• Joy's Avatar

    I am one year post treatment and I still deal with fear and feel that I can only talk to people that know how I feel. Any comments on this?

    Asked by Joy on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    I am one year post treatment and I still deal with fear and feel that I can only talk to people that know how I feel. Any comments on this?

    25 Answers from the Community

    25 answers
    • lynn1950's Avatar
      lynn1950

      Dealing with emotional issues has been the hardest part of my cancer journey. Confronting these issues with therapy, medication, meditation, yoga and the elixir of time have all helped to tame the feelings of fear and anxiety. A year out of treatment is not a long time in the scheme of things. I am now 4 years out from the end of treatment and I am feeling much better. Give yourself lots of time and seek all the help you need. Each of us is different in how we cope and how long it takes to heal emotionally.

      almost 5 years ago
    • teddyfuzz's Avatar
      teddyfuzz

      Hi Joy. I'm not sure if that fear ever goes away. Sometimes I feel like a ticking time bomb. It's hard to talk to others about this fear unless they've experienced it firsthand. That's what is so great about this website - everyone here totally understands. It's nice to be able to talk to others that know what it's like. And being fearful after only one year post treatment is completely normal. The body you thought you knew and could trust to keep you safe betrayed you. That's not an easy thing to get over. Here's hoping that you sail through the next four years and that this just becomes a bad dream in the rear-view window. Take care!

      almost 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Actually, you are the only one that can know how you feel. So the issue may be more of people who respond the way you want than those people knowing how you feel. It might help you to try this experiment: Pick one person that you feel comfortable talking to and one that you don't. What is it about the one person that makes you feel comfortable and the other that makes you afraid? Is it tone of voice?, body language?, facial expression?, what you think they might say? fear that they will judge you? Have you felt this way about other things (relationships, jobs, other medical stuff or just cancer?

      almost 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      It does get easier with time, but BC is always in the back of my mind.....I'm 6 1/2 years post Dx...do you have a local support group that you can try? for me, I didn't like them, but I liked on-line support groups...I am also very involved with local cancer groups and volunteer at health fairs etc, with energizes me....I work part -time (used to work full-time)...find what gives you peace......it takes time.....

      almost 5 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar
      JennyMiller

      I am only 4 months post treatment -- my fears and feelings are so mixed right now. Even though my oncologist pronounced me "cancer free" at my follow-up appointment in October, I am apprehensive. However, I don't seem to be dwelling on it -- but I will get this nagging feeling that tells me that I am carrying the fear inside. To be honest, I might have some denial -- like that was not me that went through this past year -- like it was a dream -- or more like a nightmare. Then when I make myself face reality, the fears will surface. It is crazy!! As for talking to people -- I find that most really do not want to hear any more. Family and friends were truly there during the journey -- with love, support, prayers and caring acts of kindness. For them, the crisis has ended and they are back to their normal routine. They want everything to be okay again. What they do not understand is that I am not the same person now and that the battle will never end for me. Therefore, there are times that I still need to talk about it. I can tell who is receptive and when they are receptive -- and I have to go with that. The only ones that truly understand are all of the people on this site who have made the same journey.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Beaner54's Avatar
      Beaner54

      I agree with Jenny. Too soon family and friends consider the crisis over and our condition is put on the back burner.
      All of a sudden we are "normal" again and can resume the same role in relationship dynamics. Not true, for me anyways.
      They don't understand that we walk the journey for the rest of our life.
      Hope you continue to find comfort chatting with this support group.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Indyeastside's Avatar
      Indyeastside

      You are not alone. We survivors all have fears and doubts at times. Talking about them does help, but don't dwell on them. Takes some thought control-but be positive-they do do miracles each and every day.

      Personally believe we control our path by how we react - so push on enjoy what we do have and don't spend too much time fretting-when you get nervous-do something good for someone.

      almost 5 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar
      princess123

      The problem with talking to friends or family and just "unloading" your feelings or how you feel is that they get upset about you. This form lets you unload to someone who knows how you feel but doesn't have the emotions (about you) those close to you do. Even though everyone cares, they don't know you personaly and wont get as upset.

      almost 5 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar
      SusanK

      I think JennyMiller said it all for me. That is exactly how I feel. Today is a good day, though, and I am off to see my grandchildren. There will be no cancer talk for a couple days, but somewhere along the way, I will wonder how many more visits will there be? Or, I wonder will I see them grow up? Or, when will there be another "bad time," a recurrence? I think those questions are going to be part of me forever but I can't dwell on them, or fret over them. Let them pass through my head...and then, just get on with it and enjoy what I'm doing. That's what I (and you and all of us) have to do.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar
      Crash

      I'm 35 years post treatment and I still worry. I have recognized my pattern. When life is stressing me, my chest tightens and I get palpitations, the mediastinum where a tumor was cut off of the aorta and esophagus, tightens and I get afraid that the teratoma has grown back and it constricting my esophagus again.

      Now, when it first happened how do you tell if it is the tumor growing back or just a case of "nerves"? You live through it. When the stress passes so does the feedback my body is sending me. When I have no stress I have no symptoms.

      The obvious problem comes from creating a fear cycle where your fear causes a physical reaction which reinforces the fear, which continues the physical sensation, and so on.

      I have found that a nice Malbec or Shiraz is helpful, as is doing something for someone else and not worrying about myself.

      Of course you may actually be suffering a recurrence so you need to see the doctor, have your markers checked, and see if there actually is a problem. When you do this often enough you'll be able to recognize a pattern, if there is one.

      And don't forget to thank God that here and now, we are breathing, communicating, and living.
      Cheers.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Robintrapp's Avatar
      Robintrapp

      I feel much like you do. I'm approaching my 2 year survivor anniversary, and i still wake up every morning with the same first thought = I am a cancer survivor. From everything i've read or others that i've talked to, this is part of my new normal life. My family and friends are like everyone else is saying - they are so glad the nightmare is over and now we can all get on with our lives. I don't expect them to understand - i was just like them before it happened to me. I've heard it does get better as time goes on. I hope it does.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Robintrapp's Avatar
      Robintrapp

      I feel much like you do. I'm approaching my 2 year survivor anniversary, and i still wake up every morning with the same first thought = I am a cancer survivor. From everything i've read or others that i've talked to, this is part of my new normal life. My family and friends are like everyone else is saying - they are so glad the nightmare is over and now we can all get on with our lives. I don't expect them to understand - i was just like them before it happened to me. I've heard it does get better as time goes on. I hope it does.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Robintrapp's Avatar
      Robintrapp

      I feel much like you do. I'm approaching my 2 year survivor anniversary, and i still wake up every morning with the same first thought = I am a cancer survivor. From everything i've read or others that i've talked to, this is part of my new normal life. My family and friends are like everyone else is saying - they are so glad the nightmare is over and now we can all get on with our lives. I don't expect them to understand - i was just like them before it happened to me. I've heard it does get better as time goes on. I hope it does.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar
      Harry

      This reminds me a bit of what I have heard from combat veterans. Many cannot talk about their experiences except with other combat veterans. No one knows what it is like until you'vings wille been there.

      As for the fear. That is normal. You fear a real threat. Things will get better over time.

      almost 5 years ago
    • patties' Avatar
      patties

      I am 5 months post treatment and understand where you are coming from. During my first follow up appointment I was told my chances of recurrence where more likely in the first 2 years. It's hard to get that out of my head. I am seeing an oncology therapist and that is helping. I am also trying to be patient with myself.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Lillylung's Avatar
      Lillylung

      I am so grateful for this site and everybody on it. The answers have been so helpful to me I am one year post surgery and 10 months post treatment I too have had the feelings and concerns that

      almost 5 years ago
    • gogolf's Avatar
      gogolf

      A friend of mine wrote a great article on just this subject and you are normal in your feelings. She is an Oncology Surgeon and had breast cancer. When I read her article i felt so much better knowing that my feelings are normal. You might try to go to the web site for the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute in Eugene Oregon and see if it is still posted. If not just know that you are normal, I started to feel so much better about having cancer after reading it. Take Care.

      almost 5 years ago
    • JudyS's Avatar
      JudyS

      I also think Jennie said it all. I am 3 years out from finding out that I had bc, 8 days to go when I had surgery for a lumpectomy and tomorrow I have my now yearly (for the first time, it has been every 6 months) mammogram and I'm scared that something might be found due to the aggresive type of cancer that I had. Is it a rational fear? I don't know, it doesn't seem to matter whether it is rational or not, it is a fear and I will go, get the mammogram and deal with whatever is or isn't there. I agree that the only people who truly understand are the others of us who have been there, however I believe our families probably might be holding their breath too. I hope you are able to push through your fears as you are already stronger from fight you have gone through - remember that and remember how precious life was before this and aim for that! Many blessings

      almost 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      When diagnosed with cancer, I placed my hand in God's outstreched hand and we have walked together whereever He has led me. After surgery and two years of Chemo... I came out cancer free. Now five years after chemo , I'm still cancer free. And I can honestly say I rarely think cancer when I get a pain now. But sometimes I do, I check out my concerns and then move on with my life. My friends and family are still here to talk to. I am blessed truly blessed and when I wake up each morning... I try to say thank you Lord. Sometimes only thank you comes out, but I know He knows why I'm saying it and that it's Him I'm thanking. Each day will help. I know 90% of my fear left the day of the diagnosis. I simply told God, I was terrified, as I was completely terrified.... He took my hand and the fear left. When the fear does show up I can almost feel him tighten His grip and say.."I'm Still Here Carol"

      almost 5 years ago
    • mandjcast's Avatar
      mandjcast

      Hi Joy.
      As you can tell by the answers, we all suffer from this fear. You are not alone. I am five years out from my second bone marrow transplant. Although that is great news, I still live in fear that the cancer could come back at anytime. I get especially concerned when I am not feeling well. What I try to do is focus on those things that I can control and try not to worry about those I cannot. The best advice I can give, I got from the Livestrong website, and that is to Livestrong!! Do not let cancer wijn this battle!! I deal with several issue everyday that are side affects from Graft Versus Host Disease, but I refuse to give in. I am still able to do alkmost everything I was before. I do not worry about things I cannot do. I hope this helps. I wish you well!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar
      LisaLathrop

      I completely understand how your feel Joy! Once I got out of the hospital (after nearly 100 days after my BMT) I was afraid to go outside! I felt safe in my own home with my own germs and those of my family members. It was several months before I ventured out to anywhere other than my doctor's appointments. Uggh...the germs in those offices! I had Leukemia so my immune system was compromised. Hence the fear of infection, and ultimately a reoccurance....it had already come back once after my intial BMT, too. Slowly that fear subsided....I went grocery shopping on "off" hours, wore a mask to the doc's office, bought TONS of antibacterial gels & handwashes, even traveled away from home on an overnight, etc. No church for me either...too crowded and to have to shake hands...no way! Every time I'd get a headache (one of my symptoms pre diagnosis) I would worry. 4 years later, I am back on track....proud to be a survivor...and happy to tell my story without tears that came so easily at the beginning. I still get a little panicky on my 6 mos. visits to the oncologist....but overall....I know I can not live in fear. At some point you will feel the same and get on with your life....let the daily activities and blessings come to the front of your mind, and the fear goes way way way back in your brain. Let it only come out when absolutely necessary. Blessings and prayers for your healing!

      almost 5 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar
      hikerchick

      Even though I only had Stage 1 (but I had DCIS and Stage 1 everywhere, then had dbl. mx), in order for me to alleviate my anxiety I had to come to terms with worst-case-scenario and try to overcome fears of that. I hoped for best-case-scenario but tried to prepare for worst. For me, this meant coming to terms with death, accepting that I might not live into my 80s or something, and acknowledging that, for life expectancy a mere century or 2 ago, I had already exceeded that. Kind of reduced my sense of "entitlement" and feeling of possibly "getting cheated" out of the additional decades "I'm due."

      I found that if I didn't fear worst-case, it had no power over me. Acceptance = peace.

      Tough thoughts still arise. Due diligence is necessary medically. I interact here to express myself to those who can relate, and to relate to those I can learn from to help me cope. But ever-present fear never got much of a foundation in my mind.

      We're all different. Best of luck to you. I hope you get in touch with all your instincts of strength.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Tania's Avatar
      Tania

      Hi Joy;
      I am a breast cancer survior of 3 years. I was diagnosed at your age. I have always lived in fear because my mom and her sister are breast cancer surviors. I am a high risk and I always feared one day I would get cancer.

      It does get better believe me but give your self time. The more you talk about it with friends or go to a support group the better you will feel. I still freak out when I have to go to the doctor for tests. I am afraid of the results. I do not think it will ever go away it's behind my mind somewhere.

      But on the positive side thank's to cancer I see the world soooooooooo different. I truly enjoy the simple things. Live day by day that's all I can handle, Tomorrow will see what happends. I am doing things I never did before. Now I love wild colors were more makeup have long hair when I have had it short for many, many years. I am involved with the American Cancer Society, I knit hats and slippers for cancer patients. I have great friends, family, dog and husband and I see things so much different and have met the most wonderful people through all this and faith would have not made it through with out my faith.

      Stay positive do not be afraid live your life better now, enjoy your self you have life. It will get better. I have some days I feel a little depresed and then I snap out of it.

      You will be find. Keep me posted.
      Hugs, from Tania, Miami, Florida
      Always remember we are here for you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Joy's Avatar
      Joy

      Thanks to all that responded to my posting. It helped alot to hear how others cope, thanks again!

      almost 5 years ago
    • Susicatrin's Avatar
      Susicatrin

      The first 18 mos were the hardest. I never felt safe. I had Stage IV Burkitt/Like Lymphoma. The most helpful thing was to be constantly busy. Going back to work saved my life. I would have been an emotional cripple if I didn't need to work for the health insurance. I finally went on Zoloft 25 mg at bedtime. Started sleeping through the night right away. Not waking up with shakes. Not afraid I would die in my sleep. I felt safe again. I think, today, that we may have relapses because of the nasty chemicals we produce in times of severe stress. I say, better living through Chemistry. Why suffer, if you don't have to. I'm not going to "bite a bullet" only to have my cancer come back. My son was a soldier in Iraq the entire time of my Chemotherapy. I've suffered enough. That was 8 years ago. Now I am a happy grandmother of 4. I am 65 years old & STILL working (Maternity R.N.) Feel great! Country Western Line dance on Friday nights. Renovating my house, working on Family Tree. NEVER AFRAID. Not living on "borrowed time." I OWN THIS TIME! Saw a commercial the other day...the woman said, "I'm only in my sixties! I have my whole life ahead of me!" SO DO ALL OF YOU! If you think BIG & think BRAVE, you'll own it too! God Bless You All! Sincerely, Susan A-C

      almost 5 years ago

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