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A snapshot of life at 2 Years and 6 Months out from TC

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  • A snapshot of life at 2 Years and 6 Months out from TC

    Sorry to all that I hadn't been around all that much for most of last year. I hadn't been well from a mental health perspective, and following the recurrence scare that I had had in December of 2012, I spent most of 2013 having to fend off anxiety, depression, and PTSD type issues. It was a very challenging year for me. The last few weeks of the year however, represented a pretty interesting cross-section of life for me at this point, where all the little issues that I have to deal with seemed to happen almost all at once, so I made sure to get a good CaringBridge update posted.

    A little clip from that:

    21-Dec 2013: I started off the year so spooked and so terrified that I wanted to just fast-forward through the entire year to this point today, around the holidays, but I’d have missed a whole ton of good times had I done that. We went to Disney World, hit the beach a few times both with and without our kids, went on an awesome Midwestern road trip tour visiting old friends and old haunts, did some things we’ve never done before, and Debbie and I went on another wonderful anniversary getaway together. This has been one of the most wonderful years of my life, but it’s also been one of the most stressful and challenging ones at the same time, and I’d never been more afraid. My last six months of active surveillance from January through June basically killed me inside, having to painfully wait out such a slow-running clock, praying to God that nothing would come back or be found, and that I wouldn’t be taken from my family and dragged back into hospitals and chemo wards all over again, possibly to never reemerge. Friends and family trying to comfort me with “the numbers” of my prognosis is the logical thing to do, but fears of cancer coming back and losing control of my life is a purely personal and emotional sort of thing, and has to be fought on that level.

    Having talked to so many cancer survivor friends over the course of the year, many of us all feel the same regardless of prognosis. We fear that our cancer is going to be the one that comes back, or will be the one that’s unexpectedly aggressive, or the one that won’t be treatable or curable when it should be. We know it happens, and sometimes bad news hits a little too close to home. 95% is awesome, but it’s just that. It’s 95 and not 100 for a reason. A few will slip through the cracks. Fears of becoming one of them haunts us and keeps us awake at night, and part of cancer survivorship is learning to find our own positive and unique outlets for dealing with such fears and the terrible amounts of stress it puts on us. When I reached the big 2 year finish line I most definitely felt the relief that I had been so badly needing and like an enormous weight had just been lifted off of my shoulders, but there was never any sense of joy about it. Just complete emotional burnout, terrible memories, and bouts of depression and PTSD. The very best thing I’ve taught myself how to do this year is to stop looking in the rear-view mirror, not worry about the future, and just put my foot flat to the floor and enjoy the moment and the very day before me to the best of my ability. What’s done is done, and there’s never been any guarantee about the future for anybody. C’est la vie. Carpe Diem!

    So what’s life like for me now, 2.5 years out from treatments and nearly 3 years since this terror started? The week after Thanksgiving was a pretty interesting snapshot of that, so I figured I’d share.


    Read the full post on CaringBridge here

    If the permalink doesn't work for some reason, it's the December 21st, 2013 entry.

    Hormonal issues...
    Mental health issues...
    Physical issues, mostly peripheral neuropathy from chemo

    Life is good, and I'm feeling good these days, but boy has it been challenging, all in a year where literally "nothing" happened. Everything happened but nothing happened. That's how challenging cancer survivorship can be. It's tough to hold it all together living month to month between scans with so much on the line, and occasionally we just fall apart. But life moves on, you pick yourself back up again, and each time you get a little better dealing with things and become a little stronger, and slowly but surely things do get easier.

    I'm happy that 2013 is done and over and history, and am very much looking forward to 2014!
    Young Adult Cancer Survivorship by Steve Pake
    www.stevepake.com
    https://www.facebook.com/yacancerbysteve/
    Feb 2011, Stage IIB, 4xEP, RPLND, PTSD
    My Survivorship Thread | All of my Blogs
    C
    ONTACT ME ANYTIME!

  • #2
    Originally posted by S P View Post
    many of us all feel the same regardless of prognosis. We fear that our cancer is going to be the one that comes back, or will be the one thatís unexpectedly aggressive, or the one that wonít be treatable or curable when it should be. We know it happens, and sometimes bad news hits a little too close to home. 95% is awesome, but itís just that. Itís 95 and not 100 for a reason. A few will slip through the cracks. Fears of becoming one of them haunts us and keeps us awake at night, and part of cancer survivorship is learning to find our own positive and unique outlets for dealing with such fears and the terrible amounts of stress it puts on us. When I reached the big 2 year finish line I most definitely felt the relief that I had been so badly needing and like an enormous weight had just been lifted off of my shoulders, but there was never any sense of joy about it. Just complete emotional burnout, terrible memories, and bouts of depression and PTSD. The very best thing Iíve taught myself how to do this year is to stop looking in the rear-view mirror, not worry about the future, and just put my foot flat to the floor and enjoy the moment and the very day before me to the best of my ability. Whatís done is done, and thereís never been any guarantee about the future for anybody. Cíest la vie. Carpe Diem!
    Steve, I totally agree with these words that you have written... I feel the same sensations too, you can imagine, after a orchiectomy, a "good news" of a 100% seminoma, after a carboplatin shot, after all the doctors that were sure that the cancer was beaten, 16 month after, a recurrence (do you remember when I posted here on the forum I was really freaked out...) This is the moment when you feel that all the numbers and the statistics don't have any value and the fear of being one of the "rare birds" that doesn't respond to common therapy and has to suffer first and to die after gets stronger inside your mind... I'm also in the circle of the persons that had lost the sleep at night (I think I've made a record the last fall, 42 hours without sleeping) and I also feel like an enormous weight on my shoulders... And now I can consider myself as an expert, after two years, of Ct scan related anxiety, blood test anxiety and so on...

    But, like you, I have learnt something very important: we don't have to look back at our past, even if there are ugly memories that can't be "deleted" like a computer file, instead, we have to try to live our life day by day... Even if we have to front a Ct scan or any other type of test, even if we are full of anxiety, we have to try in every way to be strong and to do the things we like to do... As you rightly said, carpe diem, it's very important !!!!

    Happy new year to you my friend !!!!
    Frank

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