I haven't had this happen yet, I just had a bilateral mastectomy & still need 6 weeks of radiation, but my nurse I speak to about anything bothering me told me that when all this is done & over friends and family are going to think that you are going to be the same person you were before your diagnosis, which isn't true we have changed with what we have gone through & what we still mentally have gone through and will continue to go through. I think that we are so busy being strong while we are going through all our treatments that when it's over that's when we have time to really think about what we have gone through. So you have every right to feel angry, but try & remember to take one day at a time. thinking of you (((hugs)))
Breast Cancer Questions
Anger after treatment, etc
Asked by Valentinegirl on Thursday, March 21, 2013
Anger after treatment, etc
I completed active tx a few weeks ago (I had a mastectomy and reconstruction in May, 8 chemo treatments, and then 7 weeks of radiation. Through it all, I tried hard to remain positive, particularly since I have a 7 y/o daughter. Now that that treatment is over, I find myself feeling really angry and emtional at times. I feel as if everyone wants an answer as to whether or not I will be alright (my prognosis is very good, but the many questions about what tests I'm being given to determins whether or not I'm cancer free are getting to me). People tell me that the worst is behind me, and that I'm lucky that the cancer was caught early. I suppose that both are true, but I can't help but feel angry that I had to go through this in the first place! Now that tx is over, I feel as if I'm finally allowing myself to truly feel the magnitude of what I have been through, yet some of my supports are looking for me to have left it all behind. Has anyone else had this experience?
10 Answers from the Community
Your anger is entirely understandable and normal. You were fighting a battle and waging war and you didn't have time for emotions. You had a job to do!! Now that it's over, all your emotions are coming to the surface..
If you haven't already done so, you might want to contact the good folks at CancerCare. Their Social Workers are specially trained to deal with the concerns of Cancer patients and their caregivers. It's not like "regular therapy". They don't care about your "toilet training" and they don't "blame your mother"...;) They deal with the angst that all Cancer patients face.
I hope this might help you because venting to someone who's trained and understands is a good thing and will prevent you from having your anger spill over in situations where you wouldn't want it.
Wishing you well!!
Your anger may be a sign of depression that is often caused by the chemo and will often show up after the treatment is complete. Chemo can affect seretonin levels in the brain which is what causes depression; it is chemical and not your fault. I know this first hand. Cancer Drs are often not well trained to recognize and treat depression so you may need to seek out care from your primary care Dr. Depression can easily be treated with meds which will help with the anger issues. Please seek help as it really does work. Good Luck.
Your anger is natural, people who have not had cancer just think it's over when treatment stops, and it is, for them. I would recommenced that you speak with your oncology team and/or treatment center social worker for a recommendation/referral to a therapist that specializes in treating cancer patients/survivors. I have been seeing one as needed, and find it very helpful.
I was angry too, then accepted.
There's a psychological model that may explain what you're going through. Here's a blurb from Wikipedia:
"The Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the "five stages of grief", is a hypothesis introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross asserting that when a person (or a survivor) is faced with the reality of impending death or other extreme, awful fate, he/she will experience a series of emotional "stages": denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance (in no specific sequence".
Perhaps reading about this will help.
Yes, my emotions caught up with me after Tx....from time of Dx and through Tx I feel like was on autopilot.....People are very intrusive with their questions....and dumb me answered them....I do't think people were being mean.....it retropsect, I think I would not share as much information or answers questions, but it is what it is....allow yourself to grief...if it is too much, then maybe find a therapist who specializes in cancer/breast cancer...it can be helpful....I thik it is natural to be angry...that is part of the grieving process...My youngest DD was turning 8 when I was Dx....now she just turned 15....all the best to you.....it does get better with time...
Anger, at any point after a cancer diagnosis, is totally understandable. I understand why you feel like some people are minimizing your experience when they say upbeat things. Please realize they mean well. They are trying to reassure you, or possibly to reassure themselves. Meanwhile, you've been through XXX and you can't be sure you're completely in the clear. Not everyone will understand that. With people you are close to, you should try to explain your current mindset. With acquaintances, you could just have a standard response like, "I hope you're right." and change the subject. To help understand and come to terms with your anger, you may want to talk to a counselor, especially one who has experience with cancer patients. Or, consider joining a support group. Other people with cancer can definitely relate to the things you're feeling.
You sound a lot like me and I am appreciating reading your responses. I'm about two months out from chemo for the second time. My first time I felt really angry - I don't think I wanted to comprehend how serious this was. My second time around I'm still surprising myself with bouts of anger, which makes me feel guilty, but I also have bouts of huge thankfulness. It still can feel like a roller coaster ride. I see a therapist and am still looking for that comfortable middle ground. To not have the big C take have such strong power over my emotions. My favorite comment from many this time around has been - it seems like the chemo was easier for you this time and I just want to reply back - that yes it was a walk in the park (not).
I think talking about it helps and as time goes on the emotions will level off. Congratulations on reaching this milestone!!!
A cancer DX causes shock and even PTSD. Please go easy on yourself and DO NOT allow yourself to think that you "Have" got to behave in a certian way. The biggest cancer myth is the "Stay positive" attitude. Do a google search using " Is anger part of dealing with cancer" or " Biggest cancer myths".
Give your self the chance to grieve your losses. Take some time alone and cry, scream do what ever lets you feel the full emotion of your loss and your anger and fear. Then let it go until your next scheduled scream out.
Journal your feelings. You have every right to feel any way you wish to feel.But make sure you are exercising ( ward of depression) and pampering yourself. And forgiving yourself for anything and everything.
Don't be shy in telling people what you need like: "NO MORE" questions about my health until I am ready to talk about it. The reason people want you to say that its all behind you is because they are frightened for themselves getting cancer..
This is a totally natural responce. People probe because "They" are frightened for themselves.
But you need to protect yourself whith what you need. You are injured, your still going through shock, how would you protect someone else going through this?? Well you need to do the same for yourself and have the same empathy and protection for yourself that you would give to someone else.