Dealing with life after cancer

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Hi, I am a breast cancer survivor, 2nd mammogram was clear....... but I am struggling every day with the "what is it comes back" . this is taking over my life and I have started to have a drink which I know is wrong but I don't know what to do .

  • Hi  and a very warm welcome to this corner of the Community but sorry to hear about your concerns.

    Having come through cancer and come out the other end the thought of a relapse can be a challenging thought but given time and some help this can be overcome.

    I have lived with and been treated for my very rare incurable blood cancer for over 24 years…… I have relapsed a number of times over the years but so am still here living a great life.

    I have had a few wobbles over the years but as a family we agreed that we would not let the ‘what if’s?’ define us……. we define how we live.

    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.

    Do have a read and come back to us with your thoughts.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi Ellamack13.

    i was diagnosed with rectal cancer in the summer of 2022. Thankfully it was caught early and I underwent radiotherapy then had a lower anterior resection surgery. Since then I have regular 3 monthly checkups, scans and an annual colonoscopy. To date all test results have come back clear and I have made a very good recovery, even though I have some very life changing things that I’ve had to and still am dealing with. I can not fault the care and treatment I have received on the NHS and the ongoing stratified pathway which I am on. However, I am suffering greatly with fear that the cancer will return. My cancer keyworker assures me that my feelings and emotions are perfectly normal, but I just can’t seem to shake them off. Like you it is becoming a little out of hand now. I know I’m probably in a better place than most people, as I’m being monitored frequently for any changes that may occur. I think one of the big issues for me is that I took early retirement during covid and I hate it. I probably have too much time on my hands and it results in me over thinking things.

    but, I have tried to embrace new hobbies, crafting, yoga, gardening. These have helped and keep me busier. Have you any hobbies or could you perhaps start one? Another thing which is helping me after the suggestion from my keyworker, is that I join in the virtual workshops offered by Look good feel better. ( simply go online to visit it)  These are free of charge to join. I was particularly interested in hand and nail care, it was interesting and good for my well being. Perhaps something like this may help you.

    Please rest assured that you are not alone in thinking and worrying about the cancer returning. With every new ache, pain, tiredness, or generally feeling a bit off results in me thinking the worst. Remember your cancer team should always be there for you to reach out to if you need them, they can help you or put you in contact with someone who can.

    Take care.

    Mama B 

  • Hi Mama B

    I am glad that your check ups are continuing to show that you are clear of cancer. I have a long history with jaw cancer and have had 2 more occurrences since my first diagnosis in 2013. Like you I have found that finding meaningful productive activities and hobbies have really helped me particularly since I retired. Adjusting to retirement is hard enough on top of coping with the changes that cancer brings to us. I have started to carve out a new post retirement life. I find volunteering at my local library, joining a local Bonsai society and pottering in my garden really helps along with enjoying helping out with my grandkids. I am currently slowly making a Japanese Zen garden in a neglected part of my back garden. Something to look forward to really helps too. With my husband I recently had a 3 week trip to Tasmania (I live in Australia) which was the first big trip I have managed since my last cancer op. It was great although a bit of a challenge but made me realise that I am still quite capable of getting out there.

    I am still having 3 monthly checkups and have decided to let my consultant worry about my health and have put to the back of my mind any thoughts of cancer returning. You can get too paralysed with fear if you dwell on the chance of a return of cancer and then it is hard to move forward. I want to live my life to the max so will leave the worry to the experts. 

    Wishing you and Ellamack13 a great life.



  • I wish you all the very best too!