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1 year & not sure how to feel

Susanbm
Posts: 61
Joined: Mar 2006

3/18/06 was the one year anniversary of my Stage III colon cancer surgery. It's hard to put into words how I should feel. Happy?--yes I'm happy that I've finished my chemo and I'm almost through with the Avastin. I'm also happy that I've made it this far as I know that some are not so lucky. Grateful? Yes, I'm grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses that have been taking care of me Thankful? Yes I'm thankful for my faith, family and friends. I could not have survived without them. Hopeful? - Yes I'm hopeful that the cancer won't come back and if it does, that I will have the courage to deal with it. But what else do I feel? For those that have been there, how do you live day to day and deal with your fears? When it's time to do your blood work or scan do you dread knowing the results? Do you call your doctor on every new ache or pain, wondering what it could be? When you hear of other people who get cancer or unfortunately die from cancer do you think, I'm glad it's not me or what if it was me? I am new to this site and would appreciate any words of wisdom.

HowardJ
Posts: 484
Joined: Jan 2005

I'd say "yes" to everything you wrote. My 1 yr anniversary was in December and although I did not have chemo (I'm stage 2) that does not lessen the feelings and fears that arise from a cancer diagnosis. I think you very articulately described what many are feeling.

Howard

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Susan...

All I can say is; "yep"... You should be feeling all of those things. Welcome to the world of post chemo. It's a world where everytime you get a hang-nail you'll wonder if it's really just a hang-nail or is it some new, insidious form of cancer that just looks like a hang-nail. Every time you have a little ache or pain, you'll wonder if the dragon is back. It's normal. I say "listen to your body" a lot; it's true. And if you think your body is telling you there's a problem, waste no time in discussing it with your doc. And if your doc won't listen to you, get another opinion. Don't let someone arbitrarily talk you out of something you feel your body is telling you.

Something else you should be ready for - people will start treating you differently. You're not in chemo anymore, so you must be just fine. Whay can't you keep up? Whay are you still #$%^&ing about numbness in your hands? Whay are you still cold all the time? That stuff takes time to wear off (up to a year and some never goes completely away) and people just don't get it. Try to accept that they are anxious for you to be "well" again and they just don't understand the toll treatments take on your body.

Hang in there, listen to your body... your innate fears will eventually fade - but don't allow yourself to become complacent. Maintain a robust surveillance regime. Continue to take care of yourself.

Most importantly: Get out there and live the life God has given you!

Cheers

- SpongeBob

littlejulie's picture
littlejulie
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi Susan,

My mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer 2 years ago this March. We've been through a couple follow ups already and today is another. At 3:00 we find out the results from her last scans and blood work. We're hoping for the best and expecting postive results. We try to look at this as though every six months we go back to the hospital for extra reassurance the cancer is GONE. Every 6 months that passes it does get somewhat easier BUT, the fear never goes away we just try to put it on the back burner and focus on a postive future. Hope you can do the same and you CAN!

julie

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lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Susan,

Welcome to our semi-colon family. Sorry that this happened to you but glad you found us. I'm new here also and just started treatments but like Spongebob said what your feeling is normal. It is hard for others to understand this so it is great to post here or go on the chat to help yourself work through the anxiety and concerns. Just know that you are not alone in all this and all of us are willing to help you. HUGS and good vibes your way!!!

Lisa

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I know exactly what you mean. When I reached the one year mark, since my treatment ended I felt very happy but at the same time I was not jumping up and down for joy because I felt like I might jinx myself or something....I just had another followup which would make it one year, 4 months and two years since I last had anything "show up". Everyone says that it gets easier with time but this last checkup was very anxiety causing for me. I think I fretted about it for a good 2 months beforehand! Thank God everything was OK. I spoke to my psychiatrist about it and he was concerned about the amount of time that I felt anxiety - almost 1/2 the interval between checkups. However, he also said that causes could include the fact that it has been winter, lack of exercise (the snow has been sub-par this year), etc. etc. but he told me not to make excuses and to get out and exercise, even if I have to go to the gym! (yuck). So basically, I think one strategy is to keep busy and try to focus on moving your life forward from this point. Of course you will have all kinds of people asking you how you feel, even though you feel perfectly normal (at least I do). Mentally on the other hand....so-so, right? Another thing is that when you read about those other people that aren't doing so well you just have to remember that each persons situation is different. I have never during the last 4 years of all this seen 2 cases that were exactly the same. Just because something happens to one person does not mean that it is going to happen to you. Try to get off the computer and get outside and enjoy this world and the fact that you are healthy. I don't know how to get rid of the fear all together and it really stinks that we cannot live the care free existance that we did before cancer, but if you think about it, you probably take better care of yourself now than you did before! Please read the post below this one by RunnnerZ! Well anyway, I am rambling on now. I hope that helps, e-mail me if you want....
Susan.

drmrgirl47's picture
drmrgirl47
Posts: 129
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi,
I am also a Stage 111 rectal cancer survivor 2 years now. I am even uncomfortable saying that for fear of jinxing myself. I feel all those things you mention and then some. But on the other hand this is how we live I guess. I don't often let myself get depressed and just try and be happy most of them time. And if I am not happy that day, I don't let anyone know and then it passes. We can always come here and vent so that is somewhat a relief. Oh, and I keep a journal which helps. But mostly thank god I am okay. Stay well and don't feel bad about feeling bad. It's just another one of those darn side effects! smile Love and prayers, Annette

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1254
Joined: Jul 2005

I know exactly how you feel. Happy? Not exactly. I am Stage IV and responding in an outstanding manner according to all sources. But still the fear is there. And in some wierd respects no longer being treated is harder than being treated, even though of course I do feel better (physically).

Wish I had an answer for you (other than to say that this is normal), but unfortunately that's the best answer I have right now.

I'm sure as others have said that the anxiety diminishes with time. "One day at a time" seems to apply to dealing with this beast as much as to addictions.

Meanwhile - glad you have had your one year surgery anniversary - I'm still looking forward to mine on 6/7/06.

Take care.

Betsy

angel33
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2005

susanbm
hang in there!!!
i was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal ca oct. 2004 and had chemo radiation from nov 2004 thru jan 2005.......then i had major(major surgery) APR,hysterectomy, muscle flap repair and colonoscopy! then i had MORE chemo(8 cycles of FOLFOX )i had side effects, was anemic, tired, weak ,nauseaus...etc.... to top all this i was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer and ended up having surgery plus radioactive iodine treatment....and that went well.
CONSIDERING all this....
really did well! i worked almost thruout all this.
YES it is not easy to to be in this situation. i have anxiety here and beyond. i do not sleep with the lights off. i wake up a lot at night even with a sleeping pill......i see other people not making it.....i agonize over the fact that i see people OR OTHER PATIENTS doing so well and then WORSE......
cancer is ugly.
i don't know whether it is an automatic defense mechanism but i have learned to take life as it comes....because i didn't invite cancer into my life and it came ANYWAY. i think i am a generally healthy individual and have always done the right things...so
TODAY i try my best to live day to day as best as i can. keep things simple, stay positive and BELIEVE that i can handle anything that life throws at me!
take care/pls e mail me if you feel/ i am here/angel

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