Survivor Guilt

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JanJan63
JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member

I remember someone on here talking about how some of the members on here got better and were NED and haven't been on since. I thought 'good for them'. But it would still be nice to hear about their stories. I've been in this battle for coming up on two years. My brother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer five months after I was and passed away on Easter Sunday so 11 months after diagnosis. Besides the grief of losing my brother I felt some survivor guilt over that. As I was getting better and better after my blood clot he was in the last stages of his battle. I feel guilty when I talk to my sister-in-law now.

Then, a couple of weeks ago an internet friend passed from uterine cancer. She went very quickly. A couple of months from diagnosis. The same people that knew about my battle knew her as well. They've been very supportive to both of us through all of this but when this lady passed I felt guilty. I no longer want to give updates because of it.

Now it sounds like the spots on my liver are not going to turn out to be mets. My surgeon says he'd be really surprised if it was as it's rare to get mets in the lungs without the liver getting them first. Okay, but now my doctor just got my last blood test results back and he says with my levels in everything including my CEA, which is 1.0, he's never seen anyone with such excellent results have mets. He said if it were him he wouldn't worry about the CT scan coming up that will show if the spots have grown. Pretty optimistic statement from a doctor who isn't the blow wind up my skirt type.

So I'm cautiously optimistic. And I wanted to come on here and on the facebook page I go on to share my good news and tell everyone how happy I am. Although I'm still cautious until the next CT on November 16. And then I realized that I didn't really want to go on a public place where there are people who have battled this curse and are battling right now and who are having such a tough time and tell them that I might be NED. It seems kind of cruel. Like I got good news and they didn't.

Yet when someone else comes on and says it I don't think it's cruel. It gives me hope. I guess it's survivor guilt again. I'm so happy that maybe I'm NED but it just makes me want it more for everyone else. Why can't we all be NED? I see pics of kids with cancer and wonder why me and not them? Same with surviving the blood clot against all expectations and being told I'd received a miracle. I'm so glad but also feel so bad because so many other people don't survive what I went through. It's a miracle because the survival is so rare. So why me? I'm nobody special. Why did I deserve this gift? I've done nothing with it and don't see an opportunity to make a difference or help people. The only good thing that I've been told came out of it is that when I was in the ICU my horse came to visit me and it went out on the internet and I was told that lots of people were given hope or had a better day because of seeing the article.

I don't want to sound ungrateful but I want all of us to have the gift of life. If there was some way I could share this I would. What's wrong with my thing that I can't just enjoy this?

Jan 

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Comments

  • Easyflip
    Easyflip Member Posts: 588 Member
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    You have

    a big heart. You can't fully enjoy good news because you know others are suffering. I get that. I would say the best way you can help those fighting is by telling them your good news and giving them hope. I love it when others get a clear scan or good test result. You're not denying them health because you have it, everyone's in their own fight. You said it earlier in your post that you wish survivors would keep posting to encourage the newbies. Well, you're a survivor now and you get to encourage others, congratulations! I say enjoy your second chance and make the most of it. I'm not judging anyone who posts good news, I'm just happy for them!

    Easyflip/Richard

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    Easyflip said:

    You have

    a big heart. You can't fully enjoy good news because you know others are suffering. I get that. I would say the best way you can help those fighting is by telling them your good news and giving them hope. I love it when others get a clear scan or good test result. You're not denying them health because you have it, everyone's in their own fight. You said it earlier in your post that you wish survivors would keep posting to encourage the newbies. Well, you're a survivor now and you get to encourage others, congratulations! I say enjoy your second chance and make the most of it. I'm not judging anyone who posts good news, I'm just happy for them!

    Easyflip/Richard

    Thanks Richard. It's odd how

    Thanks Richard. It's odd how I feel. I never feel envy for the people who are NED, I'm just thrilled for them and happy that they've shrared it because it gives us all hope. So why do I feel so guilty? And I might be jumping the gun anyway. I might find out I have bad news when I get the results from the CT scan.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    Normal feelings

    i think we all understand how you are feeling, because we have all been there. Just don't let it get the best of you, and take away your own joy at you good situation (Which I pray will be confirmed soon)

    When I posted my NED news earlier this year, it was the week we lost Craig. I debated what to do, but then felt that maybe, during such a sad time for all of us who knew and loved Craig, some good news might lift our spirits or at least let us see that hope still survives.

    Sue - Trubrit

  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723 Member
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    Hi Jan

       I only have two months till I reach the end of year seventeen and start year eighteen of survival. I cringe everytime I think of all those I have known who are no longer with us. On the subject of guilt , if none of us survive there is no guilt. If none of us survive there is no hope. If just one person is given hope by our survival then there is no reason to feel guilty. I choose to believe that over the years I have been able to give hope to many survivors. Not all of them survived but again I feel it is better to live and die with hope than without it,Hugs Ron.

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    Trubrit said:

    Normal feelings

    i think we all understand how you are feeling, because we have all been there. Just don't let it get the best of you, and take away your own joy at you good situation (Which I pray will be confirmed soon)

    When I posted my NED news earlier this year, it was the week we lost Craig. I debated what to do, but then felt that maybe, during such a sad time for all of us who knew and loved Craig, some good news might lift our spirits or at least let us see that hope still survives.

    Sue - Trubrit

    Thanks Sue.

    Thanks Sue.

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    ron50 said:

    Hi Jan

       I only have two months till I reach the end of year seventeen and start year eighteen of survival. I cringe everytime I think of all those I have known who are no longer with us. On the subject of guilt , if none of us survive there is no guilt. If none of us survive there is no hope. If just one person is given hope by our survival then there is no reason to feel guilty. I choose to believe that over the years I have been able to give hope to many survivors. Not all of them survived but again I feel it is better to live and die with hope than without it,Hugs Ron.

    Thanks Ron.

    Thanks Ron.

  • impactzone
    impactzone Member Posts: 551 Member
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    JanJan63 said:

    Thanks Ron.

    Thanks Ron.

    9 years here Stage 4. The

    9 years here Stage 4. The randomness and unfairness of cancer are so frustrating. I have many of the same feelings. Some who have been here a long time read and occasionally comment but there is an element of fatigue that hits me, at least. Kinda that 1000 yd stare.We do care, we do hurt and we do find a way to survive. Living in the world of cancer is tiring and terrifying, I know the long term survivors gave me hope and that was so powerful early. I wish I was more inspirational or knowledgeable. I just bought the ticket and am on the train.

    All my best

    Chip

  • vtspa6
    vtspa6 Member Posts: 172
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    Please try not to feel

    Please try not to feel guilty.  It really does help with those that have just heard those words "you have cancer".  When my husband was dxed and I join this board I truly thought this was the end and it scared me so much!  When I read someone say I am NED it does give me hope and I tell my husband everytime I read this.  In fact, I was a total basket case at the beginning and reading these stories truly has calmed my nerves. Try to enbrace this good news and and your friends will rejoice with you.

    Vicky

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    9 years here Stage 4. The

    9 years here Stage 4. The randomness and unfairness of cancer are so frustrating. I have many of the same feelings. Some who have been here a long time read and occasionally comment but there is an element of fatigue that hits me, at least. Kinda that 1000 yd stare.We do care, we do hurt and we do find a way to survive. Living in the world of cancer is tiring and terrifying, I know the long term survivors gave me hope and that was so powerful early. I wish I was more inspirational or knowledgeable. I just bought the ticket and am on the train.

    All my best

    Chip

    Chip, you're the kind of

    Chip, you're the kind of survivor that gives me so much hope, thank you.

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    vtspa6 said:

    Please try not to feel

    Please try not to feel guilty.  It really does help with those that have just heard those words "you have cancer".  When my husband was dxed and I join this board I truly thought this was the end and it scared me so much!  When I read someone say I am NED it does give me hope and I tell my husband everytime I read this.  In fact, I was a total basket case at the beginning and reading these stories truly has calmed my nerves. Try to enbrace this good news and and your friends will rejoice with you.

    Vicky

    Thanks Vicky. In a couple of

    Thanks Vicky. In a couple of weeks I hope that I'll be one of those who has a story of hope. I've told this story on here before but things get lost and bogged down so I'll give a quick rundown again.

    My grandmother had colon cancer in the 1950's when she was in her fifties. Chemo was in it's infancy so she did not get that, only surgery and a colostomy. She passed away in her early eighties, 84 if I remember correctly. She'd been healthy right up until her kidney's failed. She had no cancer and she was so healthy they told her she was a candidate for a kidney transplant, which she refused. She'd just come back from a two month trip to Australia when she went into the hospital for her kidneys. If that doesn't give someone hope I don't know what would.

    And, for the record, I'm adopted so I didn't inherit it from her.

  • lp1964
    lp1964 Member Posts: 1,239 Member
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    JanJan63 said:

    Thanks Vicky. In a couple of

    Thanks Vicky. In a couple of weeks I hope that I'll be one of those who has a story of hope. I've told this story on here before but things get lost and bogged down so I'll give a quick rundown again.

    My grandmother had colon cancer in the 1950's when she was in her fifties. Chemo was in it's infancy so she did not get that, only surgery and a colostomy. She passed away in her early eighties, 84 if I remember correctly. She'd been healthy right up until her kidney's failed. She had no cancer and she was so healthy they told her she was a candidate for a kidney transplant, which she refused. She'd just come back from a two month trip to Australia when she went into the hospital for her kidneys. If that doesn't give someone hope I don't know what would.

    And, for the record, I'm adopted so I didn't inherit it from her.

    Dear Friends,

    Naturally we feel the pain of those that are still carrying this disease, because we have been there too. I am a 2 year NED and I have nevet felt survivor guilt. A good friend just past away from the same cancer I have. I tried to support him to the last minute without guilt even when he pulled away from me for whatever reason. 

    I feel lIke I have to tell and show people healthy or sick that you can heal, recover and hopefully prevent cancer. I'm not shy of telling anyone that I had/have cancer, because regardless I want to be the best me I can be. I want to express: look here, despite all this terrible thing I look and feel great and still contribute to this world. 

    This site and the world need good examples to move forward And stay positive as much as possible. 

    Laz

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    lp1964 said:

    Dear Friends,

    Naturally we feel the pain of those that are still carrying this disease, because we have been there too. I am a 2 year NED and I have nevet felt survivor guilt. A good friend just past away from the same cancer I have. I tried to support him to the last minute without guilt even when he pulled away from me for whatever reason. 

    I feel lIke I have to tell and show people healthy or sick that you can heal, recover and hopefully prevent cancer. I'm not shy of telling anyone that I had/have cancer, because regardless I want to be the best me I can be. I want to express: look here, despite all this terrible thing I look and feel great and still contribute to this world. 

    This site and the world need good examples to move forward And stay positive as much as possible. 

    Laz

    Thank you Laz. I'm so happy

    Thank you Laz. I'm so happy to hear the good news stories but for me it feels like leaving a soldier behind.

    I wonder of your friend pulled away because of this reason, you made it and they weren't going to. A very close friend told me this past weekend that she's being tested for colon cancer. They haven't done a colonoscopy yet but have given her a bunch of information on it and have her lined up to go talk to someone about it. She said she'll refuse treatment because of seeing what I went through. My heart is broken to think that instead of seeing that a person can fight this, the message she got was that it's too hard. I had additional issues that most people don't get, anyway, so it shouldn't have been as hard as it has.

  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
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    No reason for guilt because you survive

    Each of us is given a finite number of days on this earth.  It is what you do with those days that counts.

    Sadness over our losses is understandable.  Each person we care for leaves too soon, regardless of the cause.  That is life.

    This time of year I often think of the old movie "It's a Wonderful Life", which emphasizes that we do not see that even the smallest things we do can have major impact on the lives of others.

    Sharing our stories, the good and the bad, are a tribute to all who have gone before us.  If we withdraw because of their passig, we deny those yet to come of our experiences and those passed on to us from others.

    No one is left behind, as long as they remain in our hearts and memories.

    It is not unreasonable to wish health for all.  Just don't let the fact that it is not possible YET keep you from enjoying each day you have. 

    Marie who loves kitties

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    No reason for guilt because you survive

    Each of us is given a finite number of days on this earth.  It is what you do with those days that counts.

    Sadness over our losses is understandable.  Each person we care for leaves too soon, regardless of the cause.  That is life.

    This time of year I often think of the old movie "It's a Wonderful Life", which emphasizes that we do not see that even the smallest things we do can have major impact on the lives of others.

    Sharing our stories, the good and the bad, are a tribute to all who have gone before us.  If we withdraw because of their passig, we deny those yet to come of our experiences and those passed on to us from others.

    No one is left behind, as long as they remain in our hearts and memories.

    It is not unreasonable to wish health for all.  Just don't let the fact that it is not possible YET keep you from enjoying each day you have. 

    Marie who loves kitties

    Thank you Marie.

    Thank you Marie.

  • jen2012
    jen2012 Member Posts: 1,607 Member
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    No reason for guilt because you survive

    Each of us is given a finite number of days on this earth.  It is what you do with those days that counts.

    Sadness over our losses is understandable.  Each person we care for leaves too soon, regardless of the cause.  That is life.

    This time of year I often think of the old movie "It's a Wonderful Life", which emphasizes that we do not see that even the smallest things we do can have major impact on the lives of others.

    Sharing our stories, the good and the bad, are a tribute to all who have gone before us.  If we withdraw because of their passig, we deny those yet to come of our experiences and those passed on to us from others.

    No one is left behind, as long as they remain in our hearts and memories.

    It is not unreasonable to wish health for all.  Just don't let the fact that it is not possible YET keep you from enjoying each day you have. 

    Marie who loves kitties

    Yes I agree with Marie.  And

    Yes I agree with Marie.  And while some get upset seeing old posts from friends who have passed on, I like it. I think it makes them live on.  I still find it so hard to believe that Craig is gone.  But we still have his stories and I will be happy to see them pop up time and time again.

    Try to let go of the guilt and worry and enjoy life.  It's not like you surviving, takes away life from someone else.  Non related.  Life is strange, hard to understand why things happen.

  • LivinginNH
    LivinginNH Member Posts: 1,456 Member
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    No reason for guilt because you survive

    Each of us is given a finite number of days on this earth.  It is what you do with those days that counts.

    Sadness over our losses is understandable.  Each person we care for leaves too soon, regardless of the cause.  That is life.

    This time of year I often think of the old movie "It's a Wonderful Life", which emphasizes that we do not see that even the smallest things we do can have major impact on the lives of others.

    Sharing our stories, the good and the bad, are a tribute to all who have gone before us.  If we withdraw because of their passig, we deny those yet to come of our experiences and those passed on to us from others.

    No one is left behind, as long as they remain in our hearts and memories.

    It is not unreasonable to wish health for all.  Just don't let the fact that it is not possible YET keep you from enjoying each day you have. 

    Marie who loves kitties

     
    A very nice sentiment;

     

    A very nice sentiment; words to live by. 

    Thank you,

    Cyn

  • annalexandria
    annalexandria Member Posts: 2,571 Member
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    My sister was dxed with cancer

    at the age of 43, six years before I found out I had it, also at the age of 43 oddly enough.  She died one horrible year after dx, leaving behind her son and husband, while here I still am, chugging along four years NED.

    There's no rhyme or reason to it, as far as I can tell.  Mostly just a lot of blind luck.  And I do feel very guilty that I have survived, when she didn't get that chance.  And I can't even really think about all the children who don't make it (including a friend's only child who spent her senior year in our local Children's Hospital and died before graduation).

    People around me have learned not to express the idea that there is a plan in any of this.  

    I'm very sorry about your brother.

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    My sister was dxed with cancer

    at the age of 43, six years before I found out I had it, also at the age of 43 oddly enough.  She died one horrible year after dx, leaving behind her son and husband, while here I still am, chugging along four years NED.

    There's no rhyme or reason to it, as far as I can tell.  Mostly just a lot of blind luck.  And I do feel very guilty that I have survived, when she didn't get that chance.  And I can't even really think about all the children who don't make it (including a friend's only child who spent her senior year in our local Children's Hospital and died before graduation).

    People around me have learned not to express the idea that there is a plan in any of this.  

    I'm very sorry about your brother.

    Thank you. It makes no sense

    Thank you. It makes no sense at all. I think that's why it's so hard to find a treatment. It's never the same for each person., no matter how similar their situations.

    I agree about the 'plan'. Nobody wants to hear trite things like 'God wanted another angel' or 'the good ones die young' or 'she's out of pain' or foolishness like that. There's no plan, it's just bad luck.

  • beaumontdave
    beaumontdave Member Posts: 1,280 Member
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    It's been six months now

    It's been six months now since I watched my wife pass from a brain tumor in a bed in our livingroom. I'm just now beginning to feel like myself again, or at least a reasonable fascimile. I don't know that I'll ever feel whole again, or lose the guilt entirely. She was the force that made this house, home; that made all the connections to friends and family. The one who gave holidays meaning, and gave me the sense of purpose for work, play, fixing things, most of the things I did. I'm trying to fill that role in my own fashion, but damn it's hard. The survivor guilt comes from knowing how well suited she was to survive my end, compared to the other way around. I have a tough time celebrating any clear scans or good tests for any length of time, because after being my rock for the first year and a half after my dx, and leaning on each other for the five years after her dx, then being her caregiver for that last year and a half, I survived and she didn't.  I know I'll get better with time , and I will share my story here, however it goes, but I very much understand the guilt. Like others have said, every bit of good news is a boost to me, I want to hear people getting better and stronger and embracing life no matter what it throws at them. I need to hear that..........Dave

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    It's been six months now

    It's been six months now since I watched my wife pass from a brain tumor in a bed in our livingroom. I'm just now beginning to feel like myself again, or at least a reasonable fascimile. I don't know that I'll ever feel whole again, or lose the guilt entirely. She was the force that made this house, home; that made all the connections to friends and family. The one who gave holidays meaning, and gave me the sense of purpose for work, play, fixing things, most of the things I did. I'm trying to fill that role in my own fashion, but damn it's hard. The survivor guilt comes from knowing how well suited she was to survive my end, compared to the other way around. I have a tough time celebrating any clear scans or good tests for any length of time, because after being my rock for the first year and a half after my dx, and leaning on each other for the five years after her dx, then being her caregiver for that last year and a half, I survived and she didn't.  I know I'll get better with time , and I will share my story here, however it goes, but I very much understand the guilt. Like others have said, every bit of good news is a boost to me, I want to hear people getting better and stronger and embracing life no matter what it throws at them. I need to hear that..........Dave

    Dearest Dave

    My heart aches for you and for the loss that no time will ever erase.

    I hope you are being good to yourself. We don't need to rush past that grief stage just as much as we don't need to wallow in it for years on end. Their is a happy balance, and I pray as time passes, that you will find that happy medium, where life goes on while aching for the loss of your wife. 

    We all know that Cancer doesn't have favourites. It picks and choses as it will. 

    Sue - Trubrit