2 much to deal with

Hi everybody, I need to have a rant apologise for being so long… x
i was diagnosed with BC in Aug 07 and have posted a couple of moans and groans previously… i have a 14 month old son and this week was my first to go back to work part time … i have been off for nearly 1 1/2 years what with maternity (as i found out when he was just 3 months old) and sick with treatment ie… chemo (FEC) and radiotherapy …WHAT A WEEK!!! i thought i could handle it but still get soooooooooo tired, emotional and ache all over… i found most who knew me as i have been there for 6 yrs - blanking me, not knowing what to say or not knowing about it and just say the usual oooh my god what have you done to ur hair…ie all chopped off or ooh did recognised u ( like its from choice!!!) or another classic "OOooh your so lucky having all that time off… i feel like shacking them and saying i have had CANCER and i am 31 yrs old and feel like i have this looming over my head … its not from choice!! and haven’t been having a barrell of laughs ! but the funny thing is I FEEL GUILTY that i may draw attention or me offend them ha ha ha, im finding it really hard as family are acting like its all over with and forgotten and life is back to how it was, i have reconstrution up and coming around the beginning of Oct this year, i am due to have a DIEP TRAM and to create a nipple, I am looking forward to getting the last part of this adventure over with even though i am really scared as i have no idea what to expect, i haven’t really spoken to me surgeon even though i have met with him twice …i hear that it takes 9 hours and that the recovery is v v painful. i think i was v nieve as i thought it wasn’t that serious with how he spoke … i just didn’t realise the shock would hit home of all thats happened in that past year and what is to come …i want to try and be the happy mummy i want to be for my son as i feel like i have already let him down with the first year of his life … not being me and how i i wanted to hve his stert in life like.

Rant over … xxx

D-M

Hi D-M

Just wanted to say that if you feel you would benefit from talking to someone please remember that you are very welcome to contact our helpline for confidential support, a listening ear and any information that you may need during this difficult time.

The helpline number is 0808 800 6000 and is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.

Kind regards.

Louise
Facilitator

Hi D-M
People are indeed strange, they just don’t know how to react to someone who has been through such a crap time - they can’t find the words so wrong ones come out I think.
I am similar to you, had the same treatment, have 2 kiddies 6 and 3 years old and am 39. My recon (same op) is booked for 2nd Sept. I find the hardest part is not knowing how I am going to be after it. This forum is great for being able to see what others have found, but you never know until YOU have had it, what will really happen. I am hoping to be working again within 2 months but one can’t really be 100 sure that will happen.

In a most strange way, this past 6 months since my treatment reminds me of my the time following my wedding… all that focus and attention in the run up to, everyone interested in how things are going and then after the event one comes back down to earth and all is back to normal and it takes a while to re-adjust.
Since my radiotherapy just before xmas, everyone sort of assumes I am fine and all clear etc, without understanding what is going on in my head (well, why should they!) But I’ve found it much harder to handle since the end of the treatment. Seems selfish and I don’t want pity, but it is a sudden change from all the care and attention and regular trips to the hospital, one felt in good hands and suddenly you are on your own left in your own thoughts and fears.

However, a flat tummy and a pert pair of boobs in the end are what I have looked forward to since last year so I am desperate to get on with it.

I hope work gets better … people will forget the cancer and re-build their relationship with you for who you are and not be so conscious about the cancer.

Thinking of you
Helen
x

However,

Hi Helen…
i know from reading the posts on here that some say they are finding things hard from that type of operation months and months after - has your surgeon talked about the recovery ? i don’t know what your circumstances are but i went back to work the week just gone and my op is now booked in for Oct 2nd - i feel like i have to rush back as you you get alot of people thinking this is cosmetic - so its not really needed. and what with all the time off i have already had …
the ops is scarey and especially the amount of time under etc, i am having both enlarged as i was blessed in the beginning and what with the reconstruction to get both the same i would have to go slighty bigger … so will have to contend with that when i go back to work especially the people who supposedly didn’t know.

can i ask do u think you are a different person now - what with all that you have been through, even though its gone, i think once you have been through something like this its always gonna be there (other than the scars as a constant reminder!) hanging over you … i find it really hard to explain how i feel who i am anymore, i am not me that fun loving person i used to be …i get stressed easier and can get angry quiet easy - i still have emotional days, do u ?

Hello dmkayp,

I think all of us going through this should give ourselves a break and not feel guilty at all. Reconstructive surgery is so much more than cosmetic - it’s absolutely beneficial and therapeutic.

There will always be people who don’t understand, but at least in the UK people with cancer are now protected by the Disability Discrimination Act so you could remind your employer of this if you have problems or need extra time off. And I’m sure there must be some people at your work who would be very sympathetic if they knew what you’ve been dealing with. These days just about everyone knows someone with cancer, so maybe you could be more open about it - then other people will know how best to behave around you?

I certainly feel changed by the whole experience, and that’s fine with me! The illness has taught me to accept myself and look after myself better, and I’m much happier now because I understand a lot more about what’s important in life. I used to feel a lot of stress and anger, but now I find it easier to let go of these feelings. I have found breathing excercises and meditation to be really helpful to clear my mind, overcome fear and feel content. Maybe you could try it?

I’ve heard some women get to the point where they no longer think about cancer or worry that it will return. I’m not there yet - I’m still reminded of it daily, but managing.

Best wishes,
Buckwheat

Hi dmkayp
I had a pre-op assessments and a meeting with my surgeon on Monday, he says 6-8 weeks recovery time is “normal”. I am pretty fit nowadays so hope that I will bounce back easily from the op, despite it being a biggie.

Re being changed by what I’ve been through, yes definitely, but like Buckwheat all positive things, none negative. I think I treasure my children more and the time i spend with them, I used to be work work work but now I think, sod it, it can wait. I am keen to do all the things I want to do, I hvae so many plans I just want to get on and do them, not for fear of not getting them done in case I die, but more because I think if i wanna do something then go and do it! Why sit around comtemplating… get off yer butt Helen and go for it!
I have occasional emotional days but they are rare and usually when I am not focussed on what I need to get done or am on my own too long. I am much better at dealing with this sort of stuff now though. I was seeing a healer when I was going through chemo. Made me feel incredibly relaxed and he spoke about letting negative things go (thoughts and events in the past) and of being open about emotions, as I have been quite guarded in the past, not showing anyone when I was upset or frightened. Now if I have a down moment I just ring up someone and say can I come round, I’m feeling mis, and go pour out my emotions and talk it through there and then, and then feel better. Much better to have a rant than hold it all in… and that’s exactly what you were doing in the start of this thread, so that’s good… !

Helenx

Hello,

Like Helen I went to a healer once a week all the way through treatment. He was astonishing, and I’m still in contact. I have such a different attitude about life now - it’s not a tedious grind anymore, and I find happiness in things I never used to notice - like just feeling the rain or wind on my skin. I value myself and my time much more highly now - the surgeons and nurses and oncologists put a huge value on saving my life, so why shouldn’t I? My friends have been amazingly supportive - I had lost touch with lots of people but they all rallied around to help me.

dmkayp, if you feel you don’t know who you are right now, maybe it’s because you are in the middle of changing? Maybe you are feeling anger and stress now, emotions that you used to keep bottled up inside - like Helen says? Let it out girl, then let it go. If it lingers, it festers, and triggers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. I’ve read that when your immune system is too busy producing cortisol and adrenaline, it’s not paying as much attention to other jobs - like killing off cancer cells. So stress and anger are not just emotions or states of mind - they are biological.

From your post it sounds like you care a lot about what other people think - maybe it’s time to care about what YOU think? This might help the anger and stress to go. If you went to a counsellor regularly, this could help you through the process of discovering who you are becoming.

Anyway enough of my pseudopsychiatry!

All the best for your op and recovery
Buckwheat

Hi all
I got diagnoised in 05 i had a mastectomy immediatley followed with a diep flap recon, all i can say it was the decision that I ever made ok the op was 10 1/2 hours but it was worth it. As long as you listen to your body after you cant go wrong when your tired rest…
And i also think that it helps with what state of mind your in at the time, even though now i think all of what i have been through is just hitting me, but hay ho im here thats all that matters and to see my children grow up. x