I am finding it interesting the different feelings I am having about finishing up my 6 months (which has turned into 8-9 months) of chemo after surgery earlier this year. Everyone is so excited for me but there is a little voice inside me thats saying - what next? I have read a few peoples stories where they feel like heres a handshake well done now off you go and don't come back. I have found the compassion of the oncology nurses to be something I come to count on every 2-3 weeks and shall miss them in some strange way. I appreciate the simple things in life now more and am going to give my kids a kiss and cuddle and send them off into the world everyday but am finding that I'm not really sure what is next for me. I have lost any control (perceived or otherwise) and it both scares me and gives me tingles at the same time. Just putting this out there in the universe. PS Tim tams rule
Hi, I'm just going through this for the second time. I had breast cancer 12 years ago with chemo and radiotherapy over a similar period: 8/9 months.
Do you remember the old cartoons where the coyote is running at top speed, suddenly runs off a cliff, stops, looks down with a "what happened! and a "what happens now!" expression? That's how I felt at the end of the treatment. For months, everything had been about "the running" - getting through the treatment, the new things to learn about my cancer and my treatment, inhabiting a different world of hospitals and nurses, dealing with many people with whom I would not normally come into contact. Also, being "special" and "different", even if not in a way generally regarded as positive.
Then one day, it's all finished, back to "normal" life - going back to work, having to do the housework again, meet other people's needs and expectations. Everyone's joy that it's over, you've survived! ....and yet there's an emptiness and a big readjustment that you know is needed but no one else sees. To them, you're back to business-as-usual, you may even want that yourself. But are you the same person? How has your experience changed you? Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. Even exploring where this journey has taken you and what this new world looks like to you can be daunting. Maybe think of this stage as an equally essential part of your "treatment" - you've fixed your body, now time to fix your mind/feelings/life?
Did I do that? No, I didn't. I threw myself back into my old life as if nothing had happened. It was in denial of what I had been through, I couldn't acknowledge it. This time, 12 years on, I'm dealing with it very differently. It's only on reflection that I can see that there was a lot of unfinished business that I ignored. By the way, I'm being far more accepting of and gentle with myself this time. I am surrendering to the process and I feel fine about it.
If you do nothing else, at least acknowledge how you a feeling. It's OK. If others don't or can't understand, maybe talk to the Cancer Council Helpline (I didn't accept any of that support last time - what a fool!). Just being able to be honest to someone about what's on your mind (did it myself this morning) I have found incredibly affirming and quite liberating!
OK, I think I've rambled on enough. Congrats on getting through the treatment and best of luck with the rest of your life! Hope this was helpful.
Thank you for your honest and refreshing reply. I am very fortunate to talk to a councilor once a month after I broke down earlier in my treatment. I think this will be our topic for our next session. I have also joined a relaxation class which helps me immensely. Your words resonate with me on so many levels. I think you can't go through this journey and come out the same person.
I am sending you light and laughter (loved the road runner reference) your way during your treatment. It's funny everything in the chemo world is purple which is quite a spiritual colour - go figure. I imagined a green light accompanying the purple - green is for healing - and protecting the cells that didn't need any interfering with. I am going to be more gentle with myself as well.
I finised chemo 14 years ago this month. I know a lot of my friends and peers were in the "What now"school feeling cut loose and rudderless and almost certain the cancer would return because nothing was being done for them. I could only feel thank goodness no more of that stressed feeling that I was being poisoned,which is exactly what WAS happening. I felt really good for about six months before a constant barrage of small ills each turned into major ills. I have had no recurrence of my colorectal cancer. But I have had cancers removed thanks to the savage immuno-suppresant drugs I have been on. At one stage in the last couple of years I have been required to take methotrexate and due to gastric side effects even self inject it. I cannot even begin to explain how repulsed I was at the Idea of any sort of chemo drug again after a decade free of it. It really sucks. There is now no drug that I don't react to. My system has been sensitised and the thought of going onto drugs that are used to stop organ rejection after transplant scares the crap out of me. I find that as I try each new drug, each more powerful than the previous one, I get more depressed. If I react to the lesser evil drugs ,what wil happen when I strike the real baddies.
The only advice I can give you is live,live ,live. I don't mean take a walk on the wild side . If there is something you really want to do and if you can afford it financially and physically ,do it. Hugs and best wishes for the future.Ron.
You are an inspiration to me. Feels good to know that there are people out there like yourself. Your right about it feeling like you are just poisoning your system with all these drugs that are suppose to make you better. I can only imagine what you are going through. It does suck. Feels good to say that hey.
Thanks for the advise. I am turning 40 next year and am planning a get together with 5 of my friends from school as it has been too long since we have seen each other. Funny how everybody just jumped on board and is very excited about it.
I shall be sending you some light for your journey.
CS (aka Chocolate Sprinkes) my new call sign since I have been conversing with Jellybean. It just makes me smile so I'm doing it
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.