Buddy Check 16: Issues Survivors Face


"I had a lot of chemo and it was pretty hard, physically hard, you get very tired you feel fatigued all the time, if I didn't have the support that I had it would've been harder, but I was lucky."

Just three weeks after losing her sister to breast cancer, Irene Keheley, 66, was diagnosed with the disease. "It was devastating you couldn't believe it that that would happen cause I had been getting my mammograms because she had it and it was just startling," says Keheley.

So naturally, Irene was focused on getting through all her treatments and becoming a survivor and she did ten years ago. "It was really good, I was so pleased with the doctors I had, they were so supportive and aggressive in trying to make sure it never came back."
But despite being cancer free, Irene's body will never be the way it was before her treatments.
"I deal with neuropathy which is a symptom that comes from the chemo and that's where you get nerve damage and I have that in my hands and feet."

"It's according to what type of chemo you're getting whether you have a risk of neuropathy, some patients do, some don't."
Kelly Estus is a registered nurse at Freeman's Cancer Institute. She says many patients deal with the side-affects of treatment long after it is over.
"Nobody reacts the same, but we know fatigue, pain, they can have memory loss, we call it chemo brain."
But because everyone reacts differently, it's difficult to prepare each patient for what they might face as a survivor.
"We can't ever tell anybody what's going to happen because we don't ever know, that's why we have to follow them close."

There may not be a cure for Irene's neuropothy, but she knows it's something she can live with and with an over the counter pain killer, she can move on with her life.
"It's just something I have to deal with the rest of my life, but I feel it's a small price to pay for the cure and hopefully cancer will never come back."

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