I finished treatment (surgery, chemo, rads) in July and am back at work. Ostensibly no problem and and friends have stopped asking me about it. My sister died of breast cancer aged 50. I’m 48 and I’m haunted by thoughts of recurrence. Am finding it very difficult to “get on with my life” as they say!
How you are feeling is very very understandable. Many of us have similar anxieties and if you have lost a loved one these feeling are bound to be so much worse. I know what you mean about people not asking any more. I found that many people stopped asking almost as soon as I’d finished chemo. I have also found it much harder than I expected to pick up where I left off. Many of us find this stage difficult as although it is great not having treatments, it can be hard getting back into the real world when we are still full of worries and physically recovering. I would definitely recommend ringing the helpline here, as it is very supportive.
As Sherbet has kindly suggested, for further support and a ‘listening ear’ you may find our helpline useful, they can also refer you onto other support we can offer you such as our ‘Peer Support’ service. This telephone service aims to quickly put you in touch with one of our trained peer supporters, who has had a personal experience of breast cancer. Our peer supporters are from diverse backgrounds and ages and have experienced different types of breast cancer and treatments. They are ready to listen, offer skilled emotional support and share their experiences and understanding.
The number to call is 0808 800 6000 weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2
I hope this helps.
Hi Lovelypen & sherbert.
There is an info session in London on 27th Jan at the bcc offices on adapting and adjusting after bc - I’ll post the link, I am going along with a friend.
There are also other organisations which run similar sessions.
I’ll send you a pm if you’d like with more info.
I imagine you will continue to be haunted at least until you are 51, and then maybe you will be able to start to put it behind you. In the meantime, you may find the following link useful - it’s an article by a consultant clinical psychologist called ‘After the Treatment Finishes - Then What?’ which talks about the emotional fallout after treatment.
I’m not surpirsed you’re thinking about breast cancer with your sister having died so young. There are several good threads going on this subject.
I don’t like the censorious way people say ‘You must move on’. I think we each intergrate life expereinces into the daily fabric of our lives.
very best wishes
Lets be honest no one can just forget all they’ve been through and go back to how they were before. A good friend (who’s been down this road) said that I should focus on what I now want from life and keep that in mind. Still not easy of course but worth trying I reckon.
Good luck adapting.
I finished treatment back in May last year. I’ve got two children at school and most of the time I don’t think about it, but every so often… I’m glad to be here and want to make the most of it. I went to be fitted with a compression sleeve before Christmas and the nurse took the time to ask several questions. Before I knew it I ended up in tears so things are still just below the surface. She invited me to a Recoup your Equilibrium seminar, perhaps your hospital do something similar, where are you?
As for friends (and family for that matter) not asking, I drop it into conversation every now and then so that people don’t forget and feel that they can ask questions or be sympathetic.
all the best
Thank you so much for replying. You’re right Roadrunner - I’ll need to get to 51 to stop looking over my shoulder (if that’s possible).My sister was exactly 7 years older than me (we share a birthday - parents said they had regular habits!) and both got breast cancer at 47 in September. By this stage in the game, she was getting bone pain, which we ignorantly attributed to lack of exercise or the beginnings of arthritis. She started walking with a stick. Finally they found the bone secondaries. Every time I get twinges in my back, I get a stab of fear. It’s a horrid disease and cheating me of my chance of being a mad old bat in my 80s!
My mother stoically copes with all manner of ailments - is is a generational thing? I feel very wimpish sometimes, but I just find it very difficult (impossible actually) to forget about cancer even for a day. The thing I dread most is how I would cope on my own. My sister had a wonderful partner to push the wheelchair, etc, but I just can’t envisage how I would cope. But I guess I would - other people do after all. Sorry to be bleak - thanks for all your advice.
In a word, yes. I find it very difficult to move on. I have not only had bc but alot of sad things happened to me last year. Unfortunately I have to carry on as I am due to financial need. i have spoken to macmillan about this and bcc. Both of which were very helpful but I could not find any answer to my difficulties.
I’m nearly six years from diagnosis, still free of cancer. Recently I found a photograph of my mum, taken at the age I am now. In the picture she’s happy and smiling although she had extensive bc spread and died a year later. She was on a great holiday with my dad in New Zealand. My mum died when I was 17 so my memory of her is hazy. Finding this photo was like me, as an adult, meeting her for the first time. I have been quite profoundly affected by it but haven’t really been able to talk about it to anyone since I’m supposed to have ‘moved on’. I don’t think the feelings of anxiety,fear,regret ever really go away but maybe we learn ways of working round them for most of the time.