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Moving on after treatment

synsarcoma's picture
synsarcoma
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2008

I was 22 when I was diagnosed with a sarcoma. This was 6 months ago. Since then, I have undergone radiation and limb-sparing surgery (that has left me almost unable to use one of my hands). I was able to stay relatively sane during treatment, but now that the treatment is over, I'm having a hard time moving on. I think all the time about cancer, recurrence, and my old cancer-free life. Everyone seems to feel that I should be moving on now, but I'm finding post-treatment to be very hard. It's like the craziness of treatment has finally settled down and now all I can do is worry. I am engaged and trying to plan a wedding, but that's hard to do when I can actually look up my 5 and 10-year survival probabilities. Is it normal to be so scared AFTER treatment is over? How do I move on?

katienavs's picture
katienavs
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi,
I wrote almost the exact same post on the colorectal cancer board back in june, the post was titled "help moving forward after treatment." I felt the exact same way. I am 26 now but was 24 when I was diagnosed with stage iv colorectal cancer. I had surgery, radiation, and chemo. I had been so strong, optimistic and focused during treatment. And when it was over I wasn't sure what I was supposed to think of. Unfortunately, it was hard not to think of a recurrence, how I was now so different from my peers, and how I was still very much stressed out.
Things have gotten much easier. I saw a counselor at my cancer center two or three times and cried a lot. I honestly think the crying helped, it was like there was so much built up and I got it all out. I also attended a weekly cancer support group at a hospital in town. And although being around others with cancer might seem like the opposite of moving on, it really helped. It helped me accept that I am forever changed from my diagnosis and realize there are others out there like me. Talking with and listening to people who have been through similar things and have experienced the same emotions helped me move on. I also think the passage of time has helped. I ended treatment in April and have had two clear CT scans since. Although I still fear a recurrence, life is better than it was back in June.
Oh, one more thing. I hated that everyone thought that since treatment was over and was cancer free that my life was great! That was one of the hardest parts. I found that it was best to express that to those very close to me and try to ignore the rest or tell them in a subtle way that there is actually a lot to deal with in regards to the cancer even though treatment is technically over. Some will never understand though and you have to learn to not let those people bother you.
Take care!

chenderson
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi, Synsarcoma. Check out the websites for Planet Cancer and I'm Too Young For This -- you'll find a lot of people there who feel the same way you do.

http://www.planetcancer.org/
http://www.imtooyoungforthis.org/

devildawg
Posts: 16
Joined: Jun 2005

Hi, My name is Jason. I was diagnosed when I was 24, I am now 27. It's totally normal to be scared post treatment.Even today I still feel like I should be way further along in my recovery, but what you have to understand is there is no time frame. Everyone is different and everyone has different affects from treatment. There is no power curve, you will move on when your ready to. Cancer is a tricky thing. You fight so hard through treatment and to get through the pain of it all(emotionally and physically) to get to that last chemo and radiation treatment. We fight and we fight, we fight so hard to survive this disease, we give everything we have to beat it, but we don't realize and others don't realize is that once the treatments are over and remission has been reached, nobody tells you that the fight must continue. We as survivors are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, the problem is, is that we fail to realize that the tunnel doesn't end. Now as survivors we have to deal with the new pain, pain from side effects from treatment, the pain emotionally. Every day we wake up and realize that it's another day of fighting, fighting to get back to normal, the thing is that we never get back to normal, we have to create a new normal.For me not a day goes by when cancer doesn't come to mind. You move on by waking up everyday! You throw this disease over your shoulder and you continue the fight, I know for me, I didn't go through all that painful treatment and emotional times, to have this disease control my life. Thats what we fought for, control of our lives. Everyday you wake up, your in control of your life, and you earned every bit of it. I know it's tough at times but you must look at all the good there is. Your engaged(congratulation's) you have someone at your side to help when your down and to cheer you up when you think things can't get any tougher. I do know this about you, your a fighter, you couldn't have got to this point if you weren't, so continue the fight and each day will get easier.

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