Give yourself a break my love!! This is really early days and I think you're expecting far too much of yourself. It's great that you're back to work, feeling pretty good physically, doing things that you've always liked doing and that things are ok on the relationship front - you should give yourself massive credit for those things alone, because set against what you've been through those are really big achievements just a few short months later.
You say you've tried really hard not to focus on cancer. This is going to sound odd, but perhaps that's the problem - perhaps you should focus on cancer - allow yourself to think about it. I don't mean wallow, but rather than trying to banish it from your mind every time it pops in, let it be there, let yourself think about it for a bit, and then get on with whatever it is you're doing at the time. It's such a huge thing that I don't think it's realistic to think we can just 'forget about it' or somehow pretend it hasn't happened and try and go back to exactly how we were before, however much we might want to. It takes time to adjust to what has happened and to understand the effect it's had on you and the ways in which it has changed you. I know it's hard, but try and be patient and understanding of yourself. Ask yourself if you would expect this of someone else: If someone you knew had been diagnosed with cancer, had to have major surgery and had to go back for check-ups every 12 weeks, would you expect them to be psychologically fine and dandy just six months later?
Fear of recurrence is SO normal. I don't think there is anyone on this forum who has had cancer who isn't frightened of the possibility of it returning. Why on earth wouldn't you be scared? I'm scared too. I can tell myself I'm cured until I'm sick of the sound of my own voice, but the 'what if' fairy taps away behind my forehead, practically on a daily basis. I've got terrible pain just by my left hip - so bad that sometimes it causes me to limp - my consultant thinks it's adhesions from the surgery but is keeping an eye on it, but last week I felt a small lump in my armpit and I went into meltdown: I was convinced that they hadn't got rid of it after all and it's now all over my lymphatic system and that's me not seeing another Christmas. The lump's gone now - it was just a hormonal cyst so has gone back down - and actually even if it was in my lymphatic system it's far too soon for it to be causing the kind of pain I'm getting, but this kind of rationale doesn't come into the feeling of fear. Kath, we've both had a disease that could have resulted in our 'exit, stage left' - that's really scary - it's perfectly natural that we'd be scared of having it again. Before you have cancer, it's an idea - albeit a scary idea - but it's less concrete, more of a concept. It sounds incredibly obvious, but once you've had cancer, the idea of getting cancer is more of a concrete thing - you know that you can actually get it; it can actually happen to you - being forced to face your own mortality in that way is a very difficult thing and is bound to change you in some ways. Having spoken to friends of mine who have had cancer, it seems that the fear lessens as time goes on: the more good results that you get at check-ups, and the more these accumulate, the more the fear subsides, but it takes a long time.
As for spending money you haven't got, doing what you want etc etc.... I know what you mean. The way I dealt with this was by turning it on its head a bit - going out and booking a £10K holiday on a credit card is probably not the best idea in the world, but use that impulse to think about things that you do want to do with your life - goals that you can work towards - because one thing that cancer does is bring into pretty sharp focus the fact that we're not going to be around forever, and that if there are things you want to do, best to get on with it. That doesn't mean you should do it in an irresponsible or narcissistic way, but there's nothing wrong with thinking, "I've always wanted to go whale watching in South Africa; I'm going to work towards making it happen, instead of just having it as a vague dream." This is, after all, your life, and you only get one shot at it. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights and somehow, I've just never got round to it and the last few years I've thought of it more and more as a wispy 'I'd like to do that someday' thing. One thing that cancer has done is made me think well, when is someday? So I went and spoke to a travel agent, found out when the best time of year is to see it, got some brochures and sat down with my husband to work out the cost. Now it's more of a real thing. It's not going to happen next week. But it is going to happen next Spring. This is perhaps something positive that we can get out of cancer - it can never be a good thing to have had cancer, but that doesn't mean we can't use it as a tool to focus on what our lives mean to us and how we want to spend the time we have got on this earth. In order to be able to enjoy that long-term though, it's really important that you allow yourself your feelings now, rather than trying to fight against them.
With much love,