Hit the bottle after diagnosis two and a half years later-same anyone else?

I am posting this on behalf of Rozita. She had posted in “How to get started” and has not had any replies. I am sure you will now offer her some support

Best wishes

BCC Facilitator

Hi have struggled with the cancer had grade 3 stage 3. Double negative auxiliary clearance started dec 2009. Had only been divorced 10 months b4 and was in a new relationship lost my mum to bowel cancer at 59. A cousin same age breat cancer at 30. Died at 39. Cousins wife bowel at 34 died at 36 No wonder I’m frightened. I always liked a drink But iv found. It has helped me through the process I don’t get drunk but prob will hav 2-3 a night more at weekend if I’m honest. But my partner doesn’t drink apart from a few at a weekend. I’m struggling with lymphodemia in my arm and breast constant fatigue n feel like j can’t get over my treatment. My friends think I’m a very strong confident. Person. But. Really. Iv. Lost her. And. Don’t kno if il ever find her again. A drink and good food. Helps me feel better. If only for a while n. I don’t want to stop. If this bugger comes. Back I want to hav at least enjoyed myself. Sorry for the rant. Is anyone the same. Or do you all think I’m a lush xxx rozita

Hi Rozita, I’m really feeling for you right now, of course you’re frightened with your family experiences suffering with cancer at such young ages.
Sorry I can only comment , not from myself, but what i’ve been through with my husband.
He’s been drinking heavily for 15 years, by that, I mean, 4-6 pints in the pub then coming home and having 1-2 bottles of wine per night. My diagnosis 18 months ago did nothing to slow down his drinking.
We stopped talking and he was becoming less and less interested in life, no interest in visiting friends/ having people over to ours/ general house maintenance etc.

This is all WITHOUT him having a serious health problem, Rozita. I can say he was becoming like a zombie!

The good news is that in the last 4 weeks, he has “turned over a new leaf” and reduced the drinking, we’ve started to repair our marriage and he’s become attentive to life again. He’s admitted that he was using the alcohol to anaesthetise himself from everything!

I just want to say, alcohol WILL help you in the short term, but it WONT ever be able to change your diagnosis.
You need to ask yourself what you want from the rest of your life. Do you want to do more then ever/ go places/ make new friends?
Or just stay at home feeling numb? Alcohol will leave you feeling numb and content.
We’ve all been there- I had a lot of alcohol to help cope with the shock of my diagnosis.
I’m sorry you’ve got lymphoedema, and are feeling so tired. Have you seen your GP about the tiredness? It can be a symptom of depression rather than your cancer treatment?

Take care

Hi Rozita,
I was diagnosed in March this year and before that I too was drinking 2/3 glasses of wine at night. My partner also liked to go to the pub every night too. I liked the cosy feeling that alcohol gives you and the escape from reality if only for a few hours. Than wham…BC…total reality check for me…need to re-evaluate what is important in my life and learn to live and enjoy it every day even though I’m only halfway through the chemo process which probably helps as can’t stand the taste of the stuff at the minute.
I truly do understand how scared you are, we all are, and I’m sure the real strong you is there inside otherwise you wouldn’t be posting on this forum.
Just want to send you a virtual hug and all the very best

rozita no wonder you are struggling with the family history you are bound to dwell on the negatives I am not a councellor but I do know that whilst drink will probably make you feel ‘better’ in the short term its not a long term solution and no you are not a lush! I think you are being very hard on yourself. You may think you have to be ‘upbeat and positive’ for others and there is nothing wrong with being yourself and saying ‘heh I need help’ we all do and the cancer journey is not an easy one and on one undstands how difficult it is (unless they have been through it themself). Your family hisitory is a burden and to have lymphodema on top of all of this is no doubt affecting your general well being. You obviously want to get back to the person you were - I think we all change so much when DX so maybe you need to find your ‘new norma’l whatever that is for you. Can you go to your GP or BCN and ask to be referred for councelling or ring the helpline here they are excellent in giving advice and pointing you in the right direction. I am sure you know we are all different and that all cancers are different so it doesn’t mean that your cancer will return. I tend to live my life in that it ‘may’ come back, but then again it may not’ and its getting that balance thats difficult living life to the full but also having an eye on a long and happy healthy future

Hi Rozita
Sorry to hear that you are going through such a hard time at the moment and can totally understand what you are saying. Losing family members is always hard but when you’ve had a cancer diagnosis yourself, it brings it all home. Remember though, you are not them and your cancer was very individual to you.
Forgive me if I pop my professional hat on here to do the factual bit then I’ll stick the cancer one back on later! I work as a nurse specialist in alcohol liaison seeing a wide range of people with alcohol issues from the social drinker who may be a bit concerned to folk drinking 2L vodka per day and everything in between.
In terms of units, you’re probably drinking around 70+ units per week (assuming 3 glasses 12% wine per night x 5 nights and more at the weekend). The recommended limit for women is 14-21 units per week. At 70 units, you are heading towards dependency where you may be able to drink and not feel drunk and as your tolerence increases, you need to drink more to get the same effect. There is a growing body of evidence with regard to alcohol and cancer and it is widely available on the web (you can check out some of the facts at the cancer research website).
Of course we all hear of the person who got to live to be 100 on a pack of Bensons and 1/2 bottle of whisky per day for 50 years. Many more fall before they get there. This year so far, I have had 2 women in their early 30’s die as a direct result of their alcohol consumption. My youngest patient died of cirrhosis aged just 26.
OK, scary stuff over.
No-one can say definitively that you are increasing your risk of BC returning by drinking, anymore than you can put it down to pollutants in the atmosphere or food. It is, as the Americans say, a crap shoot. What you do have is a choice about how you live your life right now. I don’t think you’re a lush but I do think that you are realising that you may be over-reliant on alcohol. Your comment, “If this bugger comes back, I want to have at least enjoyed myself” suggests that. Alcohol will be affecting your mood and your energy levels and can also impact on your lymphoedema.
There are things you can do to start to cut down, if that’s what you decide to do. Things like buying a weaker strength of wine, slotting in alcohol free days, where you treat yourself to something else instead, keeping a drinks diary and maybe letting some of your friends and family know you are making a conscious effort to live a healthier lifestyle which includes a better diet and less alcohol.
If you have had a day when you have gone without alcohol and have felt shaky, you may be dependent and shouldn’t just stop drinking as there are various risks that go with this including hallucinations and seizures. It might be useful to contact your GP in this instance for some support and advice.
If you’ve read this far without thinking, “Snotty Cow - I only asked for a bit of advice!” then I hope you haven’t thought me too preachy. I totally understand how you feel. I’m glad you’re asking the question as I know there are a lot of people out there who are drinking a bottle of wine most days and don’t think it’s a problem. For most people, it will catch up with them at some point.
I know you may be thinking that you should be “over it”, 3 years down the line but we know it doesn’t work like that. I wondered if you have thought about speaking to the breast care nurse at your local unit about perhaps a referral to a psychologist to talk things through. It’s a horrible thing to live your life in fear and dread of what might happen.
I hope things work out for you and you can move back towards the person you miss being. Please feel free to pm me if you want to chat.

Hi Rozita no I don’t think you are a lush but you do need to think about how much you are drinking.I know when I was first diagnosed and then had op and radiotherapy I was drinking too much and then realised that it wasn’t helping as I wasn’t sleeping so became very weepy and realised that the alcohol was only adding to my depression so now I still have a feww drinks but only socially and try to stick to sensible level.
3 years down the line is irrevelant as the c word is always there in the back of your brain and I don’t suppose any of us will be the same person again but I personally am now dealing with it a bit better and find that the more I do the better I am feeling. Take care and maybe look at our posts on “Where did I go” its under after treatment has finished and is a very supportive set of lovely ladies big hug on its way to make you feel better Janice x

When we were going through tough times we were drinking more and more. The year I was diagnosed with bone mets my husband lost his Mum in the January his Dad in the May and his Aunt in the August.
We onely started with a glass or two which progressed to a bottle then as time went on we would finish the one bottle then go on to the next one. By the time we progressed to thinking about opening a third I realised that this wasn’t helping and was just acting as a prop to our problems.
I have a friend who has a serious alcohol problem and for her I know there is a big hole in her life and that she was really hurting inside. But althoug her drinking went on for years and years and I tried on many occasions to talk to her about it, it wasn’t until SHE was ready that she went to see her GP and her husband went along to support her. He too was overdoing the drinking and I always wondered if you can see your OH getting plastered you may as well have a drink yourself.
I think you have got to the point where you know that this is getting out of hand. Laurie knows more than me about the ilness. But perhaps the first step is to go to the Gp and explain to him/her just how you feel. Perhaps councelling would help because after all you have been through a really hard time.
I am in a better place mentally right now, even though i am on chemo and have bone mets. But now I can give drink a miss for a week and not care or even think about it. My OH will have one and depending on how I feel I will join him or not. When we have vistors we usually have a several bottles of wine and I still enjoy that.
Keep in touch and tell us how it is going. You may be helping someone out there who has not been brave enough to ask for help and advice as you have done. A gentle Hug coming you way. Val

Hi Hunny, what lovely replies and support from "friends’ here! I can only add that a dependancy on using something as a “crutch” to get through the day is soooooo hard to kick , whether it’s a drink, cigarette, or a HUGE bar of chocolate. I am working hard at cutting down on chocolate and cakes and am doing ok. I wish you all the luck in the world, you know I am sure if you need a bit more positive reinforcement to help and support you, just ask! xxxxx