Good news – my hair is growing back at a vigorous rate, six months after chemotherapy. Bad news – I now need to start shaving my legs again.
As you may be able to tell, I like to use humour to paper over any anxieties. But why do I have any anxieties, when my treatment plan has been successfully completed? Why don’t I feel relieved? Why do I feel like the odd one out, when friends, relatives and hospital staff are all smiling and asking what will I be doing to celebrate? Instead, I feel as if I am in a bubble, where everyone outside is happy, but I am unable to reach out and experience this warmth.
At least when I was receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I had the reassurance that I was being treated. I suppose it’s a sign of my rather passive nature, but I liked being cared for by the nurses and doctors. I wouldn’t say I liked the nausea and fatigue of chemo, or the aching in my bones caused by injections designed to boost my white blood cells, but I liked the fact that something was actively being done to kill the cancer cells. Now I have been treated… what next?
Am I in a state of limbo, waiting to see if the cancer returns? At best I feel cautious; at worst, fearful, perhaps just as fearful as when I was first diagnosed. At least then, I had the support and backup of an oncology team, the full force of the NHS ready to go into battle on my behalf. Now I have one final appointment with the oncologist and yearly mammograms until I’m 50.
In NO WAY am I slating the NHS: I wish to make that clear. As an organisation, they may get a bashing in the news occasionally, but the people behind it are all angels. I have found it truly humbling to be able to see how much dedication goes into the NHS by all the nurses, doctors, admin etc. I just feel a little… abandoned.
Anyway, enough moaning. What to do? I suppose this is where charities and support groups step in.
I wanted to do some research, find some support groups and highlight them, just in case anyone else reads this post and realises they would like a bit of post-treatment support too.