Hello. I am a new member to the group. I was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2016. A large (12.5cm) tumour was found on my left kidney by a CT scan which was preparation for a prostate op (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Had radical nephrectomy, 10 weeks recovery, then prostate operation. The histology from the kidney showed my tumour to be a grade 4, aggressive type with a fairly low survival rate,(2% over 10 years). 2 years on from my prostate op, I am still clear of cancer but still struggling with the emotional side of things. I play golf, socialise and try to live a ‘normal’ life, but cannot put aside the expectation of early death. I feel I should be able to celebrate my survival, but am still very depressed. I’ve had 4 sessions with a counsellor and tried a short mindfulness course. Other ideas would be welcome. Also someone told me recently that because I now only have 1 kidney, I should avoid over drinking of water! Anyone heard that one before?
Hello Sunset copper and welcome to the community. Firstly, good to know you are clear of cancer. Many of us here will be aware of your emotions. The cancer may leave your body, but it stays in our minds for a long time, maybe forever. Every ache, pain, and niggle makes us think twice. The normal as we knew it has gone and we have to learn to live with the new norm. There is a great paper we like to point people to, After Treatment Finishes - Then What by Dr. Peter Harvey. It is a bit of a read, but worth it. You will recognise many things. We have another group here you may find it helpful to join, Life After Cancer . There you will find many others with the same feeling as yourself and maybe able to help and advise. As regards water, I know over hydration can be dangerous, so you should talk to your medics for the recommended amount. Best wishes.
Hi Sunset copper,
I think I know where you are coming from. I was told I had an incurable cancer aged 36, so I have thought a lot about early death.
i don’t think it is something you ever “accept”, I am over 3 years in now, and every now and again it will catch me that I might not be around into my old age. I think the important word in that last sentence is “might”. For sure, you were dealt a rough hand, for sure the future might not be what you thought it should be, but really we don’t know anything for sure - I think we just try the best we can and get on with what we’ve got.
If it helps, I’ve had over 20 sessions in the past with a counsellor/psychologist, so these things take a long time to work themselves through in my experience. Try not to give yourself a hard time in thinking you should be doing better.
Tricks that have worked for me that you might want to consider trying:
Distraction - works wonders - takes your mind off thinking too much (I’m guessing you’re doing this already with golf/socialising?
Realising that you can’t predict the future - you really can’t do it, no one can, so is there any point trying to?
Life’s purpose - you will be dead one day, I can virtually guarantee you that. When you are dead, if you are able to look back, what would be most important to you - the length of time you lived, or what you did in your time?
Recognising that Depression/sadness is an entirely normal emotion - you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel like that sometimes - the trick is not letting it take over - I try to fill my time with happy moments to crowd out the not so good ones, and don’t focus overly on them - they are temporary - they’ll go away sooner or later
Staying in the moment - there is beauty in it. Since the moment we were born we’ve had a clock ticking down on us, but really is there are point in thinking about that? We were pretty lucky that that sperm found that egg. We could have not existed at all. Now there is a philosophical question about which one is better, but I prefer to take my chances with the chance I’ve got.
I realise I am in a good place at the moment, and it is pretty crap when you are not. But I really hope this helps in some way and I’m hoping you begin to make sense of it soon.
And when you do, please let me know!
All the best,
This may sound a bit daft, but I happened to watch a programme today called the Dog Whisperer. Caesar Milan is the dog trainer/psychologist. Something he said struck a chord, "Dogs and children live in the moment. Dogs and children do not look back and do not look to the future. They live in the present". I thought this could apply to post cancer patients. What is the point of looking back and thinking "what if ?" The same applies to looking forward. No point in wondering what "may" happen. Enjoy each day as it comes and deal with problems as and if they occur. Best wishes.
Morning Sunset copper
Sort of brings to mind a saying we used to have as a 'footnote' to our messages....
Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery - but Today is a Gift
G n' J
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Thanks Gregg. I’ve actually been really lucky, as my illness gave me no symptoms. I injured my back climbing out of the bath. After 2 months of physio the therapist wanted me to have a mri scan and that led to a blood test, which kicked everything off. They told me, if we had found the cancer 2 months later, it would have been too late. It turns out there is no relationship between the cancer and the injury, so it was total luck that it was found in time.
I’m sorry to hear of your situation. Being diagnosed so young must be difficult to cope with.
Thanks. A good thought. My springer spaniel was always happy and a damn site cleverer than her owner. As long as I took her plenty of walks she forgave me for being useless at chasing rabbits.
Hi Sunset Copper,
i reckon that is the main thing to focus on. Of course, you would rather not have had cancer, but it could always be worse.
That’s the way I think anyway.
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