Now what-Life after cancer

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Larisa
Larisa Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I have been consumed with breast cancer for a year. Now that I am cancer free, I don't know how to live without it! Is that weird? I sound crazy! I need a hobby or something. I was so used to every other Thursday having treatment, feeling bad for days after treatments, going to boob doctor, having doctor appointments all the time, etc...
Don't get me wrong, I am totally excited to get my life back but I find myself very bored and kind of lost! What is my identity now if I am not a cancer patient.

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  • Snowkitty
    Snowkitty Member Posts: 295
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    You are something better
    You are something better than a cancer patient. You are a survivor.

    Congrats.

    Cindy
  • Mama G
    Mama G Member Posts: 762
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    Snowkitty said:

    You are something better
    You are something better than a cancer patient. You are a survivor.

    Congrats.

    Cindy

    Hey I'm in the same WONDERFUL boat!
    Photography has become my passion. It totally takes my mind off of the big C and keeps me pretty busy at the same time. There is a free photo hosting site called picasa.com that is so easy to use and lots of fun! just an idea.
    Now for MY questions... since we're a year out from detection (mine was this week last year) what tests do we have to look forward to and how often? I'm scheduled for a mammo and blood work. Do they usually do CT scans, ect annually? Just wondering...
  • Christine Louise
    Christine Louise Member Posts: 426 Member
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    I know what you mean
    Larisa, I'm feeling the same thing. Though I'm not totally done with treatment, I feel I need "something" in my life now that I'm not so focused on chemo, etc. Lately, I've asked myself, "What do I really enjoy? What have I always wanted to do but haven't? What do I want even though the people around me might not choose or support it?" No answers yet!

    I've about decided to talk to a counselor about it, to get some objectivity, since I am stuck. In the past, I've seen counseling help my daughter with tough issues, even in just one session! Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are the best, I think.

    Best of luck with this step of your journey, Larisa!
  • Larisa
    Larisa Member Posts: 7
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    Mama G said:

    Hey I'm in the same WONDERFUL boat!
    Photography has become my passion. It totally takes my mind off of the big C and keeps me pretty busy at the same time. There is a free photo hosting site called picasa.com that is so easy to use and lots of fun! just an idea.
    Now for MY questions... since we're a year out from detection (mine was this week last year) what tests do we have to look forward to and how often? I'm scheduled for a mammo and blood work. Do they usually do CT scans, ect annually? Just wondering...

    I am meeting with my
    I am meeting with my oncologist next week. I was planning on asking him the same questions. I will post the answers when I get them. I have a whole list of questions for him.
    Congrats on a year!
  • Larisa
    Larisa Member Posts: 7
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    I know what you mean
    Larisa, I'm feeling the same thing. Though I'm not totally done with treatment, I feel I need "something" in my life now that I'm not so focused on chemo, etc. Lately, I've asked myself, "What do I really enjoy? What have I always wanted to do but haven't? What do I want even though the people around me might not choose or support it?" No answers yet!

    I've about decided to talk to a counselor about it, to get some objectivity, since I am stuck. In the past, I've seen counseling help my daughter with tough issues, even in just one session! Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are the best, I think.

    Best of luck with this step of your journey, Larisa!

    Counselor
    Is there a counselor that specializes in cancer survivors?
  • laurissa
    laurissa Member Posts: 773
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    Hi Larisa
    Its time to live the New Normal. We won't be the same. We're stronger knowing we can survive cancer. Good luck.
  • ms.sunshine
    ms.sunshine Member Posts: 707 Member
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    laurissa said:

    Hi Larisa
    Its time to live the New Normal. We won't be the same. We're stronger knowing we can survive cancer. Good luck.

    What did you do with your
    What did you do with your time before cancer? Maybe volunteering to help others may help. Believe me when I'm done with treatments,end of July, I will not have a problem finding things to do. Good luck.
  • MAJW
    MAJW Member Posts: 2,510 Member
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    New Normal will happen.......
    I think we all have those feelings when all our treatment is over with.....I actually had my one and only meltdown in my radiation oncologist's office one week before the end of treatment......I, of course, had surgery, 12 weeks of chemo, then 33 radiation treatments....sounds like most of us doesn't it? I am now going on 9 months of being finsihed ALL treatments......Like all of us,during those months of treatment, it became my daily "job" to fight the bc......That's how I looked at it, a job.......As treatment was coming to an end, I kept asking myself "Now what am I supposed to do?" I had fought like crazy for 9 months.......When I had my meltdown, and it was a meltdown, sobbing so hard I could hardly tell my rads oncologist what was wrong.....His exact words to me were "What you're feeling is completely normal! I'd be concerned if you were feeling otherwise." It becomes all consuming to us and when it's "over" I, personally, was as terrified as I was when this horrible journey began........I just didn't know how I was going to find myself again.....many suggested joining the "Finding Your New Normal" group at my cancer center......I thought about it and decided against it...I'm not a face to face group kind of person. I "found" myself again, slowly but surely. I think, for me, I had to face the fact that my life before bc was gone for ever and it was up to me and me alone to figure out what to do......I took it one day at a time, telling myself not rush......I was good to myself, listened to words of encouragement from my husband and grown kids. They were and are a wonderful source of inspiration, not to mention my 4 grand kids.....I pray daily for God to give me strength.......I began to socialize again with my closest friends, and got back into my passion.......painting......as I said, this didn't happen over night, it's been gradual. There are days still, when a "dark cloud" tries to hover over me, but I do my best to push it away.....I actually do feel "normal" again.....what ever normal is.....This is not to say that bc doesn't creep into my thoughts, because it does.......I just keep telling myself, I cannot and will not live with the "what ifs".....I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop...To me that's not living........If "IT" comes back, I will have to deal with it as I did before........but for now, I am allowing sunshine into my life EVERY DAY! It's hard as one of my dear friends is fighting for her life, with a lethal form of brain cancer....and another close friend is dealing with the bc beast....I take them to appointments,etc.....so I am still surrounded by cancer......BUTTTTTTTTTTT I am alive and loving every minute!
    So, be kind to yourself......give it time......some taking longer than others to find ourselves again......but you will do it....there is light.....And if you need professional help, don't hesitate to seek it......

    Peace be with you.........
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
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    I started with giving back...volunteered with ACS...
    2 years I was a 'legislative ambassador'. We did the grass roots lobbying...

    Then, Reach for Recovery.

    Then, my beau was hospitalized with a bad heart...sort of put it in perspective for both of us.

    My life is totally different now, as you may have read from other posts...

    I am retired. I live in The Netherlands (Holland) for 3 months, then America for 3 months. Then repeat.

    Cancer taught me that I may not have as many tomorrows as I thought I had...so I need to live life to the fullest. Timing was such that our home in The Netherlands became ours shortly before my beau's health crisis.

    You will find your new self...just ask yourself: 'What do I want to be when I grow up?'. Then persue it. I did, and I am now looking into getting my Masters in Health Informatics. Online!

    Hugs, Kathi
  • Jeanne D
    Jeanne D Member Posts: 1,867
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    KathiM said:

    I started with giving back...volunteered with ACS...
    2 years I was a 'legislative ambassador'. We did the grass roots lobbying...

    Then, Reach for Recovery.

    Then, my beau was hospitalized with a bad heart...sort of put it in perspective for both of us.

    My life is totally different now, as you may have read from other posts...

    I am retired. I live in The Netherlands (Holland) for 3 months, then America for 3 months. Then repeat.

    Cancer taught me that I may not have as many tomorrows as I thought I had...so I need to live life to the fullest. Timing was such that our home in The Netherlands became ours shortly before my beau's health crisis.

    You will find your new self...just ask yourself: 'What do I want to be when I grow up?'. Then persue it. I did, and I am now looking into getting my Masters in Health Informatics. Online!

    Hugs, Kathi

    ♥ Life after Cancer ♥
    If any of you still remember me or have read my About Me Page, you know that I have had breast cancer twice now. I was diagnosed in 1985 and again in 2009. I was so young the first time I had breast cancer, that it didn't really sink in that I had just fought a deadly disease. I had my lumpectomy, my radiation treatments and went on with my life, working, enjoying my home, my friends, family, and, loving every day with my beloved husband. When I was diagnosed again last year, it hit me harder as it was 24 years later with a new breast cancer, not a recurrence. I think the shock was more at how long I had been cancer free and it came back, then actually having the diagnosis again. Once again, I had 2 lumpectomy's last year and 37 rad treatments. If anything, it just showed me how truly fragile and how precious life is. It teaches you to not dwell on bc, but, to grab everyday and make the most out of it. To sit back and really see the world, to really open up your eyes and heart to the wonderful things that this world has to offer. From the laugh of our grandson, to a butterfly lighting on my hand, to enjoying the biggest hug ever from my sweet, loving husband! There is so much out there to do, from volunteering, to part time jobs, exercising, having lunch with friends, visiting with friends and family, taking up a hobby, just doing whatever you used to enjoy or always wanted to try. This is your second chance to do what you really want to do! Don't let it slip by. It might not happen over night, but, if you open your mind and heart to new possibilities, it will happen.

    I truly hope you can fill your life with love and happiness! After all, life is such a gift and we should all enjoy each and everyday to the fullest!

    What is that saying? Don't dwell in the past, Live for the day, as no one is promised tomorrow!

    My husband, David, left this on a card for me this morning. "If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through a garden forever."

    Precious moments should be cherished forever and life is meant to be lived!
    </♥</font>


    Love, Jeanne ♥</♥</font>
  • Ritzy
    Ritzy Member Posts: 4,381 Member
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    Jeanne D said:

    ♥ Life after Cancer ♥
    If any of you still remember me or have read my About Me Page, you know that I have had breast cancer twice now. I was diagnosed in 1985 and again in 2009. I was so young the first time I had breast cancer, that it didn't really sink in that I had just fought a deadly disease. I had my lumpectomy, my radiation treatments and went on with my life, working, enjoying my home, my friends, family, and, loving every day with my beloved husband. When I was diagnosed again last year, it hit me harder as it was 24 years later with a new breast cancer, not a recurrence. I think the shock was more at how long I had been cancer free and it came back, then actually having the diagnosis again. Once again, I had 2 lumpectomy's last year and 37 rad treatments. If anything, it just showed me how truly fragile and how precious life is. It teaches you to not dwell on bc, but, to grab everyday and make the most out of it. To sit back and really see the world, to really open up your eyes and heart to the wonderful things that this world has to offer. From the laugh of our grandson, to a butterfly lighting on my hand, to enjoying the biggest hug ever from my sweet, loving husband! There is so much out there to do, from volunteering, to part time jobs, exercising, having lunch with friends, visiting with friends and family, taking up a hobby, just doing whatever you used to enjoy or always wanted to try. This is your second chance to do what you really want to do! Don't let it slip by. It might not happen over night, but, if you open your mind and heart to new possibilities, it will happen.

    I truly hope you can fill your life with love and happiness! After all, life is such a gift and we should all enjoy each and everyday to the fullest!

    What is that saying? Don't dwell in the past, Live for the day, as no one is promised tomorrow!

    My husband, David, left this on a card for me this morning. "If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through a garden forever."

    Precious moments should be cherished forever and life is meant to be lived!
    </♥</font>


    Love, Jeanne ♥</♥</font>

    Larisa, we can't go back to
    Larisa, we can't go back to the way we were, and, some of us wouldn't want to. Having bc makes life so more real and we just have to enjoy it! Be happy to just be alive and to be able to do whatever you want to do everyday!


    What did you do before bc? Did you enjoy your life then? Go back to that if you can!


    Good luck!


    Sue :)
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
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    Decide what you really want
    Decide what you really want to do and go from there. No need for a identity crisis. Your core being is the same.
  • nomis
    nomis Member Posts: 1
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    Jeanne D said:

    ♥ Life after Cancer ♥
    If any of you still remember me or have read my About Me Page, you know that I have had breast cancer twice now. I was diagnosed in 1985 and again in 2009. I was so young the first time I had breast cancer, that it didn't really sink in that I had just fought a deadly disease. I had my lumpectomy, my radiation treatments and went on with my life, working, enjoying my home, my friends, family, and, loving every day with my beloved husband. When I was diagnosed again last year, it hit me harder as it was 24 years later with a new breast cancer, not a recurrence. I think the shock was more at how long I had been cancer free and it came back, then actually having the diagnosis again. Once again, I had 2 lumpectomy's last year and 37 rad treatments. If anything, it just showed me how truly fragile and how precious life is. It teaches you to not dwell on bc, but, to grab everyday and make the most out of it. To sit back and really see the world, to really open up your eyes and heart to the wonderful things that this world has to offer. From the laugh of our grandson, to a butterfly lighting on my hand, to enjoying the biggest hug ever from my sweet, loving husband! There is so much out there to do, from volunteering, to part time jobs, exercising, having lunch with friends, visiting with friends and family, taking up a hobby, just doing whatever you used to enjoy or always wanted to try. This is your second chance to do what you really want to do! Don't let it slip by. It might not happen over night, but, if you open your mind and heart to new possibilities, it will happen.

    I truly hope you can fill your life with love and happiness! After all, life is such a gift and we should all enjoy each and everyday to the fullest!

    What is that saying? Don't dwell in the past, Live for the day, as no one is promised tomorrow!

    My husband, David, left this on a card for me this morning. "If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through a garden forever."

    Precious moments should be cherished forever and life is meant to be lived!
    </♥</font>


    Love, Jeanne ♥</♥</font>

    I'm very private about my feelings but I was browsing this website and came across your input, Jeanne. I really feel a kinship with you. I had three cancers in the past, all unrelated. The last was in 2002-3, breast and lung. A living miracle, I was in remission (cured?) till last year, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my other breast, again unrelated to the other cancers. I am grateful it was discovered early and my chance of that particular cancer NOT recurring is over 90%. But...having another diagnosis really took the bottom out from under me. I go on with my life, have a sense of humor, appreciate all the good things...but...I feel a vulnerability I have never felt before...I accept that that vulnerability is something that I must live with for the rest of my life. I live every moment like it's the last one I'll ever have and I love life...but still, the ghost lurks, the dark cloud is over my head all the time. I think the only answer is acceptance...not blind and bland acceptance, but acceptance accompanied by a love of life and coming to terms that none of us are here forever.
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
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    Marcia527 said:

    Decide what you really want
    Decide what you really want to do and go from there. No need for a identity crisis. Your core being is the same.

    Great to see you posting
    Great to see you posting again Jeanne D! We have missed your colorful posts. I agree with you that no one is promised tomorrow and we just have to take the day, this day and seize it!

    I guess I have never found myself with nothing to do. There is always something for me to do or friends that want to do something. And besides that, I have a hubby who requires a lot of attention. lol

    The only time I really felt lost was like so many on here, after my rads. I was just so used to going everyday, that when the routine was gone, it just felt funny. But, I quickly replaced that time with something I love to do!

    I hope that you can find something to help you, to occupy your time. There is so much to do, so many places to go and so many people that can always use help. Don't let bc or the treatments hang in your mind too long. Ofcourse we can't put it out of our heads, but, we should never dwell on it.

    Wishing you luck!
  • VickiSam
    VickiSam Member Posts: 9,079 Member
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    Marcia527 said:

    Decide what you really want
    Decide what you really want to do and go from there. No need for a identity crisis. Your core being is the same.

    In the same boat .. however, still waiting for 2 more
    reconstructive surgeries - Breast .. 3 more Herceptin treatments .. then I will have to step back, and evaluate my life -- hopes and dream - .. and move forward .. It is scary, but so very exciting.

    Fear of the unknown is always scary .. We are SURVIVORS, and can survive ANYTHING life throws at us.


    Vicki
  • Angie2U
    Angie2U Member Posts: 2,991
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    VickiSam said:

    In the same boat .. however, still waiting for 2 more
    reconstructive surgeries - Breast .. 3 more Herceptin treatments .. then I will have to step back, and evaluate my life -- hopes and dream - .. and move forward .. It is scary, but so very exciting.

    Fear of the unknown is always scary .. We are SURVIVORS, and can survive ANYTHING life throws at us.


    Vicki

    I am so busy with my family,
    I am so busy with my family, my friends, my home, my husband and working outside in my flowers, mowing, that I push cancer out of my mind and life as much as I can. I think when we finish rads, we are all a little lost. We felt safe there and knew we were doing something to fight bc. Then we get out of that routine and have free time and go, well now what? Most take hormone therapy it seems, so, they are still fighting with drugs. I also know that many are depressed enough that they are on antidepressants. Perhaps, you need to talk to your oncologist if you feel you might need something to help you. And, go for a bike ride, go for a walk, volunteer for a local group, work at your church. Maybe your husband and you can take a little celebration of the end of rads and talk about this. I think there are endless things to do if you want to do something. Hoping you are feeling better and find something that makes you happy and something that will give you some satisfaction.

    Hugs, Angie
  • survivorbc09
    survivorbc09 Member Posts: 4,374 Member
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    Larisa said:

    Counselor
    Is there a counselor that specializes in cancer survivors?

    You are a new normal, and,
    You are a new normal, and, hopefully a better one. Have you tried a support group or private counseling?

    Like someone wrote, what did you do with your time before you had bc? Can you go back to that?

    I wish you well and hope you find some peace in your life and something to give you a smile everyday.


    Hugs, Jan