PTSD; survivor angst

I can’t believe I’m still alive 4 years after the diagnosis that my breast cancer had come back in my bones, liver and pancreas. I’m not only still alive, but actually ‘well’. I suffer the tiniest bit of back ache from time to time. This is an absolute miracle created by monthly ‘denosumab’ injections. I call it a miracle, because in 2012 I was described as having ‘extensive boney metastases in spine and pelvis’; I never imagined they could become sufficiently mended to give almost no pain at all.

The only thing I do suffer is an antsy anxiety that it will all come back. I’ve phrased that wrongly – it WILL come back. The only question is ‘when?’ Six months, six years, sixteen years… It’s quite difficult to live with that hanging over you, and sometimes I feel my skin is crawling all over with anxiety. I feel so tired I can’t hold my body up, but so ‘antsy’ laying down is like lying on a bed of nails (with ants crawling all over it!)

In many ways, I’m no different to any other human being on the planet at this moment. Death can come at any moment to any of us, and tomorrow isn’t promised. It’s just having your face rammed into your mortality by a cancer diagnosis is quite tricky…

6 responses to “PTSD; survivor angst

  1. I’m so glad you are here. For all of us the thought of metastasis is truly terrifying and being told you have them causes havoc including a level of anxiety that is beyond the top of the Richter scale. Having been through that with my Mum and Aunt the inevitable “hmm, so when’s my turn…?” enters my head more than I’d like. The next inevitable thought is how little anyone could do for them back in the ’80’s and ’90’s. My wish, of course, is that metastasis is confined to the past once and for all, and for all those already at stage 4 we hurry the hell up and find a way to reverse the situation. I guess I want us to have our silver bullet – a cure that eradicates this disease for good. Never underestimate how much of an inspiration, you are for all of us, a beacon of light in what can often be a somewhat gloomy cancer new world order (because let’s face it, this illness can come back decades later and currently a significant number of us are never completely cured). From the bottom of my heart I wish you many, many more “well” years. Given the challenges of living with mortality rammed in our faces, humanity at large could take note and learn a lot by appreciating how resilient, together and good natured many stage 4 folks remain (even if it doesn’t always feel that way on the inside).

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful reply. I’m bowled over.
      I tentatively think that we have a lot of cause to be hopeful; that a lot of cancer has been ‘cured’, or as near as makes no practical difference. Perhaps ‘successfully held back’ is a better phrase. Of course, we won’t know how successful that ‘holding back’ has been for many years. The combo of drugs I’m on right now has only been in use for 7 or 8 years – the ‘denosumab’ even less time – so no one can know at present whether it extends life for months, years, or forever. I’m hoping the latter! Or at least it can get me into a future where there are even more possibilities.
      Glad you’re doing OK. I always think of you when we go to Shaldon!

  2. So interesting to hear from this blog again. And your openness to your cancer. It must be a dreadful feeling, I can only imagine. But each day is a new life. And your little grand daughter has brought so much love into your life.
    I think of you often and only wish we were nearer.
    Lots of love helen

    • Thanks so much for this Helen!
      It would be lovely to see you any time, though I can see you’re both having hectic schedules. What wonderful, creative folk you both are, doing marvellous things! I’m discovering just how rare and lovely you two are – few and far between!
      We have just invested in a new, reliable car, so perhaps we can pop over to Cambridge later this year. XXX

  3. So good to hear from you and to find out you doing so well.

    It is difficult not knowing what the future will bring. I also get antsy. It’s not pleasant at all. I just wait as best I can for a half hour or so to pass and so do the feelings. In my case the ants are tied to one of the meds I take.

    Like you I’m in pretty good shape. No bone pain, just a little arthritis in my lower back.

    • Thanks so much for this. We’ve been on this cancer journey together a long time now, haven’t we? You were the first blogger to contact me on my announcement of my diagnosis, so have a special place in my affections.
      It looks like modern medicine is serving us both very well through these difficult times. I just wish I could get my brain under control as well!
      Wishing you all the best.

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