In the early days of my life after cancer, it was difficult not worry that these aches and pains indicated that the cancer had returned.
I'm definitely not the same person as I was before cancer. I think that probably most people change in some way after confronting their mortality and escaping Death. Some of the changes I've experienced are good, some bad. That's ok though. It's my 'new normal'.
Life after cancer is not a walk in the effing park - that psychologist was all kinds of wrong. It's not easy. Especially in your situation which sounds like you don't have much support. I hope you find a psychologist who 'gets it'. In the meantime, I am here. You're not alone in this.
Hi Ruby, you really are having an awful time - that psychologist doesn't sound very good if she says anything about cancer is "easy". I am also struggling like yourself, but with only having had one cancer, working out what the new normal is, hence having joined Cancer Connection. I hope the new psychologist is a better fit and if they come up with any good ideas on how to move forward you can pass them on in this forum please☺
Hi again, Thanks for your comments. It is comforting to know I am not alone. The psychologist is ok. He is getting my to think of new hobbies I can try that are easy and relaxing. He suggested crafts etc. Not sure yet if it is helping. A friend recommended going to a naturopath, telling me of all the success stories she had seen, so I am going to give it a go as well. I have been having heaps of problems with my hormone levels and the oncologist is worried that he has put me into early menopause. This is where the naturopath comes in - fingers crossed - he is supposed to be great at sorting out hormone problems. I will let you know how that goes.
Hi Ruby, I'm glad your new counsellor is helpful. I just wanted to second his recommendation about craft activities as therapy. I really love cross stitch and embroidery- I find them really useful as a tool for mindfulness, and you also get satisfaction and pleasure from being creative and looking at something you enjoy and knowing you made it. There are heaps of creative activities that could fit the bill, from photography to painting to baking or knitting- you're sure to find something that suits you. I hope this helps! love Emily
Hi Ruby may I ask how you got on with the naturopath? I'm not prying sorry but it is exactly 6 months since I started chemo and was diagnosed last week with chemo induced arthritis and am looking for something to help. Like little stitcher I find comfort in craft but am not able to do so with the arthritis (which for me is a real bummer ) what craft are you doing? I used to own and run my own craft shop so if you need some help just e-mail me
Hi HappyDragon, I haven't been to the naturopath yet, my appointment is on the 8 Oct so I will let you know how it goes. As far as craft - I already do cross stitching and diamond painting but I feel as though I don't have time for these let alone new ones. I live and work on a property which keeps me really busy especially when the foal wants to cover himself in mud every second day!!! I have a new foal due in about 5 weeks which is really exciting. I have 3 days a month to go to town and only 2 spare days a month so it doesn't leave much time for relaxing. I'm thinking about trying leather craft if I can find some spare time.
Hi all, So the Naturopath was interesting. He did something called Iridology which is where they look into your eyes for info about your health. They ask you not to give them any details about yourself before you start but he picked up on all the things that are going on in my body. Eg. - chemical residue toxicity in my liver - which he says he can fix with Chinese herbal medicine by doing a very gentle detox so as to not make me feel too sick. While also building up my immune system and boosting my energy. Then I go back in two months to work on fixing the next problem - hormones. It is also interesting that he can see things going on with your lymph nodes and can be an extra set of eyes checking on early warning signs for cancer - which is reassuring. Not too sure about results yet as I only started 4 days ago but I am feeling a little calmer if anything so far. As for the problems in my feet, which I thought were from neuropathy of early arthritis, he is suggesting that it is actually a problem in my hip and to go see a podiatrist. And also wants me to have a breast scan as he can see fluid around the lymph in that area on the right side. Up till now all my health team have been confused by my symptoms and eventually say that there is nothing more they can do after months of testing with no results and I should just go home and take panadol!!! Even my dentist is confused about pain I have in my teeth and says there is nothing more he can do until my teeth actually break then he can fix them but meanwhile I'm having a hard time eating. So finally it is good to hear that someone can see what is going on and has ideas on how to fix it. I will keep you updated on my progress in the coming weeks but I think if you are having problems it certainly cant hurt to get a different opinion or try a different approach.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.