Pierre Dybman (dybmapi) wrote,
Pierre Dybman
dybmapi

Conclusions of a chemotherapy, part 5

4 months have now passed, things are fine, it's getting difficult to remember clearly what went on during the month between the diagnostic and the operation, then the 6 months of chemotherapy and the two months before the final green light.

Although i will now have a new visit with my surgeon within a couple of weeks, and in September i guess a new colonoscopy, six months after the end of the chemo. Then on a yearly basis.


One thing that is clear is what this has changed for me.

The first element of change is on daily life. Some people are left for months or even years with problematic side-effects. I want to reassure the readers here, this is not mandatory, don't program yourself for that, as the power of the mind is incredible.
It is perfectly possible to get out of this without serious or lasting side-effects, like me.

But this is only on the physical side, what about the psychological side?

This is once again a very private and wildly variable outcome.

Some people will be living the rest of their life in dread that this cancer, or another one, will come back, and become anxious before regular check-ups, blood tests. They will be constantly monitoring their skin, warts, panic anytime a new pimple is out.
of course you need to be a bit extra careful, protect your skin better from the sun, women should check their breast regularly etc.
But there's a line between self-awareness and obsession, and it's unhealthy to cross it.

Others may live everyday as a gift, marvel at every sunset, or sunrise, develop new hobbies or deepen their interest in old ones, learn a language, travel, become more interested in their children. This reaction is most probably linked to the conscious or unconscious understanding that you have been given a new lease of life, and you should make it count.

of course, people will fall into a large range of intermediate outcomes between those two more radical reactions, and also, based on other life problems, may go from one to the other at times.

To this, i would say that your way of dealing with the aftermath is tightly linked to how you dealt with the period before.

if you kept a positive outlook, if you cultivated HOPE, even when the treatments were difficult, then you should be fine afterwards, and stay positive and optimistic.

But then, you will quickly find out that you (past) illness has had a profound effect on others.

I will not dwell on hat it does to your close family, your wife/husband/partner, children and so on.

I understand it can strongly deepen the ties of a good couple, and also, in some cases, reveal lines of fracture in other ones, that may not have appeared in less stressful circumstances.

What is clear to me is that it modifies the way others see you, work colleagues, friends, acquaintances etc.
You have become bot a survivor, maybe even a hero, but also a reminder of their own mortality.
In some cases, even a whiff of hostility can be detected, for instance if they have suffered the loss of a close one, to a similar illness.

You are forever different in their eyes, and that may be disconcerting, as you may not feel that different.

Over time, this ill probably fade, as you continue to beat expectations and live on (and prosper), but be ready to experience slightly different, and sometimes upsetting relations with people you used to know.

Which means that this internal adventure, once overcome, has become a tool to know yourself better, to know your loved ones much better, and to experience your circle of relations in a different light.

Knowledge doesn't come cheap...

Tags: cancer treatment, final thoughts
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