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Doctor attachment.....

KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi all,
Haven't posted much in a few weeks, but things are going well. Still dealing with the post treatment issues (neuropathy, menopause, wound healing). Overall can't complain. I have a crazy question that my family and friends who have never been through cancer treatment can not understand where I am coming from. Yesterday I took Christmas gifts (holiday painting done by my mother) to West Clinic where I was being treated. I still see them every 3 months for blood draws. Today I took paintings to my surgeon and his nurse. He did my port placement, bowel resection, and bowel obstruction surgeries. I first met him last fall and he has been in my life ever since. I haven't seen him since August so it was nice to see him on a social visit rather than a professional visit. He has always called me his superstar patient. He said I am why he does his job. He went on to tell me to keep in touch and that if he gets any other young patients facing what I did if I would be willing to talk to them. After I left there I felt happy yet completely sad. It's hard to let go of someone who has saved and given you back your life. Has anyone else felt this way when it is time to part ways and get back to the "normal" way of life?? It's really bothering me. I feel like I am still having a hard time transitioning from sick patient to living. Anyone have any suggestions???


Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Thank goodness! I thought I was the only wierd one. If I'm in the neighborhood, I stop by & say hello to my surgeon & his staff and my onc & his staff. I bring cookies. These people were so important to me that they feel like family. I think they get a kick out of seeing "their" survivors, too. It's all good!

claud1951's picture
Posts: 429
Joined: Jun 2007

I am 7 weeks Post Chemo and I too, feel like I want to go to Oncology and chat or talk to them. I understand this is normal (from the others on here). I was able to read about these emotions early on (before post chemo) so I have been preparing myself for this.

You're not alone in your feelings.

Hope you are doing well.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Glad to hear you are doing well.

I am 3 years post-dx. I made the conscious choice to end being a patient about 6 months ago, 1 year after my final radiation for the breast cancer. If you are serious about it bothering you, you, too, must make the decision to get on with your life, put 'patient' in the past....the way I confirmed that I was going to be around awhile was to buy a new car, complete with 5 years worth of payments!!!

You will remain a patient forever, and occasionally see these people that were a big part of your life, but, just like graduation from High School, you will need to, at some point, go on with you life....otherwise, you will lose the people around you who will not want to be reminded of what you have gone thru....because, for them especially, it is over and in the past...

Hugs, Kathi

cindybob's picture
Posts: 61
Joined: Aug 2004

I am 4 years out. Wow, time flies. I have an appointment tomorrow and I can't tell you how much I look forward to going. It is hard to say good-bye. I love the way I was treated. When I go in to the office, (Now they've re-modeled, so it's not the same feeling) but for a long time I would and still do get nostalgic. I think about how weak I was on my first visits and how I got stronger and bouncy-er as time went on. And when I go in and see people who were where I was (at the level of healthiness) I just wish I could follow their journey as well. I live so far away from my treatment center so I can't drop by, but 4 years out and I still consider my doctor, nurses, etc. family or at least friends.

I understand what Kathi is saying about getting on with your life. I agree, and at the same time cancer WAS your LIFE for a time. And because you made it through and are healthy and you NEVER want it back, it's still a part of you and missing the experience, not the sickness,is normal.

Spending long hours hooked up to treatment meant getting to know people. So sure, you are not crazy. At least I don't think so. I am very excited that I get to go back tomorrow. I look at it as a positive. Sometimes my gratitude overwhelmes me and I want to continue let them know how much I love and appreciate how well they cared for me. I like to go back, I want to be NED, but I want to KEEP getting that dx.

I don't think that I ever answered your question about the transistion. In someways real life was forced back on to me and I was like-wow I thought that I was going to make all of these life changes-but I got too busy again. I'm a high school drama teacher and I have 2 kids of my own and I work way too many hours every day. On the other hand, Cancer is still one of the things that defines me, but in a positive way. When asked to describe myself, cancer survivor is one of the first things I say.

It is my opinion that you will always be attached and that's okay. Missing something like cancer sounds crazy but it's not the disease that you miss. It's the good stuff that comes with it. I thank God often for my cancer. It changed me in so many ways. The only thing that I wished I could still change is to SLOW DOWN. Cancer forced me to slow waaay down, while I was "sick" or in treatment. I had a great excuse to not be able to do it all. I didn't have to me mom of the year and teacher of the year at the same time. I was able to take time for people. And those people were my doctor and his nurse practioner and everyone else. Now I'm overwhelmed all the time with too much work and too little time. I don't know how other people do it.

Oh, one more thing. Like I said, I have an appointment tomorrow, we (Dr. and me) will spend a lot of time just catching up with each other and what we've been doing. The medical part is secondary.
You will get to the point where you just enjoy the prospect of seeing everyone, but your healthy life will eventually break your attachment. Don't worry about it, it will happen all on it's own.
Thanks for letting me get all of that out. Your post has made me feel much better, thank you for posting.
Love, Hugs, and Prayers,
Cindy Bob

KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading your story. I'm glad to hear that you and the others have felt attached to the people who have helped them. I also feel that cancer was a blessing. I am much more grateful than I was. I also have slowed down and that is a good thing. I was way too type A before. Anyway thank you and I hope your appointment is very good tomorrow.


shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I felt the same way as you do. I wanted to be friends with some of them, long after my treatment phase was overwith. I think it is totally normal. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I thought about just popping in to say hi at MD Anderson, when I am down in Houston for the holidays. I don't think the doctors or nurses mind and it probably makes them feel good about the fact they have actually "healed" someone. It must be very difficult to be an oncologist or an oncology nurse. I am sure sometimes they too wonder what ever became of so and so....
Anyway, there is a time to cut loose from them, but I don't think it hurts to pop in and say HI or send a Christmas card, etc. My psychologist told me that "You need to stop thinking of yourself as a patient and start thinking of yourself as a SURVIVOR"
Take care,

alta29's picture
Posts: 435
Joined: Mar 2005

I hope to have that feeling some day.....enjoy it and feel good about it.....don't feel bad...hopefully my Dr. will tell me the same one day....I will know by next friday ( next ct scan )...God bless u all...

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Kirstein, am glad you are doing well. I think your reaction and emotions are perfectly normal. I wish you a happy holiday season. God Bless,

nudgie's picture
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

Yes, I agree 100% with you. My surgeon basically saved my life. I was 100% obstructed with a very very very swollen colon.

I performed by first and second surgeries and will be performing my son's first colonoscopy in Jan 08.

I send him and my Onc Doc Christmas cards each year. I still my Onc. Doc every 3-4 months, but I have not seen my surgeon since May 07.

I wish there was a way to really let them (hereos) know how we really feel.

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