• Life after Cancer Treatment

    Asked by Jodi on Monday, February 18, 2013

    Life after Cancer Treatment

    I stopped chemo & radiation in Apri 2012 (less than a year ago) and then I got pneumonia so I was down for the count for about 6 months. I am good now, in remission. Here is my problem: I want to start living; you know, the BUCKET LIST. I want to travel (which I have never done) with a co-worker to Europe but I am having problems with energy level (still) and inconsistent bathroom issues. I had anal cancer and I cannot seem to get my bathroom issues under control. I do good for 2 weeks and then I will have 3 bad days. Anyway, has anyone changed jobs, took a 14 day trip, did some crazy adventure etc. less than a year after they went thru treatment? Is it normal that I am still not 100%. I get very frustrated with the way my body is NOT back to normal. I used to be a runner and very athletic. Now, I get tired which causes anxiety and I never know if my stomach and bowels are going to cooperate. I do not want to be stuck in another country and have bad days. Does that make sense? HELP.

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Jodi, Everyuone is different so you have to take that into account. I had bathroom and fatuige issues that lingerered for all of the rentire periods after I was off cheno, though they did tend to get better with more time. I also found that I could control the bathroom issues fairly well with over the counter drugs, either anti diarrheals or laxitives depending on the problem being encountered. Fatigue that comes and goes can be countered by being somewhat flexiable in your schedule and not trying to do too much. Some of this may also be just getting older and slowing down.

      My wife abnd I have done some traveling even when I am on chemo. We have done things like crusies and Disneyland/world. We learned to stop and rest when necessary and to make sure that we didn't bite off too much. Europe should be easily possible as long as you do not plan to backpack across it or try and climb the alps. Good Luck and have fun.

      over 3 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had breast cancer. Bilateral mastectomy, 6 sessions of chemo. A week after chemo ended I took a vacation. I still had chemo side effects, wasn't feeling great but I needed to get away. I still don't feel 100% but I decided to Live Life! I do whatever I can when I can. When I feel too tired or sore, or just icky, I rest. But I take great advantage of the good days.

      over 3 years ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar

      I'd be concerned with switching to another water/food source since that alone can mess up anybody's system. Dehydration would definitely be a high priority, too. Personally, I recommend Walt Disney World in Florida. It has a whole park dedicated to various countries, their cultures and has an excellent access to any necessary facility/bathroom. If you're tired, they give you a bus ride back to your room.

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Why don't you try a shorter trip to somewhere in the US first as a trial? You may find the distraction and relaxation of being on vacation helps your symptoms. If the local trip goes well it will give you confidence to go for the trip you really want to take.

      over 3 years ago
    • liznparadise's Avatar

      I finished treatment for anal cancer 1 year ago yesterday. I still have bowl issues. I mainly use Metamucil to control that. It works pretty well for me. I still get tired. I had a surprise party last week for 2 friend's birthdays and couldn't move the next day, but it was worth it. Pace yourself and enjoy. Life is to be lived!

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I agree that a shorter local trip is a great way to test the waters so to speak. Traveling is a great way to lift the spirits as is physical exercise. Western Europe shouldn't be too much of an issue, but build up to it. Its a great excuse to explore your own neighborhood.

      over 3 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      I finished my treatments at the end of 2011 and began a new job in February 2012 and went on a beautiful vacation with my husband in March 2012. A good friend whose husband had beat colon cancer told me to plan a vacation, but to wait a while. I didn't understand and I was too eager to start celebrating and thanking my husband for all that he did. I now understand why. I was still struggling with the effects of the chemo. In my mind, I was all excited and giddy that I had won the battle, but my body wasn't quite at that same place. We had a very nice vacation, but I had limitations. I had difficulty flying, walking the beach (my husband had to hold me by the waist), and I couldn't do the normal sports I wanted to do. We had a beautiful time, however. It's the new me and I've learned to adapt and accept my new limitations.

      I am all for living life to its fullest. Carpe diem...we never know what tomorrow will bring. However, as the others suggested, take baby steps. Take a small trip and see how you fare. My dream is to hike every national park in the US, but right now I can't walk an uneven path or down a flight of stairs. Hiking is going to have to wait a few more years. My bathroom issues have finally seemed to settle down. It's no longer the "2-minute warning," but I still carry "supplies" in my purse and am always on the lookout for a bathroom, although thank goodness, I haven't needed that in quite a few months. Another reason why I still won't attempt hiking quite yet.

      I am now more than a year post-treatment and am feeling better, although nowhere near 100%. Doubt I'll ever be 100%, but I have improved tremendously since a year ago and pray that I'll continue to improve each month and each year. So live, enjoy, but take baby steps. If you do well on a small trip, then plan another one that pushes you a bit more. Enjoy being healthy!

      over 3 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I went to Venice 9 months after treatment. I had breast cancer, so no bathroom issues. I was tired, but so overjoyed to be there and be "living" that I overdid it a little. I ended up with extremely swollen feet, but that was it.

      If you decide to go, make sure you purchase travel medical insurance, just in case. I'd also recommend taking it easy on the food and drink. There's a lot to Europe that you will love, food and drink are not an essential part of the experience.

      over 3 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I got a flu twice right after I'd finished treating. Then I went to the gym. Still, I had to plan my routes based on bathroom quality and distance. I was not working at the time, having just retired the year before. Then I could not get up to what I considered "normal" either. I went back to the docs. I found out, after insisting, that I had a secondary challenge. I cried for a while and then went on an adventure which I am kinda still on. I went to try to find a way to alleviate this second challenge. I went up to NYC for a few days to see a healer I'd heard about. Yes I was bathroom concerned but the flight attendants were quite kind and understanding. I did not find what I was after in NYC so I went to Costa Rica a few months later in search of an herb ... long and short of it is that if you want it badly enough and you have the funds, there is nothing to stop you except your own fears. I went to NYC alone but to Costa Rica with a friend. The very act of sharing a room helped me to function better. BTW, what helped me a WHOLE heck of a LOT was deep nutritional changes. It made me stronger and less tired.

      What I remember asking a doc was if it mattered where I was sick and he said no, it did not. Bottled water is everywhere and I tend to doubt there are huge problems in that respect in Europe. France and most of Europe has wine with zero added nitrates (no headaches). Their food quality is likely better than ours. They don't use GMO foods or products. Except for the British Isles, their food is fresher because supermarkets haven't made the inroads they have made here. Just be smart. don't eat burgers or talapia and other farmed fish.

      over 3 years ago
    • warrior3's Avatar

      Hi, Jodi. I agree with the others who have suggested a less distant trip here in the states first, just to see how your body does with the travel and how you feel about dealing with bowel issues if they do occur.
      Not too long after my anal cancer treatments (a little over a year after my colostomy surgery, about 1 1/2 years post diagnosis) I went to Thailand for 2 weeks. I was a bit apprehensive but, fortunately, everything went pretty well. Of course, having had a colostomy my bathroom issues are different from yours but no less scary/embarrassing. I wholeheartedly encourage you to go out and do the things you want to do in your life. So what if you have a bad couple of days in a new place? So you lay low and give yourself permission to rest up and get better and then you go right back out and enjoy! Remember how hard you've had to work just to get yourself recovered and give yourself the fun you so deserve. Good luck and safe travels to you.

      over 3 years ago
    • Jodi's Avatar

      Thank you EVERYONE for responding to my question.

      over 3 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar


      I just wanted to let you know that your question helped inspire an article on the site about battling fatigue after chemotherapy. Perhaps you will enjoy reading it. Please comment below the article if you have any other suggestions for WhatNexters!


      Best of luck!

      about 3 years ago

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