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What it feels like to finish treatment - the aftermath - add your experience

MicheleRMicheleR South AustraliaMember Posts: 311
Hi,

A few people have recently finished treatment or hit the 1 year mark. It might be helpful for others to get a glimpse of the range of experiences that people are currently and have previously had post active treatment. Im not talking symptoms but experiences, emotions and reflections.

What do you think?

Ill start this off. Noting the recent comments by others which i cant work out how to link 

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I feel a bit like ive been reincarnated like a baby. I have all my past experiences behind me and im a little amazed that ive completed a bunch of difficult things, like chemo, but im also blinky freshly at the world, excited, interested and joyful at experiences.  On the other side of this i am a little unsure of myself and how to look after myself. 

Ive been proactive in getting help. Im lucky enough to have access to a dietician, exercise pysiologists and if i want psychologists. Ive had good experiences with my surgeon and oncologists. I trust my gps. None of these people, fortunately, have had cancer, their view of it is second hand. Not many people, family and friends have had cancer, thankfully, a few of them know others who have had it. 

Only you guys will get what i and others have experienced properly and most of us are not healthcare professionals. 

So ive stumbled out and thought well id better try and get myself in better shape. Im probably 20kg over my ideal weight for ideal bmi. Ive really got no idea how to do this. My old me would have tried couch to 5k or something, probably unsuccessfully. I go to a cancer service '"gym" twice a week and havent lost any weight. Last week there was a new physio and she corrected my technique and now i hurt. So how hard can you push it when you have just had cancer treatment? Noone seems to really know how long you are immune compromised for. I dont know. Should i manage myself with kid gloves or should i push hard given ive just had extreme treatments? 

My dietician doesnt want me to diet and suggested intuitive eating. Seems kind of reasonable except intuitively i eat for all kinds or reason other than hunger! I eat a lot more fruit than i used to and much less processed food. 

Overall physically, i feel quite good even on the hormone blockers. Ive been walking sort of 4km on sundays and about 2km each day weekly. During chemo sometimes i couldnt do it all and was endlessly breathless. Its a real joy to be able to walk and even if it hurts i take pleasure in it. 

Im kind of picking up other things in my life. Im back at work. Ive stepped back more fully into family life and looked around and went oh. There are things to do.  Ive even started to climb the everest of housework. 

Things, priorities look different. 



Comments

  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 520
    Hi @MicheleR

    I wrote a post the other day about how I am post treatment. It was titled ' One Year since the diagnosis feeling strong and well'. I am feeling joyful and excited about the cancer gone and treatment finished. I am on tamoxifen.

    I will be 59 in June and this is the fitest I have been in years. I would love to loose 5 kgs but nothing is happening there. I walk 5 days a week and walk about 4/5 km. I go to pilates once a week and water aerobics once a week.

    I get tired and have a rest in the afternoons if I need it. I have good support at home and my husband and I are retired now. I eat a balanced diet and sometimes have wine. 

    I am about to have my first grandchild and will help with them sometimes. I get out and about with friends. I practice mindfulness. Prior to breast cancer I was a big stress or and really didn't handle it well. I have changed that and work on it daily.

    I think I was lucky not to have lots of set backs or side effects with my treatment. I have had alot of serious health issues but for some reason I heal well which is good given my medical history. You would need several days to read about it 😀.

     I have friends who have not been as well post treatment. I think we are all different and our experiences are very different as are our recoveries. It sounds like you are doing great. Keep going. 
  • MicheleRMicheleR South AustraliaMember Posts: 311
    Thanks @Caz1. I couldnt work out how to link your previous post...
  • AbbydogAbbydog Adelaide, South AustraliaMember Posts: 287
    I have and are blessed to have great family and friends.
    I took the year off work, using Income Protection Insurance. Diagnosed February, finished Radiotherapy in October 2020. 
    My year of Mastectomy, Chemo and Radiotherapy, was easier than I expected. Nothing like in the movies.
    I had a some side effects, all bearable. I feel like I got off lightly, compared many.
    My hair thinned, using Cold Cap, but happy with the result.
    I'm happy to be having my hair coloured and shaped again.
    There are some short hairs(my chemo hairs) that don't blend well, but will eventually.
    I feel like my life was paused, and is now normal. I try not to dwell on my year of treatment, 2020
    So far I am tolerating Letrazole, and will be on it for the next 5-10years.
    I am optimistic and realistic.


  • MicheleRMicheleR South AustraliaMember Posts: 311
    Hi @Flclover

    Dont apologise. Its good to hear your thoughts about everything. It is hard for people to hear difficult things. Just look at cancer! It sounds like you are on the right path now and are healing in more ways than after cancer. Some of us will take inportant lessons away for ourselves. I join you in understanding not to overwork, to understand that what I was doing before didnt work for me and a slow down was required to reassess. Think we have had that conversation once before and it is important. Dont put yourself last. 

    As @Afraser said to me before it is a gift to be able to live in the moment. 

    M x
  • FLCloverFLClover Sydney Member Posts: 1,284
    Thanks @MicheleR 🙂. 
    We’ve definitely had this conversation before, and it’s very important to remember not to overwork ourselves, and to not put ourselves last. We’re too important to put last. Old habits are hard to remove though 😄, so attention must be paid 😁. 

    And yes, another very important point that I didn’t mention 👆🏻, that @Afraser pointed out so well: to live in and appreciate the moment. SO important! Very unnecessary stress living in the past, and even more unnecessary to worry about a future no one can control. Best lesson ever 👌🏻👏🏻. Mindfulness ♥️
  • MazbethMazbeth BrisbaneMember Posts: 178
    Thanks @MicheleR for getting this thread going. When I was first diagnosed in 2019, I was looking for the stories of others who had gone before me and made it through - I desperately needed to know that it was possible. I am also loving hearing how everyone is doing now.
    I went on leave immediately from my teaching job when I was diagnosed as the oncologist was worried about infection. Little did we know that a global pandemic was about to kick off!
    I had neoadjuvent chemo - a total of 16 and I made it through pretty well. As was said somewhere on this forum, it was grotty but doable. I tried to save my hair with a cold cap, but sadly I was one it didn’t work for, but I always recommend that people try it as you never know what your experience will be.
    Like everything with this crazy train ride, we all have individual experiences. I learned to take it one treatment at a time and not to get too far ahead of myself.
    I then had a BMX with expanders. I had the implants put in December 2020. I did a gradual return to work in September of 2020 and I am so thankful I started back gradually. I am very happy with my reconstruction.
    BC caused me to do an audit of my life. One thing I always knew, I loved my life and I didn’t need cancer to do prove that. However, I now have a much deeper appreciation of a lot of things. One of those things is how life changes in an instant. 
    I definitely felt my life got put on pause for 2020, but now I have pressed play again. 
    It’s 12 months since I finished chemo and I am hanging out with my family - like I always did, I am back at work, doing what I love. My hair has grown and no one who doesn’t know me would ever know what the last 12 months have entailed. Of course I am on hormone blockers and that has its own set of issues, but I am just so happy to be out the other end and back into my world. Things just seem a lot glossier now.
    @Afraser, you were one of those people on the other end of the keyboard who told me I could do it and here I am, 12 months on! Thank you! I hope that I can give back in the same way you helped me.
    When I had chemo, I just imagined the drugs were pulling out the weeds so that the flowers could grow and flourish. 
    There is a really simple truth about living in the present and that is what I try to do. As the saying goes - worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. It steals today’s peace. 
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