Home Now what? The highs and lows of survivorship

Scanxiety and moving forward

primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,392
This year has been pretty full on.
My job responsibilities have increased and I suddenly became one of the most senior clinicians in my team after a number of people retired and there I was acting manager when covid19 hit our community and I was left to completely restructure our workforce and way of working in 2 weeks.

Anyhow amongst that I also started studying again to progress in my knowledge in my now chosen field of nursing which I had just moved into when I found cancer back in 2015. So my plans for structured uni education was put on hold whilst cancer treatment happened, and then I needed more time to recover and feel confident my brain was functioning enough again to study.

So yes I had bursitis both shoulders that after much time, scans etc was discovered to be caused by letrozole, not mets as I feared. Changing over to anastrazole was definitely worth it. I haven't returned to my former exercise, partly of fear of recurrence and also covid risks and my free time was spent studying.

So I was up to last 2 assignments when I discovered some lumps in my forearm. Of course initially I tried ignoring it, then of course I spoke with my GP (phone consult) and breast surgeon appointment (phone consult again). Anyways I had the scan form but I decided to finish those assignments just in case. I really had the fear I may need a biopsy and knew that I wouldn't get the very last one in...my assignment BTW was the effects on mental health of cancer survivors. So reading, writing, interviewing survivors and writing education packages really put a strain on my own mental health well-being. Especially the pictures I included, as 3 people in them were no longer with us.
I was thinking this year I finally felt confident going into my 4th year post treatment that I could truly think of myself as having a future. Then of course that fear was back. It seems relentless, but I guess it's how we as survivors live, sometimes feeling strong and at others in fear.

Anyway on a positive note I had the scan done today and so happy to hear they are nothing more than lumpy fat.
So it's time to shake off the dark cloud and keep moving forward. I have signed up for further study as I do intend to be here for quite a while.

Survivirship is hard. Trying to live for now and seeing a future is so important. Depression following cancer is very common, mental exhaustion and sleep issues are also part of depression and can become almost overwhelming to overcome. But you can. It's not easy finding the new you, grieving of the changes can take time but given time hope and joy can come back into your life. X


  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,149

    You certainly are a champion and a great advocate and an inspiration. 
    Best wishes with your studies. 
  • Beryl C.Beryl C. Member Posts: 270
    Celebrating lumpy fat!!!!!!!!!! Did your research investigate the impact of cancer on partners and/or did it emerge in interview? ps, I'm a research nerd.
  • MicheleRMicheleR South AustraliaMember Posts: 343
    Thats really great news and well done for doing all those things. 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,392
    @Beryl C. I had to create a resource document for wider community. So it was reading multiple research papers and I also included some survivor interviews. Their experiences were what my research had shown which was interesting. The resource I created was a patient brochure designed for after treatment as this is when survivors struggle. I then created a teaching tool for oncology staff and mental health staff so they understand the challenges faced by survivors. The limitations of my assignment was focusing on general patients and not  patients with known mestatic disease, as they have some similar but obviously  different challenges than those that don't.
    Basically post traumatic stress, chronic fatigue, survivors guilt, and grief as well as depressive symptoms are incredibly common in survivors.
    The brochure was designed for oncology staff to be able to offer patients in that  infrequent post treatment contact time and provides information and links on help and services.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,960
    I felt exhausted and drained for you just reading that @primek.  Who'd have though lumpy fat would be a good thing.  Big hooray for you in finishing your assignment with that weighing on your mind particularly given the nature of the topic but it sounds like you have created something really worthwhile.
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