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Stage IIb

hughesjohnw
Posts: 9
Joined: Jul 2012

I was diagnosed on 7/17/2012.  Had surgery 8/23/2012 followed by chemo and radiation.  Was in and out of the hospital this spring with pneumonia 5 different times.  Lost over 100lbs from my pre-surgery weight but now have quit losing and maintaining.  I've been back to work 3 months now and feeling good.  My last scan came up clean but I still worry everyday that my next one will show that the cancer is back.  I feel like a whiny kid since so many out here are truely suffering but I can't seem to let go of all the stuff I've read about this terrible disease and that my odds are not good.  My wife and everyone around me keeps telling me how lucky I am that at least it was caught early and they are right.  I am very lucky.  But that doesn't change how I feel and how I worry that one of these days I will be the one posting that I've had a recurrence and the chemo is going to start back up etc.  Sorry to be rambling and whining.  Thanks for listening if you've gotten this far.  

callerid
Posts: 99
Joined: Dec 2012

You are not alone. It's difficult because it is not a problem you can fix and move on.  Uncertainty is possibly one of the worst things about this disease.  Someone on this board should be able to tell you how they handled the fear and anxiety.  Trust in yourself ... it still is new although I'm sure it doesn't feel that way to you.

Deathorglory
Posts: 60
Joined: Jul 2013

Glad to hear your scans are clean.  A fear of recurrence is completely normal.  Those of us fortunate to have complete responses and clean scans are always fearful of it coming back.  Some of that is irrational fear and some of it is, unfortunately, completely rational fear.  I started out Stage III in 2008.  Did chemo/radiation, then surgery, then some bonus chemo.  It was effective and I was told I was cancer free.  Turned out we missed a cancer cell that was hiding out underneath a toenail or something.  In late 2010, I was diagnosed with a metastastic recurrence in my lung.  That's really quite ungood and I was told that I could expect my life expectancy to be about 7-8 months.  Fortunately for me, I have an excellent doctor who accomodated my plan of living forever.  Just yesterday I received the results of my latest scans and I'm still cancer free.  I run into a large amount of anxiety/fear every time I get tests done, and I am not anyone's idea of a wuss.  You're not a whiny kid, you're normal.  At least normal for this unfortunate situation.  Enjoy the fact that you're cancer free.  From what I've seen, no one on this site will hold it against you.  The folks here seem to love hearing about success stories.  It gives them something realistic to hope for for themselves.  I know I love hearing about other's success, so again, excellent for you.--Ed

tcaba's picture
tcaba
Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2012

Fear of recurrence is completely rational.  The trick is to not let that fear drive your life and attitude.  For several months following my completed treatments and surgery I was very mindful of the what if's.  But time passed I had clean visits, gained some weight back and life returned to the new normal...I was a survivor!    

When 29 months later the recurrence was discovered I found myself in a place that I had not encounted during the first go-round.  I was in a state of shock I guess.  Why again?  Did I do something?  Did they miss something?  Was it that beer I drank or the steak, maybe not  enough fruits and veggies.  Simple fact is, no one knows.  Soon I found myself depressed, anxious,  worried, mad , all of those things that I Did Not experience the first time.   I could not sleep, eat or smile.  My son had just married and my mind went into free fall. I'll never see my grand children.  Or grow old.  Or retire and enjoy life. Or love my wife again.

It would be 60 days from hells discovery to the time that a plan of attack was finalized and believe me I had plenty  of dread and doom thoughts but also during that time I decided that I was not going to live whatever time I have left in some disfunctional state of doom.  I found distractions and  went back to living as I had before, minus a few of the bad things of course,  I found new interest.  Tomorrow I may go to my first ACS support  meeting.  Maybe I'll have something to help others or maybe someone can assist me,  I don't know but I'm not going to give up the fight.

Yep, I still have some down times and according to my kids I whine sometimes.  That's unavoidable. Just don't give in.  Attitude and stress along with love,  joy,  friendships and an upbeat look really do affect our outcomes!

Best wishes and be happy.

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1107
Joined: Apr 2010

John,

Like you I was lucky enough to have been diagnosed early. They originally thought I was Stage 1 and I went directly to surgery. The pathology after surgery showed that I had some active cancer cells in one of the lymph nodes adjacent to the tumor site so I was restaged to Stage IIB and had adjuvant chemotherapy for 5 months after surgery. I am now almost four years out from diagnosis and so far all of my scans have been clear.

You are certainly not whining when you talk about the fear of recurrence. It is something that all of us that have been diagnosed with cancer live with. Each new pain or feeling of illness starts that question mark in the back of our minds that wonders; “is this it again?” For the first two years after my diagnosis and treatment it was always on my mind. Then one day while I was trying to convince myself this new pain was because I had too much fun out in the yard rather than a recurrence; I asked myself, “If this was the last week of my life would I rather have spent it worrying about something that may or may not be serious, or would I rather that I lived this day to the fullest in as happy a state of mind as possible?” The answer was obvious to me; of course I would rather live my life in a positive fashion.

I certainly still have days when I wonder what this new pain or uncomfortable feeling is, but I try to not spend time worrying about things over which I have no control. If I am unfortunate, and I have a recurrence, at least I will have these days before my recurrence that I have lived as happy as possible. And if I am fortunate enough to not have a recurrence; I won’t have to be sorry about all the time I could have enjoyed if I had not spent so much time worrying about recurrence.

The reality is that we all have a terminal condition, it is called being human. None of us really know how much time we have. The only difference between us and someone who has not been diagnosed with cancer is that we have a better guess at what may end our time on earth. The good news is we have received a reminder about how precious our loved ones and time is; and have an opportunity to value each day.

 

So my new motto is..”don’t worry ….be happy !!!”

Best Regards,

Paul Adams

Grand Blanc, Michigan

DX 10/2009 T2N1M0  Stage IIB - Ivor Lewis Surgery  12/3/2009 - Post Surgery Chemotherapy 2/2009 – 6/2009

Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU - Three Year Survivor

hughesjohnw
Posts: 9
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you all for all your positive comments.  I've decided to try to take the advice given here; enjoy life and quit worrying about recurrence.  If it happens, it happens.  Until then live everyday to the fullest.  Once again, thank you all.

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