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After treatment life
rtama
43 Posts

Hello all,

I am returning back to the site after a few months. I completed 5 rounds of chemo for my IDC-ER/PR + and HER2 -. Currently in the last week of radiation. I am going to continue with Tamoxifen and Zoladex after radiation. The medical oncologist is meeting me in two weeks. I am looking for guidance on what should be my next steps in my health and well-being. Should I be looking for a dietician who can help me build my strength back? I am not sure what the new normal is any more. I feel confused and do not know where to start as for the last 8 months, the hospital, treatments, and the medical team have been my life. I am very anxious about what if cancer comes back. Thanks.

9 Replies

@rtama - Hi, I think I would be connecting with the Cancer Centre dietician - remember to give yourself time…step by step as you are recognizing your feelings - the Cancer Centre Social Work department speaks with persons like yourself (and has the experience) to guide you through. Be kind to yourself.

rtama
43 Posts

@Hope and Peer

Thank you for the suggestion. I will connect with them for support.

@rtama

welcome back and congratulations on getting to where you are at now.

I like the idea of a dietician referral - they are often available through your cancer center or hospital. When I finished treatment, I felt like I was floundering a bit. Things weren't back to “normal” ( whatever normal is ) but I was no longer an active cancer patient going to appointments etc, which had taken up so much of the previous 10 months. I found a couple of things helpful - I saw a counselor at the cancer center who have deep knowledge of that limbo place you find yourself in. I also found a book helpful called Picking up the Pieces - moving forward after surviving cancer - by Magee and Scalzo. Mind you I finished treatment 11 years ago so maybe there are better books now. But what it did was validate the feelings I was having in this new stage.

As far as other things you may want to do or change going forward - there is time. No need to dive head first in a big list of changes straight away. Take a deep breath, recognize what you have gone through, and ease into changes etc as it makes sense.

Take care

Lianne

Cyf
60 Posts

@rtama Totally understand these feelings. I finished up my radiation in September. I started working with someone who helps cancer patients with their recovery. She is a cancer survivor herself and has her doctorate in cancer pharmacology. It costs money but I've decided to follow through with her. She also has lots of free resources. Her approach is what I needed at this time. If you want any more info you can message me directly. I'm thinking I'm not allowed to give her name and program name o here. All the best!

rtama
43 Posts

@Lianne_Moderator
Thank you Lianne. The suggestion of talking to a councilar sounds helpful. Will definitely look into this.

rtama
43 Posts

@Cyf

Thank you for sharing. Please can you provide me with the contact details of your resource. I would like to look into it. My email is roma0903@yahoo.ca. Thank you

Jonaleeca
34 Posts

@rtama Congratulations on getting through all of your treatments! I finished chemo in April and radiation in June. On Dec 2nd it will be my one year anniversary of the lumpectomy.

Like you, after all of the appointments were completed I felt a bit lost. While there is fear with the cancer diagnosis, there is also some form of comfort spending so much time with medical personnel being tested, treated and watched over. You feel like you are being taken care of. When you are done treatments…it feels like it is now up to you. And that is scary.

When treatments ended, it felt like freedom in a way. I kept trying to go back to my old normal but my body and mind would not let me. I was tired, scattered, happy, sad, anxious..you name it.

I ended up getting covid in September. Suddenly my joints, legs and feet hurt more than they ever did during chemo. There were days when I could barely walk. I felt like I took 5 steps backwards. I figure it was from Covid but was also quick to blame the letrozole and Zometa IV (which I received just before I got sick). In the end, and this could be a coincidence, I thought I would try not eating processed sugar food, do light stretching, lowered my salt intake (again). Within a week, my joints started to feel a lot better. Once that pain was gone, I found that other parts of me were hurting. I went to a massage therapist…once for lymphatic massage and the other the rest of my body and both said that my muscles were guarding…everywhere. So every muscle and tendon, etc were very tight. I was told that this is not unusual considering all that I had been through in the past year.

So now I am receiving physiotherapy and massage therapy to help release the muscles, etc. As well trying to do some meditation every day.

I also had my first mammogram and the oncologist said that she was pleased with the results.

Now that the tension is leaving my body, I seem to be able to focus on other things. I am getting through the “to do” list of tasks and projects that were delayed after I got diagnosed. I still need to have a short nap every day because I tire after doing physical work. But that is ok because I have earned it. As a result, I am not focused on “cancer”…I am focused on “living”.

Layer by layer, my body and mind are recovering. It takes time and only when your body and mind are ready, will they let you know what you can do next. Test the waters now and then but be prepared to say "ok…not there yet).


@rtama Inspire Health offers nutritionist advice for cancer patients, for free. They also offer exercise therapy, medical doctor consult, and counselling. These services are one-on-one. I received the services on zoom. They also have classes in yoga, relaxation, exercise. Also nutrition workshops for cancer patients. I found their services very helpful while I went through treatment and after my treatment. Wellspring is another service that was all online during the pandemic and still offers nutrition and other workshops online.

Essjay
2156 Posts

@rtama congrats on making it through treatment - it’s a long haul!

i‘d say take all the help you can get - counselling, dietary advice, exercise classes for cancer patients, support groups…

I definitely found the counselling helpful Myself. I did decline the sexual healing counsellor, but only because the counsellor is my boss‘s wife and I’ve met her a few times socially, I think help in that aspect would have been helpful for hubby and I. I’ve been mostly plant based food wise for many years so I skipped the dietician. And I exercised all through treatment so I didn’t take classes but I have friends who have done them or taken advantage of the free gym membership available locally for cancer patients (you need a referral).

And support - this community is awesome but finding people locally has really helped me. I started a Facebook group and we meet in person for coffee - everyone says that the biggest benefit is being with people who ‘get it’…

Basically we are needing to do what everyone else should - eat well, exercise regularly, and manage our mental health (anxiety and depression are common for cancer patients). If we need help for any of that it’s there for us.

How are you feeling as you head towards your last few treatments?

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