Losing my identity

I was diagnosed mid Feb and was due to have surgery on the 30 March it but was cancelled last minute due to possible heart problem. I feel that I have focussed on this disease so much over the last few weeks, and will do for the foreseeable future that I no longer feel like ‘me’. I feel like I am just someone with cancer. People say do stuff to distract myself but there is nothing that will distract me, its always there looming in my head. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel normal yet it wasn’t that long ago that I was in ignorant bliss. Even around other people it feels like they are treating me slightly differently or is that just my imagination? Does anyone else feel like this? When do you start to feel like ‘you’ again?

Karen, the simple answer to your question is when you want to feel you again. Life has dealt you a hand and only you can play it. I truly feel you are not the same person when you walk out of the room after you have been informed of your diagnosis, you become a different person. People always mean well with their advice but don’t truly know your true feelings unless they are a fellow sufferer. I told myself"bugger this for a game of soldiers"…I havn’t got time to be unwell…so,let’s get the treatment underway and finished just as quick.

Yep, being diagnosed is one of those life changing moments. Even on a good day, week, month it will always be there, a thought somewhere in the back of your mind.


I have been here, done this before (surgery, rads and chemo) 22 years ago but it was always a thought on my head. Meeting new people at some point the topic could come up in conversation and I’d make the decision whether to include my history in the conversation. Plus getting dressed everyday and seeing my surgery scars made it something that was never forgotten.


But having just had a new primary cancer diagnosed I am, of course, stumbling through one day to the next never quite sure how I’ll be feeling or knowing how I will want others to treat me. Some days or hours I just want to be treated as before… some days/hours I want people to acknowledge what I’m going through.


In time the inner turmoil quietens down. How long that takes is anyone’s guess.


You are still you but a more worldly wise you having had a life changing upheaval.

I know exactly what you mean. I really cannot imagine ever being the same person again, without wanting to sound melodramatic. I think my OH has found this difficult to comprehend but there is something particularly scary and distressing for a woman to be diagnosed with BC. Is it something to do with self image I wonder and the fact that it is what every woman dreads? Anyway, I found it very helpful to talk these feelings through with someone from my local breast cancer care support group. As she rightly said, we are all changed by the experiences we have in life, good or bad, so you can’t expect not to be by having BC. However, it’s how we deal with the changes that helps us to cope or not. I spent quite some time in the meltdown mode, frequent bouts of crying and feeling very depressed. However, one day a friend literally dragged me out of the door to go to a local garden centre, which to my surprise I found myself enjoying. I then realised that life could go on and I could still have enjoyment out of it. All you can do is take every day as it comes and remember you aren’t alone with it all. Try talking to someone on the helpline, it really does help. It is a long hard road but you are stronger than you think and the lovely ladies on here are always full of support. Xx

I totally understand what you mean, I had my diagnosis a month ago and have had a lumpectomy and SNB and will go bk for final results on Thurs , my world has been turned upside down and if it wasn’t for my darling husband keeping me sane I would be rocking in the corner now, he has held us all together and our two grown up sons have been amazing , the guilt I have felt dropping this in their lives has been overwhelming but they drag me along and keep me going, I’m the strong one and hold everything together normally and I now have to rely on others which is alien to me but I have no choice right now and everyone who matters to me has stepped up , I just want this to be over and for life to return to normal, my eldest son is getting married in sept so that is my goal to be fighting fit for, I just try to view it all as a blip that we will get through and deal with it as it comes, love and best wishes to you, love Jo xx

Thank you so much for your replies…you all sound like very strong positive women. I think once Ive had surgery and am dealing with the reality rather than the what ifs Im still listing in my head I’ll find it a lot easier. Funny enough I felt more positive this morning as it was so warm and sunny here and that always lifts the mood! I remember your tumour mayo sandwich at the garden centre Fuffs :slight_smile: I will certainly try the helpline. Someone elses perspective is always a good thing to have. thank you again ladies and keep being so strong…its inspiring!! xxxx

Great article, well worth the read. Did we get our diagnoses in the same Leicester cupbosrd i wonder, lol. Francine x

I have just finished my 5 years of treatment, and the worst bit has been the scrambled brain…

However I do feel like me again, it’s a different me but it IS me. All I can compare it to is a bereavement - it takes a long time, and I don’t quite understand how it worked, but it does happen in time.

I think the key is to be kind to ourselves, and use all the support available whether it be family and friends, BCN s, medics, GPS, counselling etc and this forum.

It’s hard work but it WILL come good.

Big hugs