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Wish you still had cancer?


Is it common to have the thought that i wouldn't care too much if i had a recurrence? That i want to stop my meds? Does anyone ever think this? Is it weird to bring up? I've been looking at my life since diagnosis, treatment, remission, and daily preventive maintenance. Maybe treatment and losing my hair was much easier than my current life situation as a leader in a prominent role at work. MYbe I didn't get the closure from my providers. Maybe I wasn't cared for enough. Maybe i'm resentful. Maybe I feel like my "friends" weren't there when I needed them the most. Maybe I've bottled it all in and it's coming out now. Maybe I'm just depressed and don't have the time, money, or will to get help. Or maybe I'm normal thinking about this. Who else has these thoughts? Does anyone ever wish they still had cancer in order to feel even the slightest cared for again ?


  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 516
    edited August 2023

    No. i never for a minute wish I had cancer and don’t wish that on anyone. As a matter of fact, every *sshole I have ever known is cancer free, and I wish from the bottom of my heart that they continue that way.
    Sorry you are feeling this way. Can you speak to your doctor (primary care of psychiatrist) about these feelings?

  • chicagoan
    chicagoan Member Posts: 993


    I am Stage 4 so I will always have cancer but I think I understand where you are coming from. Cancer takes over one's life and frees us from some things that we felt we "had" to do. Maybe it is time to do some serious soul searching about whether you want to switch jobs or make more other changes in your life, such as dropping friends who aren't really friends. You don't need to have a recurrence to have permission to make the changes you want in your life. Best wishes.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769

    @toutvabien I don't really think you'd be ok with a recurrence. I think it's the job, the "friends" and quite possibly, emotions of having had cancer. It was very traumatizing for me, as I'm sure for most others, if not all. It sounds like you definitely are depressed. Please talk to your doctor, and I say that in the most unjudgemental, caring way. I had a recurrence and I was devastated. Even more so than my initial diagnosis. I never want to feel that way again. Like Chicagoan said, maybe you need to think about making some changes. I found myself having to make some of those changes. Doing it has been a good thing for me.

    My best to you!

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 757
    edited August 2023

    I think there is a weird feeling when you go from active treatment to the follow up stage. One feels known and cared for seeing techs and Docs all the time, as compared to just being in the system post treatment.

    So, I wonder if that is maybe what you got going on. It is an adjustment. It is OK too -to NOT think about cancer every day, unlike our stage 4 friends who do have to deal with it every single day.

    I am five years out from my diagnosis and I'm in a good place. Better than that 1st year and the next 2-3 yrs. I hope and pray it NEVER comes back.

  • brutersmom
    brutersmom Member Posts: 913

    You sound depressed. Are you by chance taking an Aromatase inhibitor? They can make you feel that way. I am stage 4. I loved what I was doing before my cancer returned. I was supposed to have knee replacement surgery in January. Instead they found cancer in my lung. It has not been fun. My knee constantly hurts. I do everything I can to stay active to manage side effects for cancer meds but there are time like today I feel so frustrated because I don't know if I can ever have my knee fixed. You really don't want cancer to come back. Please talk o your PCP or oncologist and ask for a referral for counseling

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205
    edited August 2023

    I agree with ctmbsikia. Transitioning from active treatment to regular care is difficult. I have gone through it three times and trust me when I say, you do NOT want a recurrence! I didn't have a recurrence, I had new breast cancer three times, and you DO NOT want that either!

    I am at the point after my last Dx, where I want to stop all of my breast care follow up appointments, but that is because I want my life back, I am tired tests and doctors, but I will suck it up and go to them.

    I decided to focus on the fact that after Sept. I will have three glorious months, at my favorite time of year, that doesn't have one single doctor appointment in it! Woohoo!

    I had a hard time transitioning after my first Dx in 2003. I felt abandoned after a very rough time with chemo and radiation. Yes, I too felt losing my hair was easier than going back to work. I missed the attention I had during all those appointments, it became my life. Not attention as in pampering, but attention as people actively caring about my treatments. When that ended, I was thrust back into the "real" world. That IS the transitional phase, and I don't think patients are prepared for that. I definitely think that is what you are feeling. Transition shock!

    Perhaps that is a good topic for a Webinar!

    The last two times in 2019 and now, I had the opposite feeling, I was glad to be done with it all. Of course, now I am retired and that helps a lot!

    Whatever you feel, do not be ashamed of your feelings! We can control our thoughts, but we can't control our feelings. I hope you can find something to focus on that makes you feel good. The fact that you are a leader at your job says a lot about you.

    I decided to start a new thread for transitioning to new life without breast cancer!

    I love that you used "everything's fine" for your "name."😉

  • daenerys30
    daenerys30 Member Posts: 10

    I kind of get it. With cancer and chemo I had a routine of what to do every day. I had a set goal. And, pardon my dark humor, I miss not having to shave my legs. I think there's a "now what?" phase everyone goes through to figure out the next steps in life and to get used to mundane normal life. It's like being in war and all of a sudden you are not. Cancer treatments and cancer itself if traumatic and it takes the brain getting used to normal life again. And the chemo, the radiation has effects that can last for a year or more. If you are on any oral meds now that can make you feel not like yourself. It took me at least a year to feel more like myself again.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945

    I don't post very often, partly because of changes to this site, but also because at five years out, I'm weaning myself from living in Breast Cancer World. Look at my signature, which gives my cancer history. With the first one, endometrial, I had a few follow-up visits with the surgeon, who then told me to go home because HE had cured me. I didn't talk about it when i went back to work because one of my coworkers had an untreatable stage 4 cancer, and another one had a microscopic breast cancer (really, aspirated in the doctor's office) but she declared herself Queen of the Cancer Experience and wore pink every day and slipped "I'm a breast cancer survivor!" into every conversation. So I kept my mouth shut. When I got breast cancer, then kidney cancer, just a few months apart, I did maybe two or three WTF posts on FB, which is where I stay in touch with family and friends. I later heard that one brother-in-law told my husband I was "all over FB with it." So I never mentioned it again, except to tell my husband about appointments and scans and a biopsy. When I had radiation, the center I went to was nice but very businesslike, and didn't give me so much as a tiny woo-hoo on my last day. I didn't want bells and whistles, but a little extra smile would have been nice. I'm sort of done with seeing my MO, with just a tentative appointment for next year, which she said I can cancel if my PCP will take over all the bloodwork. I'm somewhat anemic the last year or so, so there are blood tests she wants kept up. I still have to see my urology surgeon once a year, and I'm in an online group for that because ... I'm not sure. I like to think I offer new members advice, but I think I need some sort of link to other people who have had the same experience. And, if I have a day when I need my cancer experiences validated, or I have fears of the future, I can talk about it there.

    Do I wish I still had cancer? Fuck, no. With my track record, I probably will get another one, or more, and that is in my head every single damn day. All I want is just one day without that thought.

  • map1002
    map1002 Member Posts: 9

    I get it. I'm 7 years post treatment.. (chemo, lump, rads). During treatment i tried to act like it was just an inconvenience to have BC with today's medical advances. I had no doubts I would be fine. Naive? probably. But by some standards I "sailed" thru treatment. I tried to downplay it to make others feel better rather than wallowing.. However, when it was all done, in a way i had no excuses for still feeling tired, or being fat (yes i gained weight and haven't lost). I still don't. I'm just regular now. Even my "onc" told me i'm basically cured. And in reality, that's great. I'm down to 1 visit a year.. which made me all choked up when he told me! I'm not any more meds, no more mri, no bc treatment at all.. But so weird feeling like i'm "normal".

    We all have our feelings

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205

    @map1002, congrats on 7 years! We are never really survivors, but we also would not want to go through the rest of our lives constantly focused on the possible return of breast cancer.

    Having had new breast cancers three times in 20 years, and no longer having "real" breasts, I am finally happy to be "back to feeling normal" again! I admit, not having any testing to check for return of cancer can be daunting at times, but I like not focusing on breast cancer. I still see both MO and BS twice a year and honestly, I would be fine seeing only my MO once a year. I know that any day I could be diagnosed with mets, but I am not living my life waiting for that to happen! I have high blood pressure and don't wait around worrying about having a heart attack or stroke!

    I am a firm believer that EVERY BREAST CANCER TEAM SHOULD INCLUDE A MENTAL HEALTH PERSON! All feelings with breast cancer are valid! It is past time for teams to include a medical social worker to help patients with whatever feelings they have. Feeling as if one isn't a "real" breast cancer patient chemo wasn't part of their treatment plan is something the medical community seems to ignore or downplay.

    While I am past ready to move on with my life, my heart breaks for all who feel their feelings don't matter!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,962

    I am stage IV de novo. I have never had chemo, IV or pill form. Oddly, I have a port which caused a pneumothorax two weeks after installation (slow leak on a lung puncture) but treatment plan changed so never had chemo. I have been stage IV for 12 years and have had an easier time than many.

    While I understand what you’re saying, let me say that you really, really do not want the reality of still having cancer. After 12 years , it still sucks in every way. I agree that seeing a therapist might be a good option for you to explore. Take care

  • malleemiss251
    malleemiss251 Member Posts: 389

    I am also stage iv de novo and I can't say I am enjoying all the care and attention I am getting because of it. I have bi-lateral tumours, one of which I call my dual occupancy tumour. There are - to quote the path report, " two different morphologies in the same tumour". To complicate matters, one of the morphologies is aberrant, at least according to the report. On the plus side I have discovered I have really dense bones, which may be contributing to slow progression. I am rapidly accumulating a wealth of "funny scan experiences" with which to entertain family and friends. But I would prefer I didn't have those stories and I would definitely prefer I didn't have cancer. Be kind to yourself and explore some support options to help you through what seems to be a difficult time for you.

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 745

    The active treatment phase takes up so much place in your life, it becomes almost like a hobby and a purpose rolled into one. I think it can take time, work, and a different kind of risk, to rebuild a full life, and being low on energy doesn't help.

    That said, I think it's a great idea to draw on whatever mental health supports are available to you. Get screened for depression at least. The time in my life when I really didn't seem to care whether I lived or died, in the aftermath of my mother's death, it was definitely a kind of numbing depression that was probably helping to shield me from the intensity of grief and loss, but was very destructive in its own way.

    Hang in there!