What is New Normal

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Hi all, I’m 35 and 5 months from diagnosis of Womb Cancer and 4 months from having my operation of a full hysterectomy to remove the cancer. I was lucky that the cancer was removed and I didn’t need any further treatment. Although I did end up back in hospital due to a bleed and need to be monitored and have blood transfusion. 
my cancer experience was a whirl wind and i feel so overwhelmed. 
I feel like I’m scared all the time, I don’t know who I am I feel so different. 
my husband and I were going to start our fertility journey when this happened so I feel I was hit with 2 whammy’s of life changing things. 
I went back to work rather quickly as the anxiety of not knowing what it will be like was taking over and I now know it was too quick! 

i just feel like I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel as if I’m doing 10 mphs down the motorway trying to get back to “normal” but everyone else doing 70!

I’m jus scared all the time 

  • Hi  and welcome to this little corner of the community.

    Get off the motorway and enjoy the country roads where you can drive (live) at a slower pace. I live in the Scottish Highlands and one of the best recovery/recuperation tools I, we as a family used was enjoy the moment and not focus on what everyone around us was doing…… what is the saying?….. wake-up and smell the roses.

    My cancer journey is very different (obviously) from yours. I was diagnosed with my incurable but treatable very rare blood cancer (Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) way back of n 1999 at 43 and had multiple treatments only ever achieving partial remission for day max 9 months then back onto treatment….. it took until late 2013 before things kicks off in a big way (you can see the full story in the link at the bottom) but basically the treatment plan had to work as without it I had a few years back on the clock.

    Well I was eventually told I was in full remission in Sep 2016 and remain in remission to this day, turned 67 last Nov and living the dream.

    “What is the New Normal?”…… everyone is different how this is approached but for me…… every time I went into partial remission it was yet another opportunity for me and my family to do things we wanted to do….. not what others thought we should be doing.

    I will say that at 4 months post a life changing operation you are still in the healing phase, you are still dealing with the trauma…….. what practical things have you actually done to unpack this journey?…… talking with family and friends often don’t achieve the results you actually need.

    As a starter you may find it helpful to make a cuppa and have a look at this great paper After Treatment Finishes - Then What? by Dr Peter Harvey as it highlights the post treatment milestones….. then once you read it….. read it again then come back and answer a simple question ‘looking at the main headings of the paper….. what, if any anything have you managed to do to move life on in these areas’ ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Thank you so much Mike, I really appreciate the message. I will definitely go and have a read. 
    I hear trauma being mentioned a lot, and I am having counselling and being told that I am suffering with PTSD. I think I need to press pause like you say. 

    Thank you for sharing your story and I’m sending best wishes to you and your family 

  • Hi Sparklerain,

    You're definitely in the right place - I'm sure many of us here will relate to what you describe. I know I do.

    It took me nearly a year after my surgery before I realised I needed to get some help to deal with my PTSD symptoms. I'm really glad you have sought this out for yourself and hope you  have a counsellor that is trauma- informed and trained. I think you really need a specialist on this area to help you work through what you've been through. I had a few sessions with a counsellor through my employers who was really quite useless as my experience was way outside her realm of knowledge. When I got support from someone who was trained to support people with PTSD and it made the world of difference. I can remember that just having the feelings I was having being named as PTSD was a big help. It helped me make sense of a lot of what was happening to me - the panic attacks, poor sleep and, yes, the constant fear. I have learned that while we are going through the diagnosis and treatment stages we are in a state of survival and when the immediate threat is over our brain starts to try to make sense of it all. That definitely takes time. I'm just over 2 years post surgery (that was also the end of my treatment) and I'm still finding my way through it all.

    The idea of 'getting back to normal' has been a pre-occupation of mine for the last 2 years. A big part of me didn't want to go back to where I was. Something enormous had happened to me and I wanted - needed - to feel differently about the world and my place in it. I thought the change would be obvious and immediate, but it has been a slow and very gradual process and the changes are sometimes not immediately clear and not in ways that I expected.

    We have been through a life-changing experience. For you, the double whammy of losing the opportunity to become a parent has been taken away as well as parts of your body. That's so cruel and I'm so sorry that has happened to you. 

    I agree with Highlander, slowing down is a good option! You have such a lot to deal with in relation to what you have been through, what you are experiencing now and decisions about your future. Please be compassionate towards yourself and allow yourself space and time to work through all this. Your body may be healing well (I hope it is), but your emotional life now needs just as much of your attention!

    I wish you well - and please keep posting if  and when you need to!