• What one thing surprised you the most about cancer?

    Asked by cllinda on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

    What one thing surprised you the most about cancer?

    What surprised you about cancer? The treatments? The side effects? The time it took to recover?
    I would say mine was recovery time. It took over a year after treatments ended to be feeling normal.
    So what was it for you?

    27 Answers from the Community

    27 answers
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      That sometimes WE have to choose what treatments to take.

      6 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      That it hasnt taken me out yet. I never dreamed i would still be here 5 years after diagnosis. And, that i am still able to live a full and joyful life.

      6 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Good question. For me I was surprised that I even got it, at 28 I was living a good life, moving up in career, things were good. Boom. Also, surprised that the first go didn't kill cancer for good and it came back. I was nieve enough to think it was like taking antibiotics and it would be done. Then, surprised that a cancerous tonsil could drop me to my knees for a couple of years.

      But, these days......NOTHING surprises me.

      6 months ago
    • biga17133's Avatar
      biga17133

      The cost,,lack of information they give you but how much time it takes to schedule test and then wait on results till they schedule next test so i have to say the 6 weeks they took before treatment started.....still taking a bath by myself biga17133

      6 months ago
    • Dianem's Avatar
      Dianem

      After the initial immobility that comes with the diagnosis...the idea that things could and would be done and I’d they didn’t work something else would be tried...and it was..to the point that I’m still here 5 years later..and most of all that I could look at this experience as something positive that gives me a profound appreciation for life...who knew! Keep strong and God bless

      6 months ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      About cancer itself? That you can have a later stage cancer and not have some kind of pain. Have several large tumors growing in you and not feel a thing . Treatments? I had always heard about chemo and the nausea and vomiting and was surprised how well, for the most part, they can control that now. I had mild nausea and no vomiting nor observed any vomiting while at the infusion center. I also was surprised at how long the fatigue lasted a good year post chemo and the frustration that comes with chemo brain. For the most part I feel back to normal but have definitely changed. I too am very surprised I am still here almost five years after diagnosis.

      6 months ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar
      Ejourneys

      I think it's a tie between how well I came through chemo (even with all the side effects) and how persistent my collateral damage is, including the new side effects from anastrozole that have cropped up after years of use.

      6 months ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar
      IKickedIt

      When I found out I would need chemo, I went out and bought an eye mask, ear plugs, pretty nightgowns and fuzzy socks. I honestly thought I would be sleeping and in bed the entire time. While I needed a tremendous amount of sleep immediately after my treatment, the rest of the time, I worked and maintained as much normalcy for myself and my family.

      Like Ejourneys, the collateral damage which was pretty extensive, debilitating and life-altering. I learned it ain't over when it's over, and adjusting to and accepting the "new" me has been extremely challenging.

      And one final thing is people's reactions and how they are affected is a study in itself.

      6 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar
      msesq

      I was terrified of chemo and radiation and while they weren’t pleasant they were no where near as bad as I imagined.

      6 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      Like msesq, I feared chemo long before my first infusion and found I made it through despite the terrible reaction I had to it. Something else I never thought would happen was how it aged me prematurely. I was forced into menopause in my early 40's, and I just can't drop weight despite exercising 6 hours every week. Brain bloopers aren't as bad as they were the first year post chemo, but they and the hot flashes still stop by for brief visits. I guess they can't tell us everything, but it would be nicer if there were fewer unpleasant surprises along this journey. HUGS and God bless.

      6 months ago
    • mwfd's Avatar
      mwfd

      I thought PTSD was only for the military on a combat field. I was surprised cancer survivors can be diagnosed too.

      6 months ago
    • 2943's Avatar
      2943

      I was naive. Thought surgery, recovery, back to ‘my life’. So far I have been diagnosed with 3 primary cancers. Next Pet/ ct in a month so fingers crossed no more and no reruns! Side effects from meds...ick! Learning patience and I thought I was a patient person before.

      6 months ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      With all the surgeries I had ,except for the back surgery I didn't experience the pain that comes with them But did get bad complications after the fact with all of them..And never expected that radiation and Arimidex would cause so many problems.

      6 months ago
    • charnell's Avatar
      charnell

      you got back to normal in a year?

      6 months ago
    • 2943's Avatar
      2943

      My ‘pre cancer NORMAL’ is a memory. Working on what the new normal is.

      6 months ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      Continued.,since we can't edit.Instead of copy and paste again :D >For the back surgery I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy It was the worst physical pain anybody could have.

      6 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      That it would be the least traumatic of my life experiences. Also I was a little surprised that you could be NED and still be threatened by the aftereffects

      6 months ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      BoiseB What would be the least traumatic experience?.And what does NED mean?

      6 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Cancer is the least traumatic experience of my life. NED means "No Evidence of Disease" I had clean scans ie. NED but I had a huge life-threatening hernia.

      6 months ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      Wow! Thank You Boise.Almost sounds like me in a lot of ways.

      6 months ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I agree with you and some others. I am most surprised about how different my body feels. I always thought after treatment I would be back to my pre cancer body. It wil be two years this July since treatments ended and I am no where close to my pre cancer body. I think I am finally getting to the point to accept this is the new normal.

      6 months ago
    • charnell's Avatar
      charnell

      Sandra, I thought the same thing. unfortunately, cancer treatment has very real and lingering side effects, exhaustion, chronic pain, arthritis, neuropathy, insomnia (I wake up every 40 minutes at night), the list goes on and gets bigger not smaller. learning how to cope with the new and ever-changing normal.

      6 months ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      I think the most surprising thing to me was how all-encompassing it was time-wise... The many doctor appointments, the treatments, the waiting for doctor appointments and treatments and test results, recuperation time, telephone calls back and forth... It seemed to almost take over my life. It certainly took over my thoughts. But I realize that part was my own doing.

      6 months ago
    • 2943's Avatar
      2943

      Bug, so true. Thought I was in a hurricane. Finally, at a pre surgery appt, I said just that. The doc responded that I was in control of the process. Felt the brakes had been applied and I could get a grasp of things. Huge turning point for me and I remember often.

      6 months ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      Wow, that's really good, 2943. Good thing to remember. It was nice that your doc voiced it.

      6 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      I too never thought I would spend so much time at the doctor, and I had hoped I would have gone back to my pre-cancer body after active treatment was over. Here I am almost 5 years post diagnosis, 4.5 years post lumpectomy, and I just have to accept that pre-cancer body may not come back and the new normal is here to stay.. HUGS and God bless.

      6 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Child of God I would not want my pre-cancer body back. While I was treating for cancer some of my pre-cancer problems had to be addressed. Now most of my problems are from a pre-cancer time. It is just that they got much worse during cancer.

      6 months 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 invasive (infiltrating) ductal carcinoma questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma page.