Mid-treatment Blues

Is anyone out there recovering from surgery, had their results and awaiting further treatment and suffering from a mid-treatment nose dive in spirits? I had my surgery nearly four weeks ago and I am waiting to start radiotheraphy and hormone treatment. My results didn’t give me any nasty shocks and so I don’t know why I seem to have plunged back into the dark and sad mood of the early days of diagnosis. I’m healing well, physically ok but mentally all over the place again. This dip has lasted a few days now and I’m finding it tough going because everyone around me thinks I’m back to normal: crisis averted, just a bit of radiotheraphy and hormone tablets and everything will be the same as before. I’m not so sure. I’ve been terrified by the tales of tablet side effects and every time I read the paper there seems to be someone else who has died early of breast cancer. The latest adverts aren’t helping much either and I’m receiving weekly mails from every cancer charity in the country. I am feeling very worried about reoccurance, cancer generally and about dying from this damned disease before my three score and ten is up. I just don’t feel at all normal or happy and every time I have to go to hospital I spend half the day before going to the loo. Am I just a negative miserable and ungrateful person? Why do I feel ashamed? How do I pull myself together again?

Jenni, you’re not a negative, miserable, or ungrateful person. You’re a normal person who has had a shock and a lot to deal with and take in. Do not feel ashamed, take time out and spoil yourself, you deserve it.

I had my surgery almost three weeks ago and just heard today that it is hopefully all gone, waiting on radiotherapy now. Know exactly what you mean about the cancer charities - they’ve been knocking at the door and putting charity bags through every other day it seems. I really don’t think it was that often before? Same with the TV ads, and radio, there seems so many suddenly??

I can’t really answer how you pull yourself together, but the way I do is to look at this thing as a challenge. A challenge that I will beat. As for the nervous loo going, am there with you too x

As for folk thinking it’s all ok, yep, they do, while we harbour our fears, but hey, whether they’re doing that for themselves or us it’s whatever gets us through that matters.

Hugs x

Hi Jennifer
I am sorry you are feeling so low, along with the support here BCC can offer you further support via some of our other services including ‘Someone like me’ service which you can read about here:

breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/support-you/someone-talk/someone-me

breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/support-you

Take care
Lucy BCC

Hi ladies, I’m a few weeks post rads and am on Tamoxifen and hope I can reassure you both that neither are anything to fear, I had 3 weeks of radiotherapy which to be honest was a doddle for me and other than a bit of a pink boob come the end there was nothing to report, you don’t feel a thing, it’s over in seconds and everyone treats you so lovely, I’ve been on Tamoxifen since getting my post surgery results on April and other than on odd hot flash and a twinge here and there have had no problems, don’t stress yourself out over the SE, my surgeon told me not to read them and said you will find most of them on a packet of paracetamol and I’m sure you’ve taken plenty in your time! I was incredibly low when I was first diagnosed and it didn’t start to lift until I knew exactly what I was dealing with but from then on have picked myself up and am trying to appreciate life again, i still have moments of worry about the future but honestly feel like my old self again and it’s almost like it never happened, things do get better and I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet compared to some so keep reminding myself of that, don’t give yourselves a hard time, it takes as long as it takes to come to terms with something like this and you will get there xx Jo

Hi jenni

you sound exactly like me at the moment

I had surgery end of may, results should have been rads and tamoxifen but I was given a shock when the onc recommend that I have chemotherapy,  was given a week to decide whether or not to have it. I had started working phased return and then I just crumbled. I had managed to keep myself together up to the day I said no thank you to chemo.

 

I have been signed off work for 6 weeks by my lovely gp and go for my rads planning on 21july

 

I also know what you mean about some folks thinking,  “that’s her all fixed now” because right now I feel very far from"fixed". One person actually said to me that if she’d been me she would have taken chemo happily and I was being selfish!! I left the macmillan chemotherapy booklet on her desk with FYI post it on it

let’s try to keep each other’s spirits up and get through this doldrums together

sheena xxx

Hi Jennifed

 

Look, I’m a real glass half-full sort of person (am approaching my first annual check after having had op, chemo, rads) but when I was at your stage of treatment even I had the collywobbles and felt a bit panicky, it is quite normal.  Also it is natural to be a bit up and down if it is only four weeks after your op. All the worrying and ‘what ifs’ going through your mind mean that you are an intelligent person.  I was on tenterhooks for much of the time and felt as though the cancer was like a sword poised over my head but as time passed I found that it was impossible to live at that level of mental intensity - it is a bit like trying to keep your muscles permanently tensed, you have to relax them a bit eventually. Yes everyone does assume that you are soon back to normal (they don’t mean any harm by it) but as we all know it is not quite as simple as that.  You are not negative, or miserable, or ungrateful and as for feeling ashamed, why on earth should you be?  Don’t beat yourself up so much!  Don’t try to ‘pull yourself together’ just take one thing at a time and things will get easier. Try not to anticipate problems - I haven’t had any side-effects from my tablets - none!  PS I have an older sister who had a mastectomy years ago (which is why I always suspected I might get it too) she is nearly 80 and still going strong!  I hope this little ‘pep-talk’ has made you feel a bit better  xxx :smileyhappy:

Hey Jennifer,  glad you’re feeling a tiny bit more positive x

I am struggling with some people who think it’s all sorted after surgery,  jeez, that’s the easy bit!

At least we’re able to talk honestly and openly here

so keep talking about how you feel and don’t bottle it up

love xxx

sheena

Hi Jennifer,  unfortunately it’s always gonna be in the back of our minds, I have tried to get those closest to me to read the booklets and take a look at the website, it’s a great source of information for them too

sweet dreams,  hopefully more than 4 hours in my case

sheena xx

Hi Jennifer - sorry to hear that you are feeling a bit down after your surgery. You are over the worst bit BUT need to give yourself time to recover. It is still early days.

I had a mastectomy almost 3 weeks ago as the result of a recurrence of the BC dx in 2009’ I have had the whole menu of treatments now, lumpectomy, chemo, radiotherapy, tamoxifen, letrozol, chemo (inc. Herceptin) mastectomy, exstemasane. There are a few bits I would give to anyone on this journey.

 

TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME - try not to think beyond what you are going through now because that is when you start getting overwhelmed.

Don’t assume that you will have the same side-effects as other people or that they will be as bad. Don’t read the leaflet unless you have to because it only scares you more. Many ladies have no or very few side effects.

Be informed about your treatment when and as you need to be. Talk to your health care team.

Give yourself time to recover and rest when you are tired. If you are in a financial position to have time off work, do. Get yourself back to the best state of health you can.

Eat well and take a little exercise each day.

Socialise, even if it is just coffee with friends at home. When I had radiotherapy 3 of the 5 days a week a different friend took me and we always had coffee and cake and a good old chat.

Not always possible I know , but the old saying Stay Positive really is good advice. The sister on chemo ward 6 years ago told me that ladies with a positive attitude do better during their treatment and I have always followed her advice.

 

Hope this does not sound like preaching too much but it is all advice gathered along my journey which has really helped me.

But the best thing is the support and advice gleaned from this site. I still go out with ladies I met on here 6 years ago.

Hope you feel more settled soon - you are doing so well.  Marli xx

 

Expected reactions to extraordinary events.

 

I read this somewhere and took a note of it as I feel it it helped me understand things. I too slumped after surgery/results. I’m now back at work full-time and moving forward. Taking Wockhardt Tamoxifen. Have a few hot flushes most evenings but managable and no more than friends the same age (early fifties).  Why do you never get a flush when you’re cold??

 

Hugs

 

Sparkle  xxx 

Hi Jennifer, Sheena (Missmore )has started a thread surgery /results what happens next ,supporting each other through treatment ,if you want to talk on that thread too we are all at a similar stage.

It is apparently very common. to have a crash after results my G.P told me , it is the realisation of the life changing thing that has just happened to us, relief that it could have been worse , but s**t I have still just had surgery for breast cancer.

I have Tamoxifen for 10 years ,every day a reminder of cancer,but if it stops it coming back …it’s our new reality .

Mañana…I will do it …

Mañana… I promise…

Yes Mum,last night.

You seem to moving a lot quicker along the conveyor belt than me,I’ve been told will be another 4 weeks approximately til I start rads.Cant believe we get a tattoo to remember this by!!!

Jenni I felt exactly the same although I was given the hormone blockers straight after the op whilst waiting for results. I’ts a whirlwind of emotions… like living in limbo, everything stops. Then you have all the support and fuss from family and friends and of course the momentum of that has to stop which leaves you feeling a little lost. I got good results as in no chemo needed and margins clear etc. Just Letrozole and rads.I know that was the best scenario but it doesn’t make me feel any better because I am virtually convinced it’s in other parts of me with every ache and pain. Will we ever relax and believe? I also feel guilty feeling this way when I read other people’s diagnisis which is far worse. I suppose nothing will be the same again but that doesn’t mean it wont be better. Lets face it this is a wake up call for sure and it’s only when you have had a scare like this that you truly face your mortality head on and realise how fragile life is. That has to be a good lesson. Surely we will live our lives in a more rewarding, appreciative way once we are over the shock? I intend to! 

Always love 

Lorna x

I plan on another holiday! Had loads of treats. Been off work since diagnosed so had trips to my sister’s in Cornwall, Spain and a quick Spanish trip just before rads! I’m bloody skint but there’s no pockets in shrouds lol ( that’s a joke, don’t think I’m dying just yet! ) my beautiful friends bought me weekends away, pamper packages and lots of lovely treats. I’ve been truly spoilt by them ( and family) crazy thing is I left my partner after 36 years last year ( free at last!) then this happens. We are friends and I think thank God I’m not living with him through this because he would have driven me nuts! ( More than usual) IIlike you want to do something big but font know what yet…it will come to me hopefully. Do you have plans? Btw I can’t find the inspiring thread where survivors have posted…need a bit of that positive energy before sleep…did I say sleep!? :wink: x x