- Question from sara: Soon it will be 3 years since my diagnosis. I don't fit in anywhere anymore. I look older, feel older, and act older, and I'm so tired all the time. I cope with life by building a wall around myself and pretending that I didn't have cancer, but deep down, I just know it will be back. Doctor visits make my heart race; I just want to run out of there. Is this normal or do I need professional help?
- Answers - Mitch Golant First, congratulations on being almost a 3-year survivor. What you're describing is profoundly similar to most women: when treatment ends, it's as if they've fallen off the edge of a cliff. You are describing a couple of symptoms that would be worthwhile to explore. Let me elaborate. The anxiety you're describing at the thought of visiting the doctor, while extremely common especially around anniversaries, gives you a clue that the treatment and the side effects of treatment being experienced is a traumatic event. And that's pretty common. Look -- the diagnosis of cancer is stressful, the treatments are stressful, the side effects of treatment are stressful, the fear of recurrence is stressful, all of which has an impact emotionally. Expressing emotions, particularly fear, anger, or sadness can be very helpful in reducing that anxiety -- or better, coping with it.
- Rosalind Kleban Just from a medical scientific point of view, the bulk of recurrences happen in the first 2 years. So, as you go further from that point it would be helpful to look upon your situation as more hopeful.
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