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“Last” chemo feelings

clars Member Posts: 46

Hello everyone who has finished chemo!

It’s my last chemo in a few weeks. I know I should be happy after five months of it but I’m having a hard time thinking/believing it’s the “end” of this particular treatment (my surgery is in July) - I feel I have a bullseye on my back, it’s going to get me again (various “bad” features of my cancer make me believe that: positive lymph nodes, grade 3, high ki-67, young age, blah blah blah), that I’ll be back on a chemo ward at some point.

How did you feel? Did you BELIEVE you wouldn’t ever have chemotherapy again? Did you celebrate? Any thoughts appreciated x


  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857

    clars, I know what you mean. It's hard to celebrate something being over when it doesn't really feel over. Whether you anticipate having another go-round in the future (as I seem to assume for myself) or you know that the side effects will linger for at least a while, or whatever the reason… For me, finishing chemo was emotional and also left me feeling at loose ends. A very weird transition.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,404

    I was just thrilled to be done, though I refused to "ring the bell." Somehow that felt like tempting fate to me. I've never thought of having to go through it again and I hope I never do.

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,628

    For me, I had a year of Herceptin after chemo so it took awhile to feel like I was "done" with infusions. Almost nine years after my diagnosis, I just stopped hormonal therapy and FINALLY feel "done" with active cancer treatment.

  • melbo
    melbo Member Posts: 266

    I definitely know what you mean! It took a while for me to adjust to the idea that chemo was over. It took a while after each step (for me it was chemo, surgery, radiation, and a year of herceptin) for me to adjust. The only advice is just take everything one step at a time and keep reminding yourself that it keeps getting easier.

    The first few months after finishing treatment I kept obsessing about recurrence and every new lump and bump was potentially the cancer coming back. I am almost 3 years out from diagnosis and 2 years from treatment and I don’t think about it nearly as much as I used to.

    It’s a cliche — but a cliche for a reason — time makes it easier.

  • clars
    clars Member Posts: 46

    Thank you all for your thoughtful and considered replies 🩵

    I was speaking to my therapist about this, my uncomfortableness and fear and queasiness about “celebrating” the end of chemo.

    She said perhaps a better word to use would be “acknowledging” - and suggested maybe doing some sort of ritual or thing that acknowledges the end of this huge, long, difficult part of my treatment.

    Not sure what I will do yet but got me thinking.

  • cookie54
    cookie54 Member Posts: 722

    Clars, I understand how you feel. I definitely was happy to be finished and get on with my life but also had feelings like a safety net was gone. On chemo I felt like I was protected and then had to get used to the fact that it was gone and chemo's job was over. You will get there with each passing day. I thought about it every day for probably the first year and then It started to fade. I would only then think about it right before my check-ups. Remember you and your body have been through a trauma and there is a healing process that goes along with it.

    Great idea to acknowledge it in some way to celebrate your hard work and strength. Enjoy whatever you decide to do!

  • margecandoit
    margecandoit Member Posts: 149

    clars- I understand what you are saying. I feel the same way you do. With chemo being the first treatment It was not over. It was just one step in the process. I also had a 6 week wait between chemo and surgery and felt I was losing my protection of chemo with the cancer still in my me. I also have the feel that I watch my mom pass from breast cancer and it returned for her. So the feeling that will be my fate also. I am with a therapist also who helps a lot. Just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in your feelings. I hope you and I don’t always feel this way. I am only 8 week from my last radiation and now on meds. So hopefully with time it will get better.

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 417

    This is interesting. I thought I was the only one who didn't celebrate the end of treatment. Or even my anniversaries really. Almost one year out and I don't consider that any type of milestone. When chemo was done I was happy because it wasn't any fun whatsoever but it's not like I thought I was done done. I had a hormone positive tumor. You're never done when you have one of those. You just go through your treatment, hit NED, go on and recover the best you can, and hope you stay there knowing that you won't know for sure you have until you die at old age of something else. I like the idea of acknowledging though. I think that's what I do. My year that I was diagnosed hit last week and I acknowledged it and then didn't think much else about it. My 1st year of being NED hits early next month and I guess that will be the same. Life moves on but it's not like I forget. I am grateful though. Every milestone I hit now in which I feel healthy and happy is a wonderful thing. Moreso because I know deep in my bones I'm not guaranteed another one.