Oct 23, 2012 - 3:44 pm
Haven't been online here in awhile but wanted to ask you all something. It's been almost 2 years since my last chemo (Nov 18, 2010) and so far, thankfully, NED. I had stage 1C OVCA, 2 surgeries (radical hysterectomy/salpingo-oophorectomy/appendectomy plus 14 biopsies - my gyn/oncologist was very thorough). Chemo gave me severe neuropathy in my feet and some in my fingers and other weird areas which has never gone away and I'm in pain from that every day. Additionally, chemo triggered R.A. and fibromyalgia, two things I'd never had to deal with before, hence, more pain. I've tried a lot of treatments, both pharmaceutical and natural/holistic and so far nothing seems to help. I've accepted that these are things I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life (and I'm only 47). And I'm grateful - that I no longer have cancer, that I'm here with my family, that I will more than likely be here to see my children move on to their own lives, and so many more things. When I think about my cancer experience, that's what I think of - how grateful I am. At the same time, 2 years later, and I'm sure much as a result of the RA/fibro/neuropathy, I am exhausted all the time in addition to the pain. I work full time, and did all through chemo, and I'm grateful for my job, but I also miss an average of a day a week due to pain and exhaustion. For me, this "new lease on life" is a double-edged sword. I'm glad I beat the cancer of course, but I feel like I'm missing out on so much of life between working and not feeling well so much. I'm considering long-term disability but frankly, I'm not sure if work will approve it and if they don't, I will have given up my position for nothing (I have to not work for 3 months before they will even consider it). I wish I had just gone on LTD at the outset and never looked back. Does that seem ungrateful? I have guilt about that, because I can (kind of) work, plus because of the financial strain it would put on my family. At the same time, I have been a good, reliable employee up til the last couple years (and I'm still good at my job, I'm just not as reliable anymore as far as absenteeism)and I don't want to end up with some kind of disciplinary action. I've never admitted this to anyone, and I hesitate to now, but here it is: I sometimes woudln't mind going through my cancer experience again because it would allow me to go on long term disability w/out as much guilt - I mean I'd have cancer - how could anyone begrudge me that? And like I said, I had stage 1C, it hadn't spread, and truthfully I never believed I would die (denial?), so as far as cancer experiences go, it wasn't nearly as awful as many who have it. Has anyone else ever had these kinds of thoughts? It makes me wonder about my mental health... I just feel like if I didn't have to work, I would at least have some energy for my loved ones. Is that just totally messed up? Am I just being selfish and ungrateful? What do you think?