Expectations of recovery too much?

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Question from Bartlett: I'm 9 months out from my last radiation treatment, and 15 months out from my last chemo. I'm still having trouble with fatigue, concentration, anger, and mood, among other things. Exercise helps a lot, but it's tough to motivate. Am I rushing things, in expecting myself to be able to use self control, getting along in relationships which were once blissful, by now?
Answers - Lidia Schapira Women recover at different speeds, but if it's been 9 months from your last radiation, and 15 months since your last chemo, I'd expect you might be feeling better than you describe. Some women do experience trouble with concentration and mood swings for over a year, but again I think it's important to check in with your medical team, and make sure there are no physical reasons for these problems that you describe.

I also want to comment on the fact that you say you're angry, and that I worry about too. Dealing with the physical symptoms, as well as the emotion that result from the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is equally important to having a good and speedy recovery. You mention exercise helps, so perhaps go ahead and use exercise and other things in your life that make you feel good, to help you along and find joy in the relationships that you describe as having been blissful. There is help, in the form of support groups and individual counseling, and other ways. Remember, you don't need to do this alone.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Coping With Your Changing Feelings and Relationships featured Lidia Schapira, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about facing your fears head-on, handling moodiness and depression, diffusing tension with your partner and feeling close without sexual activity, as well as issues of self-image and femininity.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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