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Survivor's Guilt

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

I have been in treatment and not able to logon as often, but I just finished my last Rituxan maintenance. Two years went by incredibly fast and it's such a relief, but at the same time the anxiety of how long the relief will last is always there.

I'm also feeling some survivor's guilt, has anyone been at this point and felt this? I'm so grateful for where I am, but I don't want to "Happy Dance". It doesn't feel right when others are still fighting for their lives or losing their battle.

When I left the infusion center the other day, I didn't have the elation I thought I would have. I left behind the sick ones who may not leave there for the last time for a good reason.

Woo, I thought this was the easy part!

onlytoday's picture
onlytoday
Posts: 596
Joined: Jun 2010

Everytime I get my blood work done I go to the infusion center. And EVERYTIME I feel very sad for the ones getting their treatments and I wonder how they are coping and feeling. I know that I'll be back in there at some point but for now I have a reprieve and although I am very grateful for that I also feel so sad for the others. I feel bad as I breath a sign of relief when my doctor says " Blood work looks good - see you in three months..." So I get on with the life as best I can and I think about the ones in the chairs and say a prayer for them. So I can truly relate to survivor guilt.

I guess this just highlights the fact that WE HATE CANCER and this stupid life changing disease is hard no matter what part of the journey you are on. I pray for a cure every day.

God bless you all and may you remain disease free. :)

vinny59's picture
vinny59
Posts: 1030
Joined: Nov 2006

I often wonder the same thing, but it quickly goes away knowing that we are never really out of danger. Try to enjoy all the positives that you have right now, and leave the negatives behind.......

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2085
Joined: Aug 2011

I have thought about this also but my experience is so recent including
finishing chemo that I'm still like a deer caught in headlights a little.

I agree with Vinny's comments. I'm very thankful for how things have
gone but realize that could change so quickly. I'm trying to focus on
the positives but being human, that is difficult to do sometimes.

"Feeling guilty" is probably normal as you are a good person and are
sensitive to others' suffering which I think is a good quality but
it is two sided. One one side, you can be compassionate, kind and offer
help - on the other, this sensitivity can really play on your emotions.
It's hard to feel like a "happy dance" when you read some of the tough
stories and situations here.

I think one way to look at it Cat, is that your heart is in a good place and
your intentions are good. There is so much suffering and unfairness in the
world (not just with cancer) but we can't allow that to overcome us.
Otherwise, we won't be able to do much good to change things or make a difference.
And you DO make a difference here and that's a good thing :). So,
I think it's okay to "happy dance" for that reason alone.

Hugs,

Jim

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Thank you all for your helpful responses, I guess I have to realize that I can't save the world and we all play the game with the cards we are dealt. The funny thing is, if those same people were doing well I would "happy dance" with them! So maybe I just need to tell myself that it's okay to be happy for me too? So hard to do, but I'll try it if you all do it with me!
"HAPPY DANCE!"
Thanks!!
Cat

anliperez915's picture
anliperez915
Posts: 756
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Cat,
I'm happy for you! And I'm gonna do a happy dance for you, Cat you shouldn't feel guilty for kicking the cancer's butt! You should celebrate, you went through this very difficult journey and came out alive. That's reason enough for me...as for the people that are still fighting this disease hopefully they'll come out of this one too and the only thing we can do is pray for them and give them our support. So go ahead and smile and if you celebrate Christmas well Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Sincerely,
Liz

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Thanks Liz for YOUR support! I forget how important that support and prayer is sometimes. It does take away some of the guilt to be able to help someone in some small way even if it's just in thought & typing. Merry Christmas to you and your family also!

Tiny Tim said it best:

"God bless us, everyone!"

Cat

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2085
Joined: Aug 2011

♥Cat's Happy Dance !

Hugs and positive thoughts,

Jim
Recipe Sharing Project

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Ahahaha!! Thanks Jim! Where do you get these?! Too funny!

Hugs back at ya!
Cat

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3177
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Cat,
In February I'll have 1 year completed of my 2 year R maint, and your right...it's gone by very fast! I just hope the next year goes as fast without any "new" complications popping up. Having "survivors guilt" is probably too soon for me to feel since I've not yet been told I'm NED or in complete remission. My heart aches for ALL cancer patients! I'm so happy for you that your Rituxan maint is completed. Just take it one day at a time and enjoy each day to the fullest. I feel bad everytime I go to my cancer clinic and see so many people fighting cancer...it's always hard to see. I just keep everyone in my prayers and pray one of these days we will tune in to the news and hear a "CURE" has been found. Love...Sue
(FNHL-2-3A-6/10) age 61

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2418
Joined: May 2010

I feel the same way when I go to the center and see all those people. I ask them all what their diagnosis is and most are lung,breast,colon and prostate. These are organ cancers and I just sit and think while I am there of whats in the future for them. John (FNHL-4A-1-5/10)

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi John! I find myself doing that too and the weirdest thing is that part of me didn't want to leave the infusion center! I didn't want to leave and not know how everyone was doing. I felt like I was boarding the relief train and they were sitting in the chemo chamber, how do you turn away and say "See ya!"? I wanted to belly-crawl outta there lol. But I've learned it's ok to be happy for us too, because we would be happy for them if they were on their last treatment.
Cat

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2418
Joined: May 2010

I have been doing that since I started chemo way back when. Even when I'd go for my maintenance I do the same thing. I think what I am really doing is comparing what we have to what they have. My goal was to find someone with the same thing that I have,but it was when I went in for my 2nd Rituxan maintenance that I finally found someone. They had the exact same diagnosis as me and had had it for 9 years. They were back for Treanda treatment. I can remember asking people in the beginning of my first treatments what they were there for and they would say,I have cancer. I learned pretty quick to ask what type of cancer do you have. It was obvious why they were there to begin with. I just did not know how to word it at first. Like I was saying almost all were organ cancers and they seemed so worn out looking.Most of the time they were asleep when I left,but if they weren't I would say I wish you luck. I did not know what else to say. Some were very talkative and others seemed distant so I let it go at that. Sometimes I would joke and if the response was cold I would shut my mouth. That is when I would really start to wonder what is going to become of them later on. John(FNHL-4A-1-5/10)

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

I hope your next year goes by smooth and not too fast lol! Sometimes I feel like I'm in the old movies when they run fast-forward! I have to say Sue, I wasn't expecting to feel the sadness and guilt when I was done and I think that was part of my problem. Kind of blind-sided me and I didn't know how to deal with it, but of course there isn't much that someone on here hasn't been through and once again you all came to the rescue! For now, a day at time and prayers for everybody.
Luv ya! Cat

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3177
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Cat,
Forgot to tell you how darling your avatar picture is! Your granddaughter is such a cutie in her Christmas dress. I've posted alot of pictures of my sweet Lizzy on my expression page...probably too many, but that precious baby came at the perfect time in my life and has brought me so much happiness! Love, love love the grandkids!..Sue

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

Thanks Sue! I'll have to check out your pics, I don't get to the expression pages much, but maybe I should start. These little angels are the reason to get out of bed some days! Your little darling Lizzy will be saying the greatest things soon! I can't believe the things they come out with. My granddaughter is the moon and stars to me, what a joy!

I have to tell you a story (Oh boy we might need a new discussion board)! My dog was very sick early in the year and I told her that he was going to go to heaven with God. We were riding in my car and she said "Duke's going to heaven?" and I said "yes" and she said "with God? and his brother - Oh my God?" Thought I was going to go off the road!

Then last week we were at the mall and stopped to look at calendars, I found one with two dogs on the cover, one looked just like Duke. I pointed it out to her and said "look there's Duke!" and she said "who's that?" pointing to the other dog. I said "I don't know" and she said "That's God" !!! ...Yep that's what I told her! Duke was with God!

No matter how bad things seem to be at times, they just pull you up and fill your heart with bursting love, until the tantrum and then they go back to Mommy lol!

Take Care Sue!

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3177
Joined: Jul 2010

hahaha! Loved your two stories...gave me a good laugh! When my grandson was 4,(19 now)..I told him one day that gramma had eyes in the back of her head and could see everything he was doing even if I wasn't looking right at him. A little later in the day I was sitting at the kitchen table and I felt these little fingers parting the back of my hair..I said "what are you doing?"..He said..(so serious).. "I'm lookin for those other eyes to see what color they are". I laughed so hard and to this day he remembers looking for my second set of eyes.I think we all have precious stories like this.."out of the mouth of babes"!!! I loved watching candid camera(remember that show?) when he would ask all of the kids questions about thier moms and dads...some of the things those kids said made me laugh till I cried!
Thanks for sharing Cat...Love ya too...Sue (FNHL-2-3A-6/10)

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