Treatment is done, now what?

Hey Guys;

This may seem trivial to some. especial those still in treatment. But I have been having a harder time being done with treatment than when I was first diagnosed with Leukemia. I am struggling with all of your usual cancer side affects as they say; Fatigue, neuropathy, body image and so on. But what is hindering me the most is if I know if my struggle was valid enough? Also this going back to your old life before cancer just doesn't fir for me anymore. Its like putting the wrong sized Jigsaw puzzle piece in the wrong spot. I find myself going to work, doing my old routine before I had cancer and I get angry with myself; thinking I am wasting my second chance on life so to speak. That I am not living each day to the fullest moment but in the same breath I am just trying so hard to feel normal again since cancer took that from me too.

I Don't feel brave or a fighter. I was very positive and almost jovial during my 5 week hospital stay and over 120 chemo treatments. I had everyone rallying behind me and I knew I could do it, so I did. Then I got the best news I could ever receive; I'm In remission. I laughed, I cried, I celebrated. Then slowly but surely my cheering supporters grew quite. Now I was just Amy that "Had" cancer. Not that I ever want it back, but I feel like my strong confidant side died with the cancer cells. Now I'm the third wheel Amy, Bridesmaid Amy, not moving anywhere in life Amy. Once I stopped and looked around after my chaotic world had slowed down. My friends and family were moving on and I am a year behind in life. Everyone is just getting married, having babies, new promotion's and I'm just Amy.

Please do not take away from this that I am not thankful each and everyday to live life. See my friends get married, have their babies. To hug my family every night, cook my own meals, hell even drink a beer on the patio. But part of me is lost. Just because the cancer is gone doesn't mean it will be erased from my life. Cancer has taught me so many things both negative and positive. But one never shakes it shadow.

I hope others feel similarly please feel free to share comments and or advice. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me.

Amy

Comments

  • 14 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hey Amy, first of all a big CONGRATS to you, and it's really great to hear you are doing well now. It's not uncommon to have really mixed feelings when treatment ends. In fact, managing those emotions is a normal and expected part of survivorship.

    The National Cancer Institute has a "Life After Treatment" booklet that might be useful to check out. Or this Coping After Cancer video series from the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

    The American Cancer Society also has a page chock full of support resources on survivorship.

    Hope these are helpful to you!
  • Hey Amy. You’re definitely not alone! I felt so lost and confused after I became cancer free I didn’t know what to do with myself… It would be great if we could just pick up where we left off right? But ya eventually I found that online resources were what helped me get back on track. I’ve actually read some of the ones that @caretothepeople mentioned, and found some good videos on Reimagine’s cancer website. Hope it helps!
  • It's funny I was just about to write a post exactly like this.  It's really weird that cancer can become normalized.  I think most people just expect you to be nothing but exhilarated that you've beat cancer, but there's more to it.  You've been through this major event and just because treatment is over doesn't mean that all the feelings that have been brought up are just going to disappear.  If someone survives a car wreck they're going to be happy to be alive, but that doesn't mean that there aren't going to deal with the lasting effects of almost dying.  You have to give yourself a break.  It can be hard when you read all this stuff about people beating cancer and then climbing a mountain.  Everyone deals with things in a different way.  I'm sorry if I sound cliche, but allow yourself some time to take stock.  Think about what makes you happy and take small steps toward that.  I often put a lot of pressure on myself about making everything count, but it's unhelpful.  Find strength in the fact the you survived one of the worst things that can happen to anyone.  You should be proud of yourself for continuing to work, for getting out there and being a part of those weddings.  Just taking part in day to day life after such a life altering event is heroic in my book. 
  • Thank you Caretothepeople. Means a lot you took the time to read and suggest advice. I'll look into your suggestions. Have a great day!
  • Joeylewis213 and Xoldcorex Thank you for your feed back. It means a lot that other people understand what I am going through and have been there themselves.

    Thank you Xoldcorex for reminding me to give myself a break and celebrate the small victories of being able to live life! Also that things take time to heal, cliché as well. I would of never pitched myself of being heroic but you're right. I guess the strangest thing is that sometimes I have these moments were I feel like a bystander in my own life, sounds silly I know. Like I am my own third wheel at times. Maybe I just sound crazy, I don't know. Thank you for opening up and sharing your experience and feelings with me. It is nice to talk with people who" Get It'. That I don't have to put an enormous amount of effort in explaining how it feels to go through this so my friends understand where I am coming from when I am venting my frustrations and feelings due to cancer. Since you were going to post something similar to this topic, I'd be happy to continue to chat to hear your side of "Treatment is done, now what?" if you would like.

    Thank you again;

    Amy

  • I agree that life after cancer will not be the same. You went through a life changing event and that will stay with you forever. But no matter what you do after i wouldn't forget to take steps so the cancer won't come back. Doing this to prevent cancer should be the #1 priority. I have seen many people make this mistake. Do your research. Studies have proven that certain things like for example melatonin have been shown to reduce cancer recurrence and even be strong enough to treat active cancer. This is one of the articles. http://www.cancermind.com/melatonin-and-il-2-cancer-treatment/

    Hope that helps
    Good luck
  • Thank you Xcancer. I found your article very interesting and informative. I will continue to research healthy ways to keep cancer at bay. Thank you for taking the time to reach out and respond.

    Cheers,

    Amy

  • Hi Amy,I totally know how you feel. For me treatment ended up being the easy part which I would have never thought when I was getting chemo. It took me so long to try and find me feet after I was told I was in remission. It's strange how it becomes a more comfortable norm than the decades of life you lived before. Not to be a self promoter, but I am working on a blog about my experience post cancer; kind of a way for me to cope with my post-cancer stresses. It's at https://rememberthattimeihadcancer.wordpress.com if you wanted to take a look. Sorry about the self promotion. 

    It's hard to try and fit back into your old life when so many things have changed. I found that it's helpful to find a way to make the two versions of yourself in the middle. I always joke about having cancer with my friends. It helps me cope in my own strange way while helping them feel at ease about that whole almost dying thing. When I celebrate my anniversaries, I make sure to turn it into a night with friends to celebrate all the bright days ahead instead of the dark days behind.

    Good luck Amy.
  • congratulations...  I am feeling great that you beat cancer. Please take care of your self because care for you is doesn't end when your treatment has finished.

    Good Luck dear...
  • Thank you Katelyn and Jay for taking the time to read and respond to my post. I hope this finds you both well. Katekyn I can't wait to read your blog and I am glad you're able to cope with your friends support.
    Jay I could agree more. Thanks for the love and support.
    Cheers!
  • Thanks Ginger..

    Keep updating about your health
    :-*
  • Hey Ginger,

    Sounds great that you have got rid of cancer. I am really happy for you.
    God bless !
  • Hi Jay_rogers and Jean_howard,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I hope both of you are doing well.

    I have been in remission since April and it feels good that my cancer is that far behind me and I can start complaining again when I come down with the common cold..haha.

    Though the quarterly oncologist visits and yearly bone marrow biopsies are a fun reminder of once was and what can return.

    I hope both of you are well and enjoyed the holidays,

    Cheers,

    Amy