From Fatigue to Fear: The Unseen Battles of Post-Treatment Life

With the end of active treatment comes the anxiety and depression that I have been suppressing throughout. The fatigue from radiation has me worried about depression. The nightmares make me concerned about PTSD, and the crying, well, that is the only way I can cope right now.

I was reminded of a concept I learned at Commonweal about ‘fantasy future’. That is, we all have a future that we fantasize about, and in reality, that future never turns out exactly how we imagined it. But we cling to some form of fantasy future – and then cancer comes, and it shatters that fantasy. You need to mourn the loss of the fantasy future. The fantasy itself is what is shattered – that is what needs mourning.

Today, I am sad. I hope that the radiation fatigue is what is causing these swells of emotion.

I’m also thinking a lot about the future. One future is that I don’t get cancer again, but there is another that weighs heavily on my shoulders, which is a future where the cancer does come back. It weighs heavily on me that my parents died young. With each year that passes, I get closer to the age my mother was when she died. It doesn’t give me much hope for living a long life.

I need to remind myself that for this week, and maybe next, I’m still feeling the side effects of radiation. Being tired and fatigued causes me to spiral downward. Once the radiation fatigue passes, I hope that I will be doing better. I will still be mourning my fantasy future, but I won’t be doing it from a place of tiredness, which I know makes my depressive symptoms much worse.

  • Becky

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