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end of treatment, feeling down end of treatment, feeling down

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  #1  
Unread 05-05-2003, 06:16 AM
end of treatment, feeling down

I now have only 5 radiation treatments left (out of 25) and
then they send me on my merry way.
I was feeling fine till now (except for tired, diarhia etc) but
now I am very depressed, and don't know why.

Maybe, while the treatment was going on I didn't have to worry about the cancer coming back, and now I do?

I also haven't gone back to work yet, and when my treatment finishes (next monday) will be 12 weeks since my surgery.
I am doing a couple of hours a day of typing (my replacement doesn't type...) but dread going back to work.

I feel like I am walking around in a glass bubble, and outside are all the "others" who don't have cancer, and don't have to keep thinking they are going to die before their kids grow up.

Another problem: I was seen after sugery by an oncologist chosen by the hospital where the suregery took place. I thought he would be doing my follow up, but found out yesterday that his caseload is full. They told me at the outpatient clinic of the hospital to choose another doctor, but I don't know any of them!! I have my first follow up with "mystery doc" (I know only the name) on May 26th, 2 weeks after end of radiation. The doc I was thinking of choosing (since she's been my doctor during treatment) is off for 6 weeks and will be back mid-June.
What will they actually be "following-up" in this first appointment?

Any advice on how to get my life back together?

Esther
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  #2  
Unread 05-05-2003, 08:04 AM
end of treatment, feeling down

Hi Esther,

I know how you feel. There is joy at being finished with treatments, but always the fear that the cancer will come back. It has been almost 2 months since I finished chemo and I know my life won't be the same as before. I will never regain that blissful self forgetfulness of never thinking about my boy untiul something ble or broke! I have learne to treasure the goo ays, hope for the best. no one knows how long we will live, but we will live long enough to do everything Go wants us to do.Don't expect yourself to be the same but take things slow.
I hope you like your new Doctor. I don't know what your first visit will be like, because I had chemo and not radiation, but they will monitor you closely so in case the cancer does recur they can catch it early.
  #3  
Unread 05-05-2003, 09:25 AM
end of treatment, feeling down

Dear Esther,

What you are feeling is what so many of us go through when we finish treatment. On the outside, it doesn't make sense. Shouldn't we be jumping for joy that we have finished chemo or radiation?

I went through the same thing when I finished chemo for breast cancer. My Onc. even warned me not to be surprised if I felt a little depressed. I think that while we are going through treatment, we are being proactive about our health. In some ways, we have handed over responsibility to the medical professionals' hands. Now that treatment is over, it is OUR responsibility. It is a very big task and one where we don't feel we have the expertise.

Things that helped me were writing down my feelings, going to support groups or boards like Hystersisters, exercising and continuing to educate myself. It does get easier with time as we go back to our old life and old routines....but there are still brief moments of panic.

Good luck to you. If you were comfortable with the oncologist that was working with you, perhaps you can make a case for having them make an exception and continuing with that doc. It is hard enough that we don't always have control over our own health. Why can't they at least let you choose a doc that you would be comfortable with!
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  #4  
Unread 05-05-2003, 11:44 AM
Felt Same Way

I thought I'd be so glad in 9/01 to be off chemo--and then the feelings I'd read about of women who suddenly found themselves lost came into being. I felt as if I were a baby bird tossed out of the nest and now on its own--and not quite ready. This feeling is quite normal--chemo, as bad as it was, was doing something--waiting is doing nothing. This last time (I recurred in 02) I finished it was my choice and I was very happy to be off chemo and not at all like before. Chemo was taking a heavy toll emotionally and physically on me (and is continuing to take a physical toll on my GI system) and I stopped after 8 carboplatin although my Dr. offered the option of continuing every other month or monthly on a lower dose until it failed. You'll know the feelings very well--and they're very common. Big
  #5  
Unread 05-05-2003, 02:00 PM
end of treatment, feeling down

Dear Esther,

I am so sorry to learn that you're feeling depressed. And it was interesting reading the other responses to your post.

I'm not sure where I read this, but I thought I'd read that the act of proactively doing something to contribute to continued remission was psychologically healthy. By this I mean either changing your diet, or adopting a new exercise plan, or doing something that will help you feel as though you are actively working to prevent a recurrence.

Once I get through chemo I'm sure I will go back to certain life routines. But I cannot go back to all of them. I used to think nothing of cracking open a bottle of red wine, and having cheese, meat, crackers and wine for dinner. But post-chemo, I will no doubt be avoiding things such as this. I want to feel as though I'm contributing to my continued well being, so I am going to work at it.

I wish I knew how to help, but I'm still mid-treatment, so I can't possibly know what you're going through.

I just feel bad that you've been through so much, and have FOUGHT HARD through so much, and now you are feeling sad. To my mind, it is now that you should feel the most joy! If you're given a clean bill of health, do all you can to maintain that. Seek support here or in an in-person group (such as the Wellness Community or something like that). Hug your friends. Go to a church. Play with kids in your neighborhood! (I borrow friends' kids all the time.)

I am super sorry to hear about your doctor situation. It would be nice if one doctor could see you all the way through. But . . . I had one doctor diagnose me, another set of doctors operate on me, and am now seeing another doctor for chemo. They're all good in their own ways, and I do not feel that my care is being compromised in any way. I can always call any of my surgeons anytime I want to, and I usually run into them when I go in for chemo, so I've been able to ask a few hallway questions.

Our prayers are with you, Esther. Do not despair! This is a time of renewed life. Life is precious. Embrace it with joy! :-)
  #6  
Unread 05-05-2003, 05:33 PM
end of treatment, feeling down

Hi Esther...

I certainly do know what you are going thru....You see,, there is this love, hate relationship with chemo and I am sure radiation also, although I did not have radiation.

I had 6 treatments of taxol and carboplatin for ovarian cancer. At treatment #5 i was thrilled that I only had one more to go.

At treatment #6 i began to panic. My thoughts were: If this is killing the cancer why not stay on it longer???? If I stop does it automatically come back???? How will I know what to do??? Will my doctor know if it is back????

MY head was flooded with questions and my oncologist said that they were all normal thoughts that everyone always has. There was a saftey in having the chemo although we hated it. I did eventually get over it but at every doctor appointment it did come back... It is called CANCERHEAD!!!

Maybe going back to work will help by not giving you lots of time to dwell on things. I went back to work 5 weeks after my hysterectomy and worked all thru my chemo. It has now been a year since surgery and diagnosis. MY next doctor appointment is the beginning of JUne and I am starting to panic now...

How is everything in Isreal???

Rosalie
  #7  
Unread 05-05-2003, 09:29 PM
Oh Esther, I hear you...

I was kind of the same way when I finished my radiation. I think the other posters are right in saying it's cause we aren't doing anything but the waiting. My two week check up after radiation was just to see if they can still "feel" the tumor. In which they couldn't they could only feel the nub they were supposed to. I then had the 3 day implant, since my tumor was just at the end of my vagina.

You just have to trust that Dr's know what they are doing, and if you need more they will give it to you. I was originally scheduled for only 5 weeks of radiation, but it took 6, then they had those two days of heavy dosage at the end.

's and ers to you. Good luck!
  #8  
Unread 05-06-2003, 07:15 AM
Me too

Esther,

I have had the same feeling that you are going thru, I still have them. I guess it is like when someone is cured of something and it physically shows, they know that they are cured. But with us it is like, we feel better, but does that mean that the cancer is gone. We have no real physical evedince to say that it is gone except the 3month paps & tests.

I am in a whirlpool of emotions at times and sometimes it is like I cant keep my head above water. I do pray that the Lord helps me thru this and I will be stronger for it.
  #9  
Unread 05-06-2003, 08:17 AM
end of treatment, feeling down

I just want to say that this was one powerful posting for me. I have my first visit/consultation with my chemotherapy Dr tomorrow and I've just finished all the initial paperwork this morning. I've also got radiation therapy, too, to look forward to but that's not scheduled until 5/20. You ladies really gave me some insight into the road ahead and I thank you.

God bless you all.
  #10  
Unread 05-06-2003, 12:00 PM
end of treatment, feeling down

s Ester

The feelings you are experiencing now are known to all of us.
It is surely like leaving a safe place.
Many of us become pro active in some way.
My own way to was to become involved in the different ovarian cancer organizations. For me this works great and a wonderful life continues. Different, but still grand.

karenann
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