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How do you move on after treatment?

ColoradoDani's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I finished chemo last week. I still have surgery and recovery coming up, but as the physical part of the journey begins to wind down, I see a big psychological journey ahead. All the survivor stats don't alleviate my fears of not being healthy or not being around to see my sons grow up. De these feelings just eventually go away? Do you get used to it?

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

The longer out you are from the treatments and that part of the journey, you feel more confident. Every new pain will be a reminder, "is it?". However, try to remind yourself that 70% of women go on to never have another recurrence. We all wish it was 100% and I do believe that will happen.

It isn't easy to go back to being the way we were pre-cancer because it is often the first brush with knowing that we are not here forever. Keep the 70% reminder every time a new pain returns, a headache, back pain, pain on the right side. Often they are just normal every day pain that we never gave a thought about before our journey with breast cancer.

Don't read the stats, they are often at least 10 years old. It is hard at first, but just keep focussing on the good times ahead.

Wishing you a good recovery from your surgery and a life time free of cancer,


Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I think the best thing is to aim to get back to doing those things you did before. It helps a lot, as the more we sit idly by, the more apt we are to dwell on "what if?"

I had surgery in February, chemo from April into July, and rads from August to the end of September. I worked half days, as I could, starting in September (school); I resumed a full schedule just after Columbus Day (October). I am not doing EVERYTHING that I was doing before, but what all I am doing makes me feel like life is beginning to return to a degree of normalcy. Sure, some things will never be the same, but we go on.

Best wishes are being sent your way.


lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

After 4 years, my depression and anxiety are vastly diminished! I don't think I will ever get totally used to the fact that I've had cancer. But the raw immediacy of cancer has faded way, way into the background and most of the time I don't even think about it. Give yourself time. If you need help, don't be afraid to ask. xoxoxo Lynn

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

For me, though, after I finished the reconstruction and knew my appointments were only every 3 months and I was able to plan things without working around treatment and planning, I realized I would go days without even thinking about it. It was around the time of the appts. that I would begin to worry again.

It gets better. It was different as I became more aware of my body. I also learned how to appreciate so many things that prior to bc I either took for granted or was too busy to notice. Having bc has changed my outlook and my life:))

Posts: 25
Joined: Nov 2012

I'm not sure if you ever are able to completely block it from your mind but it does begin to dull. There will always be a memory or something that occurs that brings it back to the surface and may even bring tears but there will be more times that you will be able to count your blessings. I know my children never questioned how much I loved them prior to my diagnosis but now I take every opportunity I can to tell them how much I love them. There are a lot of things that just are not as important in my life any more. Relationships however have become even more important than they were. Love on those who matter to you and you will soon realize that your thoughts have shifted from the constant fear to ones of joy in being with those important people.

Attygirl's picture
Posts: 121
Joined: Jun 2012

...on August 29th. I am just now beginning to process what I've gone through this year. I know exactly what you are asking about. I don't know what to expect going forward. Feels like there will always be this cancer cloud following me. But, I'm told it does get better!

Good luck with your surgery and recovery!

Tux's picture
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2009

I agree with the posters above that it gets easier to deal with as time passes.
But the worry is always there; even after more than 3 years, I am paranoid about
everything. I do have a strong religious faith, and taking everything a day at a
time has helped. (I was already on anti-depressants before bc and have continued
on the medication throughout.)

One thing that really helped me was to have a goal of my own once I was finished.
Being a former runner, I vowed to do another half-marathon after my treatment
was over. It was difficult, but it really helped me stay focused on something
besides bc.

Also, I don't think that life is ever the same after bc. My priorities have
definitely shifted. But you can embrace "the new normal."

Best wishes on your surgery and with your recovery...

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

is not always easy but mostly I got back to some of the things I did in the past. I might add that it will take a while to catch up on the financial ramifications of the disease if your insurance is not the best. I now have a different outlook on my job as it used to be my prime objective. Now it is the thing that allows me to spend time with my family.

lintx's picture
Posts: 690
Joined: Sep 2012

I just wonder if that will ease up anytime soon. Seems every DR, related to cancer or not, wants to see me every 3 mos. Sometimes I think they only want the payment from my insurance co. A friend, who had bc before me, always refers to our new normal. I did get back to activities and have forced myself at times. I think we have to put one foot in front of the other and go for that new normal. Linda

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Figure out Lintx who you really need to see. You might not need to see your radiologist or breast surgeon because their jobs are completed. You do need to see your oncologist. I have had an on going relationship with mine since diagnose, 1994. I fired the 1st but the 2nd has been a long relationship now. However, I didn't see them every 3 months, it always depended where and what was going on, if something was new or if I was stable. When stable it was 6 months. When they say see you in 3 months, you can tell the scheduler, "gee, I can't make it that week, how about then extended, to 4 months. Or be up front with your oncologist and say when.

Do think some of the doctors take advantage of newbies. They do collect a fee for little work when the job is done. Asking if you have any complaints isn't a reason if you have no complaints. The oncologist can answer.

I see my primary every 3 months and my eye specialist, the others I now see on a need basis, I don't want to spend my life in waiting rooms, doctor's office if it can be helped.

When things are stable in 70% of women/men who have only one bout with the disease, in due time you forget about it. At least when I was NED for a long time on Arimidex, I rarely thought about cancer until it was time to see my oncologist. Blood test, scans, I had so many, that I never think of why unless I suspect something is wrong or read that it is when I pick up the results.

Time does make it easier as each year passes by with no road bumps.



ColoradoDani's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I can see that this will ongoing, and I don't know that I even want my old life back because as so many of you pointed out, there are new appreciations. I just don't want to be a paranoid wingnut forever :). Sounds like what I need is time.

ColoradoDani's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

double post.

ColoradoDani's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I can see that this will ongoing, and I don't know that I even want my old life back because as so many of you pointed out, there are new appreciations. I just don't want to be a paranoid wingnut forever :). Sounds like what I need is time.

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

I'm curious to know if there is a difference between being dx young (before 40 or 50?) and older. For me, I was dx at 32, with no kids or married. My grade was a 3 and I know that for young people the risks go higher because of age. Because of this information I feel that the further I am from treatments, the more scared I get. I am only making an assumption when I say that there may be a difference with age about how one feels, just speaking for myself.I also worry because I still want to be a mother and it would be very risky for me to try. I am not even 1/2 way done with my life so I fear that lies ahead, as time goes by.

However, I have heard from many survivors (who are a lot older than me) that they feel better as they move further away from treatments. It is true the majority of bc patients don't get to experience this ever again, which is always nice to keep in mind. But I do believe that "age" has something to do with this which is why I worry.

I hope you are at peace with what happened and that you can move on without worries.

Sending you hugs.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

After battling both colorectal and breast cancer, both within 6 months, it was not a matter of 'going back' to 'normal'.

BUT, that said, I set my mind to the future. In fact, during treatment, I planned an 'outing' to a favorite spa of mine for after treatment. In other words, buying into and securing the future. I also was a bit put out (well, I should say REALLY MAD!) that cancer had taken years (!) of my life...so I vowed that it would get no more!

Sure, I still have my days...especially around Thanksgiving, when, 8 years ago, I was told I had a very bad prognosis. And, when my 'yearly' appointments come, I get a bit nervous. And, when something out of the ordinary (like the SEVERE headache I have had for the past 2 days) happens, my thoughts turn momentarily to 'is it back?'....but ONLY for the moment!

This is just another part of the tapestry of my life. I made up my mind that that is what it would be. Many people who have heard my entire story call me a hero...nope! Not me! In the words of a very, very dear friend..."I just did what I had to do to be able to do what I want to do!"...

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

very well said..

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I did not have chemo but surgery and radiation. I did happy dance (my last day of treatments is the day I REMEMBER)on my last day JUNE 28, 2008...

I just had surgery last week due to ultra sound and something suspicious
-just found out this am it is NOT cancer. I HAD TO KNOW for fact and happy I did surgery. I did not let it comsume me>

I am not nervous at mammos-but happy of course when nothing bad.

I will be thinking of you...have you tried using a journal? IT helped me!


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I planned a trip for post treatements...with friend (we had never been away together)to Disney (Of course). But just treat yourself to something big or small...

Weekend, dinner out, spa day...reconnect with friends...what ever fits your fancy..


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