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Image courtesy Jeff Kubina

Welcome to the WhereWeGoNow Community!

on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 14:39

I'm so glad you're here! If you're like me, you remember the moment you went from blissful ignorance, to concentrating your entire being on beating cancer. You faced the diagnostic process, involving scary, painful testing. You pushed through to treatment, terrified to submit to surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, but courageously faced what needed to be done.

Now, after that crazy time of tests, doctors, treatments, hospitalizations, chemo sessions, etc., we stand on the other side and ask ourselves – Where do we go now? 

Welcome to that place. At WhereWeGoNow you are never alone as you work through difficult emotions (survivor's guiltanger, grief, loneliness, stress, just to name a few) and explore your new life beyond cancer.

Together we encourage, motivate and celebrate each other as we create inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy! Here's to thriving after cancer!

So, where do you start?

The first thing you should do is sign up for the WhereWeGoNow newsletter. Get insider info, special offers and free downloads here:



Next, start reading and exploring:

Running on Empty - Coping with Cancer Stress

Cancer Survivor's Guilt & Its Ugly Cousin

10 Little Things to Do With Mindful Awareness

Coping with Cancer Anger

Why Mindfulness is Vital to Sexual Health

The Secret to Making Your Way on Your Cancer Journey

How Have Your Scars Made You Who You Are?

Six Truths I've Learned About Resilience

5 Decorator Tricks to Bring Cheer and Healing into Your Nest

Are You Still Struggling With the Loneliness of Life After Cancer?

Comments

Sherry's picture

Wow, a great site. I once thought years ago "Where do I go now?" Then came several episodes of "Just when you thought it was over!" After the 4th episode of cancer (3 breast and 1 fallopian tube), I am back to the "Where do I go now?" stage and am relishing it. Reconstruction is complete and everything looks better than I could have ever imagined thanks to the work of one fantastic plastic surgeon in Baltimore. I have not blogged about the experience until now and it has been nine years since the ordeal began, but I really like this site. Thank you for the great stories. I love the one today regarding ruining the color pink for survivors.

Debbie's picture

Sherry:

Thank you so much and I'm so glad you found WWGN!  You must have many stories to tell from your nine year experience.  If you're interested, please take a moment to go over to the Community List to add your own gifts and losses from cancer. Also, please make sure to enter your email address in the subscribe box to the right, so I can send my posts directly to your inbox.

I'm so glad to have you here at WWGN!  I love your positive attitude and look forward to hearing more of your story!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Amy Whitman's picture

Hi Debbie,
Great site! Just read about your site in the Daily Record. I am 3 years out from my Stage 1 BC, lumpectomy, chemo and radiation - all done at Morristown Hospital. Many sites deal with cancer support DURING your illness, but the ball drops after that regardless of the fact that survivors still have issues to deal with (as I sit here fanning another hot flash courtesy of my Tamoxifen and chemo induced menopause - yay).
It's almost like we are supposed to box up the experience and put it in the attic - it's over now, just move on. But,as we do indeed move on, we are now a different person. We have a new "normal". The 6 month check ups, the worry each time that the cancer could come back. I read your gift and loss list and mine is very similar, right down to the Pilates failure!
Thanks for creating a support place for us!

Debbie's picture

Hi Amy:

I'm so glad you're here at WWGN! You are so right about the lack of support after cancer. Of course, is there ever really an "after" to cancer? We who are going through it know the answer to that question.  I can't believe you had the same Pilates experience.  When I was lying on that floor, struggling to hold it together and not run out of the room crying, I felt so alone. I'm so glad to know you get it.  Thanks for supporting me!

If you haven't already, make sure you sign up for an email subscription so my posts come directly to your inbox. Also, I'd love to hear about your gifts and losses, which you can add to the Community List.

Thanks so much for your comment and I look forward to sharing much more with you.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Beth L. Gainer's picture

I love this posting. It is a real reminder that October is a pretty cool month. In fact, I am currently writing a post about reclaiming October and not succumbing to the pink parade -- especially when October is so much more.

Debbie's picture

Beth:

I'm so glad you liked my "Being Aware and Present this October" post. Like I said in my post about pink, we have to reclaim October so it speaks to us on our own terms. As breast cancer survivors, we deserve to enjoy the beauty of the month as much as we did before our cancer hit. I really feel it's important to find a balance between the "new normal" and the life we had before cancer.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie 

Darrell L Smith, Sr's picture

For me ( @DarrellSmithsr )it was a horrendous battle, given only a few hours left to live. The finality of my doctor saying it was time to call in my family and watching my doctor simply walk out of the room for the last time, I fought even harder than when I was first told I had cancer. And by a miracle, I survived. Only to find how much society had changed in my absence. Finding the road back for me, meant finding a new road untraveled. Searching for something positive, I wrote a book currently being published at West Bow press. "After the Cancer, what Now"? All survivors need to share their story to give hope to others. You cannot hide, 1 in 4 Americans will get cancer and the "boogie man" is standing in your street today, looking for the next home to enter. Please take the time to have cancer screening now.

Debbie's picture

Darrell:

Good advice and I'm glad you survived to tell your story. I really think we all need to share and support each other. It's one of the best ways I know to fight back against the losses of cancer in our lives.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Claudia 's picture

Just found your site and am finding my way through it - lots of good information! I completed my bilateral mastectomy on February 14th, 2011 (yes, it was Valentine's Day, that's how anxious I was to get the expanders out)! I'm trying to figure out how to get involved after my year and a half of this awful, yet profound and life changing process of breast cancer. How did you get involved? I'd like to do something to support other women going through this, but not sure what's available in NJ. If you have any suggestions, I'd be most appreciative. Best, Claudia http://www.claudiaspost.blogspot.com

Debbie's picture

Hi Claudia:

I'm so glad you're healing from the effects of your breast cancer. I found that giving back was a significant part of my healing too.  I told everyone I met at my cancer center that I was immensely grateful and wanted to give back.  Because I made that known, when a spot opened up on the Oncology Community Advisory Board of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Hospital, I was invited to sit on the board.  On the board, I met the director of Pathways and now work as a patient educator with The Connection's Pathways Women's Cancer Teaching Project. If you want to know what this amazing group of women does to give back, you can read my blog posts about them by searching "Pathways."

WWGN is my very personal way of sharing and supporting other cancer survivors. I'm so glad you found us and I look forward to talking to you more often. If you want, you can receive my blog posts in your email box by signing up in the FeedBurner box to the right.

Thanks again for your comment and take good care.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Beverly's picture

I thought I was done after my stage 2b/3a bc was "cured" a few years ago. But no. I now have early bone mets (have for a year now) and am feeling fine, it's under control with estrogen blockers (Faslodex) for now. What I'm learning now is how willing the Pink Ribbon machine is to throw those of us who aren't expected to survive under the bus. 30% of people with breast cancer will die from mets. Yet we get 1 day in October and 2% of Komen's funds for research FOR A CURE. If any of you survivors want to do something meaningful...HELP US! You could be one of us before your life is done. 1 in 3 chance ladies. Not fun to look at that but there is so much to be done if we really are to find a cure. We need to push for trials of less toxic drugs that will keep us alive with some measure of quality of life too. And so much more. Don't leave us behind as you move forward and try to put this in your past. You do so at your own peril.

Debbie's picture

Beverly:

I'm so sorry you are living with metastatic breast cancer. You are so right that we need to put more resources toward finding a cure. I am a member and supporting blogger of the Love/Avon Army of Women, which brings together scientists working on reserach to discover ways to prevent and cure breast cancer and the women needed to populate those studies. Sign up today with the Army of Women and encourage your friends (with and without cancer) to sign up too. Research is the only way we're going to find a cure for cancer and we can all do our part by getting involved with the Army of Women. 

The truth is that Komen isn't the only organization we can support to get this done.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Dana's picture

I have completed one year of treatment with lumpectomy, chemo, radiation & Herceptin. Now continuing with Femara for a total of five years. I have residual peripheral neuropathy in my feet & legs, but otherwise feel great.

I love your site, & admire your strength. Cancer is not for sissies! I blogged for one year about my health challenges at CaringBridge (shaynadanasg). Now that I am doing well, I do not write much, as thankfully, I have a less eventful life today. It is important for me to pay it forward, & help guide women (or men, of course) who are going through treatment or struggling with diagnosis, recurrence or recovery.

We need to be our own best friends, and support each other.

Debbie's picture

Dana:

Congratulations on completing treatment and thank you so much! I'm so glad you're feeling great. Giving back is definitely part of my healing and it sounds like it's working for you as well. I'm proud to be part of your support group and thanks for being part of mine. 

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Pam's picture

For the last 6 months I have been completely frustrated with myself. I've been anxious and fearful and very negative. I am 13 months post double mastectomy and 10 months post radiation therapy for Stage 3 breast cancer. I just recently have sought help to cope with my emotional issues and have been quite relieved to discover that this is "normal". Just read the article in CURE and have signed on to this site. Thank you.

Debbie's picture

Dear Pam:

Thank you so much. The reason I keep WWGN up and running every day is to share the truth with my fellow survivors that we are not alone. I am a huge believer in the power of oncology therapy - it helped me heal in ways I never expected and is still helping to this day. Whatever our experiences, to feel on top of everything else that we have gone through that we are somehow abnormal, is just too much to bear. Once we know our feelings are normal, that we are not alone and are in fact surrounded by others who completely "get it," real healing can begin.

I'm so glad you're here and thank you again for your beautiful comment.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Marielena's picture

Debbie,

Hi i was kinda wondering if their is a site for THYROID CANCER. I am a Cancer Survivor, but this one hit me like a football!!! I just went for my 6 month checkup and i was amazed at the result.... I have no one in this cancerious world but tears and unhappiness. It's a miracle to have found your site but I am angry and dont understand alot so i said o.k. live or die and my little doggie said mommy i need you!! So last night we both cried and tomm is the second biopsy on my LYMPH NODES that appeared in my results.. So can u give me words of advice. Last Sept. 2011 i was getting a divorce when i found out i had to CANCER..

Debbie's picture

Marlelena:

I'm so glad you found WhereWeGoNow and were able to share your fears and struggles with me. I can't imagine going through cancer alone and having no one to talk to who understands. The best advice I can give you is to seek out support. You can talk to a support volunteer for free by calling the Cancer Hope Network at 1-800-552-4366 (if you live in the US.) The person who answers the phone is really wonderful and will set you up with a cancer survivor who has gone through what you are going through. 

Talking with other survivors who get it is the best way I know to make it through all the emotional hurdles of cancer. You're dealing with so much (going through a divorce is devastating enough.) Keep reaching out, by letting me know how you do tomorrow and by calling the Cancer Hope Network. You need and deserve all the support you can get.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

cancerfree's picture

I'm going enjoy being here I have been having lot's of anxiety since my diagnosis with anal cancer and I'm trying everyday to draw more awareness I'm first trying to get a ribbon for anal cancer,it's the one I was diagnosed with on July 27,2009. http://signon.org/sign/anal-cancer-ribbon

Debbie's picture

CancerFree:

Thanks so much for joining us here at WWGN. Good luck with your campaign and please know that, no matter what type of cancer you have, we are here to support each other. 

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Evvie Heilbrunn's picture

I love your blog! I'm a 2-time breast cancer survivor and am moving on with my life. During and after I finished chemo (last March) I have relied heavily on www.beyondtheshock.com. It's sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Many women in all stages of diagnosis and treatment helping each other. I highly recommend it!

Debbie's picture

Evvie:

Thanks for the recommendation, it sounds like a great site!  I'm a big believer in reaching out for support wherever you can find it - and the internet is a great resource. And thank you too for loving my blog - come back often!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

 

veeka's picture

after surviving stage III breast cancer and leukemia, along with two bone marrow transplants at 32 years old when my life went from carefree, fun, traveling, working, raising and loving my daughter to a complete nightmare as all the odds stacked against me. after 2 years, i am in remission but continue to fight the side effects of the cancers and the transplants. i have a clot in my jugular vein, i have severe osteoporosis and arthritis and having difficulty walking, i am grateful to be alive but i cannot snap out of the fear and trauma that i have gone through. to me there is still no new normal. i struggle through every day. I miss my job, i miss traveling and as often as i still end up in the hospital with infections, graft vs host etc, i feel stuck in the city that i need a break from. i'm alive but my life ended at 32 when i heard the words 'you have breast cancer' and three weeks later when i heard 'you also have leukemia'. I am not a weak person and i cannot forgive myself for being stuck, for being so sad and scared and depressed. can anyone relate? has everyone moved on?

Debbie's picture

Veeka:

You are not alone in this. There are many people struggling with the emotional trauma and side effects of their treatment. I can tell you that when I was depressed and scared, I turned to a therapist. Talking and sharing my feelings with someone who understood and wasn't dependent on me was cathartic and healing. It's obvious from your comment that you are a very strong person, but that doesn't mean you can do this alone - no one can. Please reach out for support and help at your cancer center, or by calling CancerCare, the Cancer Hope Network or the American Cancer Society. I know it's overwhelming, but you can take baby steps to find the support you need and deserve - for you and your daughter. I'm pulling for you!!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Grace's picture

i am sorry..

Kara's picture

Hi Debbie,
I was referred to your facebook page (clicked the link to your web page)from one of my best friends that just lost her little boy (3 years old) to a long 2 year battle of brain cancer. In that time I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Im only 38. What the heck? Well i am proud to say that my nephrectomy was one year ago today and so far physically i am doing good. Emotionally it is a battle everyday. Every ache and pain i wonder and worry. My family just found out that my uncle was also diagnosed with kidney cancer as well. I also lost my dad to pancreatic cancer. While i am so happy that i am cancer free i feel guilty in a way. People I love are now dealing with the fact that they too have cancer and I understand exactly how they feel. But there is just this guilty feeling i have. Is this a normal feeling? Dont get me wrong I am so relieved and so blessed to be cancer free. I was diagnosed and had surgery within 3 weeks. My mind did even have time to process everything. It wasn't until after my surgery that i really had time to sit back and think what just happened? I had wonderful support but really not from anyone that has been through it....Your website is a wonderful resource for people that are looking for support. Thank you!

Debbie's picture

Hi Kara:

Wow, you have a lot on your emotional plate! I can't imagine dealing with my own cancer while so many people I care about are undergoing the same battle. Please accept my condolences for all of your struggles.

To answer your question: Yes, it is normal to suffer from survivor's guilt. One of the most popular posts I've written is directly on this subject. You should read the post and check out the comments from the many other survivors who are experiencing exactly what you are experiencing. 

As someone who has dealt with survivor's guilt too, I can tell you that it takes time to work through. Your experience of not dealing with your situation emotionally until after your surgery is the norm - we've all been there. In my case, I felt extreme survivor's guilt compared to people I met after my surgery. I can't imagine the guilt that comes from comparing your experience to people in your family.

I'm glad you're here at WWGN and hope to hear from you again. Keep talking to others who "get it." I too had wonderful support from my family and friends. But, the support I got from people who truly understood the cancer experience was vital to my emotional healing.

Take care.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Therese's picture

Hi there,
I just came across this site through confidence after cancer. I looks great as I often ponder where too from here given so many relationships have changed post cancer diagnosis-its like you have to let go of so much stuff. :-)

Debbie's picture

Hi Therese:

I'm so glad you found us! The "after" part of cancer certainly brings many changes and adjustments. "Letting go of so much stuff" is a huge theme around here. Come back often, and thank you so much for your comment!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Sharon's picture

Just found this site. I have been struggling alone with post breast cancer fear that has me frozen in life. When its time for my 6 mo. appointments I can do nothing except sit in fear that it is back. Even though my diagnosis was good. Lumpectomy with radiation and low reoccurrence probability I still fell so alone at times. I didn't join a group because I was afraid to see so many people worse off and the fear would grow. I need a group I can feel at home with.
Sharon

Debbie's picture

Hi Sharon:

I'm so glad you found WWGN and left a comment. I wrote about the fear of recurrence in "The Distress of Cancer Panic Recurrence."  If you read through my blog posts and the many comments written by other survivors, you will know that you are not alone. We're all have our issues.

If you're not a group person (I'm not) maybe you can find a one-on-one situation with an oncology therapist. That's what I did and it really helped me. (I found her through my cancer center.) Also, try group situations that aren't exactly support groups, but offer camaraderie. I did a rehabilitative exercise class with a group of women, Look Good Feel Better through the American Cancer Society, and work/volunteer with various groups. We're all cancer survivors and just being in the same room together is very comforting. We talk about cancer when we want to, form friendships and are there for each other. 

I'm so glad you reached out to us and hope you keep looking for the support you need. Don't limit yourself to a "support group" and I bet you will find more than one scenario to help you work through your fears.

Take care and please keep in touch. For more information and tips, join my email subscription list and check out my book, You Can Thrive After Treatment. 

Be well,

Debbie

 

 

 

 

Carol S. Anderson's picture

I had double mastectomy March 22, 2013 - went back to work on April 8, 2013 - just had my 6-month check up October 22, 2013 - so far, so good. Just found out two months ago that my sister has breast cancer and she just had her 4th chemo treatment October 24, she doesn't know if she'll have to have surgery later. My prayers and good thoughts go out to all of you.

Debbie's picture

Hi Carol:

I'm so glad you found WWGN! Thank you for your good thoughts and all my best goes out to you and your sister. I hope you will continue to be an active member of WWGN. I've found that sharing with other people who "get it" is pivotal to emotional healing. We're taking each day as it comes and creating inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy together. Thank you so much for joining us!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Tricia's picture

I have been so moved by all of the above posts that I decided to write something of my own thoughts and experiences.
Boy is cancer a challenge. Some days I am so grateful for the whole experience and filled with inspiration to get out there and do something really positive and other days I just feel so exhausted by it all....but those days are getting less and the joy is increasing!
I was diagnosed June 2009 grade 3 invasive breast cancer. Mastectomy with delayed reconstruction, Chemo, radio, herceptin and approaching 5 years with 5 to go of Tamoxifen. The reconstruction failed and I have just had my second mastectomy. this final operation in March marks the end of this ordeal. I can finally get back on with my life and look forward, plan a future and have dreams again.
Today I am grateful that I have the time to process this experience, to rest and to heal. It is wonderful to be able to share the experience with others who have experiences of cancer, for even health professional struggle to understand the very deep effects of this experience. It is about moving on, moving on in our own unique ways. This site is a wonderful part of that experience...it is great to read and to relate to so much that's been shared here.
Cancer has given me opportunities to do things that I would not have done otherwise. My values have changed. And I now take loving care of what I put into my body. My ability to love and to know love is something that I am more grateful than I can express. Living without breasts doesn't mater, living life to the full does!
It has felt good to rant a little....thank you Debbie for this opportunity and great site. My best wishes to all of you, on your paths to holistic wellness.

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