Transitioning: Life with Cancer to Life after Cancer

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Although it is an amazing feeling to no longer have cancer and to move forward in life, it is definitely an adjustment. And as weird as this may sound, I have my moments where I miss that life, the life with cancer. My two cancers were very different in terms of type, placement, treatment, and side effects. There were little to no similarities at all. In fact, my second cancer’s case was so rare, docs could not find a case like mine going back 50 years of medical literature. My second cancer took more than twice the time of my first, so I am referring to the Ewing’s. Most of these blog posts will most likely relate to the Ewing’s Sarcoma because I was more mature, mindful, and open about my illness overall.

For a year I spent a lot, if not the majority, of my time being admitted in the hospital for chemo and/or fevers. These admissions would range from overnight to over a week. I also could be spending the day in my clinic getting blood work, platelet transfusions, and/or blood transfusions. At the time all I wanted to do was go home, make the time go faster and the pain go away quicker. The eight-hour days in the clinic felt like forever. Now when I look back on it, I can easily see all the positive memories I had made and the beautiful people I met. These people (docs, nurses, staff, etc.) and the hospital/clinic became my second family and home, and they forever hold a special place in my heart. How could one want to leave them? You get so used to being there and with these people, and then when it changes it is kind of like a shock. When my appts. started going quicker, I did not need any more transfusions, and did not need to come every week, I became sad and nervous. Sad because I wanted to sit in the day room with the nurses, watch dateline with my mom all day, and also nervous, because what if something happened in between the weeks? I don’t think that nervousness or fear ever leaves, but it gets better as time goes on.

Now I am up to monthly appts. and scans every three months. I am a little over three months into remission. Anybody who knows me knows that I was a very on-the-go type of person, always putting too much on my plate. I have now realized that person will not come back right away. I still have my days where I am so tired, I never understood recovery fully until this time around. When I look at the big picture, my body took a year of harsh poison being put into it, I now realize it is going to take some time to full recover from that. The chemo poison may be out, but we all know the lovely side effects it can give you during and after treatment.

Overall, this post was to express that I am still in the transitioning period. I am anxious to go back to work, to school, to work on a healthier me, etc.. There are some days where I just want to sleep and not have a care in the world. However, this kind of anxiety is the good kind, the kind you feel when you are also really excited about those new moments in your life. And that’s all I have from here on out: new days, new moments, and new opportunities.

So I ask you my fellow fighters, survivors, caregivers, and supporters, do you have any advice for me? Or, any stories that can relate to transitioning from one phase of your life to the next? Like I said, I am very anxious and sometimes I want to run back to that hospital or clinic, where I feel safe and comfortable, but I am also really happy to be here, in my bed, typing this story. I plan to dive into transitioning more on a mental/emotional note this week.

Thank you all for the love and support, I would not be here without you!

-Nicole

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