If you have read my blog post about my cancer journey and chemotherapy then you’ll know just how extreme and harsh this part of my life was to cope with and live through but not what happened afterwards and how I moved on with my life. I still get regular check ups with my oncologist every 4 to 6 months due to having a rare form of blood cancer (Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma T-cell) since I stopped my chemotherapy.
I still get really nervous and anxious before going to see my oncologist and before each scan it’s like butterflies is this the day I’m going to be told “oh now you need to start chemo again” The thing is I was prepared for how chemotherapy would make me feel. I had seen so many amazing people go through their cancer journey and watched a few YouTube videos even read some blogs and so I expected to feel tired, to get sick, lose my hair, how to cope with the side effects tips and tricks on how and what to eat to not lose so much weight and try to keep my body strong enough to fight.
What I wasn’t prepared for…
What I wasn’t prepared for…
What I wasn’t prepared for was how to move on with my life afterwards without letting cancer take over. No one told me that getting on with life after cancer would be like this the constant anxiety is that a lump or is this a sign I’m having a hot flush that was a sign before has it come back?. Absolutely everything and anything you can think of pops into your head on a daily basis as much as you try and hide it from family and friends it does happen a lot!
Then there’s the side effects of chemotherapy and what it does to your body, yes it beats the s**t out of the cancer but my god does it take its toll on the rest of your body too. Because I was only 26 the chemotherapy I had was extremely strong it blasted my body so hard basically like putting acid on a drip through your veins and being lymphoma a blood cancer it had to go all throughout my body even to my bones this in turn left a lot of damage it wasn’t just my hair that fell out or lost weight but my teeth began to fall out in my hand out of no where, my bones all over my body began to deteriorate and I now suffer from osteoporosis (bone death) where my bones are brittle, easily broken and more than anything EXTREMELY sore on a daily basis I struggle with the slightest movements some days and take a cocktail of medication to try and keep the pain at bay it has been described to me that osteoporosis feels like your bones breaking over and over again throughout every small movement you make.
The medications I take daily mask the pain to a certain extent but you can still feel it throbbing waking during the night in agonising pain like someone has just smashed your hip joint with a sledge hammer and shattered it into a thousand pieces. I have tried everything to help this calcium and other vitamins but nothing will ever heal my bones I’m an adult they don’t grow back unfortunately I just have to learn ways to work around this situation especially being a single parent to two girls I just need to get up and get on with it each day is a new day.
It was easy saying goodbye to the chemo and that side of things but not for all the amazing people who saved my life and helped me cope by making me laugh every day. While I was ready to be done with chemo and for my ‘new life after cancer’ I didn’t have a single clue what was ahead of me I was exhausted, in pain and feeling so far away from anything resembling my pre-cancer forwarded to feeling like I was 70 years old dealing with issues such as chronic pain, managing my energy, My hands and feet were numb from chemo-induced nerve damage and when the feeling started returning I fell repeatedly while losing balance adjusting to my constantly changing “new normal”.
Just when I thought it was over there was always a constant barrage of extra things to deal with like the nightmares, pain, crippling fatigue, getting sick constantly with a weakened immune system ( I catch absolutely everything going) and people not understanding why you can’t just get over it and get on with your life as it had been. But there is no going back to your old life and being who you were before cancer. Your old life is gone you just need to learn how to live all over again.
The oncology nurses and oncologists are very good at getting people through chemotherapy treatments. Oncologists and oncology nurses are great at counseling on side effects, helping to manage nausea and other ill-effects of treatment. Your family and friends rally around and help you through every part of the journey providing much-needed emotional support and physical support.
No ones understands that you can’t just bounce back and be your old self again. I can’t stress enough how lucky I am to have won my battle with cancer and I am extremely grateful for everyone and everything they have done for me but someone could have updated me on the after effects and how to cope instead they say bye 👋 at the hospital and you’re going alone learning along the way.
I am very lucky to have family support and friends who would do anything to help me out always and I can’t thank them enough for that. I’m not looking for sympathy or anything of the sort I just wanted to write this post to show people that yes they may have won the fight with cancer but the fights not over they may still need you as much now as they did then.
I hope this post maybe helps even one person who may be going through the same thing to know they are not alone someone else understands their situation.