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Latest results are good but ...

(5 Posts)
Findingthissohard Mon 25-Apr-16 23:08:38

So it is a year almost to the day my DH was diagnosed with cancer. He has had lots of chemo, a massive operation, and emergency big operation and lots of other bits. Today was the result of his first post operation and chemo scan and the news is good and there is no sign of any cancer. I thought we would be jumping for joy but we are not. It all feels a bit numb and like it almost doesn't mean anything, because of everything that has happened. Life has change irrevocably and won't go back, but yet I feel we should be so happy instead of worrying that it's not the end. I'm not sure I'm making any sense. But anyone who has been through this, I'd really appreciate your experiences

steppemum Tue 26-Apr-16 09:25:44

I haven't been through it, but it is totally normal.
You are still dealing with the aftermath of it, and the lingering worries.
A bomb has gone off in your lives, and while the news that there aren't any more bombs coming is great, you still have to deal with the bomb damage, if you see what I mean.

Just keep taking it one day at a time, until emotionally you come to the point where you can believe that the days will keep coming.

flowers

1805 Wed 27-Apr-16 22:22:24

Hi Finding. Good you've posted on here. It's a good place to write your feelings down and ramble on if necessary!!

We are 2 years post diagnosis. Dh had big op + radiotherapy which was very successful. His test results remain very good so far. However, once you have sat through the news that you or dh has cancer, I don't think it ever really leaves you.

So, what have we learnt? We've learnt to carry on living. We wake up, go to work, play with the dc, eat, sleep, and do it all again the following day. It's ok. We have moved house, been on dh's dream holiday and things are ok. Someone told me it's like living with a monkey on your shoulder. But you can make friends with the monkey, and have fun with the monkey still on your shoulder.

Take the good results and feed them to the monkey! With a bit of luck, they will stay good for a long time. We do get tense as the test days approach, but dh is down to 6 month check ups now. Who knows what the future holds? Nobody knows that anyway, so if your dh's results are good, then that's great.

Fingers crossed he stays well.

velourvoyageur Sat 30-Apr-16 13:40:17

OP I think this is a totally normal reaction. Sometimes the mind doesn't know how to synthesise all it's experiencing into one simple emotion so it may protect you from being overwhelmed by mental pain with numbness, while it kind of works on processing the worst of it subconsciously in the background. I don't know if there's science to back that up, but my mum described stg like it to me as a subconscious coping mechanism and it made sense. Some coping mechanisms can be really unsettling though! Numbness might help you to avoid feeling very raw pain, but it's still not an ideal mental state, I totally understand if it's freaking you out. It doesn't feel healthy but I think in the short term it can be.

It's still the first week of letting the news sink in - your initial reaction won't last forever. It's so fresh. Some people might feel indescribably high and happy and then have an upsetting comedown in the next few weeks. Some people might have a more even mix of emotions. There's no right way to react, honestly.

I think we do put a lot of pressure on ourselves to experience the expected reactions and tend to be anxious when our predicted feelings don't materialise. You don't have to be happy, if you are then great, but it would be surprising if all you felt was pure happiness and no niggling thoughts! Look at what you've been through - all that doesn't go away suddenly. Who would be able to step out of the Dr.'s after hearing that news and be able to perfectly articulately compartmentalise all the emotions from the last year - a really intense period of sustained stress - which are suddenly coming to a head at this point?
You may also have been feeling very nervous before the appointment with lots of adrenaline - again, I don't know the science, but all those nervy stress hormones have to go somewhere, don't they? Hard to feel completely happy when just two minutes ago you felt really anxious! Plus, I think it's really common to have an underwhelming reaction when we finally get to hear something we've waited so long to hear. It's an unusual event and we don't always have much experience in dealing with these enormous highs and lows of emotion.
You might get better or worse in the next few weeks - so normal.

Also, think of the pressure you've been under for so long. There has been so much on your plate and you've done so well. You've had to hang on to enough mental energy to cope with all the practicalities of treatment, being a supportive partner and also go on with everyday life. Now that there is 'downtime' so to speak, a little more of your mental energy may have to go towards dealing with feelings that you had to suppress a few months ago, like 'reallocation' if you will. It may well feel a little chaotic for now, because at what point have you had the spare energy to neatly sort out your feelings?

I know it feels like this news should mark a clean break between the bad times and the good times, but feelings are awkward buggers, and if they're not what we anticipated that can also send us into a tailspin. Hang in there for a while longer. Life is messy with loose ends but you will move on eventually.
Have you sought out counselling at all?

Congrats on the fab news flowers (but pls don't feel pressure from me to experience it as fab!! take your time! haha)

Findingthissohard Wed 04-May-16 22:16:30

Steppemum, I think you are absolutely right about dealing with the aftermath and the bomb damage from it all. It's just all so alien but I suppose the whole of the last year has been.

1805, so sorry you have been through this too and I'm so glad that results are continuing to be good. I like the monkey analogy. Hopefully we can move forward and become friends with out monkey!

Velourvoyager, have you been through this or are you a counsellor? Because you just completely got inside my head and whilst I've read your post several times, I haven't managed to read it without crying!!! Lots to process indeed.

Thank you for all your wise words. It is really appreciated x

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