• How long did it take you to feel healed after treatments?

    Asked by cllinda on Sunday, August 5, 2018

    How long did it take you to feel healed after treatments?

    With me, it took a good year before I felt completely over treatment of chemo and radiation. I went through about a year of treatments and it took a year to recover.
    The reason I ask this is that a friend really expected to be totally healed in just a few weeks and was very surprised that she isn't after a couple of months.
    So how long did it take? And is there any helpful hints you can pass on to her? Tia

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • geekling's Avatar

      I had anal cancer.

      It took 4 years before I could use plain toilet paper again. Oh! Wait! Did I say plain? No, no, no. Just the ultra softest on the planet sadly made by the Koch Brothers.

      I still get tired too. 16 years treatment ended. I am stronger than some but well nobody ever felt sorry for Clark Kent when Superman lost his superpowers. I lost a lot.

      It would be nice if doctors would stop lying or be a bit more up front about side and after effects.

      Best wishes to you & your friend.

      9 months ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      Healed physically, emotionally or psychologically? I'm assuming physically since that's probably what most people (who haven't walked in our shoes) first think. And another thing is the lingering side effects and the other problems that develop because of the chemo.

      I may be healed according to medical definition, but I am certainly not my old self. The fatigue is gone, my hair has grown back, and I can taste chocolate again (thank goodness, right?!), but I still have neuropathy and the associated pains that go along with that, the numbness, the lack of fine motor skills. Having had a nice chunk of my colon removed, I still struggle with bowel issues and foods that I can no longer eat or tolerate well. I suffered a stroke, ototoxicity and vestibular dysfunction and will mostly likely never recover fully. But, I am cancer-free now for 6+ years.

      But, healed? We all have to learn to accept the "new normal." And that is one thing severely lacking in the survivorship area. Realistic expectations of the new person, post-cancer. It has taken me many years to accept the new me, and I'm still not there 100%. I am an incredibly optimistic person, so I try to focus and celebrate all the positive things that have come about, and that list is long.

      So, perhaps reminding her that her body has been through a war. Every ounce of her being was attacked. Her doctor might be able to give her realistic expectations. Estimates or ranges of how long certain things take to heal, regenerate, and if there are things that could help (i.e. exercise, yoga, rest, certain foods, etc). LiveStrong and the American Cancer Society have great post-cancer information and support. And of course, What Next!

      9 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I got over chemo treatments pretty quickly. But, I was fortunate that my blood levels never tanked or anything during treatments. Once I quit getting the chemo, I felt pretty good. Radiation kicked my butt a bit more as far as fatigue goes. I don't know if that is my fault because I didn't push myself as hard physically after radiation as I did during and after chemo or if it is just how radiation affected me. It hasn't really made my quality of life bad, but I do tire, even now, pretty quickly so I can't do nearly as much as I once could, even since diagnosis.

      I hope your friend will give herself a break!!

      9 months ago
    • Fran106's Avatar

      I am so glad for this forum. Thought I was only one with reduced life issues. Cancer is gone but I am on Tamoxifen for 10 years (got all side effects) First time I had breast cancer I had radiation, was tired, had nerve pain but felt good pretty quickly. After my double mastectomy I had chemo (didn't tolerate too well) needed transfusion, and life has not been the same. I have many health issues, and aches and pains that I attribute to treatment. My mantra is At least I am alive and cancer free. BTW it is 7 years out and most hair not back, or will ever be back. Keep a positive attitude and don't measure you or friend, each person is different. Just be understanding for your recovery.

      9 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      I know exactly how your friend feels about wanting to be healed completely and being disappointed when that doesn't happen as anticipated. Same thing is happening to menow that I am recovering from a laproscopic hysterectomy. I feel almost good as new but am still dealing with unanticipated swelling around the tummy and 18 more days out of the pool in Summer in South Florida! I think of my state of health before cancer, and it's almost as if that is a different person who wore size small T-shirts and had never been in a hospital before. Now, the tiny T's are in the hands of a dear friend who can still fit them, and I have had 2 major surgeries in the last 5 years. With the "new normal" that comes with having had cancer, I have gained wisdom and am calmer and more appreciative of life. Sure, I wish I could drop the weight Tamoxifen gave me, and that I weren't as lethargic, but I now can empathize with others on this site and personal friends who have had cancer. I'm over 5 years since diagnosis, and am NED to this day! It takes a little time to accept the new normal; it did for me. But once I got used to it, it didn't seem to be as much of a big deal anymore. Please let your friend know her feelings are perfectly natural. We've all come through them, and she will too once things settle down. I wish I could say more encouraging words, but the cancer journey is so individualized, it's hard to know what any of us are going to be like post treatments. OH, believe me, I would love it if they warned us of long term after effects, but they just don't for some reason. Personally, I think it would be the better part of wisdom if they did so patients don't get the living daylights scared out of them. I sure do hope I have been of some help. HUGS and God bless.

      9 months ago
    • Jouska's Avatar

      Too funny, I can totally emphasize with your friend. My chemo was a 3 week cycle and I just assumed that 3 weeks after my last chemo I would be just fine and full of energy. When I told my oncologist that, he gently reminded me that I had six months of tough treatment and it would be at least six months before I really felt myself. He was right - it probably even was a bit longer. But at that point the improvement is pretty incremental and you don't notice it as much. All of a sudden you realize you did something and it was fine. Little celebrations. Probably a year before I was truly doing everything I wanted to do. Some things are still not the way they were, I still have neuropathy in my feet, I can't easily lift 50 lbs due to my trans flap surgery (not chemo), otherwise, all is good.

      9 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      Some times we get healed and cured mixed up. Recovery time varies with the person the kind of cancer and the stage of cancer and the health and age of the person. It took me 2 years to become fully functional after my 1st cancer then I got another cancer and another two years of recovery then the after effects started showing up. You can help your healing by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Many YMCAs have cancer support programs. It is important to exercise both physically, mentally and socially. Joining a non-cancer group helps with the healing get involved in a book club, Bible Study Card Group or some other advocacy. Just get out of the house to a non-cancer situation. Next it is very important to eat right. Nutrition might be the most important factor in healing. If you can get an appointment with a dietition preferable one who has oncology experience. Some YMCAs also have classes on nutrition,

      9 months ago
    • Yeahyeah's Avatar

      We are all different. It took me more than two years, post treatment to appreciate the new me. I walked alot when my body said do it, but it wasn't every day. Ditch people who expect you to be the same person you were before because they are boring. Eating for strength - extra protein when you feel like it helps and I ate lots of salads and greens, still do. Get out of the house to change your viewpoint. People have just got to figure out what works for them. The medical community just gives you the medical viewpoint.

      9 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      @Yeahyeah I totally agree with you. One has to be very proactive in their healing. It isn't easy but it is worth it.

      9 months ago

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