Life after a cancer diagnosis

Posted by azkidney57 @azkidney57, Sun, Sep 29 10:11am

My nephrectomy was 4 months ago life is moving on. I have been feeling OK as of late. Physically I almost feel like “me” before the cancer. Emotionally I realize that things are now changed forever. In October ,which is here, I will meet my new oncologist. He will order “scans” and blood work so the cycle of surveillance begins for me. I was told that for the next 2 years I would have scans and blood work. Hopefully my cancer will not return but it just may. There is no way to tell how things will go. I was told that due to my tumor size I am at higher risk for recurrence. I will hope for the best. Many of you have already traveled the cancer trail some are just beginning the journey. Where ever you are with your cancer there is always hope. There may be pain and discomfort but we must fight to beat the beast that is cancer. I want to think of scans as “positive” in hopes of quelling my anxiety “scanxiety”. I have scan anxiety right now. A sense of dread intertwined with fear of the unknown. I don’t like the drive to the cancer center it tends to fill me with much stress. I don’t like checking in for appointments, the same questions asked, the same answers given. I am a cancer patient at a cancer center and that doesn’t sit well with me. I have an ID card with my name on it reminding me I am a member of a new club I never thought I would be be a part of! Faces are becoming familiar at the cancer center. At this point of my journey, I feel no comfort in the “new“familiar. It feels very foreign and not part of me. It’s been 4 months that is not very long since the cancer “ officially” invaded my life. Yet in many ways it feels like an eternity. So much has happened in those 4 months. I am grateful that my panic stage is over. I do feel less anxious in general. I am grateful for this site and for everyone who has given me insightful advise and direction. I find it most helpful! I feel supported which is very much appreciated. We all need to feel support! There are so many of us out there! There is strength in numbers!

@IndianaScott

I was out walking the pup today and came around the corner to this. Wanted to share a bit of color and beauty here today.
Cheers to all!

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Lovely pic! Thanks Scott!

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@azkidney57; @trishanna; @IndianaScott; @puprluvr; @becsbuddy;@hopeful33250; @naturegirl5
I have been thinking more and more about this topic as I live this everyday. The 3rd of this month was my 22 anniversary with lung cancer.(1997). At that time there was no connect. There was a local cancer support group and the American Cancer Society. But no one explained what it meant, this life after cancer, or how to try and figure it out. We were not nearly as astute as to how to talk about cancer, it's feelings or how to support each other. As you said, @azkidney57, "I am grateful that my panic stage is over." I was happy for it because it was also numbing, becoming a protective shield.
Life after cancer can see many, many changes. Some of the changes just take place gradually, physical adjustments to our new limitations. After all these years, and they have been wonderful and very, very difficult I have finally just decided that simple plans are the best. I limit my appointments and spend almost all of my time with my husband and family. I have fought PTSD for 12 years and bronchitis and pneumonia and being hospitalized, an early MIA and a stent. Then another stent to correct a mistake made by the surgeon in one of my arteries during my last lobectomy. But we all have these types of things- so life after cancer to me are decisions about what I want to do everyday and this is how I move forward, one step at a time, one appointment at a time. It really can't get an easier than that. Except for my cancer I really do not have an other life altering decisions that I allow to complicate my life. Do you think that simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities, if at all?

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@merpreb

@azkidney57; @trishanna; @IndianaScott; @puprluvr; @becsbuddy;@hopeful33250; @naturegirl5
I have been thinking more and more about this topic as I live this everyday. The 3rd of this month was my 22 anniversary with lung cancer.(1997). At that time there was no connect. There was a local cancer support group and the American Cancer Society. But no one explained what it meant, this life after cancer, or how to try and figure it out. We were not nearly as astute as to how to talk about cancer, it's feelings or how to support each other. As you said, @azkidney57, "I am grateful that my panic stage is over." I was happy for it because it was also numbing, becoming a protective shield.
Life after cancer can see many, many changes. Some of the changes just take place gradually, physical adjustments to our new limitations. After all these years, and they have been wonderful and very, very difficult I have finally just decided that simple plans are the best. I limit my appointments and spend almost all of my time with my husband and family. I have fought PTSD for 12 years and bronchitis and pneumonia and being hospitalized, an early MIA and a stent. Then another stent to correct a mistake made by the surgeon in one of my arteries during my last lobectomy. But we all have these types of things- so life after cancer to me are decisions about what I want to do everyday and this is how I move forward, one step at a time, one appointment at a time. It really can't get an easier than that. Except for my cancer I really do not have an other life altering decisions that I allow to complicate my life. Do you think that simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities, if at all?

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@merpreb
Thank you, Merry, for reminding us what life was like without the internet. Sometimes I want to return those "good 'ol days", thinking life was simpler, less instant, and far less hectic. However, as you wrote, 22 years ago, this wonderful Mayo Connect site did not exist. I've overheard my partner telling others how I've found such lovely support here on Mayo Connect. This has become my "home group".

I'm just 11 weeks out from my diagnosis and 9 weeks out from a radical hysterectomy for endometrial cancer. Now that my energy is returning, I've squished too many activities in to too little time. I need to remind myself each morning that my partner, my family, (this includes our animals) and my close friendships are most important. Thank you for the reminder to limit appointments, slow down, and not overly complicate my life. Yes, I think that living each day, one at a time, and simplifying our lives is key. We can say "no" to what we can control.

Thank you for your inspiring post.

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@merpreb

@azkidney57; @trishanna; @IndianaScott; @puprluvr; @becsbuddy;@hopeful33250; @naturegirl5
I have been thinking more and more about this topic as I live this everyday. The 3rd of this month was my 22 anniversary with lung cancer.(1997). At that time there was no connect. There was a local cancer support group and the American Cancer Society. But no one explained what it meant, this life after cancer, or how to try and figure it out. We were not nearly as astute as to how to talk about cancer, it's feelings or how to support each other. As you said, @azkidney57, "I am grateful that my panic stage is over." I was happy for it because it was also numbing, becoming a protective shield.
Life after cancer can see many, many changes. Some of the changes just take place gradually, physical adjustments to our new limitations. After all these years, and they have been wonderful and very, very difficult I have finally just decided that simple plans are the best. I limit my appointments and spend almost all of my time with my husband and family. I have fought PTSD for 12 years and bronchitis and pneumonia and being hospitalized, an early MIA and a stent. Then another stent to correct a mistake made by the surgeon in one of my arteries during my last lobectomy. But we all have these types of things- so life after cancer to me are decisions about what I want to do everyday and this is how I move forward, one step at a time, one appointment at a time. It really can't get an easier than that. Except for my cancer I really do not have an other life altering decisions that I allow to complicate my life. Do you think that simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities, if at all?

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I think people, us , who are challenged by a cancer, develop a tolerance to adversity. At first there is the panic that shields and is a defense mechanism. You work through the panic then your life, your new life, begins. That is how I see it. The person I once was has changed. Priorities shift or change altogether. I am getting to know the “new” me. This is the “journey”. I met a man and he asked me out for coffee and my response was:”I will ask her(me) if she wants to go”. I am that disconnected from the new “me” right now. I see this as dealing with the adversity, the challenge, the cancer. I am a work in progress. I am in protective mode. Whether this is wrong or right who knows. I just know that for me right now I need to get to know the changed “me”. I take things in steps. I live one day at a time. I am most annoyed right now with the frivolous and most touched by the simple things. The sun coming up each day is beautiful and calming. I listen to birds and that is wonderful. My dog is a great comfort. He seems to know when I need him more. A hug from a friend feeds my soul! A smile from a stranger acknowledges me and I like that. I read posts on this site and it is nourishing. It satisfies my need for affirmation. I feel validated. Happy anniversary to you! You are still here and that is a very good thing. You are a survivor! Thank you so very much for sharing.

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@merpreb

@azkidney57; @trishanna; @IndianaScott; @puprluvr; @becsbuddy;@hopeful33250; @naturegirl5
I have been thinking more and more about this topic as I live this everyday. The 3rd of this month was my 22 anniversary with lung cancer.(1997). At that time there was no connect. There was a local cancer support group and the American Cancer Society. But no one explained what it meant, this life after cancer, or how to try and figure it out. We were not nearly as astute as to how to talk about cancer, it's feelings or how to support each other. As you said, @azkidney57, "I am grateful that my panic stage is over." I was happy for it because it was also numbing, becoming a protective shield.
Life after cancer can see many, many changes. Some of the changes just take place gradually, physical adjustments to our new limitations. After all these years, and they have been wonderful and very, very difficult I have finally just decided that simple plans are the best. I limit my appointments and spend almost all of my time with my husband and family. I have fought PTSD for 12 years and bronchitis and pneumonia and being hospitalized, an early MIA and a stent. Then another stent to correct a mistake made by the surgeon in one of my arteries during my last lobectomy. But we all have these types of things- so life after cancer to me are decisions about what I want to do everyday and this is how I move forward, one step at a time, one appointment at a time. It really can't get an easier than that. Except for my cancer I really do not have an other life altering decisions that I allow to complicate my life. Do you think that simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities, if at all?

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Hi @merpreb I find this an interesting discussion.

All I can add, from the perspective of my wife's war is this — celebrate and relish in whatever it is you are able to do.

Easier said than done, I know! Often it is easier to mourn what it is we've lost than relish what we have left. Personally I've found this true after my stroke — many times I catch myself complaining about what I can't see and forget to laud what I still can.

I know by necessity my wife and I were forced to greatly simplify our lives due to her cancer. Much because of her physical and mental limitations, some by my lack of ability to manage all the demands of caregiving with other things I'd have been doing at the time, and some by the financial burdens. The journey is daunting, but by keeping it simple, became a tad less so for us.

Strength, courage, and peace.

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@IndianaScott– Sometimes it's a necessity to whine and complain. It helps reduce the stress pressure, opens the valves. Until the next time, that is!

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@merpreb

@azkidney57; @trishanna; @IndianaScott; @puprluvr; @becsbuddy;@hopeful33250; @naturegirl5
I have been thinking more and more about this topic as I live this everyday. The 3rd of this month was my 22 anniversary with lung cancer.(1997). At that time there was no connect. There was a local cancer support group and the American Cancer Society. But no one explained what it meant, this life after cancer, or how to try and figure it out. We were not nearly as astute as to how to talk about cancer, it's feelings or how to support each other. As you said, @azkidney57, "I am grateful that my panic stage is over." I was happy for it because it was also numbing, becoming a protective shield.
Life after cancer can see many, many changes. Some of the changes just take place gradually, physical adjustments to our new limitations. After all these years, and they have been wonderful and very, very difficult I have finally just decided that simple plans are the best. I limit my appointments and spend almost all of my time with my husband and family. I have fought PTSD for 12 years and bronchitis and pneumonia and being hospitalized, an early MIA and a stent. Then another stent to correct a mistake made by the surgeon in one of my arteries during my last lobectomy. But we all have these types of things- so life after cancer to me are decisions about what I want to do everyday and this is how I move forward, one step at a time, one appointment at a time. It really can't get an easier than that. Except for my cancer I really do not have an other life altering decisions that I allow to complicate my life. Do you think that simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities, if at all?

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@merpreb You ask “do you think simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities”? That was good for me to read as I’ve had to give up so many activities I’ve always enjoyed. Now, I let others do things for me and know that they are enjoying what they are doing and I’m saving my strength. Guess it just takes time

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@becsbuddy– I think that life after cancer has a lot of ahaa moments Becky. Thank you.

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@merpreb

@azkidney57; @trishanna; @IndianaScott; @puprluvr; @becsbuddy;@hopeful33250; @naturegirl5
I have been thinking more and more about this topic as I live this everyday. The 3rd of this month was my 22 anniversary with lung cancer.(1997). At that time there was no connect. There was a local cancer support group and the American Cancer Society. But no one explained what it meant, this life after cancer, or how to try and figure it out. We were not nearly as astute as to how to talk about cancer, it's feelings or how to support each other. As you said, @azkidney57, "I am grateful that my panic stage is over." I was happy for it because it was also numbing, becoming a protective shield.
Life after cancer can see many, many changes. Some of the changes just take place gradually, physical adjustments to our new limitations. After all these years, and they have been wonderful and very, very difficult I have finally just decided that simple plans are the best. I limit my appointments and spend almost all of my time with my husband and family. I have fought PTSD for 12 years and bronchitis and pneumonia and being hospitalized, an early MIA and a stent. Then another stent to correct a mistake made by the surgeon in one of my arteries during my last lobectomy. But we all have these types of things- so life after cancer to me are decisions about what I want to do everyday and this is how I move forward, one step at a time, one appointment at a time. It really can't get an easier than that. Except for my cancer I really do not have an other life altering decisions that I allow to complicate my life. Do you think that simplifying is the best, until we can handle more complex activities, if at all?

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@merpreb A simple "thank you" for your words feels inadequate, but it is heartfelt. This weekend has been one of introspection, and wondering, and journaling, and just wondering again. Simple is good. Looking out the windows this morning into the fog, and knowing the seasonal changes are something to be grateful for.
Ginger

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@gingerw – we have forest/woods behind us and if the windows are open I hear the birds wake up and start gibberjabbering amongst themselves. Yes, there is much to be grateful for. And I'm feeling very warmed by your thoughts. Thank you.

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@IndianaScott

I was out walking the pup today and came around the corner to this. Wanted to share a bit of color and beauty here today.
Cheers to all!

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Thanks for posting this!

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@azkidney57

I think people, us , who are challenged by a cancer, develop a tolerance to adversity. At first there is the panic that shields and is a defense mechanism. You work through the panic then your life, your new life, begins. That is how I see it. The person I once was has changed. Priorities shift or change altogether. I am getting to know the “new” me. This is the “journey”. I met a man and he asked me out for coffee and my response was:”I will ask her(me) if she wants to go”. I am that disconnected from the new “me” right now. I see this as dealing with the adversity, the challenge, the cancer. I am a work in progress. I am in protective mode. Whether this is wrong or right who knows. I just know that for me right now I need to get to know the changed “me”. I take things in steps. I live one day at a time. I am most annoyed right now with the frivolous and most touched by the simple things. The sun coming up each day is beautiful and calming. I listen to birds and that is wonderful. My dog is a great comfort. He seems to know when I need him more. A hug from a friend feeds my soul! A smile from a stranger acknowledges me and I like that. I read posts on this site and it is nourishing. It satisfies my need for affirmation. I feel validated. Happy anniversary to you! You are still here and that is a very good thing. You are a survivor! Thank you so very much for sharing.

Jump to this post

I love your comment about developing "a tolerance to adversity." This is so true. Thank you for that great thought, @azkidney57

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@IndianaScott

Hi @merpreb I find this an interesting discussion.

All I can add, from the perspective of my wife's war is this — celebrate and relish in whatever it is you are able to do.

Easier said than done, I know! Often it is easier to mourn what it is we've lost than relish what we have left. Personally I've found this true after my stroke — many times I catch myself complaining about what I can't see and forget to laud what I still can.

I know by necessity my wife and I were forced to greatly simplify our lives due to her cancer. Much because of her physical and mental limitations, some by my lack of ability to manage all the demands of caregiving with other things I'd have been doing at the time, and some by the financial burdens. The journey is daunting, but by keeping it simple, became a tad less so for us.

Strength, courage, and peace.

Jump to this post

@IndianaScott, You are right about simplicity. I've found myself enjoying it rather than fighting it. It takes time to develop an appreciation of simplicity, but it feels really good when you arrive there!

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