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getting close to the one year mark

jcruz
Posts: 206
Joined: Jan 2013

 

I am approaching the one year mark of my diagnosis and all that followed.  Scans, second biopsy, surgery for unrelated (maybe?) Bartholin’s cysts, meeting three oncologists, and then the treatment.  I have been on the edge and over the edge very much lately and I’m so glad that I’ve been seeing a therapist who will help me get through these coming days and months.  I am wondering how those of you who are further along on this journey got through this first year mark.  Any words of wisdom?  I feel so spooked by all these memories and by the uncertainty I have about the cancer recurring.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Jcruz. I don't know if I have any words of wisdom, but I can tell you my thoughts. I had have had some anxiety lately, 2 yrs. Post treatment with a bad scan and biopsies looming. I had 2 wasted days of hand wringing and tears before I snapped out of it. Here is what I think. Our time here is limited, nobody gets out alive! Happiness is a choice. By nature, I am am a happy person and I want to keep it that way. That doesn't mean that everyday is a great day and that things always go my way......of course not!

I recently had lunch with a college roomate who I have not seen in many years. She has no idea what my life has entailed. After some preliminary questions, I started to hear her tale of woe. Her life had not gone as she planned, etc. I heard one minor grievance after another. When I asked her if she was happy...she said, " I have always envied your simplicity, you are just a luckier person than I am." I smiled that Mona Lisa, passive agressive smile, trying to think of what I could say, if anything. She had no idea I have had cancer twice in the past 2 years, with more procedures ahead. She had no idea of what my life had been like as a divorced, working Mom. So, I just smiled and said, " Yes, I really am truly blessed". Because that is what I think.
Happiness is a choice. Everyday we are alive is a good day. Live each day. When fear of tomorrow creeps in do something you like to do, even if it is for a minute. Look out a window, sing a song, have a treat, smile. Chase the anxiety away. I think sometimes therapy is good, but sometimes the focus is too negative. Find the positive things in your life and go with that. Do what you love to do at least once a day! Pray and believe in the power of
God's love. Most of all smile, smile, smile. It is contagious!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2820
Joined: Jan 2010

Distraction can be a wonderful thing!  As soon as I started feeling like woe is me, I tried to find something else to do to take my mind off of those thoughts.  Take up a new hobby, sign up for a class, volunteer, make a regular date with a friend for lunch, listen to music you enjoy, watch funny movies that will make you laugh, cook, clean, etc., etc.  Always go to bed at night telling yourself that you were blessed with another good day.  Wake up each morning determined to have another one just like the day before!

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 734
Joined: May 2011

We all get the heeby jeeby's around scan time. I have nothing more to add. Martha and Mary have said it. Acknowledge your anxiety, sadness, frustration, etc. share it with us, let it pass and think of something that makes you smile again. Then share that smile with someone who may need to be lifted up by it.

You will be in my prayers. Y'all are all in my prayers!

Thanks for your share. I was on the pity pot and it was good to read these comments.

Let's help each other not miss any more joy bubbles.

All the best,

Sandy

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I love that!! Lol.

jcruz
Posts: 206
Joined: Jan 2013

Thanks for your responses.  

 

I’ve always had issues with panic and anxiety but in this past year I have had the most gigantic panics ever.  Maybe learning now how to manage the panic and anxiety I’m experiencing around cancer will help me deal the everyday anxiety that arises.  I started seeing my therapist with the thought that I’ve been carrying around a whole lot of “stuff” for the past year and I need help as I unpack all that stuff, take a look at it, hopefully discard some and learn to manage that which I cannot discard.  I have been feeling like I lost the woman I was last year and I’d like to find her and integrate my old and new selves.  I don’t think I’d be able to do that without some professional help.

 

My dear daughter just spent a long weekend with me before once again leaving California for the East Coast.  She’s been out here for two years of grad school and I have been so happy having her just a few hours away.  She was beyond the best help possible when I was sick and we’ve enjoyed our times together so much now that I am well.  But her life and her love are in New York and I have to let her go home.  It was a bittersweet weekend with lots of hugs and a few tears.  I like to remember her laughing as she talks on the phone to her boyfriend and think about how happy she is going home to him.  She is my joy.

I’m off now for an ocean view walk and will breathe deeply and hope to keep just a little bit of that calm within me.

eihtak
Posts: 809
Joined: Oct 2011

Just reaffirming what the others have said, it is all good advice.  If I add anything let it be "time."  I think that first year is so focused on immediate physical recovery but the emotional rollercoaster of life continues, cancer or not, and it requires time to learn how to ride it.  Assuming scans etc. are good, the cancer part of it kind of fades a little. I just read a quote that said, "the original definition of experience is overcoming peril" .......... consider yourself highly experienced!!!

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I just came back to the east coast from a visit to my beautiful daughter, and only child, on the west coast. She has been there a year and i miss her terribly. It was soooo hard to leave her there, but she seems happy. I always knew that my job as a parent was to give her roots and then wings to fly, but actually letting her fly away from me is so hard!!! I guess our children have to see the world and they want to experience new places. When she went to college in NYC, it was only a train ride away. She loved the city and I never thought in my wildest dreams she would want to live on the west coast. After graduating last year, she decided she needed an adventure and off she went. I am hoping graduate school will bring her back to the east coast!

It is especially difficult having a child so far away because of the cancer. I know if I told her, she would give up her own dreams and come home. I won't do that to her.

Isn't life funny?

jcruz
Posts: 206
Joined: Jan 2013

It is such a mixed thing to see how well my daughter is doing as she grows into an amazing young woman.  As you said I gave her roots and wings and I knew when she was 14 that there was a strong chance she'd be in NYC if she could be.  We went for a week's vacation and she had a blast negotiating the subway and the crowded streets and hitting as many museums and plays as we could fit in.  When we were in the cab headed to airport on our last day I looked over at her and she was crying.  She didn't want to leave.  I knew I was in trouble.  She went to college in PA and then spent the year after graduation traveling all over the world.  She is amazing.  Shy and anxious but at the same time incredibly brave.  I knew she was disappointed in her grad school choices.  None of the East Coast schools accepted her and UCSB offered her an amazing package so she moved back out here.  So I feel like I was lucky to have her near these last two years.  I'd never asked her to stay although every part of my being wants her here.  I'm with you about not wanting her to give up her dreams because of me.  But I'd be over the moon if her boyfriend could persuade her to move back here (he loves this town!) 

Life is funny indeed.  I'm glad you got out here to visit your daughter.  Hope you're doing well.

Janet

I made it
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2013

It has been an interesting journey.  I am still having problems with my skin.  I do not think I will ever be the same.  I have tried several different things to help heal my skin.  No soap, senstive skin cleanser, AquA-Phor.  The latest one is Crisco.  Using it does seem to help.  This came from my doctor.  I am now trying a new cream Tri Derma MD.  It seems to help me the most of anything I have used.  Just look it up on internet.  Here again, only time will tell if it is going to help.  My skin is so thin that it constatly keeps tearing.  That has been the worst problem I have had post chemo/radiation.  Maybe soon.  I am looking forward to my scan.  I want it to be over, good news or bad.  Waiting and not knowing arae the worst things for me.  I can deal with what I know, I cannot deal with not knowing. I have had excellent care, but no one seems to know what to do about the skin after radiation.  Maybe mine is worse or different from others but I cannot imagine that I am that different from every one else.  Let's all just continue to pray for each other and hope that each and everyone of us and all of those that follow will have a better future and know that their are people who have been there, done that out here to listen and help us along our path to recovery.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 514
Joined: Apr 2009

my skin still tears ( 4 years post)...here is what i do to help:  when i wake up in am , in the first 2 years  i put KY jelly on anus to help the slide...now , i put balneol lotion on it to help the slide..i also take at least 1 colace with each meal....i try to keep bm soft..... hope this helps....sephie

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 829
Joined: Jun 2013

Hi Everyone,

I'm very much at the beginning my rectal cancer journey and what I found (Marynb told me this at the very beginning and I thank you Mary) that my mood and optimism depends on how much discomfort I have. I don't seem to have a high pain tolerance, so if I have pain, I panic and break down mentally. Now my biggest problem is that back muscles are really tight and sometimes I feel like I can't breath. I have pain coming and going around my torso and even though I was scanned and told twice that I don't have lung mets, I still worry a lot about that. Add the upcoming IV chemo, an evil ex wife and total resection surgery and I have a quite a lot to worry about.

But I do what most of you do. One day at a time. Stay busy, try to fill the days with good things and good deeds. First time in my life make a strong attempt to eliminate the negative unhelpful things and people from my life. I can't afford to carry those and deal with those.

Love and support me or leave me alone.

That's my word!

Laz

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 734
Joined: May 2011

I think you may be suffering too much. The panic you described probably is keeping you from breathing or getting enough oxygen, and that's just not good. I would definitely mention to your doctor that you are having anxiety attacks that are affecting your breathing and mobility. Maybe you need a light sedative to deal with all that is on your plate right now. It's good that you are talking about it with us. My husband had some serious work issues during the last down turn. He finally got a prescription that helped him start a new business. He no longer takes it, but is tasking away and seems happy.

Good luck,

Sandy

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