How are you supposed to feel?

Hi. this is the first time I have ever posted on an online community. I'm not sure how to start but I guess I'm trying to figure out how I am supposed to feel. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 28. it took my local hospital 10 months to give me a diagnosis and in the end it was another hospital that took over my case. I was told I had cancer and assigned a Macmillan nurse. so to cut a really long story short I am now 32 and three surgerys down... my last was in october 2018 and was the most radical of them all lasting 5 hours in surgery. it has been a really long road of recovery i returned to work on a phased return in feb and still I am only back in work 4 full days a week. im completley exhausted all the time and the pain can be horrific. I bleed really heavily and partially incontinent. I dont feel like me anymore and I'm exhausted for pretending to be the person  I no longer am. my job entails me to be happy all the time and by the time I get home everything hurts, i feel useless. is this normal? on top of this I'm also studying for my masters degree...  any help or advice really would be amazing. my friends and family are amazing and supportive but somthings I just dont feel I can tell them. 

  • Dear rnd20, you have had 4 years of living with the stress of being treated for cancer so the idea that this won’t have been a life changing experience seems a remote possibility. You are a new version of your old self, more empathetic and now know what is really important in life. It’s difficult when you have a job where you are required to be “ on” all the time, it’s sometimes a case of faking it till you can make it. Have you ever really discussed the trauma of what you have been through, just because your treatment has been successful it doesn’t mean you are not worthy of help, do you have a maggies centre near you. As for your physical problems don’t suffer in silence, the ladies in the cervical cancer forum will be a great source of help to you. Congratulations on deciding to study for your masters degree, hopefully it will open up opportunities for you in the future to follow your dreams.

  • I have no advise just hugs to send you. You’ve been through hell. Please research all the help that you can get through Macmillan and other organisations etc.

    Speak to your employer if you haven’t already. Could they move you to another department where you’re not required to put on a happy attitude?  

    I hope someone with more useful info can help in here but I’m sending lots of hugs and strength.  

    Sharon x 

  • Thank you so much for the reply. I've spoken to people but I think over the years I've come to the conclusion unless you have had cancer I dont think people really get it. is it normal to feel so tired if I havent had chemo or radio? I do feel like I've gotten away so lightly and feel like a fraud even complaining but cancer i feel has just destroyed me. I will deffenitley  look in to that any help or tips greatly appreciated! I am going to physio it is helping but everything just takes so much time.  xx

  • I feel exactly the same. I’m SO lucky I was diagnosed and had my op 5 weeks later. But now everyone is like ‘why are you still upset?’   And I’m like I HAD CANCER!!! 

    its almost like accepting you’re an alcoholic or something and admitting it to other people.  They don’t get it, how could they? And I hope my family never have to know how it feels ( my aunt is terminal but reasonably ok at the moment, lost 2 cousins to it 2 years ago and my father in law is waiting for an op for a benign skin cancer on his eyelid so that’s enough!) 

    do what you need to do for YOU 

    always here if if you want to rant. Don’t know if we can exchange numbers etc but happy to. 


  • Thank you for the reply. I live over two hours away from the hospital that looks after me and that's where my nurse is based as well as the Maggie's centre. I do feel bad that I'm taking up time that could be used for someone else. I find it all so confusing.  Bex xx

  • Hi Bex, up in the Highlands where we stay it’s normal for folks to do a weekly 4-5 hours round trip just to get the support that is available at our Inverness Maggie’s you do all need to push the doors to see what is available as some small steps in the right direction can have a significant effect on you being able to move forward.

    My main treatment centre was in Glasgow so a 9 - 10 hour round trip but these trips were an essential  part of my post treatment recovery ((hugs))

  • I'm happy to as well, are we aloud? oh that's horrific with your aunt. a close friend of mine was diagnosed and we were eachothers sounding board. she died 9 weeks ago from bowl cancer. i think that has quietly had an effect on me also. worrying about what may happen. everything just seems so scary. xxx

  • Wow there are no words  I know how I feel after a 2 hour trip let alone 9-10 hours. yes its having the courage to get the ball rolling. thank you xxx

  • Hi RND20

    I know what its like to be in a job where being happy and empathetic is the name of the game. That was me before I retired. You are doing so well going in and doing your job.

    You need to unload so please speak to your Nurse, it has been a traumatic journey, get rid of that feeling that you are a fraud, you are not so it is time to now care for you.  I do hope it all works well. Look after yourself, get a sick cert, take some time for you

    I wish you all the best

    Love Inanna xx

  • Hi RND20,

    As well as echoing what others have said, you seem to be discounting the fact that bleeding heavily is going to be depleting your body so no wonder you are shattered after a full day at work. And doing an MA too! Can you ask for an extension on the MA if it is just one thing too many? You are young to have been through so much ( and still going through it with the after effects). Give yourself some credit for your resilience in the face of some real difficulties.