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Remission

Caradavin
Posts: 23
Joined: Jan 2010

Hello, all. You are going to think that I am a selfish being, as I also think. I feel very confused about the emotions I am going through right now. I was diagnosed with papillary adenocarcinoma endometrial cancer in June of last year. I went through some aggressive hormone therapies because I wish to have children. I had my first biopsy checkup this month and it came back with an inactive pattern, which the doctor says means I am cancer-free. I was elated at first, until I noticed that my family and fiance didn't seem to share my feelings. Now, this wouldn't have affected me that badly if I'd felt that they had been more supportive and caring during the time I was dealing with the cancer. I know I'm a strong person and come across as such, but I needed support and felt all alone. I brought it up a couple of times and they said I was not alone, but I have trouble seeing how they were there. They all seemed to be either avoidant or overly optimistic. I almost felt as if I couldn't even have my feelings. I feel again as though the feelings I had during the diagnosis and treatment were trivial and that none of this mattered. When sharing this frustration with my fiance, the only response he gave me was "I told you so", meaning that he told me everything would be alright. Is this normal that I feel a bit furious about this?

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I know exactly what you're talking about. Everyone who loves you is consistently upbeat and positive throughout your cancer journey, and although that is TRULY the only response they can handle (and probably the only response from them that YOU could handle!), somehow it invalidates the enormity and pain and fear of the journey you are travelling. We've all heard it from so many genuinely well-meaning people who say "With your positive attitude you will surely beat this!" (Oh, if ONLY that was all it took!! Optimisitic positive people with cancer die every day in spite of their hope and outlook. And yet, what is life without hope? And so we hope. But I digress here; back to your post:)

I've thought about this, and find it very similar to people's well-meaning responses to the loss of a loved one. People say things just as silly, sincerely meaning well, and the same type of anger can flare up when you are in grief and their platitudes seem to invalidate and minimize what you are going through. When my sister was killed in a car accident, I remember how ANGRY I felt at all of the people who said "How wonderful that her donated organs are making it possible for all of these other people to have a better life!" All I could think was that I would let every one of those other people die to have her back with me. But how could anyone who had never been through that possibly KNOW that I was feeling that way??!!

And how can anyone who cares about you possibly KNOW what you have been through? And, honey, you don't ever want them to know, not really, if 'personal experience' is the only way to know. So please let go of your anger. You have come back from a dark place to stand whole again in the light. SMILE! FORGIVE! Let go of the anger and let the joy and love wash over you. There's nothing for you in nursing these hurts and your anger; let them go.

deanna14
Posts: 734
Joined: Oct 2008

Congrats on being NED! And please don't be too hard on yourself. Your feelings are your feelings, but I do agree that you need to let them go. I have felt the same thing many times on this journey, but I am learning to give less credit to negatives. In the big picture, when it is all said and done the positive emotions are wayyyyy more important.
Again, congratulations on your new beginning. Enjoy getting married and live a long happy, healthy life!

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 201
Joined: Oct 2009

Congratulations on the good news about being cancer free!!!!
I agree with Linda's comments. No one really understands what you are going through unless they have taken the journey. We sometimes have expectations of others and when they don't behave or act the way we wish they would we are disappointed. Please don't put expectations on others. They likely are doing and saying what they are able to emotionally without losing it so to speak.

Are they Norweigian by chance? (LOL) Us scandinavians often have a hard time showing our emotions. When others are gushing and celebrating we tend to think that you should just know how happy we are for you because we are there with and you are part of our family!

Did you notice that when you were first diagnosed there was much attention by others as they were shocked to hear the news and then as time went on those people went on to their lives and there were less phone calls or checking in on you? That is part of human nature...some people just know that you are going to be a survivor.
Forget and forgive them for not showing you how truly happy they are for you...just know in your heart that they are soooooo very relieved, thankful and happy and may show it in small and different ways. Your feelings will likely be a bit of a roller coaster as you deal with the known and the unknown.

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Linda and Northwoodsgirl have said it very well.....great advice and oh, so true.

Don't waste your precious energy on things you can't change!! So glad that you are able to express your feelings here as we do know what you are experiencing!!

Karen

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I agree with these women. Have your feelings and allow others to have theirs. I'm glad you are dealing with good news!!!

Caradavin
Posts: 23
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you. I feel foolish for posting that. I was intensely emotional. I just received the information that afternoon. I know I should be grateful. I did receive a lot of attention when I was first diagnosed, and people called less. That is true. It is good that all of this is normal on both my part and my family's. I guess I need to let go of some stuff and grow up. I have a wedding to plan, too. Thanks for such thoughtful and helpful replies; they really helped put things in perspective. I was smiling for a while after the diagnosis. I should remember that feeling.

Just one question, why do I feel like I'm grieving? I feel like I'm grieving some loss now. Is that normal, too? What in the world.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Some food for thought which I have pondered..... for what it's worth.....

In Carl Simonton's book Getting Well Again, he tells us (cancer patients) to do some soul searching. One issue is the "secondary gain" we get by being sick (people paying attention to us, gifts, pity, etc). Unless we recognize this and are willing to let go of these gains, we will stay sick.

Don't just survive, THRIVE!!!

Caradavin
Posts: 23
Joined: Jan 2010

Ok. I kind of figured that. I had been ignored for so long before this that I did feel that way. I need to get that book, it sounds like something that would benefit the mind and heart.

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 632
Joined: Apr 2009

Your feelings are your feelings and sometimes you just have to feel them so you can open the window and set them free. I have decided that going through cancer treatment is rough and that when it is finished you almost feel a post traumatic stress syndrome. Perhaps they could have been more supportive. I don't know. I believe talking to a therapist really helps you to understand your feelings.

I had breast cancer ten years ago and then had papillary serous uterine cancer ten years later. My family seemed better this time, they knew how to roll up their sleeves and help. So there is a learning curve for all of us. Sometimes family doesn't know what to say. My husband told me once, we're all scared too. Sometimes we don't know what to say.

I have two friends and we all have a very serious cancer. I don't mean to be irreverant, but sometimes we get together and laugh at all the stupid things people say to us. One woman suggested giving my clothes to her Church. A woman shouted out in a restaurant to me last week, "I can't believe how good you look." I've learned to accept that sometimes people just don't know what to say. I don't let them spoil my day anymore.

I still think a little therapy would help you. It takes some adjustment to get back into normal after what you have been through.

deanna14
Posts: 734
Joined: Oct 2008

A girl that I used to work with sent me an email not long, asking how I was doing. When I replied, I told her that the results of my last scan showed no cancer. She replied back to me... "It's a miracle." Many times I have run into people I haven't seen in a long time and they say things like "you look really good." I guess they expect me to look "sick." Anyway... I guess people feel akward and sometimes they don't know exactly what to say, but want to acknowledge the illness.

Soliel's picture
Soliel
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2010

Wow, I feel like I could have written your post myself. I feel for you, and your situation. I wish no one else had to deal with it too, but I guess I find a small amount of comfort in knowing that I am not the only person dealing with these issues.

I really always thought that everything would play out differently, and when daydreaming about the day that I might finally go into remission I had visions of people celebrating with me... maybe dinner or a party... at least a card or two? But none of that has happened, only alot of I told you so's, and "see you should have been more positive the whole time".

I for one am disappointed, and feeling pretty lonely. I think I feel more lonely now than I did when I was first diagnosed.

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 632
Joined: Apr 2009

It is very common to feel blue after treatment is finished. You feel like, "oh my god, no one is doing anything." You have been the center of attention as everyone has struggled to help you. You may miss that and have to learn to let go of it.

Perhaps you could suggest a celebration. Whatever you like. If they don't respond you can do something wonderful for yourself. I reward myself with a pretty new outfit or hair do. Get my nails done. I know I've worked hard and this is an anniversary for me. A new perfume or lazy day; just to sit around and read. Learn to treat yourself.

sometimes I think people don't celebrate remissions because they are afraid to. They don't want to remind you of cancer. So don't be afraid to treat yourself.

Diane

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