How bad are your dreams?

Just a matter of personal interest. My dreams have always been fairly bizzare and scary.The weeks before my secondary diagnosis were full of visually realistic and emotionally exhausting dreams. Since then my dreams consist of experiencing detachment in a new life away from my family. Is this a premonition or a taste of things to come??

Hi Julie

I have always had weird dreams. They seem to reflect my inner turmoil so dreams of late have been particularly strange. When my husband was in the RAF and serving during the Gulf crisis, I would have the same type of dream where a plane crashed but all the passengers would walk out OK. I would also dream of being in a lift which plummetted towards the ground, only to stop at the last second. I don’t think my dreams were premonitions, only fears of what might happen. I really think dreams are about either things we fear or wish for.

Thanks Cathy,

Dreams are quite frightening but are only our minds trying to work things out.Must have been very scary for you. Julie xx

Juliet - I think that we often let our minds go to a “worst scenario” space, and that in a way that acts as a preparation in case we ever do have to face the worst. Having “mentally rehearsed” it, we can somehow cope better, and it is less shocking, if we have to face it for real. For example, in my case when my husband was in Baghdad for a year, sometimes I would imagine the “what if” he didn’t come back scenario. I don’t think this is being macabre, but is a natural way that we all respond to threatening situations, and in the end it is a protective mechanism. Likewise, with breast cancer, I am sure each of us has mentally visited “worst case” outcomes - it is only natural that we would do that. We often dream about the last thing we think about at night, and it may well be (inevitably) that you have spent some time thinking about not being with your family any more. This may just have carried on in your dreams. So I wouldn’t take it as a premonition, just a natural coping response to all that you have faced, and have yet to face - but hopefully not for a very, very long time. Sarah xx

Thanks, I sort of thought that but it is so good to hear it. Are you a counsellor or therapist becaause you seem to have it so right?


Another thing,
I did read that how you dream about your cancer is meant to represent how threatening it is. The worse kind being insects thst are difficult to catch and control. Cancer is represented as dogs, cats tec… julie

Glad my thoughts were of some help. I have been nursing for 20 years, and have done some counselling. Mostly though I am just very interested in people, and how we cope with things, and I am just one of thousands of others who have been plunged into a life in which breast cancer plays an unwelcome part. Well, I should say it has been entirely unwelcome, but I have met so many wonderful people both here, and in “real” life, and have been treated with such kindness and care that I would be lying if I said it has been an entirely negative experience. Light shines so brightly in the darkest of places - or something like that! Hope you have happier more peaceful dreams ahead. Sarah xx

Thanks Sarah,
Have you ever thought of being a dream therapist. Our dreams are truly reflective of our life. Julie

Crikey, no! Thinking of trying to develop my artistic side if anything! I remember when my parents were getting divorced in the 1970s they were meant to write their dreams down every morning to be analyzed. Not sure how much I personally read into dreams - can’t remember more than a fleeting impression of them usually! x

When i was 11 years old we moved house. I lived on a farm with a girl and we grew up together, at school i became best freinds with another girl. When i was in my 20’s i left the UK but the other 2 saw alot of each other and of course i stayed intouch with them and saw them as often as i could.
When Jenny (girl from the farm) got breast cancer at the age of 30 we were stunned and within 2 years (blunder by her damn GP) she was dead.
I constantly had dreams about her, it was a similar dream all the time. She was always ill in the dream and i knew she was dying. Then 15 years later the other friend also got BC. The dreams carried on, usually once or twice a week and were very depressing. Then 2 years after second one was DX i got it. I dont dream about her any more. I think i have had it twice in a couple of years. But now i dream about me having no hair because of the taxatere and sometimes in my dreams my hair has grown long! its wonderful. I think maybe i dreamt about her all those years because i felt guilty at not seeing her near the end, even though we wrote and she was planning to come to have a holiday with me in Germnay.I dont know.

In general since breast cancer I have found that sleep and dreams bring sweet relief from thinking about the reality for me of breast cancer. Being awake and thinking about what is likely to happen to me is my nightmare…I don’t need sleep for nightmares.

I remember a good friend who died of ovarian cancer telling me shortly before she died that she had never deamt about cancer. I think I may have had a couple of sympbolic cnacer dreams since diagnosis (and recently had a horrible dream about my teeth turning to red fruit drops, faling out and choking me…but that was after a real dental emergency when my front 5 tooth bridge had dropped out for real.) I think my unconscious is nicely protecting me in sleep so I can use my energy during the day…for living as well as thinking about cancer.

I think Sarah is right that imagining worse case scenarios whether waking or through dreams is a necessary coping mechanism.


I feel like you Jane. Sleep is a blessed cancer-free time and on the whole I have slept really well in the last three years which surprises me. When I used to work, I would spend hours trying to switch off and go to sleep and after my cancer diagnosis, I expected similar but it has been easy.


I do agree what you say about sleep being a refuge.Well yes it can be. Its just that sometimes I am more exhausted when I get up, than before I went to bed.
I seem to do a lot of running around, opening and closing doors.
Losing teeth is one that I have had for years. It is meant to be a common one that represents the fear of losing something precious that you cannot replace. It was a; few years later that I discovered that I was actually pushing my teeth out; by clenching them in the night.
Has anyone else had any dream premonitions ? Julie

Hello all, what an interesting thread! I too had an amazing dream when I was going through my chemo 3 and a half years ago. A colleague at work had just died of cancer and he appeared to me in my dream, sat on the side of my bed and held my hand. He then told me I was going to be alright and that I had `plenty of life left in me’. I still remember his words perfectly, and it makes me feel very emotional just to recount it. At the time, it felt very profound and very uplifting; I think it still perhaps is. I also agree with the comments others of you have made that our brains have so much to filter when we are awake and coping with BC, that its no surprise our dreams are a way of processing this. That said, anything giving you hope and reassurance has to be a good thing. Dreams can be what you want them to be, I think… Best wishes Em

Here is a dream I had some time ago I posted it on bcpals and dawnhc had some interesting interpretations.I was in the back of a large black limo and could not see the driver.The car stopped by a small layby on a country road.In the layby were a very large very beautiful dead fox and a packed suitcase standing on end[fabric,burgundy colour,bulging].I walked round the fox and went back to the car in distress saying,"What can I do?"The driver replied,gently but firmly,"It’s not my fox."This was all repeated 3 times and we finally drove off.I told my husband as soon as I woke up and wrote it down.It was the most memorable dream I have ever had.All interpretations gratefully rcd.By the way it was ,I think, not long after chemo/rads had finished.Love Valxx