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Will I ever be the same I was before all of this?

just4Brooks's picture
just4Brooks
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi guys, Maybe I’m just having a off day or something. But I’ve been doing a lot of wondering lately about how things will be in the future. As most of you know already, I’m a stage 3 dx April 2009. Had radiation/chemo (5FU) for 7 weeks then surgery August 13th to remove the tumor and put in a iliostomy. Now I go every other week for chemo (Oxy and 5FU) for 9 treatments. I only have 3 more to go. Then they say they will “take down” my iliostomy maybe in March. My question is… Will I ever be the same I was before all of this? I know this is a strange question . But who else will I ask?

Life is funny sometimes
Brooks

johnnybegood's picture
johnnybegood
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

well i can only speak for my self but as we all have or are going to have about the same regiem of treatments here goes.i was dx stage 3 colorectal cancer in sept 08.did 5 weeks of radiation and xeloda chemo pills.had my surgery to take out the tumer that had shrunk from the treatments and also had a temporary colostomy bag all that was done in dec 08.had my reversal in feb09 and started the mop up chemo in march09 as i had 5 out of 10 nodes bad,onc stopped me at 10 treatments of oxy and 5fu,that was july16 2009.i am still having bad neuropathy and of course bathroom issues depeding on what and how much i eat.so the answer to your question is no you will never be the same,i usually have a good cry once a week because i just want to be normal and the person who i was.but being part of this family i am slowly coming to terms that we are supposed to find our NEW normal,make NEW memories and just try to LIVE each day one day at a time hope this helps as i said that has been my experience hang in there....Godbless....johnnybegood

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Even though I was blessed to not have to do chemo or radiation, I think cancer changes you in ways that only people who have had it can understand. Yes, you will do the things you did before, you will pretty much have your body back (with some changes, of course!), and you will seem the same as always to other people. But there will be a new dimension, an awareness of your mortality and the fragility of life. The physical changes will vary from person to person, depending on the stage and the reactions to treatments, but I think all of us will carry mental changes always. We can be happy, and the change won't necessarily be bad, but we will have thoughts in our heads that were never there before.

Hope that makes sense! I've been in "kind of a mood" this week, because I achieved my 2 year anniversary. I'm very happy about that, but it has made me think CANCER a bit more this week.

*hugs*
Gail

Muzzy's picture
Muzzy
Posts: 178
Joined: Sep 2009

Brook this is a very good question i'm 4 months out of chemo and i still don't feel like my old self. i just want to be me again to play a full round of golf without feeling like i gone thru a war. i will continue to hope and pray that someday i will be back to normal
jeff
just happy to be here!!

pamysue's picture
pamysue
Posts: 105
Joined: May 2008

after my ille takedown, and no, I'm not the same at all. Just finding out you have cancer changes you life, regardless of the kind, the stage or the treatments. Sometimes not being the same is better. Keep that in mind.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Now, don't think I'm bummed about it...in fact, I like this new life for the most part. (Although, with the chemo for the breast cancer, I'm now lactose intollerant, and cannot eat my fav ice cream...lol).

I like the intensity of feeling I have, and the joy of seeing a ray of sun on a rainy day. I am a computer nerd, have been forever, so this is a GIANT step for me...lol..

I also realize that life can change or end unexpectedly, so I keep my loved ones close, and do the things I really want to do in my life. Am I grateful I heard those 3 words? Well, not really, but making lemonade out of lemons is what we semi-colons do best...

I play golf, ride a bike for miles, play tennis (badly) with my daughter. I live in 2 countries, visit exotic places, and am in better shape now than I've been in years...

Sure, I'm battle scarred. I have my 12" 'up and down' from the resection, and if I eat too much roughage, well, with my 'new' rectum made from descending colon, let's just leave it at I have 2 Sadoku puzzle books in the toilet. I have the scars from the lumpectomy, I can't use my 'special' arm without being mindful of the strain. BUT I smile from ear to ear, have a 'perky' hairstyle, and will dance on bars if I'm asked...ROFL!!!!

Hugs, Kathi

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

2 months since chemo.......I went out this weekend and bought a big screen TV (another big screen TV), and a MAC Computer. Never would have done that before at least not all in one weekend. I put up the Christmas Tree, looked at my daughter and said, there was a good chance that I wouldn't be here to put up this tree, hint, hint...so she got up to help me. I think they are getting used to me feeling better. So....bang, got the grandkids out of bed, handed them all ornaments and said "let's decorate the tree." They are 2, 3, and 4, lol.....never would I have done that before. We had a great time, downloaded about 40 Christmas songs and had a ball.

No, I am not myself, I couldn't bring down the decorations, even if I wanted to. I have aches and pains everywhere, never had them before. I was the go getter, now I am the sit and wait for someone to help me. But it's okay, I can appreciate a lot more sitting down then running around like crazy making everyone crazy with that energy that I once had! I do miss working out in the yard, I will get out there soon. Too cold right now.

coloCan
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

Seems to me just being informed you have cancer changes your life.As you (we)know, The chemo and radiation does things to you that definitely affects your life, both during and after treatment, mentally, physically and emotionally. You're lucky that your iliostomy will be "taken down",my colostomy is permanent and that has had a major impact on my life. I'm still healing from surgery as I'm told not to do certain things. Maybe once I can exercise again and regain some strength I will feel better, I don't know. i look at my skinny body with no muscles in the mirror and notice a plastic bag affixed to stomach and hanging there, collecting my waste, keeping me alive. I guess I should be thankful my surgeon kept me alive with a successful procedure and the postop FOLFOX with pump which I'm currently undergoing will kill whatever may have remained of the cancer but I don't ever see myself as I was prior to all this but that means I have to adapt,adjust, live with my new self. Thats how I define the date of my surgery, as creating a new me.How everyone reacts to all this is obviously a personal matter and some will be thankful just to be alive, regardeless of limitations on that life and some perhaps may want to be dead. I aint ready to die yet, I want to enjoy my retirement/pensioin (age 59, worked 33 years same agency). I haven't put up with the pains,hurt,dread of chemo and radiation, a 6 1/2 hour operation and now more poisionous chemo if I( didn;t intend on beating this. Being Dx in 2000 with COPD had a similar but no way near as intense an effect on me. Cancer Dx is much more life-shattering but the goal is the same:to stay alive,beat your disease and live as best you can. I can walk down the street while the wind knocks a flowerpot off someone's window ledge and it lands on my head.....dead!By the same toiken,I can beat this cancer and live another 20 years of quality life.

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

just wait and see.......

thready's picture
thready
Posts: 475
Joined: Sep 2009

Buzzard,
Thank you for giving all us newbies hope! I know how Brooks feels. He is farther along than I, he has had more done and I think he is asking about the physical stuff, but what about the mental stuff. I have already changed mentaly, I love every good moment I have, I don't want to do things that have no purpose. I don't want to waste these moments with people who are negative, who complain about trivial things, dirty dishes, bad weather, mail that is late etc. I have changed in so many other ways also, but when does the changing stop. There are parts of me I really like and am afraid that I will not be able to keep these as time goes by (I have always been a go getter sort, trying to do 3 things at once and wanting to learn and do more, for me this is exciting, but now I can only handle what is right in front of me. I am hoping that this change is just my way of trying to manage all the effects of chemo and dealing with the diagnosis of cancer.)

Jan

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

I consider myself very fortunate that I did not have the iliostomy. It may sound trivial in the scope of things but I'm used to where things were and how they worked. Of course, if I had one I'd be thankful I was still around and I'd get used to it. I really admire all of you (Buzz, Donna) and others who have them and deal with them with great attitudes.

Brooks, it's great that you will have the reversal next year.

I'm not sure if you mean "normal" as far as that goes, or in as far as life in general goes. Myself, I have dealt with my cancer (which most all of you know is still going on) as a series of what I like to call "New Normals". My body, and sometimes mind, gets used to being a certain way, then I change protocols or have an operation and then I have to get used to a new normal. I may be like that for a year, then something else pops up and my "normal" changes. This has been the last 5 3/4 years of my life. I'm OK with that.

Will I ever be pre-cancer Phil? No. Do I want to be? (Mostly) No. I gained a lot of insight from cancer that I doubt I'd have if not for it. Am I thrilled at my very long-term possibilities? Not totally. What concerns me the most is not checking out but checking out before my kids reach adulthood. I won't say until they "grow up" because at 52 I'm still haven't really grown up. I won't push my luck. I'd be happy to see them both get through college so that's another 12 years at least. Man, I'll take 10.

Brooks, this is a question that is unique to all of us. Some are back to being normal, some aren't but will be, some may be like me. I think that you hold the key to what your turnout will be.

I do know that going through treatments SUCKS and that it seems like it will never end and it's very easy to get into a funk or down in the dumps. Just a month ago I said I wouldn't post much for a while. Well that lasted about a week. To the sorrow of many I came back too soon I'm sure ;-) A big part of me coping with cancer is being able to contribute something here. If I would to be "cured" tomorrow I would still post here. I've been around and have much to offer. Sometimes it's just being part of the cheering section but that helps us all at times.

I hope I was helpful.
Check out the added Sundog photos on my photo post. I think you'll enjoy them
(a cheap plug for my photography, I know...)
Hang in there Bro
-p

johnnybegood's picture
johnnybegood
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

phil thats what im talking about"my family here"its those kind of posts from you and others that keeps me wanting to go on everyday i know from reading your post you have been in this fight for a long time and i admire your enthusiasum for life maybe someday i will get there.thanks for being there for all of us....Godbless....johnnybegood p.s.and yes buzzard i still havent forgot about the rope that you have held onto for all of us....johnnybegood

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

that question all the time, and i dont come up with an answer. Here I am NED and still wondering if I will ever be the same again. The way I feel today, I would have to say no. But I agree with Phil, having cancer has really made me stop and think hard about life and what it is all about, I think it has made me slow down and really see things that I would have probably missed, made me stop and take notice to how I really feel about things and people. Would I trade all this for not ever having cancer, I am not as noble as Phil, I would trade it.

I dont really have the answers, I just wanted to chime in and say that I think this is normal what we are going through whether you are in treatment or done with it. You are in my prayers Brooks always!

God Bless
Beth

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

Maybe I'm just making lemonade? I know I wouldn't be the person I am without having gone through what I've gone through and it's been a mixed bag of things. A very un-original thought/observation on my part.

What is normal anyway? Hopefully we all get through this and learn what we can from it. Maybe it's all part of the meaning of life...

I do not have the answers either.

dorookie
Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

maybe its all apart of the meaning of life, and its different for each of us, so there is no real right answer to the riddle/question you posted, because everyone of us has a different answer. I feel I am still searching for what is my new norm, and I sometimes find myself fighting to not let go of who I was before the DX, so I think that complicates things for me. Crazy times is all I can say, but I just take one day at a time and see where it leads me.

and I happen to think that you are not just nobel but very intelligent and very very insightful, and I totally appreciate your post and your wonderful thoughts that you share with all of us.

Beth

christinecarl's picture
christinecarl
Posts: 545
Joined: Sep 2009

It will be 1 year Dec. 3rd (stage 3b) since an ER Dr told me I had a tumor in my colon. I immediately thought I am dead, this is. I had watched my mom battle this for 2 yrs and not make it, why would I?

I know people say that no one has an expiration date on them, but yet I search for mine, I know it is there somewhere. I went to a therapist recently for the 1st time and I believe it helped me and I plan to go again next month. I am still trying to get my energy back (chemo ended 6/23/09) and the numb fingers and feet annoy me. But I never had a iliostomy. I do not feel like cancer taught me to appreciate life more, because I appreciated my life just fine before my diagnosis. I have not even bothered to start dating again, wondering when I should tell them (definitely not 1st date LOL) and how they will feel about my huge scar worries me.

I also worry that I will not be able to go through this again if it comes back. Although my therapist told me that I probably never would've thought I could have got through it the 1st time, had I known in advance it would happen. But I fought through it and made it to the other side. Guess I will just have to trust that and hope I keep my fight.

I hope we both make peace with our diagnosis and continue to heal inside and out.

Shayenne's picture
Shayenne
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

I honestly don't think anyone ever becomes their normal selves again. Heck, I know normal people who still don't "live" I call them "Scrooges" because they have their health, and don't do nothing for themselves or others. I think cancer has given me a new normal, where I don't want to look back (I was a lil wild, but that was the 80's people!) I always had a good heart, never hurt anyone, just went out and partied alot for a few years of it, till I had my kids, which also changed my life for a new "normal." I actually lost myself being a stay at home mom for 10 years, moved to new places, made new friends, made no friends, I lived only for my children, and did only things for them, I never did things for me. I was the cleaner, cook, the cab, I did it all, and did nothing for me. That was when I decided to change, go back to school and got my degree, and got a job, only BOOM! A year later, I was diagnosed with this cancer. So here comes another "new normal" for me, and you know what? I like it. I don't like having cancer, but I do appreciate life for what it really is, what is around me, just breathing, looking more at the sunsets and sunrises, looking more at my kids as well, and like Phil, hoping and praying that I see them grow, I don't like thinking I won't be around to be a grandma, but that's all I want to do.

Thinking ahead and taking it day by day, helps me, not planning out schedules, just take life as it comes to you, I do believe in an afterlife as well, which I have another family there as well, but I'm not ready to leave my kids yet, and my kids aren't ready for me to go. I live for them always, but now, I take the time to live for me as well. I take "me" time, and pray, I think there are wayyyyy to many people out there who have it worse then I ever did in my life. I appreciate everything I had. I could be a starving ethiopian child, I could be living in Iraq, watching people getting blown up, watching my loved ones go, watching my frightened children, but I'm not....I appreciate where I am today, and live for the day. Sure I get my down days, I pick myself right up from it, which I do believe the zoloft does kick in, where I don't dwell too long on those dark thoughts. All these posts, especially Phils is right on, and Phil, if you were gone for more then a week, you know we would all have the cavalry sent out looking for you!

I love being here with you all as well, you as my other family, have helped me through my dark times, and still do, without you, I wouldn't be where I am, I'd still be a blubbering fool, feeling sorry for myself, but I won't do that, take it one day at a time, I'm even too chicken to get a takedown for my colostomy, I'd rather keep it, and not go through retraining myself, I just don't care that it's there, it's helped me, and I'm used to it now. I hope to have helped others, and still be here to help people. But, I won't let this cancer make me not live as I should.

Hugsss!
~Donna

just4Brooks's picture
just4Brooks
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

Thank You

Love ya
Brooks

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I have come to realize that I only talk in the present tense. I never talk about the future. When I hear my family talking in the future, I get a stabbing pain in my chest and a thought rushes through my head, "you are the only one, thinking about your cancer." My family refuses to think any other way....I will be part of their future. If that is the case, I better stop spending their inheritance. Really big change....no future to think about.

Raquel

khl8
Posts: 810
Joined: Nov 2009

Normal? the same? All of us here know that we have to find a new normal when we get to the other side of treatment. I basically had the sam treatment schedule as you, i had my takedown this past September, and I have to tell you that it made the world of differnce in how I felt about myself. No, I am not going normally or how I used to, but that is ok. So no I am not the same as before, I am now a SURVIVOR! And I will wear that badge with honor as I have been through hell and back. I now take the time to enjoy the things inlife that I might have ignored before I became a cancer patient. Cancer changes you whether you want it to or not, it just depends on how you want to perceive yourself and what you do with the knowledge and wisdom that this disease has forced onto you.
So, now is the time to find your new "normal" and relish in the fact that you are here to be able to edxplore and redefine yourself!
Take care,
Kathy

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