The End…..nearly

Posted: January 25, 2013 in The Big C
Tags: , ,

I’ve had a severe case of writers cramp recently, hence the delay since my last post. I’ve started and not finished posts on various topics including – ‘My love/hate relationship with Facebook’ and ‘Magical Thinking & why having Cancer doesn’t make you  immune to house fires’. So, I’ll keep it brief.

Radio gaga

I’m in the final phase of treatment now – radiotherapy – and I’m sorry to report that it’s incredibly dull. There are no needles, blood, or medical emergencies. I’m told localised hair loss can occur, although I can safely say a hairy chest has never been a problem for me. Apart from the 2.5 hour round trip to hospital, my biggest grumble is that I look like a battery with all the + and – on my chest. I reckon I’m super-charged at the moment so if your car won’t start, do give me a call.

Where Now?

I feel like I’m in cancer limbo at the moment. I’m not sure whether to call myself a patient or a survivor. The cancer has gone, yet I’m still being treated for cancer. It’s a strange place to be in.

I’m battle worn and weary and in an ideal world I’d like to jet off to a sunny little island and quietly gather my thoughts. Currently that’s not an option, so the next best thing is a course at Maggie’s – ‘Where Now? –  designed for folk like me, nearing the end of treatment and pondering life after cancer.

The transition from cancer patient back to everyday life is a difficult one and the end of treatment can be a frightening time. Having lived through the nightmare of cancer treatment, survivors are often left feeling abandoned by the medical process.

Re-adjusting to life as it was before, can be problematic and many survivors struggle with mental health issues in the months and years post-treatment. Anxieties about recurrence are common, however there are often financial, emotional and physical issues to contend with.

These David Shrigley rabbits sum my up feelings about life since cancer

These David Shrigley rabbits know what they’re talking about

There’s pressure to fit back in and get ‘back to normal’ as soon’ as possible. You’ve survived, therefore you should be grateful, in fact you should be celebrating. There’s the added misconception that surviving cancer somehow makes you a better, stronger person (see Lance Armstrong before his fall from grace) and that you will return to everyday life with a renewed passion, screaming ‘I Will Survive‘ from the mountain-tops. When you don’t want or feel these things it’s hard not to feel like you’ve somehow let the side down.

There’s no doubt that having cancer changes you and if you’re lucky enough to survive, the best you can do is try and take something positive from the experience. I’ve lost so much but I’ve had time to work out what I do and don’t want from life . Health and happiness are top of my list.

When I wander out of my last radiotherapy session in a few weeks time, I will have had no less than 100 cancer related appointments since my diagnosis on the 1st of June last year. My role as cancer patient will come to an end and hopefully never be reprised. I’m not sure how I will feel when I walk out of that final appointment, but if I need it, I know that Maggie’s will be there with open arms.

  1. Pat says:

    Well put as always! 🙂 I find there are things that are a bit hard to cope with at the moment – any mention of ‘brave’ (I’m not), ‘battle’ (was there a choice?), ‘wow you are looking so well!’ (you should see inside my head), ‘hang in there’ (aaaagh!), ‘oooh! look how much your hair has grown!’ (aw, leave me alone) ‘it must be great to be back to normal’ (what’s normal again?), ‘why are you not back to….work/hobby/etc’ (please no, can’t cope with any of that yet). I do appreciate the concern though, honest!

    TIME is what I need, I think, in order to gratefully (and I AM grateful!) make the spaceship journey home from planet cancer to which I was suddenly transported (against my will) on diagnosis.

  2. natstar12uk says:

    Hi Kath, good to read your blog again. Wishing you heath and happiness and a small lottery win so you can jet off to that sunny little island….xxx

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