• Cancer Survivor bewilderment

    Asked by TessElizabeth on Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Cancer Survivor bewilderment

    I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer on April 10th, had surgery to remove all affected organs on April 26th. No chemo or radiation was necessary. I am at home recovering. Now, I am a cancer survivor but am bewildered about what just happened and depressed for some reason unbeknownst to me. What is wrong with me?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • Peroll's Avatar

      There is nothing wrong with you. Your feelings of bewilderment and depression are really quite normal and happen to a lot of us during and after treatment. The depression is chemical and can be caused by the surgery or some of the meds you have been given as they can affect5 the serotonin levels in the brain. The good news is that it is treatable with meds. You may have to see your Primary care Dr. as cancer Drs. are often not very well trained to see and treat this. Please be sure to mention it to them in the next visit.

      As for the bewilderment, you have just been through a major and fairly fast change in your life. I suspect that you never though much about cancer before your diagnosis but were faced with this life changing event and then major surgery to take care of it. You are now wondering just what happened? How did you manage to get cancer? Do I need to worry about it coming back? There are probably 1000 questions running through your head at this point. That is all normal and being here at WhatNext is a good place to start getting some answers. You also need to recognize that there are some questions no one can answer. No one knows why me? and it rarely pays to get into questions about what you could have done differently to avoid cancer or things like that as we don't yet have time travel. Ask questions here and of your Drs. You have a right to understand what happened to you and how things will progress in the future. Good Luck and let us know how else we can help.

      over 5 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      TessElizabeth, that depression is not uncommon & totally normal. We hear the words "You have cancer" and we go into high survival mode. Hurry to the doctor, hurry to the hospital, hurry to surgery...and most everything else is set aside, while we battle the enemy cancer. Once active treatment is over, and we are no longer dealing with URGENT things, a type of battle fatigue sets in, and a lot of the emotion we suppressed comes roaring back. On top of which, we beat ourselves up further by thinking "I should be happy, I'm a survivor!" This is part of the process...we should allow ourselves time to grieve for our lost sense of invulnerability, our various organs/body parts, our unscarred skin. At this point, you may find it helpful to check into a support group, or therapy...just to get some of these feelings out. Or just chat with the folks here...we've been there, and are coming back. And if it continues speak to your doc or oncologist - they see this in cancer patients all the time, and would be able to prescribe some anti-depressants, if necessary...and don't feel bad about taking those, if you need to. You've been through a lot, and there is nothing wrong with needing a little help. Joy will come again, in time, and in the meantime...hey, you ARE a survivor. You are allowed to feel anyway you want!

      over 5 years ago
    • Gabba's Avatar

      You are going through normal emotions following a traumatic diagnosis and ensuing surgery...it is wonderful that you will not need chemo or radiation but you still heard those dreadful words...you need to rest, eat well, find something funny to watch or read each day...there are medications that can help you through these difficult days...you may not need to stay on them but they are available and helpful...surround yourself with supportive people and keep in touch with us here...the folds here are the best. Good luck and God bless!

      over 5 years ago
    • KateMarie's Avatar

      I can only say "ditto" to all the answers above. You are sooooo totally normal. Don't be shy about getting support, whether it is from medication, friends and family, clergy, therapy or a support group. If you prefer a little more anonymity, Cancercare(dot)org has online support groups that are wonderful.
      I found out I had cancer after I had a hysterectomy, and after I came out of my depression fog I wanted all the information I could get about my cancer and about proactive changes I could make in my diet, etc. to be healthier and make my body stronger to resist recurrence. I found some great books at my local library, some for information, and some for inspiration. One easy to digest book is 100 Questions and Answers about Uterine Cancer (get the newest edition available) by Don Dizon, MD, FACP and Linda R Duska, MD. For inspiration I loved There’s No Place Like Hope: A Guide To Beating Cancer In Mind-Sized Bites by Vickie Girard. Some other books I have read and pulled some parts out of each to adjust my lifestyle or for inspiration are: Cancer 50 Essential Things To Do by Greg Anderson, Beating Cancer With Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS and Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips By Kris Carr. Just a thought, for what it’s worth.
      Take care of yourself. It will get better!

      over 5 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      It doesn't matter what kind of cancer treatment you have, when you finish, it really does seem like that team that you've been working with for however long does sort of go away. I finished chemo in January, and it is a tough transition. Try to remember, that team is still there if you have weird symptoms or don't understand something. Likewise, we are here for questions -- most of us can't answer the big medical questions, but the "lay" questions we can. And we are also good for listening to you vent or hold you hand across the internet if you get scared. Hang in there.

      over 5 years ago
    • Judit's Avatar

      There is nothing wrong with you. We all felt the same way. If you can find a support group it would help. I've heard other people say the same thing, but when they realize they are not alone, they feel much better. This, too, will pass, but the support of others in your situation is such a help!

      over 5 years ago
    • Outlier's Avatar


      I believe you have taken a great and helpful step forward by reaching-out and posting here in the WhatNext community.

      Thus far I've survived 25 years since I went into remission from the 1st of three total times I have been diagnosed with cancer. I currently live with chronic illnesses directly & indirectly brought on by the late-effects of my previous radiation and chemotherapy.

      I have found living in long term survivorship to be both challenging and rewarding. I must saw for me, and those close to me, it's been and continues to be mostly rewarding. I'm a much better, stronger and more compassionate person due to my cancer journey.

      I share the above in hopes that in time you will embrace your unique journey, even if it's one baby step at a time. I believe you will.

      Be kind to yourself, & surround yourself with kind & caring people. Even if that means adding one or more new friends to your current support system of folks.

      I wish you well, and look forward to your future posts.

      San Diego

      over 5 years ago
    • hogfan03's Avatar

      The advice and comments are very true that have already been given. First be so grateful you are a survivor!! This is a huge milestone. I had a very similar situation as you. I was diagnosed February 1st for cervical cancer, radical hysterectomy on February 25th and told on March 7th that I was cancer free and need no additional treatments. While recovering from surgery I had lots of time to finally a sorb everything. It is so true that once you hear the dreaded "C" word you go in shock and survival mode. I had a great support group made up of family, friends and co-workers help me talk out my feelings. I know my feelings were relief for beating cancer but guilty in a way that I only had to do surgery and not chemo and or radiation like so many on this site. I learned to count my blessings and realized I have gone through a huge milestone like many others: heard the diagnosis, fought and won! Good luck!!

      over 5 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Your diagnosis moved you into the world of cancer- a sort of "Twilight Zone" -- it is kind of a dark and sad place -- your family and friends are hovering outside -- however you are alone because you are the one that has cancer -- not them! After surgery and treatment, when you begin to phase back into the real world where your family and friends are, the reality hits you and it is so hard to comprehend what has happened to you. However, as time passes -- you will come to terms and you will find the strength to maintain that positive attitude that is so very important. Hang in there. I wish you the best!!!

      over 5 years ago
    • Outlier's Avatar


      Here's a free & postage paid, resource I highly recommend. I ordered & received the material earlier this year. Most helpful.

      The Livestrong Guidebook can be requested at www.livestrong.org

      over 5 years ago
    • TessElizabeth's Avatar

      Thank you all for your kind responses. You have no idea how much you all have helped. I plan to take your excellent suggestions and work through this process as I begin my 6 week leave of absence from my teaching job. I can't thank all of you enough.

      over 5 years ago
    • stanhartke's Avatar

      TessElizabeth, I had the same thing after my ordeal with cancer. It will take time, but you'll get back to "normal"... or I should say "new normal." Cancer does change a person. One of the things I found to be true about survivor-ship, is survivors need to live in the here and now. It's hard not to dwell on hardships of the past or the scary reality of reoccurrence of cancer sometime in the future.

      I found this quote provide me direction after cancer.
      "Cherish Yesterday -> Dream Tomorrow -> Live Today"

      I'm glad you are on team survivor. :)

      over 5 years ago

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