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Back to normal?

Kirsti70's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2013

So I found out I am done with chemo and my family and friends are soo ready for me to get back to normal. Im a tad frusterated because I don't think I can go back to my normal before the cancer, sugeries and chemo and worried everyone is going to be dissapointed. I've changed and my life has /is changed forever, having trouble coping any advice is greatly appreciated.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

your new normal is not your old self.  It can be a better normal!  It can be whatever you need it to be, but those expecting the same old you will not see it 100%.  Going through cancer, treatment etc.  does change the way you see things and your world has been changed forever as it would with any other major event in your life. 

ButI it does not mean that this new you is not every bit as wonderful as the old you.  I found that not everyone understood this, and because of this I have been blessed with so many new, wonderful, positive people in my life.  Things that use to seem important really turned out to be so trivial in the larger scope of life.  I enjoy different things, from food to the desire to see and do as much as I can whenever I feel good enough to do so. 

Best of luck to you as you find your path after cancer!  Follow your new dreams! 



Posts: 382
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi Kirsten,

I so understand what you are saying.  I am a 4 year survivor of breast cancer and my life is still not the same as before BC and it never will be.  How can it be.  I was 43 when I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and 40 when I had DCIS.  It's not that I am different now because of the changes my physical body has gone through, but I am different because my mental state has changed.  I look at things so differently now.  Somewhere I have lost my patience for stupidity.  I am no longer the person who trys to make everyone else happy.  I am no longer the person who cared that my house always looked perfect or my hair was in place.  Now I don't sweat the small stuff and when I want I just put a baseball cap on my head and go.  Cancer has freed me in a sense.  It also made me tighten my circle of loved ones.  I adore my husband even more, my best friend is truly a sister and I love my family. But, I have no time for anyone who zaps my energy.  I know it sounds weird, but I just don't care about as much stuff as I used to.  This is the new me, my new normal.  My new normal also consists of getting a cough and thinking my cancer is in my lungs or getting a headache and thinking it is now in my brain.  I don't think the fear of recurrence will ever go away for me.  My new normal also consists of wanting to smack people who don't understand that breast cancer just doesn't go away forever because they took it out.  My new normal also needs to speak to others who understand that breast cancer changes us.  The pink sisters on this site make me feel that my new normal is normal. My best advice to you Kirsten is stop trying to please everyone because you can't.  It's time to focus on you.  Your body has been through hell and it does not need you using your energy to pretend that nothing has changed. You did not have a tooth pulled.  You had cancer.  Life is good, it's just different than before.

Good Luck!!


Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 2012

Thank you Ginny for your thoughtful response to Kirsten.  you have vocalized what I have been feeling. I am about a decade older than you and just recently had double mastectomy with reconstruction. My priorities have changed - especially at work.  I work hard to do a good job but am not pushing myself as before for that extra recognition/ achievement.  I let the younger folks worry about moving up in their careers.  Right now living my life well is top priority.  I too fear about a reoccurance even though I've had both breasts removed.  I read that it can occur in the scar tissue!

Take care of your self!



Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I am sure they will understand-nothing will be totally the same again. Do what is best for you. Do not worry about disappointing anyone. YOU are #1



dthompson's picture
Posts: 149
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi Kirsti,

I will add my two cents worth from a mans perspective who has never had breast cancer, but my wife does and just finished a double mast. OUr lives will never be the same as they were before she had cancer. This terrible disease has changed both of us, some of the changes are for the good, like enjoying every minute we have together and spending as much time together as possible. Some for the bad, we will always fear that the cancer will win, we will fear every scan, blood test, cough, ache or pain. With that said, this will be our new normal life and we plan to make it the best we possibly can because we never know what tomorrow will bring. It will never be the way it was before, but that is OK. I have several friends who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the most personal instances is where a young Marine lost both of his legs and one arm at the elbow when he stepped on a IEd in Afghanistan. He was one of my Marines and I felt responsible for his injury. I felt that if I had trained him better then he would have not stepped on the IED. I got to see him about three months after the incident as as soon as I walked in to see him at Walter Reed Army Hospital he was all smiles , in the best spirit and said the hardest thing for him was being away from me and the rest of our team while we were still in Afghanistan. He has since gone on to compete in wounded warrior marathons, rasied money for other wounded warriors, started surfing and gotten married. Where am I going with this? He was dealt a really crappy hand but he is alive and he adapted to his injuriesand situation and now lives a very happy life, . Will he ever be the "old" him? No. BUt he has a great life as the new him, his injuries will always effect him and he is remined of them every day when he straps on his prostetic legs, but he realizes he could have died, or since he lived, he could  gone into a deep dark depression because of his injuries or be thankful that he was alive and to make the best of it.

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Kirsten. I am going on 3 years now since my diagnosis. I also had chemo, a bilateral mastectomy, and a complete hysterectomy in my fight against breast cancer at age 34. I completely understand frustrations with friends & family wanting you to "get back to normal". My husband and i are still having issues about this same subject to this day. I suggest for YOUR sanity and well being, telling them as kindly as you can that cancer has affected you physically as well as mentally, emotionally, etc, and that you have alot of adjusting to do. The effects from chemo still give you side effects on your body & mind long after chemo is done. Take your time and be patient with yourself in healing. Trying to rush back "to normal" and everyday activities may be too much for you. Youve endured the fight of your life! Facing cancer has a tremendous effect on your mind. I've read quite a few times that many cancer survivors actually have post traumatic stress syndrome, similar to combat veterans, and i think that is true. 

For me, it took me a good two years after chemo and surgeries were done until i finally started to feel some kind of "normalcy", and im still "not the same". In some ways, not as good (chemo brain issues, neuropathy, joint pain), but in many other ways, much better - i appreciate everything and everyone in my life! I've slowed down my life, i throw my heart and soul into the things that i do now, instead of rushing through, i CHERISH every moment with my kids, i sit on the floor and play barbies and do puzzles with my 4 yr old for hours, while i sit up late & talk about boys, music, and play basketball with my 12 year old. I even swallowed my pride (im a rocker chick through & through) and took her to a Justin Bieber concert last fall! I am much calmer now, I'm now a hugger (before i would hug my husband & my kids & that was it!), and i ALWAYS tell the people that i love that i love them. There are going to be lots of changes for you, lots of ups & downs, you will have alot of adjusting to do. Take your time :) be kind to yourself and let yourself rest if/when you need to. Dont worry about your family being disappointed - im sure they are overjoyed that you have beaten cancer and will be with them for many more years to come! Just remind them when needed that it's gonna take time for you adjust to your "new normal". It's something that we've ALL had to go through after finishing treatments. 

And if you need to vent, come on here and vent!



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