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The other side of cancer

The other side of cancer

Posted by ashcon on Jun 3, 2019 5:57 pm

How are you coping after treatment is done, when your doctor says "you're OK"? 

Psychosocial symptoms have been called the sixth vital sign of cancer, after body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiration and pain. And, although it is increasingly recognized, gaps remain in treatment and support for the emotional and psychological impact of cancer.

This article is great (Ottawa Citizen - originally appeared in December 2018) 
The Other Side of Cancer: how survivors are dealing with the emotional toll of the disease

I love the Bootcamp concept! 
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Jul 12, 2019 12:15 pm

Thanks for sharing ashcon‍ 

Coping with life after treatment is such an important topic! 

Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by sflores on Jul 30, 2019 2:08 pm

I agree.
My peer support from Cancer care says afterwards that she was very cautious to tell me that the hardest part of cancer recovery is after chemo.
Finding a new normal
Still at home dealing w a very stubborn neuropathy.
Seeing a therapist to deal w my mental health. The feeling of guilt that I survived and others didn't.
And live moves on


Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Elsie13 on Jul 30, 2019 5:31 pm

Hi sflores‍. I'm going to the gym 3 times a week and feeling mostly energetic.  However, my right leg is a bit swollen due to lymphedema. When I had my hystertectomy in 2016, I had many lymph nodes removed, which increases the risk of lymphedema.  So following the doctor's order, and the lymph therapist, I put on customized compression socks and store bought capri leggings before walking to the gym.  After the zumba or whatever class, I go for an iced capp and maybe a croissant, (putting on more calories than I burned?), then I buy a few groceries and walk home.  Then I cool down for 40 minutes or so, and change into customized compression stockings.  Then at 9:30 at night, I remove the stockings and bandage my right leg.  I have two sets of bandages.  I am always washing a set of bandages, hanging them to dry, and then rolling them up. 
Also, my downstairs neighbour has been in hospital for over 6 weeks, and I am watering all the plants on her terrace, and all our plants too. On weekends it's my job to water the front lawn and the flower pots on the front steps. So I feel a bit annoyed that there's so much I have to do, I mean I had surgery, chemo and radiation, so shouldn't I be able to relax a bit?   Then I feel guilty, as I'm doing mostly well and living in an air conditioned place!  Possibly, being busy is good for health? 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Essjay on Sep 11, 2019 2:56 pm

I feel like I have made it to the other side...

im 3 months post treatment. I’ve been working really hard at my fitness - I’m lifting more weight than pre-diagnosis with breast cancer. I started running for the first time since high school and it’s going well so far although the limited daylight has made me rethink my strategy. And then just got back from a backpacking trip in Banff NP with my husband. 5 days unplugged in the mountains and four days driving together did us the world of good.

My energy levels are good - maybe 80% of before but I’m doing stuff I love even if I’m not as manic as before (might be a good thing). But I’m done in the evenings which is challenging when we get invited or want to do stuff then.

i took my wig plus some hats to donate to our cancer centre today. I found it harder to let go than I expected despite not even wearing the wig much. But really,I don’t need it.

i need to refocus and set goals, so I signed up for a yoga and meditation retreat where goal setting is part of the day. I’ve done similar before and found it a good way to reset the clock and start new things.

Mentally - I’m thinking less about having cancer, or more cancer than I was. I’m finding better explanations for aches and pains. I haven’t been through any rechecks like mammograms yet so I don’t know how these will affect me, but I know I’ve got friends here who will give advice, support or virtual hugs if I need it... 
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Sep 11, 2019 6:08 pm


Welcome to "the other side"
It sounds like you have a great plan in place. Thanks for sharing


Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Sep 11, 2019 10:46 pm


Wonderful news! 

You've been through a lot to get to the other side. Thanks for sharing your journey with us and helping others.


Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Sep 11, 2019 10:51 pm

Essjay‍   WOW!!  you have such perspective and insight.  Even if there are days that take us back a little, your post offers such hope to all.  

I"m thinking of donating my prosthetic breast forms.  I got them as I thought I would like the option of having breasts or not - but so far, I haven't used them at all.  After reading your post, I think it might be therapeutic for me to let them go! 

Sounds like you had a great time in Banff  - nothing like the outdoors to help clear our mind.  There is a good book called "Escape: In Search of the Natural Soul of Canada"  by Roy MacGregor... it describes the ability to reconnect with the forests as a way to get our soul back on track.  Sounds like you are doing just that.

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

Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Sep 29, 2019 3:32 am

I'm doing a lot better since my Oncologist said "Welcome to the other side".  It took me a whole year to recover after my chemo and radiation ended.  I guess it explains why I didn't have the energy to return to my job.  I struggled with my feelings after and even though I kept telling myself returning to work is a good idea, I ended up retiring instead.  Adjusting to retirement was not that easy and was a real roller coaster ride.  I still feel strange that I'm not at work and miss my job and coworkers, but I'm keeping busy with art classes, piano and other interests.  I think about getting a part time job sometimes and maybe I will down the road.  I still can't believe that I went through both chemo and radiation after my breast cancer surgery and came out the other side.  It's mostly a memory now, a bad dream.


Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by JoannB on Sep 30, 2019 9:53 pm

I finally feel that I've made it to the "other side".  To be totally honest I didn't think I would be able to laugh again.  September 28th was my 3 year anniversary of the date I was given the results of my biopsy of a very rare and unusual breast cancer "carsinosarcoma"  the stats were not in my favour but here I am.  Two surgeries, dose dense chemo, and 16 rounds of rads.  The biggest toll was on my mental state, after chemo I felt like I fell off a big cliff  and was in limbo waiting for the next ball to drop.  I have been to councillors, therapists, naturopaths etc but one person made a difference for me and it was an occupational therapist who helped me change my negative thinking into something that didn't mentally drain me.I left my job and my city and moved to where we chose to retire, I regretted doing that, making quick decisions after treatment just seemed to compound my problems.   My marriage is not the greatest either but I give him tons of credit for being by my side but his alcohol habits doesn't help.
So I took a Mindfulness Course and started meditation daily, I adopted a senior dog whom I love to no end and I took on a part time job which I thoroughly enjoy as I'm talking to people and learning the art of wine!  I had to step out of my comfort zone and I'm so happy I pushed myself in that direction.
things are not perfect but so much better than a year ago.   I'm more outgoing now and I can laugh so hard now that it hurts.  
Some of us take longer to find our way back to normal and some of us bounce back much more quickly.
I'm glad I'm here!!

Re: The other side of cancer

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Oct 1, 2019 9:48 am

I’m glad you’re here, too, jojo7540‍ !  Thanks for the update, although I am sorry to hear that you’re dealing with an alcohol issue in your household. That can be a “cancer” in its own right. If there’s anything I can do to help with that, feel free to contact me. 

I’m glad that you’ve also discovered mindfulness - it’s a real game changer (a good one), right?
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying