Nov 10, 2010 - 5:46 am
I am a 38 year old male cancer survivor of 5 years. Other than my family, doctors, and select friends I have not discussed this with many people, and never thought I would post my story on a discussion board. I thought I was potraying to others that I was the same person, with the same feelings, and am living my life, that was until today. My mother called me and said she was worried that I was going to commit suicide. Before I continue here is a little background:
I was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer that I was not suppossed to beat (they gave me 6 months - two years). The day before my first chemo treatment my doctor told me that they had to run some more tests to confirm my treatment. The tests came back inconclusive but had markers for both carcinogenic cancer and non-hodgkins lymphoma. A week later my doctor changed his mind and my treatment with it. I recieved 8 treatments of a regimen called C.H.O.P. (to treat the non-hodgkins lymphoma). After the first treatment my tumor reduced in size 80% and my doctor told me how well the treatment worked and told me that I would no longer require surgery. He wasn't sure what type of cancer I had but he gave me an 85% chance of survival. After the chemo I was set up with a hefty dose of radiation that lasted every weekday for a month.
After my treatment I felt extremely fortunate to have survived. I went about my life for the next 10 months on cloud nine knowing I beat the odds (and lost 100 pounds of unwanted weight) and wanted to live life to the fullest. I decided to do something I always wanted to do and quit my job and went travelling. For the first 6 months I was having the time of my life meeting new people, having new experiences and all in all just loving it. That's when it started. Every once in a while I would feel like my world was crashing in on me. I felt like I was going to get my cancer again and this was all going to end.
It started out just when I was going to sleep. My mind would race and I could not help but think I was going to die. It lead to a few sleepless nights that I just chaulked up as "normal". After all I had cancer and like most cancer patients spent a lot of time on the internet looking up side effects and that seemed common. When I got back home it started to get worse. Not only was I thinking about my cancer returning but now I was thinking that if I was going to get cancer again why invest in a new career, friends or long term goals. Was it worth it? Why involve anyone else in my problems? I don't matter. Nobody cares. I just put that off as "normal" too. I started a new carreer that I don't like and kept to myself. I still had bad nights but tried not to think about it.
That has been going on for nearly 3 years now. I have been single ever since my diagnosis and don't see that changing. I avoid my friends and family because I don't want to burden them with my problems. I thought that I was doing a good job of coping until today when my mother called worried that I was going to kill myself. Now let's be clear, that has never crossed my mind. Not once. For the most part I still feel the same about myself. I am a good person with an outgoing personality, have a lot of friends (none that I tell everything to though), and still enjoy life and all it has to offer.
The problem I am having is that after 5 years, and 10 follow up visits with my doctor I am falling apart at the seems. Physically I am fine. No sign of cancer, I am still a healthy 6'3" 200 pound man (some would even say good looking), but inside I am struggling to move on. I don't sleep very well because I worry about everthing, I can't seem to make any plans for tomorrow (let alone the future), I stay home a lot watching tv and movies and lay in bed a lot and have started to feel sorry for myslef (even though I am one of the lucky ones). I find myself in a world of contridictions. I can't stand to be alone but don't want anyone around. I want a new career but don't do anything about it. I want a relationship but won't let anybody to get close. I want to talk about it but don't want anyones opinion.
It's funny, I just read back what I had wrote and almost deleted it. I sound like a nut job. No wonder my mom is worried. I would be too if it were someone close to me. I don't feel I need to see a shrink as I feel they are full of shit and can't help me but hope to here your thoughts on what I am doing wrong and how I can get past this and move on with my life.