Life after cancer

This group is for cancer survivors and people who have finished treatment. It is a space to discuss things like the physical and emotional after effects of cancer, returning to work, or trying to move on with your life.

Coping with the "All Clear"

Posted by

I'm new to this post as I suppose never really thought I needed it. I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in Jul 2014 and had full hysterectomy in Sep 14 age 36. It all happened so fast that I didn't really think about it. I had a 10yr daughter to consider and just "soldiered on" while everybody else fell apart. Everything went smoothly and every 6mths I had a check up which was always clear and I took in my stride. Yesterday , I had my final check up and was told they were discharging me and no longer needed to see me. My family were jumping for joy. I feel completely terrified and emotional. My fear is now nobody is checking me every 6mths, how am I meant to know if it's back? By the time I display any symptoms it will already be quite advanced. I honestly could just cry today and nobody seems to understand. Am I being stupid? I know I'm incredibly lucky and probably sound very selfish, apologies. x

Posted by

Firstly no your not being stupid  you have to process everything that has happened and often while your going through it all your so busy thinking of being strong for your daughter and going from treatment to treatment m check up after check up. I think now that bungee rope has been cut and your unable to bounce back up again. I dont know how I will feel when that time comes to me, I don’t think I have really processed what happened and yes I think the emotional turmoil is a lot to take in. I was struggling emotionally and found having a chat to a counselor helped. Have you tried that ? If your interested then either your GP or the Macmillan helpline would be able get you some emotional support. also have a good cry it’s ok to do that it’s just your body and mind getting rid of the emotional things going on, better out then in. Be kind to yourself though it’s not weak or unreasonable to feel the way you do. Sending you some gentle, positive hugs and encouragement, your not selfish or stupid and yes it’s great to feel lucky but also remember that you need to heal your mind aswell as your body.

GBear Xxxx

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Posted by

Aww thank you. I know it's going to take time, I suppose I just never realised there would be a time when you would be set free completely and it came around so fast. I've been offered counselling and it's definitely something to think about. Thanks for your kind words and I hope you receive this news soon aswell x

Posted by

Hi , I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you have said you didn’t realise there was a time you would be set free. I think it takes time like GBear has said to mentally adjust to what we’ve been through. I’ve been clear for coming up to 18 months, clear for 6 months before I stopped monthly treatment by immunotherapy and in April I will have been off treatment for a year. as mine was advanced cancer metastatic melanoma, I’m still on 3 monthly scans, but as each scan brings a risk in its self I suppose I will need to ask how long my follow up will continue. I know for me I feel I haven’t done enough to celebrate my clear status, I hope you reach a stage soon to celebrate like your relatives and feel comfortable with no more visits to the hospital.

best wishes

Posted by

Hi - I can understand how you are feeling. I had my second annual check after breast cancer in January and the surgeon said that he didn't need to see me again for three years. My husband was delighted while I found it hard to process that information as I was instantly worried about being left without a check. I didn't even ask if I am to have annual mammograms from now on. Despite being terrified before the check up, in case it's found to have come  back, but not to have that check is frightening. My breast cancer was diagnosed when the lump had grown to 5cm and I hadn't found it myself until it was that large! I had had regular mammograms each three years and I was due my mammogram in a couple of months. - it had grown since my last mammogram.

How to cope with this fear - I have pushed it to the back of my mind as I need to move on and dwelling on cancer and it's returning stops me being glad  I have survived and to make the most of every day. I was incredibly grateful to have survived breast cancer - and vowed to make the most of every day. My husband has a heart attack last July which he survived so we both are incredibly lucky! BUT it is very hard to keep grateful and positive all the time - I am trying every day and remind myself of the good things in the world.

How does everyone else cope with that fear of cancer returning?

Posted by

Hi Zellie, we all cope differently i think, but it will probably always be in the back of the mind " what if". After surgery for oesophageal cancer in October 2016, I was told at my first 6 monthly check up that everything went well and I had a 20-25% chance of surviving 2-5 years. I laughed and said that I had a 75-80% chance then that I wouldn't last that long, don't worry doctor I don't bother about statistics. We could look at it as a suspended death sentence, but where's the fun in that. So I choose just to get on with life as best as I can. I get 6 monthly check ups because there is a greater risk of a return, but why worry, I can't change it. Onwards and upwards, kind regards Frank