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  #1  
Unread 01-05-2004, 10:58 AM
Mortality

Just wanted to write down a few thoughts because it makes me feel better to share them with you. I am almost done with treatment for endometrial cancer, stage 2b, grade 2. My last internal radiation treatment is on Jan 12 and that will be the end. I've spent four months dealing with external radiation, TAH/BSO, and internal radiation. I'll be returning to work 2/2.

Throughout the treatment process I've been remarkably together and strong - everyone has commented on my positive attitude and how that's gotten me through this ordeal. Now that the hard part is done, I privately feel like I'm falling apart emotionally. I feel depressed and sad. I have been focusing more on my prognosis now which I didn't before because I was battling the disease. I can't stop thinking that there is a 50% 5-year survival rate for my stage of cancer and I wonder what the future will bring. I am 50 years old and had never thought that I might not make it to 55. My DH says that I will be fine - that I've gone through all this with flying colors and I'm going to be a survivor. I certainly don't want to dwell on survival rates because I know the stress doesn't help me physically and, also, I realize that these are just numbers and, hopefully, I will beat the odds. I wish I didn't feel this way and could just forget the possibilities and simply decide to live life to the fullest but the reality is that I can't block the negative thoughts from my mind. Not being a religious person, I don't believe in any kind of after life. Neither am I a support group type of person. There are certainly tons of people out there suffering from more serious illness than me. I feel like I'm being weak.

Thanks for listening.
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  #2  
Unread 01-05-2004, 11:30 AM
Mortality

SmallRoar-
I have a different gyne cancer (ovarian) but have about the same long term prognosis (mine is 70%). I totally understand what you are feeling.

The 50% survival rate you quote is only a number: a statistic. You are unique and have a good chance of never seeing cancer again.

The treatment process (radiation or chemo) allows us to be more active in fighting this cancer. When the treatment is over, it is very natural to begin to worry more. We are no longer actively fighting this cancer. These negative thoughts are worrisome but common. I still panic at times if something doesn't quite feel right in my body. But, the panic & thoughts diminish in time.

That is why this forum and other support groups are so helpful. I think its nice to know other cancer survivors experience these negative thoughts.

Hang in there. Vent whenever you need to.



Ruth S
  #3  
Unread 01-05-2004, 11:48 AM
Mortality

Thanks, RuthS. It helps to vent and hear from others. It is comforting to know that these feelings will dissipate with time.
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  #4  
Unread 01-05-2004, 01:25 PM
Mortality

Hi SmallRoar,

I could have writtten your post except I had vaginal cancer. I had almost the same treatments, TAH/BSO, partial vaginectomy, lymphedectomy, 25 external radiation treatments, and 3 internal high dose radiation treatments.

I was all positive and upbeat during treatments. When they finished in June 2003, I crashed emotionally. I could not deal emotionally with my job anymore. I am kind of depressed and worried about the future.

I went to a support group meeting and this reaction is very normal. So you are not being weak. These feelings will pass with time. So be kind to yourself. You still have a lot of healing to do.

Take Care,
Sharon
  #5  
Unread 01-05-2004, 01:54 PM
Mortality

Hi, SmallRoar--

I was where you are 4 1/2 years ago. My endometrial cancer was clinically staged at 2B (surgical 1C, but that's another story), grade 2, in May 1999. I had a radical hysterectomy and internal and external radiation. I sailed through treatment and then crashed emotionally. I was reading medical journals on all the risk factors I had for recurrence. I kept seeing survival statistics in my sleep (what little sleep I got, that is). Actually, I didn't sleep for the better part of six months after treatment ended. I couldn't function in work, because I was exhausted from lack of sleep and experiencing surgical menopause at the same time, which is in itself enough to send one over the edge in and of itself.

I had no choice but to reach out for help. I was not a support group person either, but I had to talk about what I was feeling. I tried one support group and did not like it. I found another one that I really liked and went on a regular basis. I read a lot of positive things written by long-term cancer survivors. I sought professional help from a psychiatrist who prescribed medication for the short term to help break the no sleep cycle. I continued my exercise regime and began doing more yoga and relaxation type exercises. I reduced my caffeine intake. I stopped associating with negative or manipulative people who were unnecessarily draining my time and energy.

Please know that it does get much, much better. I rebuilt my life one brick and a time, and the life I rebuilt is truly wonderful. I thought I had a great life before cancer, but my post-cancer life is more fabulous than I ever could have imagined. You will get there too!!

Incidentally, the statistics you are quoting are the most negative I've ever seen for a stage 2B endometrial cancer. Check out more sources and you'll see a lot better survival statistics elsewhere. Focus on the more positive numbers that you find. My gynecologic oncologist said I had a 20% chance of recurrence. I was convinced that he was being overly optimistic, because, with my numerous risk factors, I had seen recurrence rates up to 45%. However, I chose to focus most on the numbers my gyn-onc gave me.

As time goes on and you have a few good examinations under your belt, you will feel much better and the anxiety and depression will dissipate. In the meantime, there are a lot of resources out there to help you--please use them!!

Good luck.

MoeKay
  #6  
Unread 01-05-2004, 02:18 PM
Can't Add Much to What Others Have Said

They have given you excellent advice. The "crash" is very very normal. In my case, when it hit I went to a social worker, herself a cancer survivor, and still am and now with an insurance change paying on my own. Social workers/psychologists, medication, support groups--all are common among us. As for statistics, mine are far worse and the ways to look at them are: statistics are numbers, I'm a person; and somebody has to be in that survivor's group, so it may as well be me.
  #7  
Unread 01-05-2004, 02:58 PM
Mortality

Smallroar,

I can only second the advice that other have given you. And I agree with Moekay that the stats you've been given for your particular stage/grade seem unusually pessimistic. I'm no expert, but I have a feeling there may be other opinions on the prognosis.

I also agree with Moekay that "life after cancer" is better than "life before I knew I had cancer". People tend to think that a cancer diagnosis is the end of normal life. In fact, my cancer diagnosis was the beginning of a life that was finally normal, sane, and balanced.

Hang in there--we'll be here for you!

Blessings.
Marlene
  #8  
Unread 01-05-2004, 03:32 PM
Mortality

So many of us have been where you're at, SmallRoar. Keep posting. Everyone gave such great advice and support. I can only ditto what Ellen said, "Why shouldn't I be in the surviving group?!"

Throughout all this experience, my belief in God has been my bedrock. I believe God has a plan for me. (And when that plan is fulfilled and my job is done, I'll be brought home. Any everyone near and dear to me will be taken care of. I can't ask for anything more.)

It did help me so much, too, when a dear friend of mine who is a nurse, pointed out to me that the "statistics" we see are a composite of all patients... They don't distinguish between people who are operated on by gyn onc surgeons and those operated on by other non-specialist surgeons. The statistics between those two groups are different. People who are fortunate enough to have gyn onc surgeons have a whole different set of results.

At the end of the day, though, I believe that when my time is up, it's up, no matter what group I'm in and no matter what the stage of my cancer. I could be in a group where the statistics are 95% in my favor and still not survive. So who knows?

Somebody once told me, "We're not born with an expiration date stamped on our feet." How true! We may as well make the most of today, the only day we really have.
  #9  
Unread 01-05-2004, 03:40 PM
I agree with everyone that has posted...

and I have experienced the "crash" and also the feeling of being the gift of a new life. Seek out help if you keep feeling this way. Just talking to other people has helped me. We each have this one day, one minute to live - so let's live it with as much joy as we can! (even if we don't feel like it, fake it! When negative thoughts come my way I cancel them out as soon as I can)
My prayers are with you!
  #10  
Unread 01-05-2004, 04:29 PM
Mortality

Hi Roar,

No matter what kind of cancer we each have had, as the end of treatment gets nearer and then ends, our emotions seem to kick in and all of the "what if" thoughts come out.

I was petrified when I finished chemo for ovarian cancer. While having the chemo, I felt as if it was a constant killer of all cancer cells. When I finished, I kept wondering, "what if one escaped".

It has been one year and 4 months since my last treatment and (thank God) I have not had any reoccurances or bad results. However, that little thought is always lurking.

Tomorrow I go to the oncologist for a three month check up. I am pretty sure that all is ok because in November I saw the gynocologist/oncologist, but like I said.....

I believe it is called "Cancerhead".
Rosalie
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