• After Treatment

    Asked by Beannie on Thursday, April 4, 2013

    After Treatment

    I have noticed that people seem to think that I am all well and no issues like I have been cured automatically even though I still have five years treatment to go and constant screening - do you think it makes them feel more comfortable to just assume because you don't walk around like a zombie and try to present normally to community that you are not still going through issues emotionally and physically from the cancer? Its like "I can't belive how good you look and are doing - so glad it is over for you!" Well it is not over by a long shot! But you just can't say that. Any one else feel this way sometimes?

    27 Answers from the Community

    27 answers
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      Yes it does make them feel more comfortable. It goes along with the "Well what did you do to get this cancer" mentality. So many people don't want to know about cancer like it will keep them from getting it. Its all fear based. There are few people who have not had cancer who can understand and support you the way you need the support. Its not their fault but they just cannot do it. Thisis why I just don't talk about my cancer with many people. I already know how they will respond. So forgive them and find your core group of support and have no expectation of understanding.

      over 4 years ago
    • ConnieB's Avatar
      ConnieB

      I have felt this way too many times in the past 21 months. I keep telling myself that if you don't go through it you will never understand how it changes every aspect of your life. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and he is going through chemo - he was right there telling me how he couldn't appreciate the journey until he had to take the journey himself. People don't understand how the cancer and treatments change your whole life and I personally got tired of telling people when they asked how I was doing. My complexion, my weight, my energy level, fatigue, my hair - it all changed and I've been done with chemo for 15 months. It's not something you "get over" but people don't understand that unless they go through it. So, to answer your question I feel that way quite often, it's called my "new normal" and I don't like it but I'm alive and that is all that matters.

      over 4 years ago
    • barbaraanne's Avatar
      barbaraanne

      Yes, believe me you are not alone...I try to appear & do things as I normally did, cause it makes me feel better. I put on my makeup (not to much) just recently had to start filling in the eyebrows, and putting on a light eyeliner cause the lashes are falling out. (I don't know if anyone notices)..lol. I usually wear a halo w/a little hat, or a wig. I don't have enough hair to feel comfortable outside (plus it's cold). So I'm assuming for neighbors & strangers i'm just living my "normal" everyday life. But sometimes my family, but mostly my friends think everything is back to normal, and I'm like wait I have to slow down and sit for a few minutes...

      over 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      All the time. I had one of my best friends say to me, "I need you to be more than cancer" WTH?!?! I am more than cancer. Cancer just takes up a large portion of my life because I still deal with after effects from it.
      www.breastcancerbattlescars.net

      over 4 years ago
    • Beannie's Avatar
      Beannie

      Thanks - I appreciate the feedback - I try not to talk about it too much with many people because I know they really don't get it even though I know they are concerned. But sometimes when they make those remarks I feel like yelling - No I am not OK now - I am not over it - I still have five more years of treatment and scans and xrays, etc. It is not over for me yet!! But I try to keep smiling and stay positive and let them know that I am doing okay because I feel like they will think negative if I really tell them how I feel sometimes, the fatigue, the emotional drain, the pain and irritation in the surgery area. Oh well, it is true, unless you have been through it you really don't get it. I am lucky though so I try not to complain much but sometimes you just need to vent!!

      over 4 years ago
    • Beannie's Avatar
      Beannie

      True Nancebeth - it is something you deal with every day - I am not cancer either - but I have to deal with the effects of it everyday of my life, especially right now!! You can't turn it off and you can't wish it away especially when you look at yourself everyday in the mirror and there it is staring at you!

      over 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      And use these blogs to vent..Its just so much safer. Otherwise people tend to let you down with their reply. Yes, we will never ever be the same but we can find a positive purpose to the journey.
      Let me say this again because i love it.

      God does not make mistakes with the experience of pain. He does not give it but he never lets it go without a lesson of growth. The hard part is finding the lesson.

      over 4 years ago
    • Mel's Avatar
      Mel

      YES!!! when I was done with my treatments people said those same things and I wanted to scream sure treatments are over sure I look ok but what I still think about and feel no I'm not ok!! my bones ache, hair not back, nails still healing,... I know you said you still have treatments but hit home when I read this. :)

      over 4 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar
      fastdog

      Wow, Nancebeth, that comment almost made me fall out of my chair - "I need you to be more than cancer." Emphasis on the "I need." Poor gal is scared and needs things to be back the way they used to be. I hope she has your needs in mind, too. I thought people had said all the dumb things in the world to me about cancer, but that wins the oscar. When I get comments like that, I really try to think of what I was like before the cancer, and I'm sure I said every dumb thing there was, like "they're making such great strides in treating cancer these days, I'm sure you'll be ok." blah! "You look great, you have a great appetite, you can't be too sick." Double blah. Yep, I said them all. People don't know what to say or how to act. They're scared for us, they're scared for themselves. I guess, all we can do is act as "normal" as we can, forgive people who are ham-handed about our cancer, and be grateful we're still walking this green earth.

      over 4 years ago
    • Harmony's Avatar
      Harmony

      After being diagnosed, I made it known because I want support and prayers. I shook my head after reading your post because here it is I haven't had surgery or treatment yet and I've already heard "you don't look like you have it" lol. No need to be rude but it does make you want to ask them "what does cancer look like?" I'm glad I don't look the way I sometimes feel. I have a greater appreciation for those who ask questions or make ridiculous comments than those who wont bother communicating with you at all. I find it hurtful and offensive to hear "I don't know what to say". I can appreciate this site because as it's been mentioned already, you can't understand unless you're going through or been through it.

      over 4 years ago
    • Netsy's Avatar
      Netsy

      Sometimes I wish some people didn't know! I feel blessed to have two good friends that have been through BC so only talk to them about real issues. I agree with the previous answers that it is hard to know if you have not been through it. So I try not to waste to much time explaining to people that really don't want to or able to fully understand because they ask the same question the very next time you see them AGAIN. Thank God for this site, at least we have each other.

      over 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar
      Ydnar2xer

      Great post, Beannie! I'm SICK of people telling me I look good! But they can't SEE my feelings or how having cancer twice has changed me. I try to be tolerant of them because they really don't GET IT (understand) unless they GET IT (cancer).

      (By the way, you look GREAT!) lol

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      Yes....in the early days after Tx people assume since you are done "active" Tx you are done and they don't want to hear complaints!!!! I learned who I could share info with....and then after a while, I didn't say much to anyone....I'm 7 years post Dx and 3 years since I quit AI's....other than my BC sistahs I don't share with anyone....

      over 4 years ago
    • Beannie's Avatar
      Beannie

      You have all made great comments and I am glad that you can share with me and that I am not crazy for feeling this way. I appreciate everyone I know support and care, but cancer doesn't stop when tx stops or when chemo or radiation complete, or after surgery, it just hits a nerve sometimes. Glad to have you guys to vent to. I liked what you said Harmony - What is cancer supposed to look like! I think if you don't look like yo

      over 4 years ago
    • Beannie's Avatar
      Beannie

      Sorry for second post - my laptop is acting weird tonight - but I am glad I can look normal and not sick to people - I try to set example that you can get through treatment and keep going - just hurts sometimes when remarks make you feel weird like they are taking it lightly and you have been going through process of fighting a life threatening disease. But I am glad that people can see me as doing well with treatment - it is just the feelings inside that we all deal with and the sensitivity of the issue. Appreciate you all and hope you are all doing well in your journey!!

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar
      SueRae1

      Yes, many people feel uncomfortable dealing with a person in treatment, and just want to go back to "normal", so they take the end of treatment as the end of every problem you may have.

      BTW who says you can't tell people " Well it is not over by a long shot!" especially friends and family members who should know better.

      over 4 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar
      LauraJo

      Oh boy....do I know what you mean. No one really understands this journey unless you have been there. The things well-meaning people say that just make you want to slap them upside the head, The constant overly detailed questions (oh yes, I have an ostomy bag. How do I feel about that? How the f..do you think I feel?) And my favorite statement "you look great!" I had 4 surgeries and two rounds of chemo, the aforementioned bag, and I look great??!! What the XXX did I look like before??" And I never snapped at anyone for their stupid questions, cause I knew if I screamed at one, I would scream at them all. Lol....I guess this question really touched a nerve I didn't realize was still bothering me. I too am glad to be able to vent here...the support & understanding is much appreciated.

      over 4 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar
      IKickedIt

      Oh my...so, so true and a real sore subject for me right now! I've had people ask me how I'm feeling and if I even hint at the fact that I'm still struggling with the after effects, they shush me and tell me it's over, I'm all done, I beat it. Yes, but....

      In reality, I never knew that people could struggle for years after. I never had any clue that chemo could cause permanent damage. I am very appreciative that I am alive and cancer-free, however, I will never be my old self, never be able to do lot of activities I enjoyed in the past due to significant neurological and muscular damage. Even my husband and kids think I'm back to my old self until they see me start limping or dropping things that I can't feel because my hands are numb.

      My two favorite expressions, "Ya gotta do, whatcha gotta do," which was my mantra while I was fighting the cancer. Now it's, "It ain't over when it's over."

      I have started writing a bit about my journey and this is a subject I want to address. I would love to write a book, but I have no desire to go out and promote it on tour. But I feel we need to educate people. I think it's pure ignorance...people have no clue until they walk in our shoes.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      This is why I have told no one about my diagnosis. I hear people say the cruelest things to others and know I would end up in jail if they said those things to me and prison health care is terrible.

      over 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar
      JennyMiller

      This is wonderful to have so many people know exactly how I feel. I have also heard "you look great" -- "you are so strong" -- "you were aggressive so you will be fine" -- "treatment is so advanced now days" -- etc. etc. At the time of diagnosis, they all rally around but they are all soon back to their daily routine. Meanwhile, you are still dealing with cancer and will continue to do so even if it is just the fear of recurrence. They are not open to hearing you because they just want everything to be okay -- and they most likely harbor a fear of cancer. However, it can be a lonely place for us. I have found that the only ones that truly understand our aches, pains, fears and attitudes are those who have traveled the same journey. That is what makes WhatNext such a special place to go to share and to seek support. Recently, a friend of mine received the same diagnosis that I had -- Invasive Pleomorphic Lobular Carcinoma -- she is in treatment now and we have bonded in such a way that we both feel total understanding of each other.
      I do understand that others have no idea of what it is like in our Cancer World and I certainly don't want them to find out themselves -- so I am patient with them and love them.

      over 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar
      SusanK

      I am a year out from treatment, feeling good and looking "like my old self" (I've heard that a number of times). Family and friends want to believe it's all over, those dark, bad days of treatment. My family and friends who pitched in to help were absolutely wonderful, willing to do anything for me. They want me well and they believe I am. We don't speak of cancer anymore. Yet I am reminded of it nearly daily as the thought of recurrence passes through my head. I visit this website to read what others are going through and offer some help based on my experiences of the last two years. Yes, I know what you are feeling. Cancer is a part of your history. I am active in our Relay for Life and just quietly go about life, eager to help others, never forgetting what happened to me. Good luck as you move forward.

      over 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar
      debco148

      I know exactly what you are saying. I believe when they see us, they think..ok she looks good, so if it happens to me its not so bad. I really believe people who haven't been through this don't understand. I've had folks ask me ..are you in remission? I used to explain they cut it all out and it's gone, but I stopped explaining anything unless it is someone close to me. Most don't understand breast cancer and that there are different types, stages, etc etc.. they just hear cancer and think of what they see on TV which is over dramatic and the worst casees but they think once you get done chemo, your going to be back to normal. Then, you find some folks who try to be positive and tell you how good you look and they love you with short hair, etc. Open your heart and assume their innocense, because they don't know and just hope for them that they never have to know. But, I'm glad you expressed this here, because these are things that have bugged us all and that is why it is good to come here for each other. Enjoy your day!

      over 4 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar
      princess123

      Mostly I get "you don't look sick". I just have to say thank you and move on. What can you do? Go into all the details of how you "feel" like XXX?

      over 4 years ago
    • Nonnie917's Avatar
      Nonnie917

      Just tell then to get out of your face. NO! Just explain to them that it isn't over yet and you have a long road to haul and while you really appreciate the compliment on how good you look, you would appreciate their prayers more because that it what is going to get you through this rough patch in your life right now.

      over 4 years ago
    • grampam's Avatar
      grampam

      It's human nature to think in terms of beginning, middle and end. Until I was diagnosed with BC, I didn't think about cancer as a chronic disease. I thought you either were healed or died. So people are looking at you as being alive, you must be healed. Take care of yourself, don't wait for others to understand, unless they go through it they will never understand the process. God bless you and keep you. Don't forget we understand and are here to share with you.

      over 4 years ago
    • whirl's Avatar
      whirl

      I look at this some what differently. Yes, I panick almost daily the big "C" has returned. When people ask how I am like you what do you say? I have finally decided it is like when you meet a frined and say "how are you? and the common response is just fine" I now say the same response. While many of you are taking anti cancer drugs with nasty side effects I know others with other health problems their meds are not nice either. I sort of look at the cancer dx like some of the other chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart failure you are never over it. You hope to keep the problem in remission. As the others have said use this forum to vent and maybe a fellow cancer frined. I couldn't tolerate the meds so I do a lot of holistic stuff like living at the gym, eating decently, keep my weight normal, vitamins, and a whole lot of praying. My days are often 18 hours with working, care giving to two very ill family members, and gym. Hang in there.

      over 4 years ago
    • smlisboa's Avatar
      smlisboa

      Oh yeah! It's crazy huh? My family just couldn't take in what I was going thru. My own mother would tell me , as she was looking out the window..." Your poor husband is outside in that heat cutting the yard....I don't see why you can't go help him". I was in the middle of chemo at the time. My own sister said I looked great! Don't understand the big deal of chemo! Because of my exposure to so many ppl I couldn't go back to work while doing chemo, so I felt like a prisoner in my own home. My sister couldn't understand why I was so negative. Why was I so angry. She was tired of feeling sorry for me. She actually asked me ....when can I stop feeling sorry for you. It was very hard to go thru. I didn't go to any groups to talk and every time I tried to talk to my husband, I found myself consoling him. Yeah.....it's nuts. That's why you have to be your own advocate for your treatment, your feeling, emotions......need to talk bout it. Only the ones who really care for you will listen.....and one person can make a big difference.

      over 4 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy


    Read and answer more breast cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Breast Cancer page.