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Survivors Remorse

rae_rae's picture
Posts: 300
Joined: Oct 2010

I know this subject has come up many times before, and probably will again and again. I hate it. I hate wondering why I've had cancer twice and was blessed to not have a recurrence. Even this summer, when I was so close to dying and yet I survived. So many don't, as we know first hand, both here and in our personal lives. I lost a friend today to cancer. It sucks. She was young, with two beautiful young daughters and a new hubby. Her first husband, her girls father, died a few years ago of brain cancer. She remarried a wonderful man, who adopted her girls. Then, cancer struck again. She'd been at MD Anderson for months, staying with friends in TX when not in the hospital while her family was in Michigan. She just wanted to come home for Christmas and that was the plan - until she took a turn for the worse last night. Her family flew out to her this morning and she passed this afternoon.


She encouraged me from her hosptial room this summer when I was struggling to regain strength and going through my own nightmare. We talked about how we were going to go hiking when we both recovered. And now she is gone, leaving two young daughters that have lost both their father and mother to this rotten disease. And I would have gladly given my life for hers. And here I sit, blessed beyond measure, and guilty as to why I am still here while others are not. I'm just venting because I hurt right now. Cancer does change you, in so many ways. Life can be so unfair.

Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

Precious..priceless..so poignant~

Yet so unfair. What hard lessons for her children to learn.

Thanks goodness her 2nd hubby is so good and loving.

Rae..you are so loving; you have such compassion~

Yes,  I can see how you wish you could've changed places.

Sometimes there is nothing to say..but offer our loving presence

Let us know how YOU are doing. Hopefully you'll be in their lives still


Thanks for sharing this difficult experience..Maybe she rest now..


Gentle hugs, Jan

Jojo61's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013

Oh Rae Rae...I am so sorry for your terrible loss. The unfairness of it all can be enraging and devestating.

There are some very sad stories out there. And the one you just told is right up there at the top of the list.

Let yourself grieve, and then once that is past, comes the most difficult part....going on with your life. But your friend will always be with you -in your heart and in your fond memories.

Thinking of you, and keeping you in my prayers.




Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014

You know, it's funny you would post this today.  I was just having some of the same feelings; they just kind of surfaced at random... I thought to myself how lucky I was for the cancer to have been caught early.  For the pathology report to look so good.  For my surgery to be so smooth.  For my recovery to have to gone without a hitch.  Today, a little more than 7 weeks removed, I feel absolutely 100%.  I mean it.  I'm full force at work, back to bowling in my Monday night league, back to life 100%.

I thought to myself, "it almost is not even fair to call myself a cancer survivor."  I know that I HAD cancer.  I know that I underwent surgery.  And even though things went well, it still wasn't a cakewalk.  I still felt the crushing fear, the uncertainty, of wondering if I would be alive in a few years.  All of those things happened.

But then I read and hear some of the stories of people that have just been through HELL.  Multiple surgeries, chemo, IL-2, radiation, marrow transplants, metastases... And I feel like I have NO RIGHT coming on this forum and sharing my meager experiences when cancer has put so many through so much.  For me, it was not much different than having a gallbladder or an appendix removed.  (Well, maybe worse than the appendix)

I guess you coul call what I'm saying "survivor's guilt."  I just don't know if I can ever feel like I am a true part of the cancer community.  Everything that happened was just so... QUICK.  It went by so fast.  And here we are, a Christmas holiday approaching, and I feel like a million bucks.  It's like a bipolar feeling... I'm ecstatic that my experience was relatively easy.  I'm also uncomfortable when talking to other survivors who have been through SO. MUCH. MORE.  

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

well put, jason.  i have the same exact feelings.

foroughsh's picture
Posts: 779
Joined: Oct 2014

Hi, I'm so sorry for your loss, when I was diagnosed I didn't tell any of my family members except my husband. I haven't told them yet and I'm decided not to make them worried if every thing goes well. But I was deadly terrified and needed someone to hug me,gives me hope and even cry with me, and that special one was my best friend, she was the one who helped me through the toughest time of my life. If she wasn't there for me i couldn't handle it. A good friend is a gift sent from God. So it's very hard to lose,may her soul rest in pease. You can be part of her kids life as their mother's friend who let them remember how she laughed, how she was happy after giving birth to them, what was her biggest dreams for her kids. Who can do it except a close great friend?

foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

People who worry about a lap vs. open procedure have no idea what the future brings.  Sorry Rae. There is nothing fair about any of this. We all like to believe the same thing but need to be reminded that the ones we lose would want us to pull ourselves together and live forward. It hurts and is difficult. No one knows this better than you do. Survivors guilt is proof of credibility. We hold ourselves together by valueing others as high or above how we value ourselves. That personality trait is what will help get you through this. Take care my friend. Fox.

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2014

good morning.

i just signed on this morning. first time. i've been having some of those same thoughts. why them? why not me? why am i still here? felt pretty special with all those people trying to make me better, then it was "ok. you're all better. back to work you go!" and work is just... yucky. sometimes i wonder why i didn't just let it go and be with God?! (that and seasonal depression doesn't help... snow and dark make the thoughts a little worse!)

so how do we fight this?

rae_rae's picture
Posts: 300
Joined: Oct 2010

Thank you all for your kind words. It's always a sting to lose someone. Haneyme, I believe it gets better over time, but I also think from time to time survivor's remorse will continue to rear it's ugly head. I am blessed to be here and don't want to waste my life looking back at the why's and what's. Sometimes it can't be helped, but no matter our circumstance, we must all keep marching forward and live our lives with meaning and purpose, serving and loving those around us as best we can. Sometimes we do the cha-cha, two steps forward and one back. As long as we keep moving forward. Happy New Year all.


angec's picture
Posts: 924
Joined: Mar 2012

Rae-Rae, so sorry for the loss of your friend.  Yes, that stinking, awful cancer is hitting so many. My brother and his ex wife who have three kids together, both have cancer in their early 40's. So, their kids are seeing them both suffer.  It just stinks! But, i wanted to share a thought with you about survivors guilt. Even though you came out of a rough time, it is never easy for you.  You are never free of the constant scans, the worry and anxiety that cancer brings on a daily basis.  Is it gone? Will it come back? What will the future hold?  All those unanswered questions. So, it is great that  you are here and holding it together.  But I won't say in any way you should feel guilty.  You do your share of suffering. The guilt, in my opinion is just an added burden. I so wish i can take it away for you.  But I can't so I will send you BIG hugs and continue to pray for your comfort and for those left behind.  I am sure your friend was very happy that you got through that hard time, and she would not want to see you in a bad way. ;)

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