How do you move on from cancer?

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Hello everyone, I’m still very new to this site and am lucky enough to say that currently I am cancer free. I only had thyroid cancer, which I realise how lucky I was that it was this type and was removed during surgery. My whole journey has been whirlwind which I have put on my profile my story for those of you who want read. 

my trouble is I think I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that I did have cancer let alone the fact that it is now gone. I am so anxious now for any further cancers and am so aware of any thing different going on with my body. I recently keep getting lymph  nodes come up in my armpit which are easily visible and then they disappear again this alone is making me anxious that it’s back but now somewhere else. I guess what I’m trying to get to here is how do we ever go back to normal life? Do we ever live life again without so much fear and anxiety? 
I hope that makes sense, sorry for waffling on. Hope everyone else is doing okay. 

  • Hi  and welcome to this little corner of the community. My story is rather different, I have lived with and been treated for a very rare incurable blood cancer for over 24 years so I have had plenary times to pigeonhole most if not all the facets of living with cancer……. I am blessed that I ‘don’t do’ stress and anxiety…… so this makes my journey that more lighter……. although my story is rather complicated See my story as I had to have significant treatments but I am coming up to 8 years out from my last treatment and I am turning 68 in Nov and doing great.

    It’s all about controlling the space between the ears and ‘tools’ are helpful. One tool is this great paper After Treatment Finishes - Then What? by Dr Peter Harvey as it highlights the post treatment milestones.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Thank you for your reply, and I’m sorry hear your diagnosis, that’s good to hear that you are doing good. Reading your story definitely puts my story into a different perspective.
    Ah yes that’s my down fall is the anxiety takes over sometimes far to much. I am naturally an anxious person anyway but with this on top has given me a deeper level of anxiety about my health. 

    thank you again for your reply. 

  • Hi Dot

    It is only natural to feel anxious after you have had a diagnosis of cancer and treatment. Do read the article that Mike has recommended. I found it so helpful and put things in perspective. It does take time to come to terms with things but you will get there. I have had 3 ops relating to my jaw cancer over the years and 2 lots of radiotherapy so have become an expert on anxiety. However over the years I have decided to not waste my time with unnecessary worry and leave that to my wonderful medical team. I now wake up in the morning and look forward to what lies ahead for the day. I plan for the future and have just booked a trip to Tasmania with my husband. (we live in Australia) Anxiety can paralyse you and prevent you from moving on and living life to your full potential. I know that is easy to say but moving on is more difficult in reality. When you start to worry get busy with something you enjoy. The brain finds it difficult to concentrate on 2 things at once and the anxiety will recede while you are engrossed in something else. Do go to the doctor and get anything checked out that is worrying you such as the enlarged lymph nodes. This way when he says it is nothing then you know and have not spent time worrying needlessly. If anything ever does turn up early detection is half the battle but fingers crossed it never comes to that for you.

    Make a list of things you want to do and get started on it. Looking forward to something really helps. Time is also a great healer and as you get further away from your cancer treatment it becomes easier and you don't think about it as much.

    Sending you my best wishes.



  • Thank you for your reply. What you have said makes so much sense and I will definitely try to keep myself busy. I have good days with it of course I do, i guess it’s only natural for us to worry. My only trouble is now I have to try and accept what the professionals say, although in this case they all thought I was being dramatic in a sense for worrying that I had cancer and then they were surprised when it did in fact come back as cancer. Which is hard because I kind of had a feeling I guess that I was right and they were wrong. 
    thank you for your reply and I hope you are doing okay. X

  • Hi Dots

    I am doing fine thank you for asking. Life is a little different but managing fine with the side effects of the ops and radiotherapy.

    My sister in law had thyroid cancer in her 30's and had her thyroid removed and had treatment. A very positive note is that the treatment worked out well and she is now 64 and living life to the max. Hold onto that thought as I am sure that you will find that you will be the same. Doesn't hurt to get anything that is worrying you checked out though.

    Sending you my  best wishes.




  • Hi

    I had treatment 11 years ago and have been clear ever since but have lived in fear of it returning ever since. I didn't know if this is normal or not, but reading your post makes me think there are probably lots of us out there. I have just started to seek help and hopefully this group will do that.

  • Hello, thank you for your reply, I find it reassuring to know that I am not alone with these feelings, I am still checking myself for lumps and bumps without even being aware that I am doing it anymore, but I guess that’s a good thing right. I had a few episodes of swollen lymph nodes in my armpits which lasted a couple of weeks, they went down but I have since noticed recently that my armpits feel tender randomly so I’m super aware again and checking my self over a lot. 
    I hope that you are doing okay? X

  • Hi Dot some of the points you have highlighted resonate with me.   I know it may sound silly but due the fact I only had surgery and did not need follow up treatments it always at the back of my  mind that niggle may be something that has not been spotted.   I have follow up appointment every 6 to 8 weeks which is a good thing but a few days before the consultation the anxiety creeps in.   From some of the other posts I have read this type of anxiety is to be expected as people try to adjust to the new norm.   I take solace from the fact that my journey had been reasonably simple compared to some of our fellow survivors.  I suppose like antything with the passing of time things should get easier.  Best wishes Michael  xx

  • Hi Mick, im so glad that I am not alone with my thoughts and feelings I thought I was making myself crazy with the anxiety. Yes im with you on that with the surgery and nothing else. My cancer was found during pathology but no further treatment was needed (which is a good thing I know) but I can’t help but worry that may still be something lurking that can’t be seen on ultrasound again ( as my cancer wasn’t seen on ultrasound it was tucked away). Yes I feel very lucky that my story was simple. I do think though no matter how small the journey is, it’s still that word that we all live in fear of hearing, and once it’s been said and confirmed I think we suddenly change our outlook on things. ( I have anway) as it has made me realise how quickly my life can change and how I don’t have any control over it, other then now constantly checking myself for lumps and bumps, and being vigilant to any other symptoms that I get. Hope your doing okay. X

  • I'm well thank you.   When I 1st met my Macmillan nurse I was offered  a  referral  to talking therapies which I declined but was informed that the offer  was always there.   If you don't have any point of contact I think your Gp can make the referral.