Shifting priorities

JSN Member Posts: 34
edited August 2019 in Day to day
I am just past two years from BC.

It is only now that everything has hit me so deeply. 

What I had, what happened to the before me, losing friends, so many things just falling away one by one. 

I feel so tearful and confused most days.  I have seen a psychologist. I am exercising. I am back at work. And everything is going well and then I remember again what I had.  The treatment, the loss, the surgery, the aches and pains, menopause, hair loss, hair change, weight gain, poor memory, fear of recurrence, not able to relate to anyone, not able to relate to anything I had before, feeling so very alone.

I have a wonderful husband and children.

I have no support, no contact with my family of origin. Its a toxic fractured relationship.  I grieve for all that was lost through missed opportunity. 

It feels like all I do now is grieve and cry.  I am taking 4 weeks off work to try and sort my head out and come to terms with the grief and fear that seems to constantly take up my day.  

Does anyone else feel like this? Feel a huge amount of grief?  Maybe I didn't process any of this when it was happening.  Maybe I am just like this now.  A strange version of who I was before.


  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,390
    My sympathies, grieving is hard at any time but it’s particularly difficult when it hits you hard and everyone expects you to be ‘over it’. I didn’t experience it personally (I am seven years out now) but my mother went through a horrible period of delayed grieving five years after my father’s death. If you can, keep seeing a psychologist, these things take time to resolve. Apart from all the obvious physical impacts, cancer has a nasty habit of stirring up old and often unresolved emotional and personal issues. Many people experience a new ‘normal’. For me, this was very close to the old me, no major differences but a calmer, less hyper me!! Which was good. For others, the new normal is a greater shift but acceptable with adaptations. But for some, it’s a pale and unattractive version of what they felt they had before. That way lies sadness and possibly depression and needs some professional help before it becomes engulfing. It is however a normal reaction to trauma in its own way and nothing to be apologetic about. Let your husband and children help, focus on your wonderful
    assets in them rather than your sense of loss of others. We all work so hard to recover from cancer, it was to have a happier life thereafter. Your happiness is important. Best wishes. 
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,582

    Deep breaths!  
    That's a lot that you have been through and you were so busy doing it that perhaps only now the reflection of it all is ever present.   Great that you are seeing a Psychologist!  @kmakm has answered with a Yes and there are lots of others on here that feel the same.  
    An opportunity to have time off, reflect a little, smell the roses (as the saying goes) and try and find yourself - the new self, is a great idea!  
    Please come on here when you feel you need to as we all get it!

    A Counsellor that I saw on the day of diagnosis had said to me if you start to feel overwhelmed then sit and pat yourself on the legs, one at a time, and then your arms and as you are doing this say to yourself this is me, this is now as it brings the focus back to now!
    Hard yards but you will get there!
    Take care and as I said deep breaths!

  • youngdogmum
    youngdogmum Member Posts: 250
    I'm in treatment now but already feel so lost. About the woman I was versus now, how so much has been taken from me. I'm torn between going back to work soon versus next year. It's all so overwhelming at times isn't it. 
  • Artferret
    Artferret Member Posts: 259
    Hell, yes, grief, anger, frustration and a sense of helplessness but more in the first 12 months for me because that was the self imposed time limit i gave myself to get my shit back together. But more recently when i went back on letrozole after a 2 month break...all those side effects to cope with again.
    Grief hits people in so many ways and differing time spans, simmering away in the sub conscious until something triggers the flood gates. You are also learning to deal with the 'new you'. I've accepted most of the new me but there are some parts that i still don't like, being more of a stress head for one. But cancer does that to you i think especially if it comes out of the blue and hits two people at the one time, like myself and my husband (stage 3 prostate). I stressed out for both of us, my husband buried himself in work. But we were still there for each other. You have to be.
    I'm so glad you're seeing a psychologist and that your immediate family are supportive, that's so important for you.
    This will pass but it will take time and patience and it's good that you've recognized it for what it is, that you are taking time off and  getting the help you need to get you through this difficult time. 
    A good technique my psych taught me was if things are really bad, sit down and quietly think of 5 things you can see around you,  5 you can touch and 5 you can hear. You can expand this to 5 people you love, 5 activites you really enjoy and 5 books, music or movies that you enjoy as well. It's just a little quietening activity.
    Be kind to yourself and yes, lots of deep breaths. Cathxx
  • Milly21
    Milly21 Member Posts: 122
    I understand too ,I’m 2 years past diagnosed too,I think about the 1 year mark it really hit me,i still think about it daily,  I can be going along fine and hits you out of blue , from reading about others on here it seems pretty common to feel that way, I also don’t tend to take much for granted,it has made me more grateful for the people in my life, I too don’t feel like the same person I was before cancer.  I too understand your fear of reoccurrence I suffer with thoughts of that. I tend not to sweat the small things in life now so that a upside,I wish you well your definitely not alone, what you wrote really resonated with me,
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,374
    I'm 13 years out from my first diagnosis and three from my second. I have my moments.
    In 2016 I had a perfect storm of events that, even without my cancer coming back, would have tested most people. There's no escaping these circumstances once they descend on you, and the immediate problem take up all much energy you don't see the big picture clearly until later. Like putting together a diabolical jigsaw puzzle when you don't know what it looks like and have no idea how many pieces there are.
    I believe many of us end up with genuine PTSD. Thing is it's rare for that to be  clinically recognised and, to be  honest, I don't know what difference it would make. We've just got to try to find a way through. Which is fucking exhausting. 
    Hang in there, talk to the pros. There are so many reasons we don't want this disease, and fear of death and treatment is only part of the problem. Mxx
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
    edited August 2019
    It's all very normal and at some point you will find acceptance and hope for the future. Menopause itself makes you feel different for a while as your body adjusts to the hormone changes. Never mind the added trauma of the rest of the treatment. 
    I'm 3 years on and only now accepting I will always be diffetent. It's not been easy accepting this.  Hang in there. It does get  better but keep talking through issues with your psychologist. X
  • Sister
    Sister Member Posts: 4,960
    It's not unusual for grief to have a 2 year timing.  As @primek says, it's about acceptance - not about liking it.  We have to reach a space where we are not raging or despairing but just accepting and allowing ourselves to mourn - then moving on.  Something fundamental has broken in me - my trust in my own body - and I am now outside of the mainstream of people.  They don't get it.  I think you are right to try to give yourself some space.  Speak to your psychologist, or get a new one if you need to.  You need to get back to living but I think that you also need to acknowledge what you have lost and that you are allowed to be sad and angry about it - and fearful, too.  And please don't think that I am saying this from some lofty position...I am grappling with it, too.
  • kezmusc
    kezmusc Member Posts: 1,544
    Hi @JSN,

    It does take a long while and the cloudy fog of doom can creep up when you least expect it.  If it's any consolation I've found the  third year  a little easier.  Year one is just a write off with all the treatment and changes but I guess youre so busy that year it zooms past while you're in a zombie like state just trying to get through. I would never want to repeat those 8 -10 months after treatment.  Ever. That's when the shock sets in I think.

    Year 2 is where you start to reflect on things, get angry, get sad, try to work out how to get around and deal with side effects. Grieve for changed relationships with partners. Being scared of every ache and pain, recurrence etc etc. A year of experimentation that's so full of emotions it's just ridiculous. Everbody gets told do something for yourself, do something that makes you happy.  What? How?  Sometimes you have even forgotten what it is that makes you happy. 
    For me, year 2 to three has been far better.  I have found what works and what doesn't. Sure, there is as @Zoffiel puts it "a perfect storm" of things that pile up every so often and knock you for a six.  But it gets a bit easier and quicker to dig your self out of the hole.
    It's a bloody hard slog though and takes a lot of energy to keep pushing forward. Finding that level of mental energy is no mean feat either. 
     Everyone responds and deals with these thing differently but you can see a common thread amongst the posts.  

    One thing I do think often is that if it comes back how upset would I be at myself for wasting this time being sad. At the beginning I just tried to build on the moments, not the whole day, just those fleeting moments of the day that are good and you forget for a few minutes or seconds......hold on to them and look for a few more each day.
    Good on you for taking a break and I so hope that cloudy fog lifts for you soon.