Wanting to feel at peace

This is the first time I have used a forum support related to my cancer treatment. I struggled I guess to admit I might be finding it hard because you just accept what’s happening and do what you need to do. 
I do find myself feeling overwhelmed at this point in recovery and confused about whether I should be feeling so exhausted and at times sad.

I had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Brachytherapy last year and during this time sadly my father sadly died, not expected and far too soon. I just had to accept it and be strong and ensure my family and children saw that I was okay. So sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to then admit you don’t feel like you can be strong, or admit you feel angry, withdrawn from happiness and guilty that you are okay when many don’t get to be. 
I experience many feelings of guilt and feel that being overwhelmed is an overreaction to the treatment, yet that is not the advice I would give others. 

Does anyone else find it so difficult to be self kind and give themselves time and space, I don’t really like admitting openly to my loved ones I feel like this and often tell myself it’s pathetic to feel this way. I am working and life just carried on but I definitely feel trauma and different inside.

  • Hi Gen, I saw this post and just had to respond. I had a bilateral mastectomy in 2022. I underwent chemo. I too, feel the same as you.

    the survivor guilt I feel is overwhelming. I also have terrible anxiety about the cancer recurrence. I was a very optimistic and healthy person before but now I’m a depressed mess. 

    I do hope that you will overcome your hopelessness. And that peace will prevail. You must be kind to yourself you have had a traumatic time. The loss of your dad whilst you were sick must have been terrible. 

    love and kind thoughts - you are a warrior!

  • Hi Gem-Lou,

    You are not alone.

    The key word in your message is Trauma (part of the T in PTSD). I hate comparisons between Cancer and warfare but there are some parallels and suffering from PTSD afterwards is one of them. 

    Losing a parent is bad enough in isolation - but add that to a cancer journey and your feelings are bound to feel low. 

    Tracey has mentioned survivor guilt and the worry of recurrence. These are real too and are part of my everyday life.

    On the plus side - the three of us are still alive against all the odds, Spring is here and that dull, wet and cold Winter is behind us all. 

    Give yourself time to adjust to your new reality - it does take time.

    Best wishes

  • Hello Gem Lou, 

                               yes the survivor guilt does go very deep and takes some dealing with. In my case l imagined just what those who could not make it through would have thought of me not making the effort to make the very most of my second chance. l resolved to carry those who were sadly lost that l met throughout my treatment, to carry them through with me upon my shoulder, they are no burden but inspire me to make the most of every day of my life.

    I shed my survivor guilt but admit to feeling bad if l squander a day without achieving something, thankfully the impetus provided ensures this does not happen. 

    As a stage 4 survivor l remain one very lucky boy, hopefully in the future you can find your way of making peace with yourself,


  • If I may metaphorize, albeit clumsily. The reality that you want to prepare your pencil for work and keep the point sharp. The fact that you want to remember those who have gone, some days with a short glance, or long look; that you mention them at all brings memories to each of us where we can smile or weep in that special place which is still 'us' or 'me'. Can that day be a wasted day when you help ud rememerr? some days you will draw in short strokes, other's in broad! It is about the freedom to do so! One day it is wet the nxt, dry! You have the opportunity to enjoy either.  Why feel guilty for surviving and not 'using' every day? I pray that you can live in joy and cotinue to be an inspiration. I hope that you will write more. My Warmest Regards, Jon (every day is a battle between cognition and lucidity :)