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one month post-diagnosis

heisenberg
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2016

Tumor very low in the rectal area, but it's a type typical of colon cancer. Mets to scrotum (!) and lymph nodes. Second chemo treatment is coming up on Thursday. Eventually surgery and a colostomy if we get that far. 

One month since the diagnosis, and I'm just walking through life in a daze. Everything has a surreal and absurdist touch to it. This is the thing I'm struggling with the most. 

DaveHereInFlorida
Posts: 48
Joined: Jun 2015

Its a disease that brings heavy anxiety at least initially . Full of uncertainty and bumps in the road.  The greatest source to me has been my relationship with Christ which thankfully, is a deep one. When you get to the point of REALLY desiring his will for your life, then peace enters and you start to deal with your emotions rationally, reasonably,  and your life  no longer caves into fear.  Im just passing thru this life and best is yet to come  ;  because of what he did for me on calvary and the historical ressurection.  I hope you find the peace ive found.

heisenberg
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2016

I am very grateful for the reply and the kind words.

Linda777
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2016

Thank You for your reply--it really helped and encouraged me!

Cazz
Posts: 107
Joined: Mar 2015

Although it has been about 18 months since my diagnosis (stage iv anal cancer, close enough!)  I still remember that daze when you believe it but you can't believe it.  Then you look at all the other (seemingly) healthy people walking around and carrying on as if nothing has changed and don't quite get it.  I didn't tell anyone except my husband about it for a few months because I didn't want to deal with their sympathy and their questions, that might have made it more real.  You do get back to a better state of equilibrium after a while and you will feel lots better, mentally, when you've had a few chemo sessions and realize that you are doing something to kick this cancer's butt (pun intended).

Realize that its not an automatic death sentence, there are many people on this forum who have survived for many years beyond their sell by date, but it is going to be a hard road.  My prognosis is still bad (given 18 months to 2 years) but here I am, ploughing my way through different chemos and treatment and anyone meeting me for the first time would have no clue I have terminal cancer.  Sure, I am way too thin, and my energy level is way down, but life is still good and there is not a whole lot that I can't do (this Erbitux is an easy chemo though).

Your chemo is going to shrink the tumor enough that it is easy to remove and will hopefully get rid of the scrotum and lymph node tumors as well.  It may take a few months, and follow up chemo, but you will get through this and one day you will realize "gee, it's been a whole hour since I thought about cancer"!

Good luck, may all your treatments be easy and successful.

Cazz

heisenberg
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2016

Cazz, thank you so much for your reply. It is good to hear from someone who has experience in this matter, your words are a great help. From the way you describe it, you know exactly what I'm going through--the "daze." While I am saddened to know that I am not alone in experiencing this whacked-out feeling upon diagnosis, it is also comforting to know that others know what I'm talking about, and that I might look forward to a time where the unreality abates to a larger extent.

I admire your energy, attitude, and fortitude. You are an inspiration. Thank you again for taking the time to respond. I hope your days are filled with all things positive.

danker
Posts: 1247
Joined: Apr 2012

I was 77 when I was diagnosed. Now 83 ,being NED for last 6 yrs.  It may be a bumpy ride, but it is doable.  Best of luck to you!!!

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5175
Joined: Jan 2013

When I was first diagnosed, it felt surreal. The daze, as you describe it, was my companion for a few weeks, and then one morning, while out for my walk, I saw this beautiful sunrise, and a huge smile lit my face. I felt full. Then I stepped back and thought, wow, I'm feeling happy about a sunrise. I have Cancer, but I'm happy. It was quite a novel experience. I just thought, at that point, that having Cancer meant I would not be happy. 

From that moment, I decided that I would be happy. I would enjoy the sunrise, and all the other things that bring me joy, and my life has been filled to the top and flowing over. Sure, the road has been rough, but being happy and realizing that life goes one, has made the journey that much more bareable. 

I hope you reach that point, where the daze lifts and you see once again feel the joy. 

Welcome to the forum. I wish you the best on your journey. We're a great bunch of folks, and here for you every step of the way. 

Sue - Trubrit

heisenberg
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2016

I am very grateful for your thoughts. I hope to achieve that kind of happiness and joy too, although at this time it seems almost unbelievable it could be. 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5175
Joined: Jan 2013

Sometimes the joy needs a little help. Its not everones cup of tea, but have you tried meditation? When I was going through treatment, and my mind wouldn't stay still (steroids), I found a guided imagrery CD. WOW! It was as good as the sunset, and that is how I discovered meditation. I now meditate (or try to) every day. 

Anyway, the daze is part of the process, but don't let it consume you over the long-term. Find something that brings you joy and run with it. 

Sue - Trubrit

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I remember how I felt right after my diagnosis and 'the daze' is a good way to put it. I had a hard time seeing myself as a 'cancer victim'. I became obsessed with a few things such as the number of people who will be diagnosed with cancer. I had no idea how prevalent it was. And I could not get my head around that I was now one of those people that you hear about and feel sorry for. I'd also do things like look at a tree and wonder how big it would be by the time I was gone. I'd look at my dogs and horse and wonder if I'll outlive them and what would happen to them. Very negative thoughts.

But, between my strong faith in God and the inability to continue living under a dark cloud for any great length of time I found that I eventually started to feel better about it all. I have a surgeon who is very confident and that helped a lot. He was very no nonsense but also easy to talk to. He told me his intention was to go in there and remove my cancer and I'd never have cancer again. He made me feel like he could do it with his calm confidence.

Things have not gone as smoothly as they could or should have with side effects but at this point it's just over two years since my diagnosis and I'm currently having radiation for some small lung mets and I feel very confident about them as well. I'm having a very precise radiation and the area is very small because the two spot that are cancer are close together. I just have 4 treatments and then htey'll be turned into scar tissue. Once again I can say that I'm cancer free. Or the ever popular NED. I'm axcited about it.

Keep you chin up and try to enjoy life as much as you can and eventually it'll become a habit. You'll find yourself thinking less and less about the life changing diagnosis you were given. One day you'll sit there in the evening and realize you didn't think negatively at all that day and maybe you won't even have thought about the cancer. I hope you will find peace, that's my wish for you.

Jan

 

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 1240
Joined: Jun 2013

I was diagnosed with the same cancer that only spread locally. Initially I had a hard time to share my feeling with anyone even my wife. But what I found out later that sharing really eases the load. The more I shared the better I felt. Thank god my radiation, chemo, surgery with colostomy have worked so far and now I am proud and want to show the world a good example that Life goes on despite difficulties. 

Why don't they consider radiation. That's what made the biggest difference for me. Are you in the US?

Laz

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1055
Joined: Aug 2013

Discussed absurdism in another post, it's easy to slip into that view of life. The dazed and surreal feeling give way to a new normal, and you get back to a functioning mental state. There's definitely an adjustment, getting past the panic stuff, but for me, it required finding worse situations to give me perspective. Yeah I've got cancer, but I'm not the fool who accidentally OD'ed or ran off the road today, which in the paper seems to happen almost every day. I've got options and time enough to do some good, useful things in my life, which is short by any measure of the natural world, anyway. A sense of humor certainly helps and with that handle, you clearly have one. Xanax or the equivalent can help with the worst anxiety, getting back to a routine also makes you feel a bit more like yourself. There's folks here who've been at your point in this awful game, and can tell you what got them through, so stick around and have a little faith, it gets better by degree. Hoping for the best.............................................Dave

Kazenmax's picture
Kazenmax
Posts: 416
Joined: Feb 2016

I just found out 3 weeks ago that I have rectal cancer that has gone down through the anal canal. I actually thought it was a hemorroid.  I've been told I had a fissure a couple years ago so I tended to ignore the occasional blood.

So it's T3N1, stage III and 1 lymph node involved. My entire colon is clear. My team of doctors all use words like curable and good and we can take care of this while also preparing me for a permanent colostomy.

I'm in that same daze. One minute I'm confident I can handle this and the next I think my life is over. I've NEVER been sick. I'm 63 and take no medications. Now I'm faced with chemo/radiation for 6 weeks, wait 6 weeks, then temporary ilostomy to let things heal, wait 6 weeks,  then determine if they can save my rectum. They all doubt it. They talk about quality of life... they don't know my life! I work full time, I travel when I can, I love the beach, I kayak, and now I hardly see myself doing any of that.

On top of that I'm trying to be positive for my wonderful husband and family and that's exhausting. 

Then last night I found this page and I'm beginning to feel a little better. I hope I can get through this as well as many of these people. Maybe we can encourage each other. Good luck!

K

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5175
Joined: Jan 2013

Kayak, walk on the beach, workand travel again. Get yourself through treatment and out the other side, and you will love all of those activities to a level you didn't know exists. 

I'm glad you found this forum. Why not pop to the main page (http://csn.cancer.org/forum/128) and introduce yourself. We'd love to get to know you better. 

Sue - Trubrit

danker
Posts: 1247
Joined: Apr 2012

It may be a bumpy ride, but it is doable.   Just assume all will be well in the end(pun intended) and take it a day at a time. Best of luck to you!

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