• I'm coming up on a year out from treatments being over, why does it feel like "it's not over"?

    Asked by hoosierboy on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    I'm coming up on a year out from treatments being over, why does it feel like "it's not over"?

    I go for monthly checks, I've had one scan since, it was good, but I thought once I had that last treatment that it would be over, I'd go back to my life, that hasn't happened.

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      Because no one tells you that it ain't over when it's over! And that was one of my biggest complaints, and many of us have discussed this here. Survivorship support is really lacking.

      Everyone congratulates you, sends you off to live your life. But you are not the same person that you were before your diagnosis. We have to learn to live with the "new" normal. People have said they have signs of PTSD. Our bodies are all beaten up a bit, as are our minds.

      People who haven't walked in our shoes congratulate us and assume we are going to go back to the way we used to be, and tell us to get over it and move on (my own mother!). Many of us have long-term or even permanent problems which affect our daily lives. And every new ache scares us. I am now 7 years out, and I will say that I can go most of the day without thinking about cancer, but I struggled for the first 5 years. Learning to accept the "new" me was really, really hard. Physically, psychologically, emotionally and even cognitively, I am not the same and that has hit my confidence and esteem really hard.

      I have been through hours of rehabilitation which has helped tremendously, so I can do some of the activities I used to do. I try to only do activities that I am good at or are within my limitations. And I focus on those things and try to do them well. I focus on the ways cancer has made me a better person, wife, mother and friend. I'm more compassionate, understanding, patient, appreciative and loving. After 7 years, I am finally learning to accept and actually like the "new" me.

      5 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I think that cancer changes us. Some for the best, some not. It for sure robs us of our innocence. Many, if not most, live with some kind of side effects, sometimes major side effects - physical and/or mental.

      Most of all, I think that we always know and maybe expect that the cancer will return. So, it is hard to put down your guard and get back to the business of living.

      I think this is a time to point out that none of us knows when we will draw our last breath, with or without cancer, so the key is to live this day, this hour, this minute to the fullest. My son and best friend had no idea that they were getting ready to die even 1 minute before it happened.

      5 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar

      I am a 4 1/2 year Stage IV rectal cancer survivor. I still see my oncologist every 3 months for CEA and bloodwork. I still have scans every six months. I have been NED ever since my treatment ended, and I have good quality of life. But my oncologist wants to help ensure that I stay this way. So vigilance is critical.

      Cancer is, unfortunately, a sneaky snake. So it is prudent to follow the recommendations of our oncologists and the NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network).

      It takes a while to learn to live a "full" life as a cancer survivor. I attempt to help others who face cancer. I am proactive about doing what I can do to help prevent a recurrence - I take high dose of Vitamin D3, a daily aspirin, and exercise. I limit my red meat and processed meat consumption.

      Best wishes to find peace of mind as a cancer survivor.

      5 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      Nine years ago I was diagnosed stage IV esophageal cancer. Stage IV cancer is not a death sentence but it is a life sentence. That means scans every year. Six years ago I got uterine cancer it was one of the more agressive kind. I thought after five years I could say Bye Bye to that cancer . Not so fast. I now have to have a MRI because something showed up on the scans that might be uterine cancer. I also got skin cancer last summer and at the six month check up, the Dr. found something suspicious I am awaiting the biopsy.
      I refer to my life as being in the 11th inning (waiting on results may be the 12th) Life for me is different but I am thankful for that life. I am still making plans for the future.
      Mark the date April 26, 2042. Everyone is invited to my 100th birthday

      5 months ago
    • medale's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with stage IIIC colon cancer with a partial colectomy followed by six months of FOLFOX ending October 2017. The scars and the numbness in my fingers/toes are a somewhat daily reminder. But I try to eat well, exercise, enjoy nature and live each day for the present it is.

      Today I walked in the same park where I restarted moving after surgery and during chemo. It was the same time of year and that really brought on some flashbacks. I found that meditation helps to feel better and is a powerful tool against anxiety.

      As a very wise woman told me: "None of us are making it out of here alive." Humor and not taking myself too seriously is also good but often hard to do. The other week I overheard one of the older gentlemen at the gym replying to a "good to see you" with "it's better to be seen than viewed." That still makes me chuckle.

      "Scanxiety" is very real (now every 6 months) and anything out of the ordinary does raise the heart rate. Also a little bit of survivor's guilt? But as time progresses the memories seem to recede. Hope you can find your peace as you move on in health!

      5 months ago

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