18 months after treatment

I have had breast cancer twice. The first time was in 1998 when I was 43. I had a lumpectomy, lymph node clearance, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Twelve years later in 2010, I was diagnosed with cancer again - same breast but a totally unrelated form of cancer (grade 3). This time I underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
The chemotherapy ended 18 months ago but I still feel unwell. I am constantly tired and lacking in energy. My joints ache, especially at nights preventing me from sleeping. My memory is not great any more. I have chronic constipation and tinnitus. I feel very dejected when people assume that I am over effects of chemotherapy - including some doctors. I know that I am lucky to be here but I feel 10 years older than my chronological age. Work is not an option - I am only just coping with the home etc.
Is anyone out there having similar problems?

Hi janie5

It sounds like you’re having a really tough time at the moment. I’m sure the users of this site will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe you would like to talk to a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Oh Janie you do sound down. You really have been through so much. This is a wretched disease and everybody is different in the way they cope with it. Have you discussed your problems with your team or GP. It sounds to me that you also have an underlying depression. It is such a shame that you have had everything that can be thrown at you to get rid of the cancer only to develope another problem that is marring your life. Sleep is so important and to be deprived of it because of pain must be awful.
I hope you get over this tough patch soon. As Sam has said , the Helpline might help you sort out the way forward. I hope others come out of the shadoows and suppirt you.
Best wishes xxx

Hi Janie, I really sympathise and know from personal experience that it can take a long time to recover both physically and psychologically from BC and all the treatment associated with it. How it must feel to go through it twice, as you have done, I can’t imagine though. I don’t know if it would help but when I was still suffering from aches and pains and feeling very down some months after chemo a friend of mine who had had Chrones disease said that, even three years after her big op she felt like this. She just took 2 Tramadol in the morning and found that they really helped to get her through the day. I started doing the same and it really helped. I’m still taking them and the doctor seems happy to prescribe them. They help to lift your mood as well. I also take Melatonin at night to help me sleep and am sleeping 9 hours a night and feeling much much better. You can get them on the internet if you don’t want to ask the doctor. I also take 75mg of aspirin a day on a full stomach (don’t laugh - and yes I do rattle) after breakfast as it seems that research is pointing to this amount helping to prevent a recurrence. I told my onc what I was doing and she just rolled her eyes but didn’t object so…
My very best wishes Jan x

Thank you to the lovely replies, especially Cackles and Blondebut brainy.
I find that the first time I had cancer, I had a husband and 3 children who all helped and supported me with lots of love and hugs. The second time, my children had left home and live large distances away and I literally went from 4 hours in a divorce court into hospital for the double mastectomy.Then I had to move into a new home in the middle of chemotherapy treatments.
I am aware that I am trying to come to terms with everything and my confidence is very low. Thanks for the ideas about helpful drugs. Am unable to take Tramadol as my thyroid was damaged by the chemo, but I will give the Melatonin a try. I’m averaging about 3 hours sleep at a time at present which I know is not helping.