Struggling after treatment

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Hi, looking for some support post treatment, previous trauma left me with PTSD which flared up with my breast cancer diagnosis, I then went through a year of treatment, op, radiotherapy and three weekly injections and then had my first mammogram a month or so ago, after expecting to feel relief it’s been downhill since then and I’m now struggling with chronic anxiety all day and PTSD, sleep is impossible and eating is difficult to say the least, was I naive to expect to feel the flood of relief after the end of most of my treatment? I’m finding it difficult to accept feeling so awful and also feeling really disappointed in myself for being in this dark, scary place again whenI should be living my life, any words of wisdom would be really appreciated 

  • Hi again  …… even although I am now 24 years into my journey with my incurable blood cancer I am 7 years 8 months out from my last treatment, in remission and living a great life……. I see myself as post treatment in the hope that my cancer stays asleep and I remain living my new life after cancer.

    I put up this great paper After Treatment Finishes - Then What? by Dr Peter Harvey in your first post as it highlights the post treatment milestones…….. does it ring any bells with you?

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • The paper by Dr Peter Harvey certainly did resonate, I found it on the Macmillan site a few weeks ago and printed it out to keep reading, it seems to encompass everything I feel at the moment but I still struggle to see an end to feeling like this and a new normal 

  • I come from a teaching background so once an educator always an educator Wink 

    I always found the paper strikes a chord with people who read it and some do say that they think that the paper had been written just about them.

    But I always challenge folks to become proactive after reading it through and use it as a vehicle for change and life improvement.

    I did this a good number of years back when I was unpacking the stuff in the invisible rucksack that was put on my back when I started my full on treatments (see my story in through the link near the bottom)…. I can explain the rusksack another time if you want.

    So get a note book or some sheets of paper and put pen to paper - it is a good way forward.

    So a page per subject heading. Start detailing the things you have done already to move life on in each area and then start to set some achievable goals to work towards. 

    When you achieve the first goal on each lists, tick it off and then put a new goal at the bottom of the list. By doing this you can actually see your progress and celebrate achievements. When I say celebrate I do mean giving yourself treats and gifts........ you have life - celebrate it.

    The headings would be:

    What steps am I taking to regain trusts in my body?

    What steps am I taking to regain trust in myself?

    What steps am I taking to overcome living with uncertainty?

    What steps am I taking to deal with the world?

    What steps am I taking to regain mastery and control of my life?

    Try it, the future is sitting in front of you - think about driving a car. The big windscreen shows the future, the past is in the little mirrors and is getting smaller and more fuzzy as we move forward.....if you concentrate on the past you crash

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Thank you, I’ve got my notepad ready to start tomorrow! 

  • Tell me how you get on.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • I will do and thank you for your support, I’ve just read your story and I’m in awe of your strength, self belief and resilience, after watching my God Daughter go through lymphoma in her early twenties a few years ago and then relapse and eventually have a stem cell transplant I know how torturous that in itself can be! 

  • Sorry to hear that your God Daughter had to navigate Stem Cell Transplant….. it’s both a life saver and a life changer…… the post transplant challenges can be significant….. but I will never complain and would not change any part of the journey that now define me and my family.

    I would suggest that once you start doing the list you will most likely identify the stuff that is still in your invisible rucksack Wink

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Hi there

    I've just joined the forum & yours was the first post I came across. I completely get how you are feeling, it's really tough going through treatment but for me I found it all really hit me when I'd finished. I had a bad few months with my emotions & my mental health after treatment, I was just so fearful of recurrence & felt abandoned. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in March 2023 & had the usual treatments. I'm happy to say that I recently had my 3 year clear mammogram. 

    Anyway I wanted to reach out & let you know that, it does get better & to say to you...be kind to yourself Revolving hearts

    This is a poem I wrote in 2021 when I was struggling:

    So what now?
    I'm given the dreaded news that the lump I found could be breast cancer....
    I'm poked and I'm prodded and scanned and examined but yes it is clear that cancer is here...
    I cry and I sob and ask why and how, what happens next, what can I do?

    I go through the chemo, it's no walk in the park
    My body is tired and sore from the poison that runs through my veins
    I don't look like me anymore

    Next up it's surgery to remove what remains... then news that the treatments have worked
    I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm all in a mess
    I don't feel like me anymore

  • Thank you so much for your reply and kind words, I never expected things to be so tough after treatment finishes, I’m looking forward to things getting better fingers crossed!!