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Last treatment coming up so where's my happy?

lowenjuls
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi All I was diagnosed w BC in August of 2011. My 'hard' chemo was completed mid Feb, radiation 1st part of April. My year of Herceptin is over on 16 October. Port is coming out on the 26th. I am terrified of getting my hopes up that I will be free (hopefully long term).... Many think I should be so happy, so excited, celebrating. But...I can't seem to allow myself to really believe. Just about 2 months ago I had a PET scan and it came back clear; I was happy, relieved, excited and then....I had redness, heat, swelling in same breast as my lumpectomy. I had to have another biospy. I thought this is it, if its back, cancer is what will kill me. Biopsy came back negative. I know I have a lot to be thankful for and that I am blessed but..... I feel more numb than happy.

joannstar
Posts: 354
Joined: Nov 2010

I completed treatment 4/1/11 and because I am TN, I had no hormones to continue with, just quarterly checkups. Instead of feeling happy and relieved, I felt lost. I also had to have a biopsy on 9/7/11 which was negative. Sought counseling to combat those feelings and it helped some but the fears of recurrence still crop up. People expected me to be "back to normal" right away. No one understands unless they have had a BC diagnosis. I think that we have to create a "new normal" which takes time. Looking back, it has been 2 years since my surgery--and I am starting to forget some of the details and side-effects. I try to tell myself that life doesn't come with any guarentees, sometimes that helps. Other times I just give into the fears. It is a journey.
Hugs,
JoAnn

AngieD's picture
AngieD
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

I think I understand what you mean. When I finished chemo, I actually felt panicked. I still had lumpectomy and radiation to go at that point. But I'm TN and I somehow felt safe as long as I was on chemo and it was obviously working. Not exactly rational, but it was real. I finished treatment the end of August and am trying to concentrate on enjoying life and getting back to a new normal. I don't know if any of us ever completely lose the fear.
Angie

Carolyn33's picture
Carolyn33
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2012

I am so happy you posted this. I have found myself stuck in "alarm" mode. Two days ago I was convinced that I had developed leukemia from breast cancer treatment. I have been feeling exhausted and gutted. Low and behold, my blood work was all normal. I am dreading my PET scan. I have been stuck in "fear". It is like my old car that kept getting stuck in "park". I believe we do this sometimes as a survival mechanism. When my fear is at its worst, I find living one day at a time and coming to support boards helpful.

I have heard many times that finishing treatment is a big transition to a new "normal". Perhaps that is what you are doing now; you are adjusting. Just go with the feelings. I found I cried a lot after my harsh chemo was over. It was as though my body and mind were finally allowing me to process everything. I no longer had to be in "survival mode". Hang in there. Keep writing. I found starting a blog helpful to me: www.ERtopics.com.

Hugs, Carolyn

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2204
Joined: Jun 2010

From the moment you hear the words, "breast cancer" you are in a whirlwind of appointments, tests and procedures. Then suddenly the day arrives and you are told "goodbye, good luck". The weekly appointments for this or that are gone. In it's place is an oncology appointment every 3 months.

You were the center of attention with your family, relatives, friends and co-workers and now it's gone. They have moved on to other problems. You are back to just being you and it is a whole new you. It's like Dorothy & Toto when she remarks " I've a feeling were not in Kansas, anymore". One has to have time to adjust back into the real world. During the long months of surgery, chemo, radiation, one puts the emotional side on hold. We just do what we have to do in order to survive. Then when we have time, it sometimes comes crashing down on us.

It is very normal to feel that way. Remember 70% of women and men won't ever have a recurrence. Some do but it's either a local or regional recurrence that won't alter the 70%. Think of the positive sides of breast cancer rather than the darker side of it.

Each of us finds away of dealing with the emotional side of that horrible ordeal.

Best wishes to you all,

Doris

lowenjuls
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you ladies I take what you post to heart and appreciate your shared experiences and insight. Thank you!

mamolady's picture
mamolady
Posts: 795
Joined: May 2011

One thing I found was that once I was diagnosed I didn't have time to "deal" with cancer. I was fighting it with all I had. Chemo, surgery, radiation all took 9 months! Once it was all over I finally got to slow down and realize what had happened. It was like when my daughter had her first grand mal seizure. I spent the 5 hours in the ER, got her home and in bed and then I cried like a baby.
Once I took the time to process what having cancer means, I was able to really celebrate surviving. Cancer will always be there in the back but it won't have center stage anymore!

Congrats on finishing!
Cindy

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2204
Joined: Jun 2010

I hope your daughter is doing well. I believe that watching your child having a grand mal seizure had to be a lot worse of your own diagnose and treatments.

May you and your daughter have good health forever.

Doris

mamolady's picture
mamolady
Posts: 795
Joined: May 2011

Doris,
My daughter has epilepsy. We knew it at the time, we were just trying to get her up to a therapeutic dose on her meds. That was 15 years ago! Still, it was pretty scary.
In any case, it is just part of life.
Cindy

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

now it's time to deal with the emotional aspects of this disease which is sometimes more difficult than the physical part. I go to a 2-hour support group every week--all cancer survivors (in various stages of recovery and in various stages of treatment). It's led by a licensed therapist/psychologist. This group is my lifeline. We discuss everything--nothing is off limits except politics and religion. These people really "get it" because they are where I am and have walked in my shoes. Friends and family are great, but sometimes this group is the only place I really feel heard and understood.

Maybe something like this would help you.

Hugs, Renee

lowenjuls
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you cindy and missrenee!

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

From hearing those 3 awful words, to tests, surgery, rads and even chemo, look at what we go thru to kill the beast. A LOT! No one can possible understand unless they've walked in our shoes. We do understand, so, don't ever feel like you're alone in this.

I have found that with more time behind hearing those 3 awful words, it does get easier. I pray it will for you.

Hugs, Megan

lowenjuls
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you Megan!

lowenjuls
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you Megan!

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