Glass half full

Hi all,
I was fast approaching 43 when i was diagnosed with BC last June, had a quadrantdectomy, 2 in 11 lymph nodes involved. I’ve been happily married for 23yrs and have a son of 22 and a daughter of 21. I worked full time in finance which has always been fairly stressful.
I would’ve described myself as stressed & generally quite a negative person that often felt uptight about some drama at work, with the kids, husband & finances. :slight_smile:
Obviously when you’re diagnosed with “cancer” it knocks you for six. You never think that this sort of thing will happen to you. When 1st diagnosed I was absolutely terrified & hit with deppression.
My very wise consultant told me that being diagnosed with “cancer” and possibly having to deal with my own mortality would inevitable change your life that with some women it’s for the negative, but for others life can improve so much for the better. He also said having a positive outlook will certainly increase my odds as the mind is such a powerful tool.
This had such a profound effect on me. Yes I have learnt that the outcome of my BC is in the lap of the gods, ok so I may only have 2 years left; but on the other hand I could have 40yrs+ but whatever time I do have left I am going to enjoy every single minute of my life. Making the most of my family, friends , people and life in general.
My relationship with my husband, son & daughter has improved to the point where our home life has never been so good. And as for work, I now work 4 days per week now. I’ve even mastered switching off from work the moment I close my office door.
I have finally learnt life is to enjoy and & no longer sweat over the small stuff. Hallelujah!
My neighbours have all been wonderful ! So much so, they have all become dear friends and to say thank you, I’m just about to throw my second women only social evening for them all to say thank you.
Yes! I’m still scared and yes this could eventually kill me.
But the truth of the matter is I’ve never felt as happy & content with my life .
The brain is indeed a very powerful tool – is your glass half empty or half full?
Big hugs & the best of health to all.
Stella XXX

What a lovely post Stella!!

I too have found that even through all the difficulties of bc and the fear of the unknown, overall bc has brought many positives.

I was working far too had and missing out on my boys grow up, I downsized my business and have more time for them. It consolidated my relationship with my boyfriend and confirmed what a truly wonderful man he is. My family who all live abroad couldn’t have been more supportive. I got rid of a few friends who showed their true colours and new ones came along, in fact so many offers of kindness that I do not have the time or energy to maintain them all!

Oh, and my super anti-cancer diet means I am the slimmest I have been since 21, my skin is glowing and wrinkles have melted away.

I realise that it is not all good, I don’t have nearly the same stamina and not sure if it is the rads or tamoxifen which is tiring me out, but nothing in life is perfect and it is really important to look at the positives.

There is a school of thought that you have to embrace and accept cancer as the universe’s way of telling your something and learn the lessons it is trying to give you. Hocus-pocus maybe, but still a good way learning to accept and move on.

Note: I only have a primary diagnosis, so this does not come from a secondairies perspective, which, I am sure is a very different place.

Love your post the mind is a very powerfull thing and life is precious.

All the best to you and thanks for the post.

Love Jaynexxx

Hi all

As someone with secondaries I agree that it is immensely helpful to be positive, even if just to make your experience of the here and now a happy one. Not sure I subscribe to the ‘universe’s way of telling you something’ viewpoint, and not sure if a positive mindframe can actually impact on the cancer itself (but then again, who knows? the brain’s a powerful thing), but I am sure that being positive here, today, makes me appreciate the time I do have, rather than fret about the ifs, maybes and whens of the future.

Best wishes.

Alison x

The secret to contentment in life is to enjoy the journey, rather than constantly look ahead to the destination. Since dx I have made a conscious effort to live in the moment - it’s rather a cliche, but if you take the time to appreciate the flowers, blue sky, good tune on the radio, sharing a joke with family round the tea table, whatever pleases you there and then, - and making a mental note of it, that life is good at this moment - it really does make a difference.

While I was waiting for the result of my biopsy, a friend of mine who is a GP told me (this was before she knew my situation) that people who have positive attitudes have better clinical outcomes. You don’t need to feel good about everything, don’t worry, you just need to see some good in your life. She said in the study people kept diaries and those who noted down positive images, even about the weather, were seen to be more positive about themselves and did better.

I liked that a lot, and started to keep a diary, just noting down three good things that had happened in the day, and allowing myself to note down one bad thing. So even though my bad thing was ‘i’ve got breast cancer’ the good things still outnumbered it. Silly stuff like my first ever cucumber grown in my greenhouse (delicious!) and a walk in the park with my husband.

I haven’t done it for a while, I think I will start again.

Thanks for this post, it’s good to stop obsessing about the bad stuff
X
Rusty

Just to say I really appreciate this thread. People often look at me in amazement when I say a lot of good has come out of this experience, as well as the inevitable rubbish. And it is good to remember that. Thanks for posting, all of you.

Much love

Dilys
xxxxx

I needed to read this thread today too…
Thank you.
Not sure I’ve actually found any positives yet, but I definately am open to the possibility. :slight_smile:
Think I will start a diary too. I really like that idea although have been afraid to write stuff down so far ,as if writing it would make it real…
Which of course it is so…x

thanks to everyone for your comments. So far I have managed to stay positive and many of my friends have been surprised by that, but tomorrow I have my first appointment with my onc. I already know that I will be having chemo and am a little scared. I too believe that there is a reason for everything that happens in life, even if at the time we don’t see it. In the last 12 months I have lost my dad, been made redundant from a job I loved and been dx with bc. However it has all brought our family much closer together and I have an exciting job to go to when my treatment is finished. I too appreciate the little things in life more, and I have also come to realise that no matter how difficult things are for me there is always someone out there in a worse position. I appreciate what I have much more. Thanks for this thread and very best wishes to you all.
stay positive.
xxx

Mine is definitely more than half full !!!

I’m over 3 yrs from diagnosis and can honestly say that, yes having bc has changed my life, but I’m loving my new lifestyle. I’ve just come back from a trip to Amsterdam and Paris and have also been to Mallorca, London and Rome this year and must plan my next trip to somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit or to do something I’ve wanted to do. Fortunately, and I am soooo lucky in this respect, I can afford to do these things and am fit enough at the mo.

This illness has brought a reinforcement of a couple of friendships and brought quite a few new ones that will always be there I’m sure. It’s also meant I’ve spent time with my parents,OH,sister and friends that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.

Yes, bc is a truly awful disease but I decided I have to take the positives from it and focus on really enjoying my new life without any regrets. It’s made everything more valuable and meaningful. Like Roadrunner says (I do so agree RR), it’s a case of enjoying and appreciating the journey. As I have bone mets, I know my current treatment will change at some point and I’ll need more drastic measures but I hope that time will be as far off as poss.

Good luck to all,

Liz

Hi everyone
I agree with what everyone is saying about the power of the brain and how seeking happiness, contentment and fun can really affect the outcome of your recovery. I had my treatment two and a half years ago and echo what has been said…I am fitter and healthier than ever,I am more relaxed and I appreciate my life and relationships more! I can recommend regular exercise…nothing better to stimulate the immune system.
If anyone wants to read a good book on the subject of how our state of mind can affect our recovery it is: 'Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie Seigel (found this little gem on the hospital reading list). I found this book truly inspirational and it really helped me to be peaceful and stay positive through the early stages of my treatment. Hope this helps!

After being for 38 years a most healthy and health nut advocate kind of person, at 50 just as I’m enjoying what I think is the plenum of my life, I get dx with bc…a little after: a radical mastectomy on my left side…definitively a major changing life event, and as I had experienced in my life…all important lessons come wrap in radical packages…
What it has brought for me… it has been a deep realization on how much I love life and how much I am loved and how important I am, to a degree quite unknown to me b4 dx,….it has overwhelmed me with more tears the realization of love than fear or sadness over the dx of the disease ….
It has taught me even more to be here and now….to inhale deeply the realization of every moment….to be aware of what it matters the most…that I will cross the bridges as they will come…
That for the time being….I will remain focus on the moment…learning as much as I can,— not worrying nor fearing for whatever it may happen, being here and now, hopefully, my main focus, even though it cannot be an easy one….
Not being afraid of my goal…as this being the root of much of my troubles

So,
Consciously I did not look for this, but it certainly found me and more certainly i´m beating it

PLEASE DO NOT WORY ABOUT ME….I´LL NR JUST FINE…

After being for 38 years a most healthy and health nut advocate kind of person, at 50 just as I’m enjoying what I think is the plenum of my life, I get dx with bc…a little after: a radical mastectomy on my left side…definitively a major changing life event, and as I had experienced in my life…all important lessons come wrap in radical packages…
What it has brought for me… it has been a deep realization on how much I love life and how much I am loved and how important I am, to a degree quite unknown to me b4 dx,….it has overwhelmed me with more tears the realization of love than fear or sadness over the dx of the disease ….
It has taught me even more to be here and now….to inhale deeply the realization of every moment….to be aware of what it matters the most…that I will cross the bridges as they will come…
That for the time being….I will remain focus on the moment…learning as much as I can,— not worrying nor fearing for whatever it may happen, being here and now, hopefully, my main focus, even though it cannot be an easy one….
Not being afraid of my goal…as this being the root of much of my troubles

So,
Consciously I did not look for this, but it certainly found me and more certainly i´m beating it

PLEASE, TO ALL MY LOVED ONRD: DO NOT WORY ABOUT ME….I´LL BE JUST FINE…

I am recent newcomer, mastectomy & ANC five weeks ago and scheduled for chemo next week, firstly I have found the forums massively helpful in understanding and coming to terms with my diagnosis and thank everyone for caring and sharing with their stories, experiences and helpful tips.
This is a massive and rapid learning curve and from my own perspective the initial feelings of stark horror, disbelief and fear accompanied by confronting the dark night of the soul have led me to acknowledge and embrace the journey I am on although I acknowledge that this is not an easy process.
I too have been told by several professionals along the way about the benefits of positive thinking and recognise that this can cause additional pressure when you can feel so vulnerable… However, I think like many of the other postings that it is about the here and now and finding joy in the moment. ’ Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is the present - and that is a gift’ seems appropriate to me.

I have developed several strategies to help me along the way -

I am enormously humbled by the love and concern that has been given to me unconditionally by family & friends - I need to give back this emotional investment in me, and somehow this manifests in being upbeat and positive when I am able.

I to have started a diary and concur about seeing the positives in the day.

I find taking control of things I can has been helpful ie diet overhaul!!

Meditation and reiki are important to me.

Trying to find humour in situations and keeping things as normal as possible also have been helpful.

I also form my observations on life - my latest reflection is, the only other time I had no hair was when I was a baby ( 52 years ago!) and that was the start of new beginnings, so when i lose my hair this time for me i am determined it will be the start of new beginnings and ultimately re evaluation of my own personal priorities in life

Love to all

Angela xx

I think I am a glass half full sort of person…yet I don’t think I always have been…but we have been through a lot as a family…but whose family hasn’t? What amazes me that no-matter how bad things have been for us there are still others who have had more to deal with in their short lives. Too many taken away too young.
I got BC when I was in my 30s and in my 40s I was diagnosed with bone mets. But my children were young when I first found out I had BC and there was a time when I thought I woud never see them grow up. Well I have and I think we are closer as a family because of it. It hasn’t been easy…but who said life would be easy. I try to take one day at a time. I gave up work early and so did my husband and for us it has been the right decision. We both worked shifts and at times when we were like ships in the night. My husband has been wonderful caring for me, sharing the cooking and the household chores. He tore his Achillies tendon recently and is in a plastercast so I am now allowed to care for him for a while which is good to be able to do in return for all he has done for me. It has been 21 years since I first heard the words Breast Cancer but I am still here…that’s all that matters to me just now. Love to you all, Val

Hi everyone

Same here. I have taken early retirement due to my Secondary diagnosis and often explain to friends that I have a fabulous life, a loving family, great friends, great social life etc… the only thing wrong is the cancer. I am 50 years old now and have had a fabulous life so far and intend to continue doing so for as long as I can.

Yes, cancer is awful but like others have said I have been truly humbled by the number of friends and acquaintances who have taken the trouble to write to me, send cards, call to see me, bring flowers etc. I have a carrier bag full of cards. My OH says that you don’t usually find out what people think of you as you are usually dead when they bother to say it ie. at your funeral. So for me cancer has allowed me to find out how many people really care about me and what lovely things they have said about me and to me. I try to make sure that I regularly tell them how much I think of them too. You can’t have or give too many hugs. I also feel really happy that I have contributed so much to their lives and feel that whatever happens to me the memories I leave behind will be good ones.

I have always been a glass half full girl and I hope to remain that way.

Love and hugs to you all

Sue x

No matter what trials we are going to face we should remain positive in living our life. It is indeed difficult but with God’s guidance surely we can pass that circumstances in life.

Dear people, I love this thread. I’m a natural pessimist but I fully agree with the power of positive thought and I too have been touched by people’s response to my cancer - I really do have people who love and care about me and for this I am grateful. I was diagnosed in September and have had many dark moments since; reading some of these posts has really made a difference.

Thanks to the person who said the last time they were hairless was as a baby and that was the time for new beginnings. I will start chemo in two weeks and have always been the proud possessor if a fine head of hair - the thought of losing this has really hit me, like losing part of my identity. But…a new beginning, that’s a great way of defining it and one which really helps.

Thank you and love to you all
xxxxx

Hi SuzyB. Like you, I received my secondary diagnosis in September. Although devastated at the time, I have adjusted the belt and braces and got on with the chemo. I have lost my hair for a second time and invested in several hats and pretty scarves. Fortunately this weather has meant that I can go out with a fur hat pulled down over my ears and no-one would ever know that I don’t have any hair underneath. It really helps me that I have retained my sense of humour and I thought this might make you smile. I met up with some girlfriends from work for an impromptu Christmas meal in my honour as I was having chemo on the day of the actual Christmas party. One of my friend brought along a box of crackers. We went round the table pulling the crackers and I was the last one to pull mine. There was a moment of stunned/horrified silence when out of my cracker fell a hair bobble! I burst out laughing and then we had about 3 minutes of hysterics! You know, having breast cancer the first time taught me the value of my friends, but having it a second time has really made me appreciate all my friends and how much support they are willing to give. I hope you can find many happy moments in the months to come and wish you all the luck in the world on your journey. I like that about the new beginnings - I shall carry that around with me. Thanks.