Feeling low

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I have spent time reading various posts which has been useful and has made me feel better about how I am feeling. I had rectal cancer, treatment was chemoradiotherapy then a bowl resection and a permanent stoma. This was all completed last July. I am now a 5yr programme of 6 monthly blood tests and a couple of scans and colonoscopies thrown in for good measure. I have had my first blood test which was normal.  The recovery after the op was hard as I couldn't sit for several months. I am 59 and decided to retire from teaching. I suppose that's a big thing also. 

I have had visit the GP lately and I feel that they now want to test everything and anything. I know this is good in way but it's been getting me down.  I have discussed it with the doctor. 

I suppose I thought I might be jumping with joy when they removed the affected bit of my colon and checked the nodes -no sign of spread so no more treatment. I didn't think I would feel so down, unfit etc 6months after the end of treatment.I don't think the weather is helping as it so hard to get motivated to get out. Is it usual to feel down? I suppose their has been a lot of change in my life and this is not how I imagined it to be. 

  • Hi my husband is recovering from surgery and chemo. He had his stoma in October through emergency surgery for a perforated bowel and he's just completed his 3 months of CAPOX chemotherapy. 

    He is still napping In the day and says he feels like a.90 year old after the simplest of tasks. He's 63, I guess like you because he's not returned to work he's a bit lost and doesn't have a routine now we aren't taking 16 tablets a day and as you say the weathers not great for encouraging outdoor pursuits. 

    No advice for you I'm afraid just to let you know you're not alone on this bery strange journey. 

    Take care, soon be spring. ♡ 

  • Thanks. It's hard to get into a routine when you have good days and bad days. I must admit I looked up when the clocks changed and opened my package of seeds I had ordered. Looking forward to the spring! Mind you the weather forecast says possibly snow next week! 

  • Hi  

    I'm sorry to read that you are feeling low on the completion of treatment. It is a very common reaction so don't be hard on yourself. Once treatment has stopped this is the time to start looking after yourself. Find things that you like to do, a bit of seed sowing and looking forward is a great start.

    These book recommendations may help you;

    How to live when you could be dead by Dame Deborah James.

    The Cancer Survivors Companion by Dr Frances Goodhart and Lucy Atkins.

    Do you have a Maggie's centre nearby? They do courses/workshops on living with uncertainty. Also have a look online for the article called After the treatment ends by Dr Peter Harvey. Best wishes for your recovery.

    A x

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  • Hi Geminipi

    Yes it is a common reaction to feel so low for a while. You have had such a big change to your life with the op, treatment and now retirement. It takes a while to adjust and to get into a new routine that starts to give meaning to your life. I have not had bowel cancer but have had jaw cancer and have had 3 big ops over the years, 2 lots of radiotherapy and last year reconstruction for my upper jaw. I have been through the ups and downs like you. I am now retired but I started the cancer journey when I was 59 and was still working. I found it took me a while after each op to regain my energy and start living my life again. It is not only the physical recovery but the psychological recovery too.

    I started just with small things like you. Getting out in the garden and pulling a few weeds, going for a short walk, doing a small task around the house. I would tire very quickly and would just do things for a very short time initially. I decided that to move forward I had to try and do a small activity every day and then I built on it. As I progressed I started to get into a routine. I then added onto this and decided to join an exercise group for the over 50's so it was within my capabilities. Setting small goals really helped me to move forward. It is now 5 years since I retired and I have managed to make a different life to my work life which gives meaning to me. I now volunteer at my local library for 2 sessions a week and have joined my local Bonsai society. It took me a while to get to this point. I wanted to do something non cancer related so I did not spend time dwelling on it.

    It takes time but make small goals for yourself and work towards them and I found this really made a difference. Adjustment takes time and it is early days for you but you will get there.

    Sending you positive thoughts