Once you hear that word ‘cancer’, you’re never going to be the same. The struggle of being a cancer survivor is real. It’s scary and lonely but remember there’s no right way to feel post cancer treatment. Your feelings are valid.
After I finished my treatment, I had so many emotions. I didn’t know what to think or where to turn. I mean the relief that I was done with treatment was very overwhelming and it didn’t feel real that I wouldn’t have to get up and go to the hospital every couple of days for a blood test or chemo. My emotions were mostly positive for a good few days, I mean I’d just been through the fight of my life and come out the other end, I don’t think you can really describe that feeling but on the other hand I had this cloud over me that I couldn’t shake. The end of treatment is such a big milestone and you may want to celebrate but it’s okay if you don’t feel like you want to. Your feelings matter.
The shock of what I’d been through didn’t hit me until I went home after a few weeks of recovery. I was alone with my thoughts most days, it was draining. All my thoughts had started to catch up with me. Everything that I had been through basically hit me at once and I realised. All these feelings I’d bottled up over the past couple of years just exploded and I really did hit rock bottom. I didn’t want speak to anyone. I hid myself in my room crying. I didn’t know what I was feeing, I just knew I was feeling down and I didn’t actually know how depressed I was at this point.
I was scared, angry, worried. I didn’t know a life without the hospital, blood tests and biopsies. I was lost. My feelings changed so quickly in the space of just a few days/weeks. There are still times now when I still break down and cry for no reason and that’s okay and I’m taking life day by day.
I struggled for a long time and didn’t want to accept I was feeling down and depressed. I tried to get on with life for my family but deep down I knew I was struggling but I didn’t want them worrying anymore about me which is why I think I struggled even more because I kept it to myself. If I’d have been honest with myself I think the past few years would have been a lot easier.
I think getting back into normal life and trying to integrate back into normal conversations was a massive thing for me to adjust to. The hospital felt like the only world I knew. Hospital care and being in bed most of the time had been my routine for so long that I really struggled to process coming out of it. The support structures fell away faster than I imagined they would.
It’ll be 5 years next month since my consultant told me there was no more cancer left in my body and I was in remission and even through I’ve come a hell of a long way since then I still struggle and I know I will for years to come but remember there’s no “correct” way to experience cancer and your feelings are valid and recovery is a gradual process.
Related Post: Survivor’s Guilt