Feelings and emotions
Whatever you thought it would be like, most young people tell us that the first few weeks and months off treatment is a time when they’re surprised at the strange mixture of happy and worried feelings that they have.
A lot of young people find that they have pretty mixed feelings about being at the end of treatment. To start with, there are so many great things about finishing treatment!
- No more feeling sick
- Less boring times at hospital
- No more tablets
- Having hair again
- Looking normal Stopping steroids
- Getting rid of your line
- Going out with mates more
- Going back to school
Even though all these things will make your life loads easier, a lot of young people also find that they’re worried and have times when they feel pretty fed up. One problem is that you don’t get any guarantees that all that treatment has worked. Even when you do something as simple as buy a new mobile, at least they guarantee it’ll work for a year. With cancer treatment, after all you’ve gone through, you don’t even get that!
So of course, it’s normal to worry. But, if you think about it, not even pop stars, Olympic athletes or the Royal family, gets a guarantee about being healthy! Anyone, your school/college mates, your cousins, the man you sat next to on the bus this morning, could get cancer or another serious illness tomorrow. So in a way, everyone has that slight worry.
How to cope with worry
Some people don’t worry when they get to the end of treatment, others do. Some young people find that thoughts about what has happened, and about their health and future, can keep them awake at night and stop them enjoying life so much.
If this happens to you, there’s a lot you can do:
Find someone to talk to. Worries that just go round and round in your head tend to get bigger. If you can tell a friend or teacher or someone in your family, you might find you feel better even if they can’t completely take the worry away.
Some people find they need to talk to a counsellor, especially if their worry won’t go away or if it’s stopping them from enjoying themselves. In some parts of the country there are also groups where young people who have had cancer treatment can get together. Another way to find out how other people in your position feel is through websites.
Write a list of the things that worry you, then next to it write what you can do about each of these things. If there’s nothing you can do, there’s no point in worrying – how about deciding not to? Lists can be good if you can’t find a good person to talk to or if you’re worrying in the middle of the night.
Sometimes just putting things down on paper helps you to feel more on top of problems and to find ways to deal with them.
Use up the energy from your worrying in another way. Best not to take it out on the cat or your little brother, but doing something energetic like kicking a football around or even hitting your pillow may help!
Above all remember the facts:
- Most cancers in children and young people don’t come back
- The chances of the cancer coming back get smaller and smaller the longer you have been off treatment
- For many cancers, there’s still a chance of cure even if they do come back
© CCLG 2007 This information has been provided by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group. It is aimed at 10 – 16 year olds although it may be of interest to other young people.
Authors: Katherine Green, Moira Bradwell and Annie Griffiths on behalf of the CCLG Publications Committee. All quotations have been supplied by 10-16 year olds.
Tell your story…
If you're a current or ex-patient and diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 13 to 24 you may like to share you story.
By telling us your story you can help other young people understand what it’s like to have cancer and help others understand why the work of Teenage Cancer Trust is so important.