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Hi just wanted to write a few of the things I've been feeling during my treatment as I'm sure (hoping) that a lot of you probably have had similar feelings - I'd like to know because it would reassure me that it's all normal and would be nice to have someone to relate to and understands these feelings.
I'm halfway through my chemotherapy now and I'm just drained and over having to plan my life around having to go into hospital every 2 weeks to receive treatment. It just drains me emotionally having this whole illness and it's treatment take over my life, especially as I had to suspend university. I find it hard not to get consumed by it all and then end up thinking about it 90% of the time. This is because of either an appointment that's coming up, a side effect I'm dealing with, or the fact when I'm seeing family & friends I know that the first thing they are going to ask is whether I'm ok. Does anyone else get a bit fed up of having to tell people how you are doing but at the same time feel guilty for feeling annoyed about it because you know they are only asking because they care? I just feel like when I'm asked if I'm ok I will always say yes because it's easier, and almost feel bad for saying how I actually feel. I just find I struggle dealing with people the most because it makes this process more intense - I just want to speak to people & feel normal and not think that my cancer is the elephant in the room.
Please let me know if any of you have had similar feelings to me! Thanks.
I would definitely say that your feelings are normal. Cancer can be all-consuming, especially when you are on treatment. A lot of people around you are probably going through their own issues related to your diagnosis (depending on how close they are to you), and so it is bound to be a difficult situation for all concerned.
All I will say is that it definitely gets better as time goes on and as treatment finishes. Time is a healer generally, but as the treatment kicks in and does what it is supposed to do, you will probably find your interactions with others returning to normal. Another thing that might help you is to give yourself a project that you can get stuck into whilst you are on treatment. That way, it gives you something else other than cancer to focus on, and gives others a chance to talk about something else as well?
In terms of responding to the "how are you doing?" question, I've come to learn that it depends on who is asking the question. Sometimes, people ask that question by default - almost like an add-on to a "hello" - it is not a genuine question, just a pleasantry, and so I would have a standard reply in those situations. If it was someone closer, I would be more open with how I am really feeling, but like you say, also aware that I don't want to drag them down if they have their own issues to deal with, so perhaps a balanced reply. I would always be honest with my medical team, and if you are feeling a deep need to offload, maybe something like counselling might help, as it offers an opportunity to really unload without upsetting someone close to you - and also this site is great for getting things off your chest too, so I have often used this site to help with that too.
Hope this helps
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completely 100% normal. You are so not alone. The treatment does take over your life and it’s very hard to come to terms with that. And then the constant questions and dealing with people. I’m 55 so at least some of my friends have been there and done that. If you’re at university I imagine that’s not the case.
Of course people are asking because they care and I don’t want to throw that back in their faces. So sometimes I’ll just say how I’m doing very briefly and then add “do you mind if we talk about something else? I’m fed up with talking about it and I want to hear something nice from your life”. Often it’s a relief for everyone. It allows for an honest response as I don’t have to say I’m ok if I’m not.
With my extended family, I keep everyone up to date with a WhatsApp group. I don’t have to keep repeating myself and everyone has the same information. They can send me the nice sympathy message and we can be more normal when we see each other in person.
It can feel really tough, I know, but I have learned that I need to take charge.
I hope this helps.
What is a community champ?
I'm very new to all this having been diagnosed last November, and have found it to be one of the steepest learning curves I've ever been on. Whilst I've been briefed on my planned treatment, dates, and side effects, no one could tell me of the mental and emotional turmoil that was to come.
I have found in this short time that I have, like you, found that cancer does indeed occupy a great deal of your thinking time. It doesn't help me that, due to the nature of my employment, that I tend to work alone, so when the opportunity arises to have a distracting conversation I grab it.
I learned that my responses to the Question How are you? depends upon who I'm talking to. To my Line manager, and my medical team I can be bluntly honest. They're non judgemental, and will listen, as will my Holistic support team. To my eldest son, he receives a brief update on where I am treatment wise. My youngest son receives a fuller picture. He takes a great interest in what is happening to me, and how I feel. I honest too, to a neighbour who has been through breast cancer twice, and has an understanding that only those who have actually experienced a diagnosis will understand. My wife is the the trickiest of people to deal with. She carries quite a burden in her life, and to have her husband diagnosed with cancer too, well quite frankly, I don't know how she does it. Consequently, I have to handle her carefully. She'd like to live in denial, as if it wasn't happening, but understands that it is. I have to tell her a little, shield her from most of my emotional side effects, and it's a fine balance, to give enough to satisfy, but not too much to cause worry.
So there you are. You're not alone with whats happening to you in the crazy world that cancer brings.
Best wishes to you and I hope your treatment goes well.
This is very true. Being 21 not a lot of my friends had ever known anyone with cancer and so I think naturally there are even more questions and more worry about how I am doing. But thank-you for your advice, I do try to alter what I say to different people but its hard to say the truth about how you are but also to hide it as you don't want people sweeping the situation under the carpet either.
I am hoping this is something that will get better with time.
Thank-you !! x
Thank-you for your message, it is really helpful and reassuring.
I agree, and I find dealing with the physical side of my health easier than the emotional/social side of things. Yes I understand that with your work and being alone. I have had to come home to have treatment - as I was away at Uni - and so I find myself sitting in my room with nothing to do and just dwelling on everything but then reluctant to meet friends etc as I don't want the topic to come up either and have to put my 'brave face' on. I'm hoping this will all become easier with time and the questions will become less.
Thank-you, hope everything is going well with you too!
I am sorry to hear you’ve had to come home. That’s a major disruption at a crucial time in your life. I know this is going to sound ridiculous coming from someone old enough to be your mum but sitting in your room with nothing to do is unlikely to be a good thing. You need to find something that takes both hands and enough of your brain to keep busy. For me it’s knitting and crochet. I sew too. Yes, yes, I can picture the picture I’m conjuring up in your mind right now. Blanket on my knees, needles in hand. Possibly a mole on my chin and the monthly diary for the WI on the coffee table. I’d like to protest but actually it’s true. Except for the WI leaflet. I am partly joking, partly deadly serious; partly saying take up knitting and partly realising that’s just a step too far. In all seriousness do cast aside preconceptions and find something creative whether it’s a craft like knitting or art. There are threads in the breast and womb groups that testify to the healing power of doing this.
Pep talk over. As you were.
Me again. Just a thought. Did you know there’s a group for people diagnosed young in this community? I don’t visit it so I don’t know how active it is. Here’s a link
This might be a duplicate post as the one I just sent seems not to have appeared. I was flagging up the group diagnosed at a young age in case it’s of interest to you
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