Dealing with trauma years after the all clear

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Hi, I’m new to the page so sorry if this doesn’t make sense. 
I was diagnosed with ALL when I was 4 years old and very fortunately given the all clear when I was 8. As I was a child it all felt very normal for me and I was unaware of the severity of my illness and I suppressed any emotion related to those 4 years until the age of 21. I’m now 23 and am really struggling with severe symptoms of trauma. I don’t remember the last time I slept through the night without sever vivid nightmares related to cancer. I’ve had counselling and various anti depressants over the years and unfortunately nothing has worked long term. I did manage to get my symptoms under control myself eventually. 
I now work for a bank and last Thursday I spent an hour on the phone to a customer who was considering harming herself after being diagnosed with the same illness, fortunately I left the conversation with her feeling hopeful and happy for the future which has bought me some joy but unfortunately had bought my trauma symptoms back and this time there back with a vengeance. 
Does anyone have experience of these types of symptoms or advise of where I should turn?
Thank you 

  • Hi

    Welcome to the ALL corner of the forum. It is always good to have someone who has fought the battle and come out the other side.. although as you know it does leave scars that can be emotional as well as physical. I was 42 when I was diagnosed which was back in 2012 and even as an adult there was a denial about how ill I was while I was being treated. 

    I have been fortunate that I am almost in the same state physically after treatment and emotionally I have been pretty good as well. I have the occasional dream that i am back in hospital but that is about it. I have had a few rounds of counselling and still go every few weeks. I have found this helps me a lot and I can see that you have also used this method. Perhaps if it has been successful in the past it is worth revisiting it after your recent conversation with a customer has caused the flashbacks and trauma to resurface? Many people can suffer from PTSD after an illness of this magnitude so your feelings are quite normal after the treatment you had as a child.. 

    You could also call the helpline number below and speak to one of the trained individuals. 


    What is a Community Champion?

    You can speak to someone in confidence by calling Macmillan Support on 0808 808 0000 - 365 days a year 8am to 8pm It's free from mobiles and landlines. The friendly team are waiting to take your call.


  • FormerMember


    I am sorry to hear things are coming back to haunt you know - childhood cancer causes us to face realities that most people don't have to face until old age, so its understandable to block it out/suppress it. Its hard when you only have snippets of memories of what happened. I was diagnosed with AAL at 3 and given all clear at 5 back in 1993. A lot of what you have said resonates with my experience. Up until early 20s I hadn't given much thought to my childhood experience, but it has started to cause a lot of emotional and psychological trauma - partly because of late effect conditions that I hadn't anticipated. You are not alone :-)