Oesophageal Patients Association
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still worry 8 months on

I have been given all good news by my surgeon today, i am 8 months post op and am doing really well, i go back to work soon, so why do i still worry about the cancer coming back? i want to forget but can't, how can i stop worrying? has anyone else felt the same

i am grateful and happy that i am still here

margie

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You can't stop worrying. No one can. I'm three years post op., and I'm always expecting the cancer to come back. Because the fact is it could.

But you can learn to enjoy the fact you're well now, and there's a good chance you'll stay well, and make the most of the moment. After all, no one knows the future. You might win the lottery or get run over by a bus. So just enjoy NOW.

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Yes we all worry of course its normal human reaction.Some of us live for many years as you will see and some the cancer returns as in my case 2 years after surgery but all hope is never lost ,stay positive and live in the day as whatever happens we cant change it.I take each day as it comes as if I hadnt had surgery would not be here now and as far as I am concerned here for a bit longer yet!!!!!!

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Hi, I agree with the two posts above. I am also 3 years post op, and I still worry it will come back, I think once you have had a diagnosis of cancer your life changes forever, it will always be in the back of your mind. I would say don't be afraid to talk about it with friends and family because they too had to come to terms with what you have been through, so don't be afraid to talk to people about your concerns.

You have had a mega op and your body is still recovering, so be gentle with yourself. We are the lucky ones who had the surgery, so as Griff says live each day as it comes, and take things easy as you return to work.

Best wishes

Edwina xx

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Hi Margie

I am 12 months post op and and improving all the time, gaining weight, appetite returning, back to work,a positive mental attitude goes a long way towards recovery, cancer hates positive thought, keep yourself occupied mentally and physically as your body lets you,, worrying will not change the future, its early days for you yet, and gradually as your body gets stronger and your appetite returns worrying will diminish, there will always be an awareness and some times doubt, this is natural. Take up a hobby, unless you have one already, I am a Bee-keeper and I find that getting absorbed in their activity is very therapeutic. Live each day and enjoy the wonderful gift of living every day, you have climbed the mountain and the climb was hard, you can now look out over a new life and the climb will have been worth it and become a distant memory

Mike

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Try to think positive. Consider each day as a bonus. If it comes back it comes back and there is nothing you can do to prevent that.Your surgical team will be keeping an eye on you with regular checkups, endoscopys etc and will catch any recurrance in it's early stages.

Best wishes.

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There are lots of people who have had this operation, sometimes more than 20 years ago, who are in good health and spirits, so let us hope that you will be in that happy situation.

A few months after the surgery, things are starting to get better medically, but you still have to be kind to yourself and come to terms with the fact that you have had this treatment for cancer. You feel grateful and happy still to be around of course, but it is only natural that the emotional journey, which we all go through, still has some way to go. It is a question of getting used to the fact that you have had this brush with a disease that can often be fatal, and learning how not to worry about recurrence too much take a bit of time and reflection.

So I think that the way you feel now is quite natural and OK, and that gradually things do start to fall into place as the months go by.

There is a useful article called 'After the treatment has finished, then what?' by Peter Harvey that you might find helpful. There is a link to it on the OPA website:

opa.org.uk/regional-shop/lo...

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Hi Margie

Ditto to all the above. Everyone probably feels that way but it does diminish with time. It is 11 years since my op now and to tell the truth a lot of the time I forget that I ever had cancer.

The surgery and radiotherapy has left me with the need to have regular dilatations (but that only happens to some people) but if it wasn't for that I think life now would be pretty much normal.

Once the shock of having the illness wears of for you and the realisation that you have survived a huge operation truly sinks in you will find that some things are better than before. I appreciate things more and cherish my family and home, things are more in perspective. But that only comes with time.

Do what you can to minimize the chance of recurrence:, eat sensibly, exercise gently, take care of yourself and above all enjoy life as much as you can.

Krysia xx

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Dear Margie,

I am six years post op and I still worry that the cancer will return. I don't know any fellow patient who doesn't. However, if the worry is a serious issue for you and is having a negative effect on your mental or physical health, you should speak to your CNS, or other key worker. The CNS should already have carried out a holistic needs assessment, part of which is to assess whether you require psycological support. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people find cancer difficult to deal with psycologically. The CNS will have some psycological training and may be able to help. If not, they should be able to refer you to a clinical psycologist appointed to provide just such support to cancer patients.

Good luck,

G

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Thank you for your replys you have helped me to reconsider how I was thinking and I am now more positive and am returning to work tomorrow so thank you all for all your replies

Best wishes and God bless

Marg

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One other thing that might be relevant is that other people's reactions to somebody who has had cancer treatment are very variable- and sometimes downright unhelpful and insensitive. So I do think it is a good thing to work things through in your own mind, and then, hopefully, prepare some responses in your own mind for people who will a) find it very difficult to speak to you; or b) say the wrong thing out of nervousness / ignorance.

Returning to work sometimes has to be undertaken gradually. Employers do not understand the full implications of the operation, and you may find the Employer's Notes useful at the bottom of the page on

opa.org.uk/regional-shop/lo...

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In a back-handed kind of way what we have all been through is uplifting and improving.

This is so obvious in all the kind and wise words above.

Ain't folks grand ?

Get to the five year mark and you'll be flying higher than you ever thought possible.

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Looking back over 19yrs, I also remember wondering when it would come back BUT how many events and memories, experiences have I see since. The grandchildren I never thought I would see.The side effects kick in and kick out but I've enjoyed many more years.

Remember there will be set backs and you may find you have to give yourself time to adjust to your new altered life so take it gently. Who knows what is in store for any of us, one day you may look back like me so enjoy today

Sally

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Thank you Sally my problem is I try to run before I can walk lol you have inspired me to look forward and I will try to take things slowly thank you

Margie

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