Cancer Survivor Guilt

Posted by apl2014 @apl2014, Jul 22, 2020

I am a survivor of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. It’s a very rare Leukemia, and one of the few considered “curable”. It’s been 5 years since I achieved remission. I really struggle with survivors guilt. Is this common? What can I do to cope better?

Ten Steps for getting rid of the Blues and Guilt:
1: Go out and do something for someone else. (no matter how big or small).

2-9: Repeat Step #1.

Saw this today and it resonates with me. Even if "they" don't know you're doing it. Especially if they can't repay you for your kindness. Despite that at times, they may not appreciate it. Why do it? Because you cared enough to try.

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Hello @apl2014

It was a couple of weeks ago that you posted about survivor's guilt. I was just wondering if any of the thoughts posted have been helpful to you.

I would enjoy hearing from you again. Could you post and let me know how you are doing?

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@marvinjsturing Hello again Marvin. This evening thoughts of your earlier posts came to mind. Thinking about the discussions reminded me how intense they were. I reread them and wondered how you have been doing. Some information or conversation takes time to digest and I hope sorting out “what fits” has been going well. Your insight into what you were feeling was filled with compassion for others and I was glad you reached out for help with understanding. Please know that you haven’t been forgotten and I send you wishes for peace and sense of direction going forward. You are always welcome back to let us know how you are doing. Nancy

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@1nan Hi, Nan. Thanks for asking about me. It was last February that I had a PET/MRI scan and an EUS biopsy at Mayo to confirm that my pancreatic cancer has indeed returned. Typical treatment would have been radiation and chemo. Because of my kidney problems, it was decided to do only radiation. After 25 rounds of radiation, I ended up with an E. coli blood infection and did 15 rounds of IV antibiotics. Last July, I returned to Mayo for another PET/MRI. That scan showed that the tumors and lymph nodes had increased in size. I was told that it could be a result of the radiation. I have been getting monthly CA 19-9 tests. Those tests have indicated that things are remaining stable at this time. I have to go back to Rochester in a month for another scan. If the tumors are not growing there will be no treatment other than periodic scans to see how things are going. If the tumors are growing, I will have to have chemo. Because of my kidney problems, I will have to have dialysis 1 hour after each chemo treatment. So we are waiting to see what the next scans show. Meanwhile, my wife and I spent the last 2 weeks camping by a lake. I was able to play disc golf, ride my bake, walk the dog and go swimming with my wife. Also got to spend a couple of days with our daughter and her husband and the grand kids. The weather was beautiful. We got home just in time because there are frost warnings issued for tonight. I won't say I don't have emotional lows and highs, but all in all, I am enjoying life. I am a member of a Facebook group called Whipple Warrior Survivors. There have been several posts recently by others who have had recurrences of pancreatic cancer and are fighting the cancer and enjoying life. Posts like that give me lots of encouragement and the will to take things head on no matter what the future holds.

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@marvinjsturing

@1nan Hi, Nan. Thanks for asking about me. It was last February that I had a PET/MRI scan and an EUS biopsy at Mayo to confirm that my pancreatic cancer has indeed returned. Typical treatment would have been radiation and chemo. Because of my kidney problems, it was decided to do only radiation. After 25 rounds of radiation, I ended up with an E. coli blood infection and did 15 rounds of IV antibiotics. Last July, I returned to Mayo for another PET/MRI. That scan showed that the tumors and lymph nodes had increased in size. I was told that it could be a result of the radiation. I have been getting monthly CA 19-9 tests. Those tests have indicated that things are remaining stable at this time. I have to go back to Rochester in a month for another scan. If the tumors are not growing there will be no treatment other than periodic scans to see how things are going. If the tumors are growing, I will have to have chemo. Because of my kidney problems, I will have to have dialysis 1 hour after each chemo treatment. So we are waiting to see what the next scans show. Meanwhile, my wife and I spent the last 2 weeks camping by a lake. I was able to play disc golf, ride my bake, walk the dog and go swimming with my wife. Also got to spend a couple of days with our daughter and her husband and the grand kids. The weather was beautiful. We got home just in time because there are frost warnings issued for tonight. I won't say I don't have emotional lows and highs, but all in all, I am enjoying life. I am a member of a Facebook group called Whipple Warrior Survivors. There have been several posts recently by others who have had recurrences of pancreatic cancer and are fighting the cancer and enjoying life. Posts like that give me lots of encouragement and the will to take things head on no matter what the future holds.

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Salute to your courage sir, God bless🙏

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@marvinjsturing

@1nan Hi, Nan. Thanks for asking about me. It was last February that I had a PET/MRI scan and an EUS biopsy at Mayo to confirm that my pancreatic cancer has indeed returned. Typical treatment would have been radiation and chemo. Because of my kidney problems, it was decided to do only radiation. After 25 rounds of radiation, I ended up with an E. coli blood infection and did 15 rounds of IV antibiotics. Last July, I returned to Mayo for another PET/MRI. That scan showed that the tumors and lymph nodes had increased in size. I was told that it could be a result of the radiation. I have been getting monthly CA 19-9 tests. Those tests have indicated that things are remaining stable at this time. I have to go back to Rochester in a month for another scan. If the tumors are not growing there will be no treatment other than periodic scans to see how things are going. If the tumors are growing, I will have to have chemo. Because of my kidney problems, I will have to have dialysis 1 hour after each chemo treatment. So we are waiting to see what the next scans show. Meanwhile, my wife and I spent the last 2 weeks camping by a lake. I was able to play disc golf, ride my bake, walk the dog and go swimming with my wife. Also got to spend a couple of days with our daughter and her husband and the grand kids. The weather was beautiful. We got home just in time because there are frost warnings issued for tonight. I won't say I don't have emotional lows and highs, but all in all, I am enjoying life. I am a member of a Facebook group called Whipple Warrior Survivors. There have been several posts recently by others who have had recurrences of pancreatic cancer and are fighting the cancer and enjoying life. Posts like that give me lots of encouragement and the will to take things head on no matter what the future holds.

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@marvinjsturing Marvin, I am sorry to hear that your pancreatic cancer has returned. You seem to have found the courage, support, mindset and attitude to continue living life as you choose. Your past few days sound idealic. Best wishes with upcoming scans. There are still many success stories out there and would love knowing you are one of them. We at Connect are here for you with prayers and hope. Will you consider checking back in along the way? Meanwhile we’ll look for success stories to share. Nancy

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