Is it nornal to feel low after treatment has finished?

Hi All,

i finished treatment in oct 08 and at the moment for the past few days i feel very tearful. There are days i don’t want to get out of my bed and want to just hide. I’m trying to be strong and not cry in front of the kids but i just don’t know why i keep on having these unexplainable outbursts. i know its coming up to the first anniversary of dx and i should be glad as i have come along way from last year but the emotions are horrid.

any comments would be great.
sukes

Hi Sukes

Lots of people feel very low after treatment has finished. There’s a really good article by Peter Harvey which you can find by googling Peter Harvey, After Treatment has Finished.

Go gently with yourself. A cancer diagnosis is for many of us deeply traumatic.

best wishes

Jane

Hi Sukes

I remember feeling exactly like you are feeling now and couldn’t explain to anyone. I tried to keep the tears private but sometimes they would flow for no reason at all. I think its a form of relief and if I was you I’d just let them flow naturally for a time. I’m pleased to report though that as time has gone by (my dx was may 2006 and i finished treatment in February 07) that my emotions are more or less back to normal. I still cry at the slightest thing, soppy films and sad situations, but i did that before dx as well. That’s not to say that some days i feel down but they are much less frequent now. I’m sure you’ll feel emotionally stronger as time goes by.

Don’t be hard on yourself - Just remember that the last twelve months has been traumatic and it takes time to get over.

Take Care

Anniemay

When I finished treatment I felt like I had been cut loose, and really missed the people at the hospital who cared for me. It’s also difficult to flip your psychological state from ‘Oh my God I’ve got cancer’ to putting it all in the past & moving on. I didn’t let myself feel many of the bad feelings while I was actually fighting the cancer & it was only ‘afterwards’ that they rushed in on me.
At least while you are being treated you know where you stand and you have lots of support. After treatment you can feel rather abandoned - but this web site is a wonderful resource, and I’m sure that others will be able to reassure you that they have had similar experiences.
Talking about it all was a big help for me. Maybe you need someone (not the kids) to have a really good cry on - I’ve always found crying to be a great release.
Lots of love,
Lynn

Hello Sukes

Just to add another voice to support you.

I was diagnosed in Feb this year and finished treatment in the summer. At the time I think my body and mind summoned up every particle of positivity they could and I got through it all feeling amazingly upbeat. For me, a combination of going back to work full-time in September and being discharged by the plastics dept (still have regular checks with the breast team) has left me feeling incredibly low.

For a number of weeks now, I’ve been terribly tearful and I’m finding it very hard to cope at work. Most of the time I try to smile and say I’m fine, but occasionally I’ll get really upset. Luckily I’ve got an appointment to see the consultant breast care nurse next week who also happens to be a counsellor, so I was going to ask her advice about how best to deal with this. I’ve never been here before, as I’ve always been incredibly positive so it feels very alien. But I understand that it’s a very common reaction after treatment and a bit like post traumatic stress.

I agree with Lynn that you end up missing the people at hospital who cared for you - I had the most wonderful plastic surgeon who kissed me goodbye a couple of weeks ago, which should be a very positive step forwards…but it just added to my feelings of loss.

I would also recommend the article by Peter Harvey which Jane recommends - it’s excellent.

Thinking of you and hoping we’re both on our way to feeling less emotionally wobbly.

Lots of love

Lizzie

Hi,

Just echoing all the comments above - low & abandoned !

I sort of finished treatment in March but have to go back monthly for a drip & fortnightly for physio plus 2 monthly to see the consultants so I do still have the support to some extent .

After I tried to go back to work but had to go off sick again, I rang my bcn who has been brilliant and very reassuring - I found I was in tears over nothing at all but always in private - and she has helped me come to terms with all the treatment, after effects and side effects. They’re still very unpleasant but I am now managing better and feel I have more control. Like Lizzie says, my nurse pointed out it is like post traumatic stress and all the feelings are 100% normal.

Lizzie - I can relate completely to the work thing. I aimed to go back after a year off on a very part-time basis, found myself in tears away from work loads & got very upset over the tiniest unimportant things. In the end the phone call I made to my bcn was the best thing I did. Under her instructions & those of the surgeon I went off sick again as I just couldn’t cope. Don’t feel you have to stay at work if it’s making you worse like it was with me.

Liz

I think it must be normal to feel low. I have certainly felt very low since coming to end of chemo. Now awaiting rads. Feel very pessimistic about my future and writing will etc. I have never been given prognosis and feel that with six lymph nodes involved and finding out three weeks ago that cancer cells had spread outside lymph nodes (another bad sign) that the likelihood of recurrence/secondaries is very high in my case coupled with being HER2+++. I am aware that others find me pessimistic and expect me to be positive now that treatment is coming to an end. But I just feel so worn down by the whole thing. Continuing hospital visits and nearly a year of Herceptin. Within that there seems to be no guarantee or checks that the treatments have or are wortking. How do others live with the uncertainty of everything. I find I no longer plan a future only today or tomorrow. I am amazed I am still here nearly a year later.

All,

Thanks so much for responding. I am filling up with tears just reading the responses. There is so much uncertainty and now i think i’ve got time to think about what has happened over the past year i am stuggling to say the least. I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone because i keep breaking down. don’t want to see people again keep on crying. I try and hold these tears in with 3 littleones around but occasionally i’m cooking and crying eating and crying typing and crying…

i’ve searched under google for peter harvey but all other links pop up? can someone point me in the right direction.

Maybe i need to go back to work as all i’mdoing is focusing on the past and the fear of the future rather than “just getting on with it”. Its so hard to explain why and i feel so angry with myself for feeling like this.

Thanks
Sukes

Hi Sukes

I’ll try copying in the Peter Harvey link and hope this might be useful: (edited by moderator)

If this doesn’t work try searching the following: Peter Harvey after treatment has finished

I can understand you feel angry with yourself for feeling the way you do - I’m the same. I think if you’ve always been strong, it’s a shock to feel your emotions letting you down - and yet they’re not. I suppose it’s a natural expression and outlet for the shock and trauma which we’ve been through - but yes, I agree that it’s hard not to focus on anything but yourself and how low you feel.

Liz suggested I might be better to take some more time off work, but I think I need to persevere as at least a busy job forces me to focus elsewhere for at least some of each day. However, my self confidence is very low and I need to start to believe in myself again otherwise I’ll end up stuffing things up at work as well as at home!

Anyway I’m thinking of you and take heart from others who’ve written about having been here and then moved on - I’m sure it will come.

Lots of love again.

Lizzie xx

For starfish

Hi there

I think it is so hard when others keep expecting you to be ‘positive’ and you are struggling with the reality of a poor prognosis (which is reality…not pessimism.) I think there is a dearth of support for those with primary diagnosis who have a poor prognosis…often people diagnosed at Stage 3. Of course cancer is unpredictable and people with a good prognosis can get recurrence…but they usually don’t and thats the natute of having a good prognosis. Conversely those with a poor prognosis actually are in a more precarious position…that’s what having a poor prognosis means. All is not the ‘same’ in the world of primary breast cancer.

You ask how to deal with the uncertainty of everything. I have no easy answers except to say that it gets easier as time passes. I had a poor primary diagnois and felt as you do at the end of tretament (and you’re not at the end of tretament yet). As the months pssed…I had three monthly check ups…I got more confident, the fear did shift, I began to hope I might be on the wrong side of the statitists. I did get an incurable recurrence but later than I expected (3 and half years after diagnonsi). Looking back I am grateful for those years of NED, and for the psychological preparation I did in case I got the recurrence anticipated for me. Somehow I did get used to uncertainty and there were many happy times.

Of course you will worry…herceptin might be your wonder drug…or it might not be. Sometimes though herceptin really is. I have an old cyber freind who still posts on here occsionally diagnosed at the same time as me in 2003 wiith an aggressive her2+++ cancer…she was among the first in the UK to get herceptin and she’s NED five years on…there are remarkable and real stories about herceptin which may help you to feel hopeful. Sometimes I think we have to hold hope and fear in our hands at the same time.

verry best wishes

Jane

hi sukes and everyone else

for me the big thing about finishing is that you don’t end up back where you started … i.e. “back to normal” is actually somewhere over the rainbow!..

I was instinstantly IRRITATED BEYOND BELIEF the other day as I could feel a stinking stinking lurgy coming on (which I now have) and my brother told me to just take a few tablets like he did and I wouldn’t even know I’d got it - … he nearly got something and it wasn’t a few tablets!

he keeps telling me that some goalkeeper had cancer and was back to normal in 8 weeks and I should just be more positive and go down the s*dding gym!

irritating or what … words fail …

I suppose I am trying to say that we are now different and thats why we need to come on here and chat to each other because no-one else really understands …

JUST PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER WOMAN ( that was a joke by the way!)

good luck and hope you feel better soon
love FB Xx

Hi,

Thankyou so much for the link magsi and fizzie. I cryed when reading it, its so true, buti feel i need to read it several times over before really digesting and acting upon it.

I spoke to the macmillian nurse today and she suggested i go see the doc about anti depressants.

Thanks for all the support
sukes

Sukes,
I understand how you feel,I have been diagnosed with mild depression since my BC diagnosis.I have had some counselling which is great and I have also attended some relaxation and stress reduction classes at a local Maggies centre so have managed without anti-depressants.Maybe ask your GP if there is any counselling available to try before going down the drug route.
I also find chatting on here makes me feel less alone with these feelings.
Its interesting that anyone wanting breast augmentation is referred to a psychologist but with BC its wham bam and off you go now!
The main thing I am coming to realise is that my feelings are OK and I shouldn’t beat myself up about being “down” I liken the feelings post treatment to post traumatic stress.
The stress class teaches us varies ways of destressing and encourages us to spend a little more time each day concentrating on the present rather than the past or the future.
Good luck and hugs to all,
Dot
x

Hi All

My underlying problem is that my ‘inner’ body seems to be getting itself flustered and causing high blood pressure when on the outside I am calm and not strressed. I cannot control it! I can only think that it is my sub-concious!

I am eating (too much!) and sleeping well and coping with work. I have no relationship worries or money worries (not rich or even comfortable - just survive - but very happy like this) and cannot understand - it’s almost like I have got post traumatic shock. My symptoms are classic anxiety and to be quite honest it’s really p*ssing me off! I have arranged through work to see a counsellor to see if this helps and waiting to see if Occupational Health can do anything.

on Tuesday I didn’t feel quite ‘right’ so I nipped along to a local treatment room near to work where they took my blood pressure - it was a scarily high 170/104 which the reading itself shocked me. The nurses were lovely and confirmed it was most likely anxiety causing it. The advised me to see my doctor - which I did last night. This is the response I got:-

“try and forget it now - I had a car crash once and have forgotten about it” - “God has chosen this path for you and you cannot do anything about it” - he also poopoo’d the idea of seeing a counsellor - “Talk to your family and husband” - well I nearly had a thrombosis attack there and then! I was so gob smacked that I just nodded at him - took the advice not to eat too much salt, drink too much alcohol - the usual blah blah blah and came out of his surgery feeling like a neurotic mad woman with my blood at boiling point!

I have had good support from him the last year…maybe he is p*ssed off with seeing me??? I think it is time to look for another doctor!

Hello Sukes. I am just coming to the end of my treatment, one week to go, and am currently having counselling, as since my chemo finished, i have been having many days where i feel very tearful and cry for what i think is no reason. I was given the all clear 2 months ago, and feel that i should be on such a high, but im not, and neither is my husband. i have been told that this is quite natural and may go on for some time. I guess we have been through so much, that even after it is all over, we cant just switch it all off and carry on as though it never happened. it has been such a traumatic time for us and it does catch up with us eventually.
perhaps we should just have a good cry when we feel like it, and not bottle it up.
anyway, chin up and heres to a better 2009 and happier times
deb x

All,

I so hope the coming years are better tha n this one. On Tuesday it was my birthday and said i wasn’t going to get upset but it really hit home. I think also because its the first anniversary of everything too like first christmas, first yr of dx, first birthday etc it just gets the better of me. Everyone thinks your okay because yr hairs come back but they don’t realise how difficult it is to find yourself again. It like being a child again and learning to walk all over again. Don’t get me wrong I feel i’m a more understanding and better person now (not such a bitch like b4) but i sometimes feel i’m moarning for who i once was…The confident, outgoing, bubbly person who didn’t fear everypain and took everything on the chin…The person who never feared risk…I want to start living but question how with all these fears and tears.

Thanks all for listening and it really does help coming on here.

sukes

.

Sukes, are you me in disguise?

If it’s any help, I see a pattern in me, and I think it’s a primal ‘mummy animal’ response. When things are bad, I’m ‘marvellous’ and do all the coping thing - like a mummy animal getting all the cubs safely into the nest. Then, when it’s safe - Wallop! I fall to bits. We are on the same timescale, and I’ve been back at work 6 weeks. I get more depressed by the day and I think i will need to go to the GP soon about some anti depressants as I am finding it harder and harder to hold it all together.

Big virtual hugs.
Ann
x

Hi All

Well you’ve certainly summed it all up. I’m glad it’s not just me. I was so positive whilst being treated that I knew at the time it couldn’t last forever and now I feel as though I’ve been dropped from a great height. GP no good either.

Thanks to all for support on this site.
Ro
xx

And me. I finished treatment last month, diagnosed in February and whilst feeling much better physically, mentally I feel a bit down and tearful. I think after treatment finishes there is a lot of time for reflection and I feel more worried for the future now I am not having active treatment except Tamoxifen. This is causing me the usual aches and pains,hot flushes etc, which I know are a small price to pay but the aches and pains worry me constantly. I did mention them to my GP and he just said “I would worry about every ache and pain if I had just been through what you have been through this year - you are just having a normal reaction to the end of your treatment”.

Jules