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Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to h...

Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by ACH2015 on Dec 30, 2018 10:54 am

I found this on the CBC website this morning. After listening to the audio portion I knew how this simple message makes sense and validates how many of us feel months or years after treatment.

If you struggle with the lingering effects and life imbalance after treatment - and want others to understand what we go through in the long term, share this.

It doesn't make it right, but it helps make it better understood for you and those around you.

ACH2015 - Andy.

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/outintheopen/after-escape-1.4474473/surviving-cancer-can-be-just-as-hard-as-having-it-1.4474564

 

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by KarenBlue on Dec 31, 2018 4:31 am

Thank you for sharing this, ACH2015‍. I am sitting in my living room grumbling to myself about my post chemo/radiation aches and pains... or maybe they are from the aromatase inhibitors I have started... at any rate, I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who needs time to adjust to this new normal :(

Have a happy start to the new year, one and all!

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 31, 2018 8:43 am

Thanks for sharing this, Andy, I’ve been trying to find something talked about here on CC a while ago along the same topic - I thought it was under the Living Well After Cancer thread, but I couldn’t find it there.

I was reading Zoomer magazine’s 10th anniversary issue (the one with Justin Trudeau on the cover), and I got to Libby Znaimer’s column. In it, she talks about the same concern as in the thread I cannot find, and your post touches on the topic, so I’m going to latch onto it!

Our discussion was about the trepidation survivors get before their follow-up checks. For those who don’t know, Libby has survived pancreatic cancer ten years ago. She wrote, “Like tens of thousands of cancer patients, I lived from scan to scan and experienced the same anxiety every time a test was near.”

She goes on in the article to say “for years, this was the central element of my existence, and this story was with me always. But not any more. The truth is I don’t think about it for weeks at a time. First, I noticed that my anxiety before a checkup had diminished to nearly nothing....This year I actually lost track of my appointment, made more than a year ago.”

One of her final comments was “...it’s important to remember, whether it is a long ago history of a painful personal past. Maybe it’s more like finding a balance between remembering and forgetting.”

As I read her column (it’s in the October, 2018 issue of Zoomer, for anyone wanting to read the whole piece), I was reminded of that conversation here on Cancer Connection who have that “same anxiety every time a test [is] near.”

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by NannaM on Dec 31, 2018 10:22 am

Thankyou Andy. I am contemplating sending the link to family members who have no idea........
A happy, healthier, stronger 2019 to us all! 
We are warriors!

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Essjay on Dec 31, 2018 11:42 am

Great post Andy - good to have it here for reference.
Thank you

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Essjay on Dec 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Great post Andy - good to have it here for reference.
Thank you

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by WBCumm on Jan 2, 2019 2:40 am

This has probably been the most valuable 7 min and 39 seconds I've spent since my treatment ended last June.  Thank you Geoff for articulating it and Andy for posting it here.

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by ACH2015 on Jan 2, 2019 8:06 am

WBC‍ 

I am  happy to hear you got the same reinforcement and sense of "its not just me" that so many of us get and benefit from here. 

I think Geoff's message is so true and simply said as to how many of us feel, and can help both us as the individual and friends and family understand what we are going through.

I have found keeping reminders and reinforcements handy for personal review invaluable. I figure if it works for me, I'm posting it here on the site for others as well.

Keep well WBC

ACH2015 - Andy.



 

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by ashcon on Jan 5, 2019 5:32 pm

This is brilliant.  Thank you for sharing this, ACH2015‍ .

It's great for others to know this, but we will all do ourselves a favour if we know this too.  Truly know it. 
When I was nearing the end of my treatment, I was expecting to be jubilant and skipping down the street after ringing the bell.
It was through reading the posts on this site, though, from folks who were 2mos, 1 year, 5 years out from treatment, that shed light on the reality of post-treatment.  I give great thanks to those many people, as it helped me to prepare myself for what to expect at end of treatment.

I realized I needed to set my expectations before I finished treatment so that I wouldn't slip into post-treatment depression. 
For example...
I EXPECTED my friends and loved ones to stop contacting me with as much frequency. (Which they did).   
I EXPECTED people to say stupid things like, "So you're all cured now?" (Which they did.)   
I EXPECTED to wait for at least a year post treatment before starting to feel a little more consistent in my stamina and energy levels.  (I'm at 8 months now, and still struggle to walk more than 4kms before getting tired - something I could do easily before treatment!)

Friends: Please don't underestimate what you need to do to take care of yourself after you've rung the bell.

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Minus2 on Jan 6, 2019 7:55 am

This is brilliant ACH2015‍ .  And I like your expectations ashcon‍  - they are all true for me as well.  Your post made me think about how we define treatment.  For the world at large, I think they define treatment as chemo and radiation.  But when I saw my MO in October, she explained that the term treatment covers a much broader spectrum.  In talking to her about the fatigue I sometimes experience, she reminded me to be gentle with myself, that I had gone through two extensive surgeries in fourteen months, and she explained that taking Tamoxifen or other forms of hormonal therapy is treatment and while the effects may not be as intrusive as chemo or radiation, impact on our day to day functioning is to be expected.  It was a bit of an "Aha!" moment.
 

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Elsie13 on Jan 6, 2019 4:22 pm

That's so interesting ACH2015‍ . I have a sort of funny story from the summer. I was in my sister's backyard, and several people were taking group photos. My sis is very thin, and I was wearing capri shorts and my lower legs look very chubby. So in comparison to sis, I'm a bit chubby overall? My legs look that way due to my lymphedema, or possibly my love of snack food.  Also, my hair is brown in the photo,since I dyed it brown, whereas last year when it grew back it was grey. 
So hubby sent photos to his sister and she emailed back something like "So I see Elspeth (Elsie) has recovered from her chemo now".  The other thing is that I'm 62, so when I'm at the gym and I feel that I've slowed down, is it due to cancer treatments, or just due to aging???

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by ACH2015 on Jan 6, 2019 8:20 pm

Elsie13‍ 

Good point made in your post.

We should always take our aging into consideration when talking about limitations, fatigue and other physical and mental issues.

Symptoms and conditions could be related to both cancer treatment effects and our aging process.

As well, like you said - the better we look, the less others identify with our ongoing struggles with side effects.

Keep well and keep going to the gym!

ACH2015 - Andy.



 

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Aseeker on Jan 7, 2019 9:12 pm

Thank you for sharing this. He summarizes my experience also, and so clearly. I recently had surgery on my foot to remove a melanoma and was unable to weightbear for two months. Now that I can walk again, people are reacting just how he describes, assuming I'm recovered. Meanwhile I'm faced with having gained almost twenty pounds from being so inactive, a scar that's painful, and ongoing tests. The usual uncertainty around cancer. So it really helped to hear this today. Thanks again.

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by ACH2015 on Jan 9, 2019 7:10 am

Aseeker‍ 

I am in a similar situation, Inactivity due to surgeries and medications has caused me unwanted weight gain as well. One day at a time in working toward our goals will get us back to where we were as best we can.

Understanding that we aren't alone and accepting our situations makes it so much easier to move forward as best we can.

Keep well and keep moving forward.

ACH2015 - Andy.

Re: Surviving cancer can be just as hard as having it. 7 min and 39 seconds of perspective you need to hear for yourself and share with others.

Posted by Aseeker on Jan 9, 2019 11:09 pm

Thanks for these encouraging words Andy. I think because I've always loved walking, and am now dealing with a swollen foot after the surgery (and possible lymphodema), I need to slowly work on creating a new normal. But having relied on being out in nature via foot power, it's a bigger loss than expected. Which isn't to say it's permanent, but it's possibly just another reminder of the impermanence of life. That's what I find hard. And I guess is what we all face here. Makes me sad today.
Helen