These comments and posts are so helpful: I thought there was something wrong with me not wanting to “ring the bell” as so many people assumed I would.
thank you forum friends x
@AnnieV Jaybro has hit the nail on the head. Last time I went through this, I did a course at Maggies called "Where Now?" as there is huge recognition that the post-treatment phase can be in many ways, so much harder, especially emotionally. You feel adrift. You feel like you 'should' be better, and the well-meaning cheer from friends and family thinking you must be delighted to be finished is at hard odds with still feeling in recovery and tired and traumatised.
Give yourself time. Ease back into things. Don't be shy of telling people that you're still convalescing from one of the hardest things you've ever been through. Be kind to yourself, and keep reaching out for support.
The good news is that you ARE on the mend from that point; it might not be as fast as you'd like, but every day is a healing one. Take care xx
Congratulations on getting this far. You may well find there are people who, because they can’t see any evidence of illness, may expect you to be well but, in my opinion, they can go hang. You've had a physically and emotionally traumatic time and you need to recover at your own pace. That’s the essential thing. Listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re exhausted, sleep. If you feel mentally numb, be kind to yourself. We all recover in our own ways but please don’t feel under any obligation to be what others want you to be. Find your own pace and don’t rush it. I found radiotherapy very easy, then two weeks later, it hit me hard in terms of fatigue.
The end of radiotherapy can feel strange. Personally I had no wish to ring that bell because I knew it wasn’t over and emotionally and physically I had a long way to go. For others, ringing the bell is an important and defining moment in their recovery. The other key issue is that you’ve been accustomed to being under the care of the hospital and suddenly you’re on your own. It can be very disconcerting. I was in the fortunate position to access support services via Macmillan and The Haven but of course, face-to-face support was halted with the pandemic and has yet to be re-established, unless you have access to a Maggie’s Centre. What’s missing are the physical therapies like acupuncture and aromatherapy massage that patients were entitled to after treatment. So it’s important you find ways to pamper and indulge yourself. You’ve earned it.
What others think isn’t as important as what you feel you’re up to. Don’t be pressured but also don’t let breast cancer define you (unless you’re ok with it). You may find you have to educate some people! Good luck xx
Reading this thread with interest as I am now just over half way through radiotherapy. Wondering if everyone will expect me to get back to normal from next Wednesday. Wondering how I will feel next Wednesday. Thank you for posting this link; it is a very good description & has some helpful advice in it. Xx
After you’ve been under constant medical supervision for so long, it’s natural to feel abandoned and lost. Some people manage it without support, most people need to find support from their hospital’s support services (which may be being re-established now), Maggie’s centres and online sources of support.
I’m giving you the link to an article a nurse posted on one of the forums. I’ve read it repeatedly. It’s like he got inside my head and picked out all my concerns. Give it a read? It may help you understand that “You’re cancer-free” only applies to the body. The mind, the emotional backlash, have a long way to go.
Wishing you all the best in your emotional recovery (and expect the microwaving to start in about 2 weeks. Mine was just a bit of soreness front and back and didn’t last long but it did aggravate the neuropathic pain chemo had brought on and necessitated stronger medication than ibuprofen. Generally, that’s enough)
Glad to hear you have finished treatment and hope the soreness passes soon. I have been warned by radiologist that the soreness and itchy skin could still be to come. I’ve been using Aveeno too as was highly recommended on the forum. I’m expecting some down days, as even though at end of this journey, there’s been so much going on that I don’t think I’ve fully processed what I’ve been through.
Looking forward to ringing that bell tomorrow morning.
I'm now 6 weeks after my radiotherapy. It's still sore, itchy and tight unfortunately. I use the aveeno cream 3 times a day and sometimes Aloe when it's itchy/burning. I didn't get tired thankfully. I have had a few down days, but I think it's part of the process.
I did ring the 🔔 on my last session. It bought a tear to my eye.
I will be having my last radiotherapy session tomorrow of 20. Feeling happy but not sure what my emotions will feel like over next couple of weeks.... or the effect it will have on me in regards to side effects. Just a bit of soreness and tiredness so far.
wishing you all the best with your treatments