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Having a hard time dealing with being a "cancer" survivor

dani28
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi. I am Danielle, and I recently had and was treated for Cervical cancer. I am 28 years old and was waiting to have children. And now I can't. I feel too young to have to be going through this, and having a very, very hard time coping. I had to have a radical hysterectomy, and now am deemed a cancer survivor. I don't feel much like a survivor, since all I can focus on is the loss. Is there life after cancer? How do you go on with out focusing on what you "don't have" anymore? How do you say "I had cancer" without breaking down and crying every time? Just having a very hard time and looking for any advice.

moonnstars
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2009

HI Danielle,
I feel for you so deeply, Danielle. So much that I felt compelled to sign up on this community board. There is life after cancer...A beautiful life. My cancer was a gift in many ways and its hard to hear that but it was. It led me down an entirely differnt road and its an amazing life. Just be good to yourself and allow yourself to go through all the different losses you may be feeling. Its completely normal and healthy. Reach out to your friends and family and know you are loved. It will get easier and many gifts may come from this for you. Stay positive.

Keep your chin up!

DIVA's picture
DIVA
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2005

I understand everything u are going through. I may of had a different cancer but I was 21 when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I ended up with nerve damage in my left leg due to a hospital mistake. I was athletic and with that nerve damage my whole life was turned upside down. I went through a 2 year battle in physical theropy..... I also was going through college at the same time. It was a hard adjustment trying to be "normal" but I was anything but that. I am now 28 I spent my 22nd bday in the hospital and it has been over 6 years now for me. I felt for a long time like I was just going through the motions with that 2 year battle and college.... I finished college and got a job and was thrown into a new reality. I had to find a new normal yet again. It is all a rough battle and I understand the focus on the what you dont have.... I did not have the life I used to.

I had been fit and athletic and always very active and I am now forever limited. It takes time. They key is one day at a time and one moment at a time. Live for this moment, this day.... I have hit a new point in my life. I lost my job back in december and it was hard to deal with but they closed my office. I have my times where I feel life just loves beating me down and I dont think I can make it back up again. I may still have no job but one day I was sitting here trying to find out how to change my life and begin enjoying it again.... I enrolled for my masters degree I applied and then suddenly got in and within 2 weeks I was back in college.

This time it is different for me. I can enjoy my journey. I am living on my own. I own my home and I got my life back. I feel free..... Time is all we need.... I know at times I can still be emotional about my journey and what I went through and I wont ever change that. It reminds me that it is real and I am human. People have said you need to take the emotion out of it and how they get that I feel I got the bad end of the deal but that aint it at all. I would not change what I went through and who I am today for anything. I dont ever want to loose the emotion from my experience and the reminder. I can tell the basic story without any emotion but letting that emtion out is easy..... and I wouldnt change that....

Just remember 1 day a time.... and talk about it all you can.....

nubis's picture
nubis
Posts: 99
Joined: Mar 2008

Hello diva!
I was reading your story. You were young as my husband when you were diagnosed. Do you know why you get lung cancer? We don't know. Nubis

Mannie
Posts: 51
Joined: Oct 2008

I was 25 when I was diagnosed with brain cancer and my family was told that people with my type of cancer only live 9-13 months. I'm 28 now and I definitely understand how you feel. I have not had a radical hysterectomy as part of my treatment but I cannot ever have children biologically because it will trigger the growth of another brain tumor. So, my mom and I have been seriously considering having my ovaries removed. I am a single mom now and it's very difficult because I'm not the person I was prior to my diagnosis, I definitely don't have the energy or memory I used to. I can honestly say that I would rather be alive than have biological children or, in my situation, I would rather be alive than have any more children biologically and I always pictured myself with several children but sometimes that just doesn't happen. I don't know why, but, life isn't fair. Life doesn't play by the rules. I don't know when you were diagnosed but the further away you get from your diagnosis it does get easier to say and it also becomes something that you don't think about every second of every day, as hard as it is to believe right now. I was diagnosed in March 2007 and had surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. At first I didn't talk about it at all with anybody, not even my family; my mom did all the talking and sometimes it would make me mad that she would tell people. It all takes time to get used to, I still get mad and tell my mom that it's not fair this happened to me. I think your normal. It's hard not to focus on the loss for a while because life has became drastically altered so just try to hold tight.

Mannie

georgina64
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

my son was diagnosed with a pontine glioma of the brainstem it almost sounds like what you might have had also cause we were told possibly 2 years survival rate unless he beats the odds which i have faith he will i know its hard to talk about something as serious as cancer of any kind because it makes some feel weak and as you said its normal to say why me maybe you didnt have the same kind of brain cancer my son has cause he cant have surgery and yes our lives will be forever changed but my son is a fighter and i have faith he will survive the best to you

mama3boys
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2009

Danielle,

Although our cancers are not the same and I was lucky to go on in life to have children, I do understand the difficulties in dealing with being a survivor. When you asked how to say I had cancer without breaking down and crying, I can so relate to that. I have been a survivor for 12 years and I just recently have been able to tell my friends who I have known for years but who didn't know about my cancer past. I used to not even have the ability to say the word cancer and would often write it as a letter "c" only when journaling or emailing someone. I also had a hard time hearing of someone else having cancer without swallowing and being brought back to that memory. I know how you feel. Time will heal. You will cry less and you will learn to accept what God has given you. I know many times it's hard to have faith, but without it I would not be able to talk about it at all. I have found a new life as a cancer survivor, and I don't let that define me but what defines me is how I have dealt with it and how I have allowed it to change the person I am today. I thank God for all those little things in life and I learn to make the best out of my life. God has something in His plan for you. It may not be to have your own biological children, but maybe he has children out there who need you as an adoptive mother. Your calling may be different than what you want it to be. I hope you have the strength to believe that there is life after cancer, and that you can move on and soon learn to announce it with pride and dignity, not shame and fear. I will pray for you.

BrittaA's picture
BrittaA
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

Hi Danielle, I’m a Hodgkin’s Disease survivor. My father battled colon cancer for 8 years before passing in 2007. I was diagnosed when I was 16. I’m 34 now. Being a survivor definitely has its ups and downs. We are thankful that we survived the battle but at the same time how do you forget all of the pain, sadness and loss? One thing that has helped me is finding a sense of peace in the battle I had to fight and even the loss of my father. I also started a blog, www.cincovidas.com, a resource for fighters, survivors and caregivers, that deals with the side effects of cancer. It has helped me share my story with other victims of cancer. Sharing your story can be one of the most therapeutic things that you can do. By wanting to cope, you can help someone else cope. I hope this helps. Love, strength and survival, Britta

mtbikernate
Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2010

I understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with AML (leukemia) on an emergency basis, had a rapid onset of complications, and started chemo while I was in a coma. I could not bank any sperm prior to chemo. I am 29 yrs old (28 at diagnosis), and married. My wife and I do not know if I will be fertile. I am finished with my original chemotherapy protocol (since November), but my oncologist plans to give me a few months of maintenance chemo because he's a little paranoid, so it's too early to be tested to find out if the chemo rendered me sterile or not.

My wife and I have talked about it, and we are okay with it. I am not comfortable with fertility drugs. We have decided that if it is feasible for us, we may adopt in the future instead of having a child biologically. That's perfectly okay. There are plenty of children out there who need families.

I found it helpful not to dwell on that. I make an effort to remain positive and to remember where I was and where I have come. Maybe you and I were not supposed to have children. Maybe we have a different purpose.

Remember you've been through a lot. And you have SURVIVED. You now qualify for as HARD CORE. You're tough and strong having survived.

I understand that for many women, having biological children is a major goal in life. It was a lesser goal for me, so maybe I did not find it as challenging to cope. But I am warming to the idea of adopting. Sometimes I think that adopting an older child would be very rewarding, since far fewer people are willing to adopt older children.

germcellmom
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2010

I am the parent of a child that was diagnosed when she was 10 with Germ Cell, she is now 14. Reading your posts only confirms to me that you are all amazing. I know life is different, we also call it the "new normal" - but it's life and I am so glad that all of you are here, living it. My daughter has already had to have discussions about having children, not knowing if she will be able to, but told she probably should start young as a side effect of her chemo/cancer may be early menopause. She had had to discuss health care plans, career choices, children, relationships - all when she is only 14 years old. All of you had to grow up fast, adapt to a new life that I can guarantee your parents would never had chosen for you, but we are non-the-less so grateful every time we can lay our eyes on you, hold you in our arms or just hear your voices. I know all children are a gift, but this group of young survivors are all walking miracles. Your courage, inner strenght, determination and beauty amaze me. There are many ways to have children in your life, even if it is only be coaching, teaching, working at a church, you can make children part of your life. I know it's different than having your own, but children are only a piece of who you are to be. There is a "whole" you that can flourish and grow whether there are ever children in your future or not.

Sanil
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2010

Wonderful thinking mtbikernate. In this world we have people like you as well who thinks for others. Their are many child who needs the family like of yours. It's just a disease and it can be sured for sure so why is there a discrimination between them.

ya having biological children is a major goal in life of a women but if we have women like yours how is ready to adopt child then then their i can see the bright future of our future child.

Hector_LDN_UK's picture
Hector_LDN_UK
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2010

Hello there!!

First of all, hope you are feeling great when you read this.

I completely understand your feelings and I'm gonna tell you my case and see if it makes you feel better.

I am 24 y/o and I was diagnosed with Lymphoma when I was just 23...I finished 5 cycles of chemotherapy and on Thursday I will finish my Radiation Therapy... so in paper I can't still say I am a Cancer Survivor since I haven't done the Scans to know my Cancer is actually in remission, but I have faith and I know I am.

I've lived all this process all by myself, since my family lives in Barcelona (Spain) and I live in London (UK). And it's been very hard not to have my family's support, but it only has made me stronger.

But what really made me change my mind completely and get out from my doubts, depression, etc was this fantastic book called :

- You can Heal your Life -Louis Hay.

Do give it a try, is very powerful and amazing how just by changing your way of talking and thinking changes everything.

I wish you the best and hope you feel better.

diane2h81's picture
diane2h81
Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010

You are a Cancer Survivor.

"So in paper I can't still say I am a Cancer Survivor since I haven't done the Scans to know my Cancer is actually in remission, but I have faith and I know I am."

As soon as you are told you have cancer and choose to live, you are a Cancer Survivor. No paper needed. You are surviving :)

SheaBear3335's picture
SheaBear3335
Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2010

I too am dealing with Uterine cancer it's been a thorn in my side. I was diagnosed at 27 and am now 29...I had a totaly hysterectomy with chemo and rad..both external and internal there are days I just sit down and cry my heart out for a life I've had to fight for and for a child I never got. People tell me all the time how lucky I am to have survived but sometimes it's so hard to agree. I try and surround myself with people that support me and that make me laugh. Sometimes it's worse when I see people with their kids or someone reminds me I will never know the joy of carring a child. Yes there is adoption and I'm not opposed to that at all...but it's a struggle even for that and I know like you I'm not ready emotionally. This site helps a lot in just spilling your guts. It's almost ...almost comforting to know that someone somewhere is going through the exact same thing. I'm not going to tell you it will be okay because somedays it really wont, it just may get worse before it gets better. But I will tell you..YOU ARE A SURVIVOR.. NEVER give up and remember someone far away is thinking of you...and you are supported..from one survivor to another. :)

Marvusman's picture
Marvusman
Posts: 22
Joined: Sep 2010

Our age is identical I was diagnosed at 27 and am now 29 also. It's nice to be able to vent to people who understand. My dream was to have a son and thankfully I accomplished that before my cancer but I won't pretend to understand what you are going through not being able to have a child. Sometimes we have to make new dreams in order to cope. Cancer has stolen so much from me too. Yes I am alive but before my cancer I was an amateur boxer in Philadelphia & a top prospect to turn pro in late 2009. I trained 5 hours a day every day to accomplish my dream. Cancer stole that all from me I will never EVER do it again. I can't take any blows to my stomach as I have had a whipple surgery and then liver resection. I got heavily into running and cycling as an alernative & have fallen just as in love & now they may be stolen from me as well. I am having a hard time recovering from this 2nd major surgery but I plan on getting there. I was once a MAGNIFICENT father with tons of energy to wrestle, play and be silly with my little boy. I was his hero. Now I am a tired & worn down 29 year old who has to fight to find the energy to even take him to the playground. Sometimes I find myself talking him out of going out & talking him into staying in the house and playing Nintendo Wii. That was never me. I hate what the illness has done to me but I vow to get back to who I was if it kills me!

diane2h81's picture
diane2h81
Posts: 41
Joined: May 2010

I like your comment "Sometimes we have to make new dreams in order to cope." I needed that, thanks. Now I may have to use the statement myself.

Karri's picture
Karri
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2012

So often being a young cancer "survivor" I find it difficult to express to my family and friends what my life is now like. I am blessed to have two amazing children, one who according to doctors, should not be here at all. I lost my father recently to his battle with leukemia and often wonder why I survived and he did not. I can't talk to anyone about it because I honestly hate saying the words. Marvusman I understand fully what you mean by not having energy to play with your son. The boys are so energetic and I also find I don't have the patience I used to either. My older son tells me he is happy to simply have me around but I still feel bad not being the mom I used to be. As young people we deal with much more than usual. I also know of the financial burdens and I get so upset with the medical/insurance community. I wish we could do more for each other, however, hearing your stories helps me cope with my own. Thank you all so much for sharing.

georgina64
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

my 19 year old son was recently diagnosed with pontine glioma of the brainstem we were told the other day that he could possibly only have 2 years with treatment or longer if he beats the odds i know you said you wanted to have children and now cant i had pre cancer years ago but they caught it early im sure you asked the question why me as ive asked why my son be glad you survived i believe that everyone has a purpose in life youve been given an extension on life think of all the things you want to do and do them i know everyone says its hard to think positive about getting cancer let alone surviving be glad you are alive i know you cant have children have you ever thought of being a mentor to a girl or boy i know its not the same as having your own child i hope all the best for you in life God Bless and take care

stepjnsj's picture
stepjnsj
Posts: 18
Joined: Oct 2010

HI Danielle I read your story and I could not help to respond to your request. You still have a lot to give in your life you just have to believe that God is. Just remember that you are one of God's children and he always has a purpose for all of his. ALso have you ever thought about children that are now availabe for adoption they are some most beautiful children and all they are looking for is a loving family that they can call their own.
Sincerly
Adoptive parent
Stephen

jinxy
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Danielle, I read your story and was touched by your pain for your situation. I too am a cancer survivor...I guess, as of last Friday. I was diagnosed in June with Stage 3 breast cancer invasive and a second cancer behind the nipple. I have had the full menu of mastectomy, axillary resection, reconstruction, chemo, radiation and a hysterectomy. It is so tough to see where this journey is supposed to take you but trust in fate. Trust that your life is going in a certain direction for a reason. I am not a religious person but believe there are forces out there for all of us and we don't have a choice of our path. I was diagnosed when my second child was only 7 months, my first was 20 months. I am gene positive but the back to back pregnancies fed this cancer and they also gave me some significant problems with my pancreas. There is a reason for everything. If I hadn't lost my pregnancy weight so quickly thanks to my chronic pancreatitis I would have never found the lump! It was so aggressive, if not treated I would have died over christmas. I am 37 and have been granted an immence gift of insight/perspective. Keep talking with people, find out what road you were meant to take and take it, trust it and tell yourself everything is going to be ok....

Heatherbelle's picture
Heatherbelle
Posts: 1221
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Jinxy, I'm also a breast cancer survivor -also diagnosed last June, had bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, and chemo. I have a 9 yr old and a 2 yr old & am 35. Your post is very inspiring :)
I'm not usually on this board, but rather on the breast cancer boards - there's a great network of strong, wonderful women on there -you should check it out some time!

And I too have conflicted feelings on being a survivor. My hardest time throughout my cancer journey came when i finished chemo. I felt like everyone expected me to jump right back to how i was pre-cancer because chemo was done. I got depressed, and really emotional. It seemed to peak about 2 months after chemo finished, and now i'm getting around to feeling better.
*hugs*
Heather

nicolegarza's picture
nicolegarza
Posts: 27
Joined: Mar 2011

my whole ordeal was last year but very similar to yours I had just turned 27 and found a 4lbs tumor in my abdomin. That lead to a 5 hour exploritory surgery I had to have a total hystarectomy finding the tumor was attached to my ovary and the same exact cancer was found taking over my uterus. I was and am crushed heartbroken and I'm angry and hurt I'll never get to carry a child... my only dream was to have a child... and at the age of 27 you think thats what your supposed to be doing not CHEMO!! Its getting a lil easier to deal with and when I said lil I mean LITTLE, the crying my self to sleep has slowed down I have to keep my self busy or my mind begins to wander... I know adoption is there for people like me but then in my mind I hear will they give someone like a me a child? I can never afford adoption? Will I meet someone who will accept not having kids together? The list goes on and on, the doubts in my mind. I know I am emotionally and financially not ready for all that I've only been cleared for almost 6 months... but it just seems like its never gonna happen for me and my heart hurts... Every one trys to encourage me but its hard to hear them when they have no clue what you've been through or how you feel... I wish I could give you advice but Im in no way able to give anyone advice when I stuggle with the same things....

2blessed4stress
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Danielle!
I am 28 as well and kinda going thru the samething excpet my prblms are a llil diff. I had a saracoma on my bladder when I was 4 and I had radiation as well as chemo and I have been in remission now for 24 yrs. Ive experienced so many prblms since then and mainly female problems due to the fact the extensive amount of chemo and radiation done to my bladder and it effective everything in that area(ovary,kidney,pelvic,vagina,etc)And what made matters worse is the Dr's really couldnt help me. they basically said the prblms I was having was new to them and the didnt know the proper approach because usually kids with my illness dosent make it past a certain age and being that I was like 17 at the time,it had been over 10yrs so I guess they was clueless and all the surgeries I had there on was pretty much an experiment for them. In 2004 I had 2 diff surgeries to have my pelvic bone shaved to make it comfortable for me to have intercourse,use feminin products,and also so I could sit without hurting in that area. All the surgeries to correct those problems was a fail. In 2000 I had a cyst that caused me to hv 1 of my ovaries removed,las year i had another cyst on my other ovary but only the cyst was removed, and right now I am recovering from another surgery I had because of a cyst but this time when I went into the surgery room with 1 ovary,I came out with none. This cyst caused me to lose my last ovary(non of the cysts was cancerious) I have no kids, I love kids and always wanted them. I recently got engaged and thats all my fiancee talked about was us having kids. I cant even begin to explain the pain and heartach I feel right now. i have not been able to enjoy my life or even feel like a real woman because of the problems ive had to face all my life and usually i am strong but this have taken its toll on me and all I do is cry cry cry. My fiancee is so supportive and now he is like we can always adopt, which is true but like you say you want to have the experience of carring your child and want some1 with your own blood. I would love to adopt and prolly will but idk if I will feel that bond like a Mother would usual feel. My Dr told me the consequences before i went into surgery and I asked her not to take my uterus because it is still hope I could maybe carry a child which will still be weird because it still wouldnt be my blood, you kno? Honestly I feel as if my uterus is 2 weak to carry a child and with all I been thru i dont think it would be wise to chance it. Its so crazy how life end up sometimes and my heart goes out to you my dear but just know you are not alone. Prayer keeps me going and the fact that I know I am very blessed to still be here and I hate to talk about problems like this cause I feel like some ppl may be like"You survived Cancer you should be happy". You thats true and I am very very thankful but my life still goes on and I have feelings too and for once in my life since I found out the news of no babies, I feel like I am losing control of it. Good Luck sweetie

Crystallmt0210
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

Danielle,

I am 25 and recently a cancer survivor to lymphoma. Like you I am stuggling with actually surviving it. Before I had cancer I had everything...great job, great money,amazing family and friends, no worries...and then as soon as I got diagnosised I lost the job, lost family and friends who couldn't handle it, and started to face a great financial down turn. I was out of work for months as I went through treatment and due to that had my car up for repo, lost my health insurance (while I was still going through treatment!), and had creditors calling me everyday. While I survived for awhile I struggled with the idea of why I actually did. I went into a deep depression because I felt like I was being punished for fighting for my life. I had to face the aftermath of thousand of dollars of medical bills piling up, and still cannot find any health insurance that will take me that will not cost an arm and a leg. Only thing that got me through was having an amazing boyfriend who stood by me, and starting to give back. I am a massage therapist and started taking classes to specialize in oncology massage. I actually am getting my boss now to offer oncology massage at our location. While you don't have to go to my extreme, my best advice is to give. Talk to someone else who is going through it, volunteer your time at hospitals to just go and spend sometime with patients, anything. Seeing the little difference you can make will start making you realize why you are still here.

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