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Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2002

I've went through chemo and radiation for breast cancer, and doing fine. It has been 7 months since the last treatment, which I'm so glad, but now I just so down and thats reaaly not at all me. I ended up with lymphodema and have gotten cellulitis in my arm twice. I wear a sleeve and do what they tell me, but does not seem to be helping. I think that is why I'm feeling the way I do. I'm worried that the cancer will come back and it seems like I just have trouble dealing with it now. I did fine when I was going through all the treatments. Has anyone else out there had the same feelings. I would think the longer I go the better I would feel. Sometimes I think I am going crazy.

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

Actually, seven months is not all that long a time. I had a very difficult time accepting what happened to my body as a result of the cancer, or I guess as a result of fighting it, and you are having more serious lasting effects than I did.
Also, while I was going through diagnosis and treatment, I managed "well" partly because I distanced myself from the full reality of what was going on. That meant that, when it was all over, it was safe to feel again. I was quite depressed for a long time. (It's now two years since my ordeal.) And I think we're all afraid that it will come back, and may always be.
Have you thought about joining a survivors' group, or getting some kind of counseling? A survivors' group can be very helpful, because you learn that you're not alone in having feelings like this, and also you get a chance to talk them through, which usually helps.
Anyway, please don't worry that you're going crazy. You're not.
Hang in there.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2002

I'm very sorry you are having a hard time. I too am about six months from my last treatment. It seems that everyone around me feels less anxiety as time passes but I just feel that I'm getting closer to bad news again. When I was going through the treatments I had to be strong for everyone else, so I was. Now I can't tell anyone how I feel because they have already been through so much I couldn't imagine burdening them with my fear. Do I call a doctor every time there is a sharp pain in my chest or a pain in my abdomen? I think I do know how you are feeling right now. I really hope we can get through this rough emotional place and get peace that will never leave. Hopefully tomorrow will be better for you and me. You are not going crazy! We have just been through so much there will be days it catches up with us and we give in to all the emotions that accompany serious life challenges. It will be a challenge to get past this and find joy. But if you can go through doctors consultations and surgeries and chemo and radiation , surely we can get through this. Hopefully with each other:)

Posts: 47
Joined: Apr 2002

I know exactly how you feel. I finished my treatment for NHL in April of 2002. I, just like you, was fine while I was going through the treatments and now I am a mess. I suffer from anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and whatever else the day might throw me. I ask myself all the time (daily) how and am I going to get through this? Why am I such a baby? I should be thankful instead of depressed. It is horrible. I am going BACK to the Dr. tomorrow to try and get on medication to help me. I see a professional every week and I am still not even close. I wonder how do we go from sick to recovery to really surviving? I never expected these emotions after the treatment. My one dr told me it is our minds way of catching up. We were so focused on getting better phycically and now we are healing emotionally. I just want to know when it will end? Pleas feel free to e-mail me at melzmommy@yahoo.com. Good luck. Lia

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

I agree with your dr about it's being a way to catch up. Good for you for asking about medication in addition to seeing someone. I mean, of course, that I'm sorry you feel so badly, but since you do I'm glad that you're taking care of yourself. It took me seeing a therapist twice weekly PLUS anti-depressants PLUS websites like this and Gilda's Club to help me reassemble myself (which is what it felt like) and learn to live with the uncertainty. And tomorrow should remind us all that horrible things can come out of anywhere without warning, not just cancer Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded--but it's a delusion we also need, at least to some degree, in order to function well. We survivors have been robbed of the delusion, and need time to restore enough of it that we feel we have a future.
We need to look after ourselves emotionally as well as physically, and do what it takes to get us through what I think of as the emotional re-run of cancer.
Best of luck, and hugs to all.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2002

I was diagnosed with breast cancer and have almost the same feelings as you. During treatment I was positive, and gave more support than I required. When chemo & radiation was over, I was terrified that it wasn't enough. I never told anyone because I felt like what I was feeling was irrational, but it's gotten worse. It has been almost a year, and now I feel lost, depressed, & ashamed of my own feelings. I don't like how I feel, how I look...I don't know where I fit in anymore. I just want to be who I used to be before the cancer. I know I should feel happy, and be thankful for my MANY blessings, but I'm stuck in this rut. I think maybe what we feel is normal, though.
I have kept all these feelings to myself all this time. I think we need to reach out to people (like we're doing now) and tell them how we feel. Just knowing someone else feels the same helps, I think.

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2002

I went through chemo and radiation for lung cancer.I finished my treatments 10 months ago.Believe me, you're not going crazy.I'm on anti-deppressants and I see a social worker once a week. That sure helps.I'm still very depressed. The fear of the cancer returning is always there.
I was very strong through my treatments then when they were done depression set in.When we went through treatments we were surrounded by people who knew all about what we were going through, then the treatments stop and people think oh she's back to normal again. As you know we are not back to normal that's for sure.I've been off work now for for 14 months and still taking morphine.I do know how you feel.If you ever want to e-mail me to talk my adress is denisestlaurent@cogeco.ca Good luck and God bless.

Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2002

I too have gone through radiation and chemo treatment a year ago. I totally agree that people around thought that you have won the battle already and expected that we are back to normal. I was in a very severe depression episode four months after completing the therapy. I saw no light in the tunnel contemplating suicide all the time. What happened was eventually I was placed in a psychiatry ward for treatment of depression. I stayed there for almost one month. Anti-depressants and psychiatrist did give a great help. One month after I was discharged from the hospital, I was back to work until now. Still depressed occasionally but working is the best medicine for depression , I guess.There is nothing wrong to feel emotional or depressed. We are human beings. Battle fighter is simply too great a word for us. If you want to share with me more of your experience, feel free to e-mail me at karenng@ed.gov.hk

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