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The New Normal

You don’t just ‘get over’ cancer. Your body might be injured and your mind might feel scarred. You can’t forget it happened. Recovery can be slow and you might not return to the old you.

Maybe you are missing a few organs and the ones you are left with are damaged. You might be on tablets forever, or have a chronic, debilitating condition. For myself, I’ve learnt how to exist with a temperamental and painful bowel, with gradually decreasing frustration! I still have embarrassing, awful moments – rolling around the floor in agony in the middle of a Sardinian piazza was not a highlight. But the fact that I went to Sardinia in the first place is a triumph.

Hospitals and doctors take control of your body which can threaten independence. All interests had been replaced by a fixation on health. At the end of treatment, you can suddenly make decisions again, which can lead to a kind of decision vertigo. Are we making the right ones? What are your values now? Who even are you?

Meanwhile, you watch others continue to lead their normal life; they’ve never faced cancer. And you wonder how they do it and how you ever did. You’re struggling to find your way back.

It doesn’t help when health practitioners are ever-optimistic with recovery times. I’ve been so angry with myself for not recovering from a major surgery in the ‘3-5 days’ the handout suggested I’d be in hospital for. A two week hospital stay made me feel a failure. The same for chemo: I’ve felt useless for recovering so slowly.

It is only after speaking to other people that I’ve found this is actually normal.

Just remember: 

new normal mantra


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Kate In Oz (not verified)

I feel like a dreadful failure. Taking so long to recover, the cognitive impairment from the treatments, being so upset, so depressed and so physically weak. I put a good face on but inside I am ashamed and humiliated by my patheticness.


Ive just joined this group... reading your post is exactly how I feel... how you doing now?

Carol Macey (not verified)

Thank you so much for this. I've found it so reassuring at the moment having just finished chemo. Xxxxxx

Lacey (not verified)

I finished my chemo in January and my radiotherapy last year, I am still feeling the effects of the treatment as well as having some permanent damage but I can tell you please be positive. Do a little at a time and dont push yourself to soon just because you think that's what other people think you should do. It's a journey still but theres lots of help out there x


This was so reassuring to read i often feel like I'm failing my wife & sons due to my fatigue,so i can't do as much when i want to. My wife has m.e & is in a wheelchair when she's not housebound so I'm a full time carer so life is demanding, i often feel guilty because my body is still recovering from my chemo that ended last year. I'm always expecting more from myself so have to remind myself that my new normal is slower paced but just as productive 😊
I got diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last march & had 4 rounds of aggressive chemo, 2 cases of neutrophinic sepsis & was in & out of hospital for 5 months. I am in remission & determined to live by best life x