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Anyone else having a hard time coping with remission?

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2009

Hello All,

As of January 2009 I was told by my oncologist that I am in partial remission from lung cancer, there is a small incurable tumor in my left lung that will never be gone but is not currently active after responding well to treatment.

I am happy about my news and now have two positive CT scans under my belt, with what I hope to be many more to go.

I have remained extremely positive through my diagnosis, treatment and after until recently. I find myself trying to be positive for others but when I'm alone and have time to think, I think about what would happen if the cancer came back, if the next scan I have does not come up the same, that the cancer cells are back in action....

When I am alone I sit and think about what it would be like to die from my disease....its horrible, it makes me sad and I dont feel right telling my husband, family or friends what I am thinking because they have seen me in a positive light for so long that I do not want to disappoint them.

I just feel like I need someone to talk to that understands.

If you are reading this and are struggling with the same thoughts please let me know. We can connect and keep in touch.

Thanks for listening, or reading I guess is a better term :)

Thankful to be in remission, but not sure how to deal with it.


zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

What you are experiencing now is entirely normal, I might ever venture to say universal among cancer survivors. We marshal our resources for the battle, keep it together for those around us, and do what has to be done. Then one day we find that there IS nothing else to be done except regular maintainance (never could spell that word), and we're going 'wha???'...and suddenly feeling vulnerable because we're NOT doing anything.
Some people find that getting back to whatever they were doing before cancer (jobs or whatever) helps distract them from obsessive thoughts, others get involved in giving back in the cancer community (volunteer work, etc.), or in some other 'pay it forward' activities.
Others find journaling a valuable tool to help them marshal their thoughts into some kind of manageable order. They find that once they put something within the pages they can then lay it aside and move on.
In some cases therapy helps. No shame in that. In fact, the shame would be to continue to struggle when help is available.
I hope you will find what works for you and that you will be able to move out and into the rest of your life with the courage and strength you surely already possess to have come this far. God bless.

slickwilly's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Nicole. Zahalene is right on about the emotional effects we all face after cancer and the word they call "remission". Before cancer we are like a brick house. Strong and secure about life. After cancer we are like a straw house waiting for the next bomb to drop. Each cancer check is a cause for stress that we try not to unload on our families and friends as we think they have been through enough. So we start searching for someone that will understand. I think you started searching a while back on the younger discussion groups. It seems people between 25 and 40 seem a bit lost between the age groups. I am glad your here and want to talk. During cancer we don't always tell everyone what we are feeling, just as they try not to tell us things that are stressful. When we spend time alone it allows too much time to think about the bad sides of what can happen. It takes time to get our lives back into perspective and move forward. I never say move on as you will always deal with some effects of cancer like everyone else here. I think the sooner you sit down with your husband and share your fears the better. We are great at putting up protective walls and not so good at bringing them down and opening up. At some point we decide cancer is not going to ruin our lives and we try to get the best out of each day. But it takes time as the cancer checks and doctor appointments are constant reminders that cause stress. If I was taking a guess here I would say there are proubly times that you would like to curl up into a ball and cry. And times you want someone to give you a tight hug and tell you everything is going to be alright. That is perfectly normal, but you need someone you love or trust to pull you back out of those down times so you can move forward again. There is no doubt that finding someone in your area with cancer and in the same age group can make all the difference in the world. If its not possible you have us here and most of us are open to talking and having new friends. I hope someone here will hit on something that helps you Nicole. Slickwilly

Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2009

First I want to say congratulations on being in remisssion! I'm sure it's been a long hard road and you need to give yourself a pat on the back for making it thru.I totally understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in Nov 2007 and had a clear petscan in Aug 2009,and recently had another scan a month ago. Unfortunately this last scan some nodes were found near my left kidney that we don't know what they are, and they can't be biopsied.Right now it's just a waiting game. I'm really confident about things and my doctor said it might be just scar tissue. I spoke to him yesterday and I was telling him how sometimes I just think about everything that I've been thru and I start worrying about every little ache and pain I feel. He keeps telling me that it's normal to feel this way and it just takes time. I will admit that I'm on antidepressants and it does help, plus I do keep a journal about everything I've been thru. I also feel that there was a reason that this happpened to me, although I couldn't tell you why. But I do feel that I want and have to be there for others to give support. Try to find a support group in your area, I did and its a place to talk to others that have been thru similar things as you. You'll see that others do feel the same. After going thru such a horrible disease and knowing that there is always a possibility for it to return,it's bound to pop into our minds occassionally with thoughts of what would happen if it returns. I've been trying really hard not to think like that because I've realized that if I keep doing that I won't be able to live my life and enjoy it the way I should, and want to. Just realize that your not alone. If you want to talk, I'm here or you can email me directly. Take care and get out and enjoy life!

Posts: 92
Joined: Mar 2009

what you are facing is normal for anyone who is truthful about life. my first check up i was a wreck. i did my 6 month check up 4 weeks ago and i was okay through the all of test. but when the doctor walked in, there was that nagging fear. both times he has assured me that he is sure i am clear. i go back at the end of june for another check up and my mind is already working over time. our minds look under every little rock, in every corner and is always checking for the smallest things. it is in survival mode and it is doing what it does best, look for trouble. it is a god thing that i have spiritual peace, but the mental peace is a constant battle. i would strongly suggest you speak to you husband about your fears. you need to share this burden or it will get the best of you. i talk to my wife now about my cancer related worries. i have one good friend and a counselor i talk to a the cancer hospital plus my wife. nicole you need to talk. i'm happy you're in remission, that is a blessing. god bless and keep you in peace. tony

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