Living with incurable cancer - incurable patients only

This group is specifically for people with an incurable or terminal diagnosis. Whether you need to talk about dying, or about making the most of your life, you can discuss your feelings openly here.

Dealing with cancer in 12 step recovery

Moletta
Posted by

Hi, i have ovarian cancer and have just finished my second line of chemo.  I have been told that my cancer is incurable and the plan is to try to manage it for as long as possible.  I'm starting oral chemo (Olaparib) tomorrow and am hopeful that a) I'll tolerate it and b) it gives me a decent amount of non-progression time.

I do have to deal with pain though and, as a person in recovery (24 years clean and sober) find having to manage pain meds quite challenging.  I'd really like to make contact with other people in recovery for advice/mutual support.  I do attend meetings regularly and my husband also has well over 20 years in the fellowship but, obviously, none of them are really dealing with the issues I am.  People are sympathetic and supportive, but they don't really understand.  I find the constant self-monitoring and questioning exhausting, but my recovery is important to me.  I have an excellent pain specialist who understands my issues, and we really have exhausted all the non-narcotic options at this stage. 

In terms of managing the emotional aspects of living with incurable cancer, I am incredibly grateful for my programme.  Taking things ODAAT and practising acceptance has enabled me to remain really positive.  The tools I have been given in recovery have never been so valuable.

I have no idea whether this forum is the right place to look for help, but I trust that this post is not inappropriate.  Any advice gratefully received. 

daloni
Posted by

Hi

Welcome to the club, although I am sorry you’ve had reason to join us. Your post is not at all inappropriate so please don’t worry on that account. I can’t remember this topic being mentioned before and I don’t know whether you’ll find anyone in the same boat. I come from a family with lots of members in the fellowship so I do understand at an intellectual level the challenges you face although not from experience. I can quite see how the wisdom contained in the 12 step programme would be of enormous value when facing an incurable cancer diagnosis  

Good luck in your search. We are here for the other stuff. Just join in. You’d be very welcome 

xxx

Gobaith
Posted by

Hi

I just wanted to say welcome too. What an amazing thing to be able to say 24 years clean and sober. I have nothing to contribute on that front I'm afraid but hugely in awe of you. I'm sorry you find yourself in our boat. I hope treatment keeps your cancer stable for a long time and that pain management can be done to suit your needs. 

Welcome.

Clare
kirky68
Posted by

..

kirky68
Posted by

Hi another one with no experience but just wanted to say how much I admire your strength to be 24 years clean and sober especially in the face of chronic pain. 

Good luck with your journey and I really hope that your consultant can find you a combo that eases your pain. 

Hugs P xx 

daloni
Posted by

Hi

I really hope this is not out of line but I had a word with a close family member, 30 years in the fellowship and 30 years sober. A couple of close friends of his have died of cancer and he’s been alongside them through their final months, days and weeks.  

He said that yes, of course this is a difficult issue. But ultimately, he said, there’s a time when pain control matters more. There is a point at which you just need to take the drugs. It’s not about recovery anymore. 

I may not have the nuance right. I hope this is helpful and not just a case of me trampling over stuff I know nothing about with my size 9 boots. 

Moletta
Posted by

That's very sweet of you, I really appreciate it.  Yes, I'm definitely not planning on being a martyr to pain.  I made that decision when my palliative care doctor told me that people who manage their pain effectively live longer!  I suppose the issue is that even though my cancer is incurable, I could still have a few years left yet.  And the pain comes and goes, it's not constant.  The thing about having had problems with addiction is that it's never a good idea to trust your own judgement when it comes to taking drugs.  Even after 24 years in recovery, I'm aware that the line between "I need it" and "I want it" can be quite blurred.  Hence the need for constant vigilance, making sure that I'm not crossing that line.  That's what I'm finding exhausting.  Still, I suppose this is the price of my misspent youth.

Anyway, again, thanks for your interest and support.  Your size 9 boots are fine ;)