• Survivor emotions

    Asked by Kathy on Saturday, April 13, 2013

    Survivor emotions

    Hi!! I am a 2x ovarian cancer survivor and finished chemo the end of December. Aside from being tired my physical self is ok but it's my emotions that seem so extreme. I do see a social worker and also just started a support group. I still can't believe I've had a cancer diagnosis two times. I feel the anxieties of being a survivor are weighing me down and that I'm wasting valuable time with these downer feelings. I think between the one on one counseling and the group I should eventually get through these emotions. Apart of me though wishes I could push the downer thoughts away - but the harder I try that the worse it is. I felt like I had been somewhat stable but this past month has been rough. Not sure if there's really a question in here- but I just felt like sharing with a group that can offer understanding. Someone tell me this will get better. Thanks for reading/listening.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • carm's Avatar

      I am not a cancer patient or a survivor, I never have been. I am an oncology/end of life nurse that specializes in gyne cancers. I see this quite often and more in oncology than in end of life. If there is one thing I have learned from the patients facing an end it is that we fear what we refuse to embrace. To every circumstance in life there is two sides, and it is inherent in our nature to embrace one side but not the other. We embrace joy with enthusiasm but we shun sorrow, we handle happiness with ease but is anyone really an expert at anger? You seem to want to move forward and enjoy a life without the burden of your disease but you keep looking behind you and the view you recognize you assume is the path that lies ahead. Could it recur yet again? I am sure it is a possibility; so can you embrace that possibility? See it for the potential it really has, and not the demon you think it could be. You have beat it...not once, but twice; that is a valiant accomplishment and proof that you know this battle all too well. If you have to dwell on the fact that it might return then prudence dictates that you should also accept the fact that you will be victorious yet again. Maybe this analogy is weak, but I hate the winter months, the snow; dirty grey snow that lines the streets I love. So gloomy and everything is void of color, even the sun has no vibrant reflection. Yet it comes every year and I accept that because I know that through the many blizzards I have lived through; I survive them because I know them. You know your disease, it is not a stranger to you. What weapons it brings to challenge you is no match for the arsenal that lies at your feet. The best of modern medicine, family love and support, friends here and there ready to join your fight, and God knows, a love of life and a will to live. What could beat that? I am no social worker, no expert in psycho-social issues but I talk with those who have less than two weeks to live often and more than that, I listen....really listen because they are the greatest teachers of my life, and they help me to remember what is most important. If you embrace what it is that stops you from living, then it cannot stop you any longer because you accept that it is a part of you like that happiness and joy. Know it, hold it closely but then put it away and take that first step forward to a life that awaits you, needs you, depends on you to finish a story you alone began. Put that grey away and bring the color back to your world. A color for all the world to see. Best of luck, Carm RN.

      over 7 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      i don't know what to say... as i struggle with these survivor issues myself. i find myself much more prone to anxiety than ever before. most of the time, i'm able to simply engage in my life, but nearly every single day, something reminds me that i'm a survivor of cancer and cancer treatment. my risk of recurrence is very low due to very positive results from treatment... but that risk is never zero, and my risk of getting cancer in the first place was quite low. it seems like it's always there in the back of my mind.

      i feel like during treatment, it was loads easier. things were actively moving me towards NED. but now, it's just live... and if something comes up, test test test... so, every time i have a little pain or twitch or whatever, my mind automatically goes to cancer.... sigh. and i can't help but think about the impact that would have on my family...

      the good times way way out-weigh the rough times - and that ratio only gets better. of that, i feel certain.

      i've also joined a support group, and in some ways, i think it doesn't meet often enough.... just once monthly. but, if it met much more often, i'd probably not go all that much more frequently. i like the idea of seeing a social worker - i think maybe i should do that.

      overall, though, i'm just over a year out from finishing treatment, and life is GOOD! i'm active, i'm enjoying work, and i'm enjoying my family... all good things. if this nagging cancer worry could let up a bit, i'd be GOLDEN!

      i don't know if that helps... but that's where i am, and i've only had one diagnosis... hopefully, that's all i'll ever have.

      best wishes,

      over 7 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I think you are suffering from the guilt placed upon all of us with cancer to have the 'Stay positive" attitude.. First of all this is a big myth. Positive attitude has nothing to do with survival. I posted earlier how Deepak Chopra said that having a less than genuine feeling of positive attitude is actually more harmful than having a less than positive attitude. on the other hand if it helps someone..great.

      But I think more often than not it can cause pressure and anxiety.

      Allow yourself a time of loss. Schedule a time when you are alone, light a candle and let your emotions go where ever they need to. Cry scream whatever. Talk to your higher power about how you feel, what is scary and what is your next step. Then listen. Just listen. Maybe Meditate.
      But allow this scheduled time as your time to feel the sadness. To feel the loss but then let it go until your next scheduled time. This might help yopu gain control of the at random thoughts of sadness.

      I also highly reccomend getting a hold of the film "Awaken the dragon within" and take your loved ones to see it with you. Its awesome and it will encourage some emotions to come out.

      Try the Deepak meditation for heling..I get a great deal from it. But most importantly go easy on yourself. There is NO right way to handle this. I still wake up and think this past year has been all a dream..This didn't really happen to me..Did it?

      Try keeping a journal..writing down your feelings can be very helpful.

      All this stay strong, stay positive, its alot of pressure on you to surpress your emotions and thats not healthy. Try the schedule idea and see if that helpful and look into meditation and make sure to exercise..This is a must.

      But thisis difficult for anyone, for all of us.

      over 7 years ago
    • StamPurr's Avatar

      I agree with CAS1. Bad enough to be dealing with this disease without having the pressure to constantly stay positive, look on the bright side, put on a happy face... It IS stressful, there are worries, this is scarey! I worry that by being sad or stressed, I somehow made myself sick or that it will stop me from getting better. (which makes me worry more!) I've been on meds for depression for almost 20 years and that was BEFORE I had a cancer diagnosis. I'm not expecting to turn into "Pollyanna" anytime soon. For whatever it is worth, my advise is to feel what you feel and if those feeling are interfering with your life or what you think your life could be, then ask for more help. I think being able to label your feelings (without judgement "good feelings" "bad feelings") and learning to direct your thoughts to help control the feelings that follow might be helpful. But just know that its hard. Do things that should or used to make you feel better,happier, more "you" (whatever that is) Keep doing them and don't be afraid to try new things, but remember, sometimes reality just sucks! Sometimes for me just NOT feeling guilty about feeling cruddy, thinking grey thoughts but accepting them and moving on helps. JMHO I think I might just be rambling now... {hugs to you}

      over 7 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar

      I'm 5 YEAR ovarian cancer survivor myself and can totally identify with how you feel. I still have moments when I feel a rush of emotions. Just recently I lost 2 friends to cancer, a brother and sister who passed away 15 days apart. I also watch as 2 other friends are going through chemo and radiation for breast cancer. I've sometimes had moments when I have felt guilty because I've survived. But I realized that it wasn't God's plan for me to not survive. You are definitely off on the right foot by seeing a social worker to help you through your emotions as well as being a member here at WhatNext. I don't know if you ever get over the emotions but I do know that you can deal with them if you realize that you have a lot of life to live and a story to tell. Survivors are the reason money is collected for the necessary research to be done to hopefully make cancer a thing of the past. This is our job and we have to do it to carry on the legacy of those who have lost the fight. So don't feel guilty about surviving but feel your survival is an important link to making sure others we love will never know a life living with cancer.

      over 7 years ago
    • Helen89's Avatar

      I am a ovarian cancer twice. I will celebrate 5 yrs out this Jan. The feelings you are having really don't ever go away. It depends on how we deal with them, everyone has to find their own niche. I myself just bought one of those punch bag things, so I can beat the crap out of it. Two wks ago I suffered such a bad anxiety attack my heart went into arithyma and ended up in the hospital. On meds again to help chill out a bit, heart is fine. Also go rent a good movie, that will give you a good cry. Am just spit balling here. sometimes my emotions are still all over the place, but have to take it one day a time, and I know they will settle down eventually.

      about 7 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more serous type questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Serous Type page.