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The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by shoobeedoo on Dec 1, 2020 11:46 am

So my journey is quite short all things considered. I'm 46.  I found out I had her2+ breast Cancer in April (7cm - It had not spread to the lymph nodes and was very treatable. 1 year plan. I've done
6 months of chemo, 2 targeted therapy treatments and surgery 2 weeks ago.

Surgeon called me yesterday with biopsy results. The chemo got almost everything and the surgery took care of the last few cells.  So it's gone!  I cried so much yesterday.  I think am thrilled but there is still some kind of weird shadow over me still. So why am I not ecstatic?   This cancer stuff is a mind bender. I should be happy, but I'm exhausted, and I'm still worried about it coming back or another cancer being found or whatever.  I still have to do radiation and continue another 10 months of targeted therapy treatment for prevention.

Anyone feel the same way when they found out it was gone? Happy with a sense of insecurity?
 

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by Runner Girl on Dec 1, 2020 12:02 pm

Hello shoobeedoo‍ ,

Congratulations on completing chemo and having a successful surgery!  I think you will find the radiation treatments to be much easier than chemo was.

I was 52 in 2018 when diagnosed with IDC, ER+ and HER2+.  I had a lumpectomy, no spread to lymph nodes, 6 rounds of chemo, 21 rounds of radiation and 17 rounds of Herceptin.  I'm currently on Tamoxifen (2 years) and expect to be switched to Anastrozole later this month.

You're feelings are exactly the same as what I have encountered and what many of us encounter.  This is probably the worst part of having cancer.  When treatment ends, how do you know it's gone, how do you know it won't come back.  I struggle with this daily but try to remind myself to focus on what I know now.  I am currently cancer free.  I cannot control what happens in the future, but I can affect it by exercising regularly, eating good foods and trying not to stress over what I cannot control.

Might I suggest you consider a mindfulness program.  I participated in one in 2019, was put on by my local cancer centre.  I didn't connect with much of the program but when we started the Loving Kindness Meditation I found my niche.  This I can do!  It serves me very well on a regular basis.  When I am having my acupuncture treatments I take the 30 minutes to do a lengthy loving kindness meditation and emerge from the session feeling really fantastic overall.  If you're interested you can check out author Jon Kabat Zinn, he is where I got started with mindfulness.

Do you have a start date for radiation?

Runner Girl
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by Yuliya on Dec 1, 2020 2:27 pm

shoobeedoo‍ , first of all, congratulations, you are cancer free! This is what you know now. Please don't let " what ifs" questions ruine this moment. I hope radiation therapy will go smoothly. When it going to start?

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by Littlebeth on Dec 2, 2020 7:29 am

shoobeedoo‍ You could be writing my cancer story, except I am triple negative, therefore no targeted therapy, and my tumour was 6 cm. I got my pathology results yesterday with the same results as you. I wanted a complete pathological response, meaning there was no residual cancer after neoadjuvant chemo, so while I am delighted that the cancer is gone, my worry about the long term prognosis overshadows all of those positive feelings. I had a similar reaction when my chemo ended. It seems that with each treatment there is so much focus on just getting through each day that when it is over, the future suddenly floods back in.

I think  your description of “happy with a sense of insecurity” sums it up perfectly. It is such an emotional ride!

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by AliceM on Dec 2, 2020 9:23 am

Congratulations on beating cancer! I don’t think there is any standard for what’s normal feelings when it comes to cancer. I was diagnosed in April 2020 with IDC ER/PR+ HER2-  I had two tumours 3.5cm and 2cm. I had a right breast mastectomy in May with 4 lymph nodes removed. Lymph nodes were clear and the surgeon got all the cancer! Then I had the Oncotype test done and it showed chemo to have little to no added benefit to my chances for recurrence (17%)  than tamoxifen alone. What great news! I should have been elated! But for some weird reason I almost felt cheated at first. It took a week or so for me to really grasp how fortunate I am and be grateful.
I think just because there are sooo many emotions going every which way when you get cancer that it’s easy to confuse emotions or have delayed reactions because you are still dealing with the trauma.
There’s no manual entitled “Now How am I Supposed to Feel” which would be nice because yes there are so many confusing and conflicting emotions. The time to rejoice will arrive when you are ready for it. 

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by shoobeedoo on Dec 2, 2020 1:51 pm

Thank you guys for responding I'm glad i'm not alone.😀 I'm waiting to find out when I start radiation. I saw my oncologist today and he is going to need to now bring my case to the board to get other opinions. I had to stop herceptin because my heart function dropped(MUGA scans). It' went back up but not to where I was when I started.   So we are going to now 'try one more treatment" of herceptin to see if it does the damage again. So i'm not sure what will happen next. But I know you need to finish the herceptin if you want to avoid recurrence.  Hence the good news, but still insecure.  

Again thanks guys. I really like reading these comments.  I will also look into mindfullness.  Cheers!

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by Kims1961 on Dec 2, 2020 5:16 pm

shoobeedoo‍ Welcome!  

You have some excellent responses to your question.  I also felt the same...the now what...waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Someone recommended the book:

"Picking Up the Pieces, Moving Forward After Surviving Cancer" 

PICKING UP THE PIECES: MOVING FORWARD AFTER SURVIVING CANCER

bySherri MageeKathy Scalzo



I found this book easy to read and i could read sections that i found relevant - so jumped around in the book.

I was also on Herceptin and had some funky side effects. Good luck on your next round.  I did find after i was finished, my heart function returned to normal.  It took 6 months?  It was a slow gradual improvement.

Let us know how you're doing.  Mindfulness is also another great technique in addition to yoga!

Take care,

Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by Lianne_Moderator on Dec 2, 2020 5:27 pm

shoobeedoo‍ 

Congratulations on having chemo and surgery behind you!
Your post resonated with me because when I finished treatment 9 1/2 years ago, I felt the same way. I questioned why I wasn't excited, why there was no celebraton or parade even lol
Truth is for me, the 10 months I spent in treatment was exhasting, replaced my full time job with appointments and treatments etc. Then I felt cast out into the world with no idea of what to expect next and lots of fears of recurrence.  My physical treatment was done but my emotional and mental state needed a lot of work still. I was directed to a couple of books that I found helpful. One was called "Dancing in Limbo" - Making sense of Life after Cancer by Halvorsen-Boyd and Hunter along with  "Picking Up the Pieces: Moving Forward after Surviving Cancer" by  Sherri Magee, Kathy Scalzo .  Likely not everything in them will resonate with you but for me, it gave me validation that what I was feeling was very normal and some of the quotes felt like someone was listening to my thoughts. As you can see by your replies here, people are talking about this post treatment stage more often, but less so when I completed treatment.

I wish you well with your radiation. I found it to be more tiring than chemo so be prepared to listen to your body and rest as you need.

Keep us posted

Lianne

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by JustJan on Dec 3, 2020 7:55 am

shoobeedoo‍ Welcome to our group and congratulations on completing your treatment to date. Like others have said I found radiation to be the easiest part of the treatment but as Lacey_Moderator‍ said, the fatigue is real and rest is important. 

I was diagnosed with TNBC in January 2019 and then with Ovarian Cancer in May 2019. Fortunately, both were Stage 1. My
treatment regime was a little different. I had lumpectomy, followed by radiation (I
declined chemo), total hysterectomy and then chemo. I was concerned when all was said and done that I would crash and burn. I made an appointment with the Social Worker at my cancer centre. I told her I was worried about recurrence. I remember what she asked me “what will you do about it if you have a recurrence?” At that moment, I realized I didn’t know because recurrence can mean so many different things and treatments can vary. I realized it was out of my control and I didn’t want to rob myself of today worrying about tomorrow. 

The cancer journey is unique for each person, but your feelings and fears are real. Be kind to yourself. Cancer and it’s associated treatment is tough. 

I haven’t read the books recommended but think I will. 

Wishing you all the best with your
upcoming radiation treatments. 

 
Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. - Rikki Rogers

Re: The cancer is gone! Weird feelings.

Posted by Essjay on Dec 3, 2020 8:13 am

Littlebethshoobeedoo‍  Hurrah - that’s good news about your tumours! The treatments have done their job - fantastic!

Totally get your trepidation about the future.

I’m 18 months post completing my treatment (lumpectomy, chemo, radiation) for triple negative IDC. My oncologist recently signed me off to my family doctor’s care and I’m not receiving any more treatments. I’m trying to live my best life with cancer in the rear view mirror, but it’s hard to forget ive had cancer and that there is a chance of recurrence or new cancer. I have friends who now have secondary cancers and so it’s very much on my mind.

But I know that if I live in fear, I won’t live well, so I do what I can to be healthy ( eating well, exercising etc), and we do the things we enjoy as much as we can. There is only so much I can control, and so much I cannot. 

There’s a book I read by Dr Anne Katz ‘After you ring the bell’ which identifies all the things we go through after cancer treatment and it has some useful pointers. We have changed, and we may have some challenges resulting from our treatment, and sometimes we need help to deal with it...

How are you doing today? 

Essjay
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018