As I come up to the first anniversary of when I started chemo (xmas eve) I’ve been pondering on the issue of how to find (and live) some sort of ‘normal’ life post-treatment and it’s proving much harder than I thought it would be. I’ve had quite a few wobbles since everything finished, even though I’ve just had a NED check up. I guess it’s partly because I’ve already had two new scares that I am so flipping paranoid about the smallest thing. . .
Those of you who are further down the post-treatment road - how on earth do you live your lives without becoming a raging hypochondriac? The slightest little thing is sending me into a panic and I hate what it is currently doing to my quality of life.
Sooooooo, any tips on how to find a path to a life more ordinary, that is not filled with thoughts of doom and gloom?
Thats got to be the question most ‘post cancer’ folks want to know. And it can be a difficult one to answer.
For me, Id say Ive got a ‘new’ normal and that feels a bit easier to live with. I know that feelings of dread if theres a twinge etc, but Ive decided that, other than trying to eat well. drink less, exercise a little, then there’s really not much I can do about a recurrence, other than be body aware.
I want to enjoy my life as much as possible so I have found a level of contentment that helps keep the fears at bay.
I hope you too can get some peace of mind and enjoy the future.
Many best wishes
Thanks Cathie! xx
I’ve just got home from a visit to my GP and asked him the same thing. He laughed and said that it’s better to be a hypochondriac than have something important ignored. He also told me that it’s probably too early to be thinking in terms of normal/new normal and that I should give myself some more time. Good advice which I am going to try very hard to follow!
I finished my treatment 3 years ago now and it does take time to feel anything like normal.
I believe the effects of chemo are in the body for quite a while so don’t expect to feel 100% just yet.
It doesn’t help that news is full of people who have died from cancer but I just think well if it comes back it will and I will have to deal with it.
Like Cathie I try to eat properly and exercise a little but still have my daily glass of red wine.
We are all hypochondriacs I think but over time you will not think about cancer every day.
Have a good Christmas and a Happy and HEALTHY New Year.
Breast Cancer Care are aware of how often women struggle with moving forward after thier treatment has finished and have produced a special pack specifically to try to help. I have included the link to order the information or to read it on line:-
I hope you find this helpful.
Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator
I think you just need to give it time. At the moment you are going to be going through a lot of first anniversaries - eg your Christmas Eve one coming up. That is bound to bring everything back to you with each little anniversary.
As time goes on you will find that it recedes further in your mind, and those little niggles will be less threatening.
I was diagnosed Feb 2007, so I am approaching five years now. Mostly I don’t think about it at all, other than as something that happened to me in the past. I still have the odd day when everything seems very bleak, but not very often.
Nymeria, to echo what’s been said above it does take time and in a way it’s liking a grieving process. It’s over 2 years for me now and cancer takes a less prominent role in my thoughts now than it used to. This is probably because physically I have gradually been able to do more as the effects of surgery, chemo and radiotherapy have worn off. I too have felt like a hypochrondriac from time to time and have had my bleaker moments. About a year into the whole process I did have about 6 sessions with an excellent counsellor which really did help me to offload and look at some things differently - I know it’s not for everyone but if you think it might be useful your GP may be able to arrange this although personally I found one privately via the cancer information centre at my local hospital. (Not sure where you are but she’s based in Gloucestershire so PM me if you want her details).
Oh and the BCC Moving Forward pack is excellent. Good practical stuff as well as validating some of the emotions we’re going through.
I would echo what the other ladies have said “what is normal” after all we have gone through? I did find the Moving Forwards pack very helpful and BCC do/did a course of a similar name. Also on the 'cancercounsellingtrust.org.uk’web site there are some articles by Dr Peter Harvey eg. After the treatment has finished etc that I found really helpful.I am 2yrs exactly from Dx and now back at work F/T it has not been easy. I also had 3 out of 6 sessions with a counsellor at my GP surgery (her funding got cut so had 3 sessions rather than 6 prescribed ones)Gradually BC takes a less prominent place in my mind.I find the meditation and visulisation tapes really help for my emotionally well being Hope some of this helps Jxx