---I know

—I know

—I know --We all feel differently when we are diagnosed, I found that I went numb, it wasn’t me they were talking about, it was like I was just looking in. I remember the doctor saying they needed to take more away, I knew what that meant as there was very little left.

My first reaction was why do I need a mastectomy, they’ve taken the cancer away surely that’s enough, of course I really knew it wasn’t and with this being a recurrence couldn’t take any chances. I had to have x rays, bone scans, MRI scans and ultra sound on my organs to make sure it hadn’t spread, before my operation. I was a little worried about the bone scan, as I’ve had aches and pains in my legs for years.

I seem to have gone through all this in a haze and I think I’m still in one, I feel very calm, I have been waiting for it to hit me but it hasn’t yet and I’m 3 months on from my operation, surely this is not normal. Anyone else felt like this?


My experience Janice

When I was first diagnosed (after two biopsies TWO MONTHS apart), I felt the bottom had dropped out of my world. My daughter had just received her ‘A’ level results and was about to go off to university, my son no longer lived at home having graduated in 2004, and my husband had just started a new job which involved a four hour daily commute. And I had bloody breast cancer¦

So, like you, I am living a pretty surreal existence at present. Rads are more than halfway through and tamoxifen will be ongoing for the next five years. My husband says I should not spend so much time on this site (and he’s probably right), but for the moment, I feel it is a lifeline through which we can give comfort, support and information to eachother.

Do you have a job to return to? If not, perhaps some voluntary work may help you to come to terms.with this recurrence. Returning to work will probably be best for me, as it is the type of job where you need to keep your wits about you at all times, so I will not be able to dwell on the ‘c’ word.

None of us will ever forget the day we received the ghastly news – my mouth went instantly dry – but we have to try and move on, hard as it is.

I hope I have been of some help.


— Hello there — I’m over two and half years from diagnosis but believe it or not still feel weird. I’m still back and forward to hospital for one test, one result, one worry after another but despite this reality check on a regular basis - I feel like the cancer thing was all a bad dream. To be honest I am glad I feel that way - I think it is a safety valve because when it hits home I want to run away and scream myself into oblivion.

The friends for whom everything has gone straightforward just seem to have moved on as though the cancer never happened in the first place. It is almost an envious place to be… I look forward to when that day happens for me.

Joy xxx

—I know —It is very reassuring to read these posts, as I alternate between trying to accept what has happened, and feeling very surreal and thinking it is happening to someone else.

My treatment is still ongoing. Had surgery in February, waiting for appt for radiotherapy, have started Tamoxifen and deliberating on whether to go back to work soon.

The problem is I keep changing my mind, and wonder if anybody else feels like this?


On work, life, decsions and moving on or not I felt my life change irrevocably at the moment of my diagnosis and I still feel this nearly 2 and a half years later. I quickly discovered that my cancer had not been ‘caught’ ‘early’ , that I was likely to die of cancer within 10 years, and pprobably sooner, and that my pre cancer fantasy of a helathy life stretching into my 80s was now gone.

I kind of acknowledged all this almost at the moment of diagnosis (and certainly within a week once I knew my pathology)…the time since has been about learnign to live with his reality…and thats complex and hard…at times terfrifying…but actually also unexpected. I have used these forums regularly for 2 years…for me keeping in touch with cancer world is crucial to my emotional survival…though at times it is very painful.

For some work brings back normality and some people have no choice but to work. For me, having built up a good pension after years in education, and realising that the long retirement I had expected would probably not happen…I took the opportunity to give up full time work and do different things.

I guess some people do think I ‘dwell’ too much on cancer. I don’t see it like that…I have used the analogy before of fear walking alongside me…sometimes quietly in my shadow, sometimes stridently, talking at me, distracting me…but the inevitability of that companion is something which shapes my life now.

We are all living with a life threatening disease…we all have to live with hope and struggle as best we can to live well whether its for a short or a longer time.

I’ve probably gone off the thread now…sorry


echoes of my feelings Hi Jane,

I just wanted to post and say how much of your words echoed my own feelings. I have lived with this disease for 16 years now - wont go into details as it’s in my profile. But sometimes it scares me how much it has become part of my life - not surprising when it took over so much of it. I even describe the Royal Marsden as my second home! Sad eh? But I will always have to go every three weeks for a whole day for treatment…Sometimes you just wonder if people you know well enough to talk to in more depth aren’t thinking “get over it!”

My life has been able to go on with some semblance of normality over the years because my husband and I run our own business and am able to do as much or as little as I choose - and it is very therapeutic (specially when the weather is nice) We have a bonsai business - and to be able to be with customers when I choose - and to work on the trees when they are growing like crazy - that’s good. But I find often I just don’t want to go situations socially where I make small talk - I want to be in my home where I feel safe - does that make any sense at all. I’m not a recluse!! I do enjoy holidays and am not afraid to travel - but it’s being with people and making an effort that i don’t want to bother with. I think my poor husband sometimes finds this a trial.

This site is such a blessing - at least we can all let our feelings out and know it will strike a chord somewhere in cyberspace!


—Thanks — for your replies, I find that what I post depends on how I feel, and that seems to change daily.

I have lived with breast cancer for 20 years but as Dawn says I won’t go into that as its in my profile. For all of that time I have worked and got on with life normally, and like your comment Geronimo carried on as if it hadn’t happened.

Previous to my being diagnosed with a recurrence my daughter had cancer, and I spent most of that year looking after her as she went through chemo and rads. When I was diagnosed I’d had enough of trying to work and deal with cancer and I left, it wasn’t a decision I took lightly as I had been working for the same company for 15 years. I am 60 next year so would have retired then anyway and I know I shall have to find something to take its place even if its voluntary like mcgle says, also like her I know I spend too much time on this forum even without my husband saying. But none of that seems important right now.

So for about the first time in my life I am being utterly selfish, and you know what I don’t feel in the least bit guilty about it.

Best Wishes