Does anyone feel like me

I attended a Moving Forward online session this week and am feeling like I don’t really belong to this Breast Cancer world :woozy_face:
I know and understand that everyone has their ‘own journey’ but my journey has been so simple compared to others. Don’t get me wrong I have had upsets and set backs like others but nothing like some of the girls described. My own journey started last August when I was recalled for a routine mammogram. I had a biopsy and 2 weeks later it was confirmed I had a lobular cancer in my left breast. I met with my consultant on the 12th Sept and my diagnosis was described as good! A lumpectomy was scheduled for Oct. This happened but when I went back for the results I was told they hadn’t recovered all the margins. A second lumpectomy was scheduled for Nov and thankfully this was successful. I was then offered an Oncotype test to see if I needed Chemo - this was probably the scariest time for me, waiting over Christmas. Thankfully on the 29th Dec I was told Chemo was not required and 5 days of radiotherapy was planned for the end of Jan. I rang the bell at the Beatson hospital on the 31st !!
I have been taking Letrozole since Sept with no side effects.
So my dilemma is I don’t look or feel like I have had breast cancer particularly when I listen to other people’s journeys. I would love to hear if there are others who feel like me. Research has told me this is called imposter syndrome…

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Hi, I’m having chemo/surgery/radiotherapy so I’m not in the same position as you treatment wise. However, I just wanted to say that although you may see your journey as ‘easier’ it is still a big thing in your life to have gone through and I think it’s great that you don’t need to do the chemo😊 I can understand why you feel the way you do, and you’re right - everyone’s journey and experiences are different so please don’t feel like an imposter or guilty or anything like that.

If I’m being honest I still don’t feel like I have breast cancer/belong in the BC world and I’ve already started chemo😂 I feel the same about chemo - it’s weird as it’s almost like because I’ve not suffered every day during it I feel like I’m not doing it ‘right’ or don’t belong to some of the groups. I’ve had side effects but nothing that’s had me stuck in bed or anything (so far - as I still have a long way to go and know it is cumulative). I’ve had to remind myself that I shouldn’t be suffering as that’s what other meds are for/the oncology team and I’ve now bitten the bullet and joined some chats on here.

I’ve went off on a bit of a tangent but I suppose what I’m trying to say is when my mind goes down that route I also remind myself that everyone is different and feel so much gratitude for each day that I do feel like me😊 None of us are imposters…. We just have our own journey😉

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Thanks belle1 for your kind words and I wish you all the love in the world for your journey :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
I am so supported by family and friends and I know I will get through this. I just cannot understand why everyone’s journey is so different. I know in time I will reconcile this and I decided to post so that I can offer support to others who may be having the same thoughts as myself :heart:

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Hi

I know exactly how you feel. I was recalled from a routine mammogram, ultrasound and biopsies later I then had a lumpectomy and 2 lymph nodes removed, it was found to be in both of these so had to have a full clearance, but margins were clear. I then had onco test & was told I wouldn’t benefit from chemo, I had 5 days radio were a lesion was found on one of my kidneys, thus turned out to be a benign cyst. I now have letrozole for 10 years and bone tablets for 3 which I have been taking for two months.

Like you I feel like I haven’t been through anywhere near as much as others, I feel scared also to say I actually feel well in case I tempt fate and it returns.

Have support from family & friends but they truly don’t know what it feels like to be told something like this out of the blue.

Take care
J x

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I had MAMAGRAM April '23. Called to Breast Clinic middle of May and had more tests more MAMAGRAMS and ultra sound and biopsy. End of May I was told it was breast cancer and I would have my lympectomy and lymphnodes removed on 7th June and told us need radiotherapy.
July I was out on Tamoxifen. And Aug I had my 5 radiotherapy sessions.
But I met two lovely women while waiting for my lympectomy. Both best cancer and having their ops the same day. One had lympectomy and lymphnodes removed. She had to have Chemo and radiotherapy and the other drugs that go along with the chemo. The other lady had to have mastectomy and Chemo and radiotherapy and all the drugs that go along with that. So I felt like such a fraud only needing radiotherapy and TAMOXIFEN for the next 5 year ( which has knocked me for six). I’m always so tired my hair is thinning something terrible. My nails are breaking… So now months down the line I’m thinking. I may not have been so lucky. I’m lucky not to have had chemo and believe me I know it. But I to have side effects from TAMOXIFEN now.
Cancer is cancer. Every one has a different story
Take care
Annie

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Hi
It’s so nice to hear your story and I totally understand how you feel.
I too had the moving on course and thought to myself, should I actually be on here!!!
Everyone one else on the course had a much harder journey than me.
I had a routine mammogram in July 2022 and got called back, they found extensive DCIS in my left breast and suggested a mastectomy and removal of my nipple too.
Thankfully nothing found in my lymph nodes and was able to have reconstruction at the same time.
I am so thankful they found it early and can’t praise the NHS enough.

It’s so nice to read your story as I don’t feel alone now with my thoughts and actually there are others who feel the same as me!

I’ve just read up about cancer imposed syndrome and really hit a nerve… just read someone else’s story and thought this is me “It was almost like I wasn’t deserving of calling myself a survivor, because my experience did not include some of the more toxic treatment regimens that so many people undergo during their journeys”.

Maybe we should all acknowledge no matter our own journey, whether early stages or more advanced - we are all stronger than we know and all part of this club that no one wants to be part of. But how lovely to have the support and love of each other

Sending you all lots of love n hugs x

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Hi. I’m signed up for a moving on course middle of this month.
Like you I’m thinking my journey has been so easy compared to others.
Mine was found on routine mammogram, grade3 left breast, lumpectomy, 5 days radiotherapy and letrozole.
I’m suffering the most awful side effects, not sleeping, constant pain in back & hips etc.
I think the imposter syndrome thing doesn’t help and despite all the support from family and friends, they can’t seem to grasp the fact that it’s always there niggling away in your brain, the fear it might come back.
Sending love and hugs

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:heart: you might find reading mountain lion on here by strawberry blonde useful :heart: I’m not sure where it is anymore it was in hope and inspiration section, hopefully someone can link it into this thread so you can read :heart: a breast cancer diagnosis is a breast cancer diagnosis, each one of us processes and takes it step by step our own way :heart: there are no right or wrong about how anyone does what they need to do and what’s right for them about how you feel :heart: I hope you are kind to yourself and be proud of yourself for all you’ve achieved on your journey :heart: it is very personal to each one of us and something non of us ever expected to face as I can imagine you didn’t so please be kind to yourself :two_women_holding_hands::heart:do use the number on here and speak to a nurse or use the someone like me option to if you want too :heart: :two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

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There was a long thread on here on this very subject entitled DCIS and Imposter Syndrome and it had many contributors . None of us are imposters here even though we do sometimes feel that way , none of us had a choice about this and had we been faced with one I’m thinking we would all have chosen not to have BC of any kind . Only one in seven women gets BC - wouldn’t we all be better off if we were in the six out of seven that don’t get it ? It leaves its mark on you , and it has no respect for any other problems you might be trying to deal with. You still need to process and adapt so be kind and compassionate to yourself - if this was your best friend or your sister or your Mum you wouldn’t want or expect them to feel guilt or that they are frauds so try not to do that to yourself . The truth is that there’s nearly always someone worse off but that doesn’t mean that your experience is insignificant or that you haven’t been changed by it . Xx

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Yes, we are all members of a club no-one thought we would have to join! I was under the impression that one in two women get breast cancer. Even breastfeeding, which used to be thought of as protecting, obviously isn’t. Whatever the statistics, as you say, some people are worse off than each of us.

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I am glad you have been successfully treated so far. Maybe you didn’t feel bad about the results of your lumpectomies but you could find yourself feeling more emotional later. You are not an impostor, you are genuinely pleased with the treatment you have had and the tests that have come out pretty well for you. What’s wrong with that? Everyone is different and I rejoice that you have come through so well.

Good luck and hope you continue to be very happy. No one knew I had breast cancer as I progressed through life happily for 19 years and got another diagnosis in the same breast. Keep breast aware and you should be fine. Lots of women survive breast cancer and die of something else. Letrozole has given me high cholesterol and high blood pressure so look out for this as the biggest causes of death in women are heart disease and Alzheimers’. Some breast cancer meds make it more likely you will develop anothe condition as the doctors are so specialised they are more interested in curing their speciality than looking at your health in the round. At aged 69 I could well pop my clogs from another illness made worse by breast cancer treatment. It’s being so positive keeps me going!!

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Ah … definitely 1 in 7 . Yes I actually hit a lot of the risk factors as regards age / weight / height and no children but I think personally that a lot of it can’t really be predicted or it’s luck . Of the women I’ve met who have had it there’s a vast range of ages shapes and sizes some with children some not . Some with other risk factors and some not . Same goes for the men I’ve met who had it .

Dear Nijan

Sorry to hear you have awful side effects.

How long have you been on letrozole for? I also have pain in knees, stabbing pains in my feet sometimes too. It’s a side effect that 1 in 5 people get. Unfortunately we are one of those 1 in 5. I have found taking precautionary ibuprofen and paracetamol has helped a lot. It’s cheap at Tescos if you go for the really bog standard tablets. They are usually hidden on low shelves and have price comparisons with Lidl or Aldi! That’s what I like - cheap drugs…and lots of them although I never do take an overdose.

I couldn’t sleep to start with, now I take piriton just before bed. It’s an antihistamine that makes you a bit drowsy. I also use a quarter tablet of dissolvable co-codamol. It’s the kind that dissolves. The tablets are huge but quite easy to to break into pieces. I put that in a bit of water and take it. I also have a bed time routine of reading for a short time. Music might work too if you can turn it off before you go to sleep.

I am off to my first recovery group tomorrow afternoon. I will drive down the road and that will be part of my road to recovery. I do hope I find it ok and don’t crash…I don’t think any of us find the moving on that easy. Sometimes we go round in circles, sometimes up a blind alley, and sometimes we speed ahead. Good luck with your journey and keep in touch.

Seagulls

Hi @Seagulls
I’ve been on letrozole just over a year.
I also have hypermobility and osteoarthritis so I’m used to some level of pain.
I take amitriptyline and co-codamol when needed but it really doesn’t help me anymore sleep wise.
I have an appointment today with our local cancer pathways professionals so I’m hoping they can come up with something.
Good luck tomorrow. The moving on is definitely the hardest part for me. I look at other people and think I got off lightly so have no real right to struggle.
I will keep in touch xx
Nijan

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@magsp1 Hi :wave: I understand totally. I had three surgeries the last one resulting in a masectomy 5 May 2023. Other than the tube in my side and pain for 6 weeks i was feeling fine like nothing happened. By the time i got to September i went downhill, depression to the point where my husband and to help me get washed and dressed i had no energy it was awful. I had an appointment to see the mental health practitioner and she said, "I was in fight mode physically, mentally and emotionally but now that i was through it my body etc couldn’t accept that. After a few months of counselling i am accepting of where i am as a woman and that i am so much more than a breast. I hope this helps in some way. Have a great week :blush::+1:

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I am so sorry I couldn’t offer any suggestions that you’ve not already tried. I can only suggest finding something to do which is so absorbing and physical it takes your mind off the pain, plus maybe listening to music at the same time so there are so many distractions you don’t notice it. The other thing which I have tried is relaxation and mindfulness which encourage me to be less tense and preoccupied with negative thoughts and mean I am tiring myself less with them.

Let me know how you get on. I will find out if there are any tips to help when I drive off to Kent tomorrow.

Seagulls

Hello

I also feel the same as you. I had a grade 1 & sentinel nodes removed & 3 weeks of radio. My pain after the op was not so good & I was so thankful for this site to read about others who were going through the same & had advice. However I have recovered well apart from lymphoedema in arm & hand. But I too feel now that I am so lucky to have had the journey I have had compared to other breast care warriors. I am on anastrazol for 5 years & having to take meds to help with the side effects. But still consider myself lucky & healthy! I’m 64 & work full time. I also think having a positive attitude helps. You have done so well. Having breast cancer is always in the back of your mind & this site is so helpful when you need support. X

Hi there.
I have also had a very straightforward journey which I am so very grateful for.
I went to GP in December last year as I had a strange lump on my 3rd nipple, which is situated below my actual breast. Scan and mri couldn’t determine what it was at first. I had biopsies and it was invasive papillary carcinoma breast cancer. I had surgery 4 weeks ago to remove it and surgeon commented that it was rare.
However I got the great news that it hasn’t spread and I am cancer free!!!
I can’t have radiotherapy due to being near internal organs but am taking Letrozole.
I’m very lucky.
Linda

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Wow, I feel that it was me who was writing this, such a similar story to me, I found out last July, after all the tests, was found I had 2 different types of cancer in both breasts, the first was found in the routine mammogram, and it was deep so I was sent for MRI, that’s when they found I had cancer in my other breast. After lots of admin fails, had surgery on both, didn’t get it all so had second surgery and markers were clear. 5 day intensive radiotherapy was the worse for me, and still really exhausted 3 months later. Also on Letrozole, like yourself no severe side effects. When I went on the moving forward course, which was brilliant and informative, I did feel like everything I went through was nothing compared to the lovely ladies on my zooms, and was in bits listening to the strength and courage that they had, I cried a lot and also felt like an imposter listening in (the other ladies definitely didn’t make me feel like that, that was just me!). Maybe it was too soon for me. But you definitely are not alone, I feel the same way, yet extremely blessed and lucky that I am here and clear! It made me feel warm that I am also not alone. Much love and be kind to yourself Sx

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Hi, I am facing a mastectomy too and wondered which route you took? Your own tissue or implant?

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