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How can I cope better with waiting for results?

HayleyHayley Posts: 6

I have just had my mammogram 2 years after finishing chemo. I have been waiting 12 days already and find it difficult to sleep with worrying about it. I live with the fear of reoccurance everyday. I'm not able to talk to family about it as they just think I've finished treatment and back to my old self. I was diagnosed in Nov 16 and finished chemo April 17, Herceptin finished Dec 17. So I feel my safety net has gone.

Answers

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,264 mod

    @Hayley

    Hi Hayley

    I think that the way you are feeling is very common you know. Cancer is different from any other illness. It is almost certainly the disease which people fear more than any and once you have had it you will always wonder if it will come back again. It is life changing and I suspect that only people who have had it really understand the emotional upheaval it causes. Of course, family and friends generally want us to be the same person we were before cancer intervened, but we are likely to be dealing with lingering physical and/or emotional effects and in some ways we have changed. 

    I had five weeks of radiotherapy during which I was looked after and fussed over. I coped pretty well at the time and it was not until it was over that I started to get really anxious and unsettled. I felt abandoned and alone and I understand how you feel. I don't think that we are particularly unusual in that respect.

    I am on hormone treatment which is preventing my cancer from spreading. I have regular infusions followed by blood tests. I can't deny that it is always an anxious time waiting for the results and I did become very depressed. It was affecting my relationships and I decided to ask for help.

    Do you have any support groups in your area? MacMillan Cancer Support have been brilliant for me. They provided me with a counsellor free of charge. If you think that is more than you need, you can still pop in and have a cuppa and a chat. Hospice is another great source of info and support. I am also taking sertraline as prescribed by my doctor. It is not a 'happy pill' or quick fix - its purpose is to replace a lack of seratonin in the the brain and it was three or four weeks before I started to feel any benefit but I believe it has helped me.  I now live comfortably with my situation and my wife and I ignore the small stuff in life and make sure we have some fun.

    I hope that you will continue to keep in touch. There are some amazing, friendly and caring people in this community which is now such an important part of my life. Have a look at the 'Off Topic’ section too. We sometimes like to get away from the cancer and have a bit of fun.

    Rob x

  • HayleyHayley Posts: 6

    Hi Rob

    Thank you for your reply. It's good to hear I'm not on my own with my anxieties and it's the new normal to feel that way. I do go to a group called Foxy Ladies when I can, it's a real boost to meet people who are up to15, 20 years plus since diagnosis and some with lymph node involvement. Makes me realise there is hope for me as well. They have social events and do a lot of fund raising. So it's been a great thing to be involved with. Unfortunately I have to travel quite far to get there but I'm very grateful for their support. That's why I've joined this forum, go give me boosts on my down days.

    Thanks again Hayley x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hayley

    Hi Hayley,

    It is lovely to meet you and it's great you have found us here.

    As Rob mentioned, it is not unusual at all to have anxiety after having been through cancer. Even though we may get an 'all clear', or 'in remission' or 'no evidence of disease(Ned)', we are still left with the uncertainty of future test results. I know that before cancer I didn't really pay attention to the tests or results of smears and mammograms etc. Well now I do! It's because we've been there, and never want to return.

    When you meet with the Foxy Ladies group I think that is fantastic, as you get to meet and chat to people who are living well after cancer, living their lives not cowering in fear constantly. This will really help to build your confidence in thinking 'ok, I got through this, let's carry on living'. Positive breeds positive, just as negative breeds negative. Surround yourself with positive as much as you can.

    This is a great place to come and chat , about anything you like. You know that here others will understand how you are feeling, and many will have been through the same or similar things as you.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, I underwent chemo, mastectomy, and radiotherapy and then some other surgeries post treatment. I am now on medication to help prevent cancer returning. It will soon be 3 years that my treatment finished and I don't have cancer anymore. Everyday I am thankful for that, now I try and live each new day I have been given. Life changed, normal packed up and moved, so now I have a new normal which I am adjusting to, but NO CANCER!

    I hope you will soon get to know us, have a trawl through the other categories etc, there are a variety of chats etc which you many find helpful.

    May I wish you a Happy Easter, be blessed.

    Take care

    Lou x

  • HayleyHayley Posts: 6
    edited April 2019

    Sunshinedaff thank you so much for your positivity. I will bottle that and take it with me 🙂

    I have never been given the all clear or told I'm in remission I guess they don't do that down here. I don't suppose I will relax until I reach my 5 year point. I was asked the date of my diagnosis at my last breast clinic/ mammogram appointment. So I'm guessing it's from that point.

    It was the lymph node involvement that really scared me. Only one thank goodness.

    Hayley x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hayley

    Good morning, or evening Hayley!

    Yes, I forgot to mention I had my lymph nodes removed too as the cancer had spread to them. When the Dr told me, I too was terrified as what you hear is 'lymph nodes...goes everywhere else'. That is what I said to them. But the nurse turned it on its head and said to me 'Well Louise, let's hope that they have done their job!' As in like 'the buck stops here', not 'the gate is wide open'. I had CT scans MRIs etc, and they all came back clear, so cancer was just in breast and lymph nodes. Waiting for that CT scan result was hard, it was like having this niggle in the back of my mind. I had to really grit my teeth and refuse to let the fear dig in.

    The only phrase I have been told is 'the cancer is gone, we got it all' ! That was from my surgeon after surgery. I don't know if drs use terms here either because I haven't technically been told. I think 'no news is good news' is the way to go! I am glad for you it was contained too.

    How is the rest of your recovery going? I saw you'd posted on a couple of other chats, I hadn't got round to posting yet.

    Happy Easter Hayley!

    Have a wonderful day/evening

    Lou xx

  • HayleyHayley Posts: 6

    Hi

    I was told the 3xact same thing by my surgeon 'we got it all'. As with you I had CT, PET scan also MRI and contrast MRI, as they saw something on my liver. Turned out to be infiltrated fat - charming lol. I also had something on my lung which turned out to be normal tissue in an abnormal place! You get to find out every little bit of arthritis or weirdness on your body. I have 17 nodes removed but only the 1 was found to have cancer but it was mostly cancer and that was grade 3.

    It is so reassuring to hear someone that has had the same as you. I felt like I was very alone, in a boat in a large open sea but when I met someone that had been through the same I had someone else in my boat even for just a short while. I still need that now. So thank you for being my crew mate. X

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hayley

    Good morning Hayley!

    I like that term 'crew mate'! It speaks volumes.

    I know what you mean feeling like you are the only one. I felt the same after treatment but was suffering with my feet, bones and joints so much and it was just getting worse. It wasn't until I joined the LBW FB group that I found out there are so many others going through what I was going through. It was a relief to be honest, it meant I wasn't just reduced to an old crock by my own doing! Haha. But the consequence of treatment and meds. The things you don't know about cancer and it's effects, until way after!!! Hahaha. 😀

    So, glad to be on board with you!

    Have a good day/evening.

    Lou x

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