Older women

I am new to all this! Am also in my late 60s, although I feel much younger and normally lead a very busy life.
Was diagosed 2 months ago following mammogram and have had 2 ops in the last month, the last being mx of my R breast. The past two momths have been a rollercoaster of despair and worry, putting on a brave face and hooking my smile over my ears to reassure others but silently screaming unwardly.
Can’t imagine how I shall ever feel normal again! Still in some pain although not bad - rarely resort to painkillers as I want my head to be clear.
Feel that some people don’t understand it’s just as hard for us older patients.
How is anyone else my age feeling? Anyone had similar op recently? Love to hear from you!

Hello Seagull,
I think your post got missed last night so I am sending this to the top of the list for replies. I am the big 50 next year and I am starting to feel old and worn out but we must carry on regardless. A lot of the merchandise around at the moment is all about the wartime saying of " keep calm and carry on ". So we have to carry on singing, dancing , laughing, smiling and simply getting the very best out of each and every day.
You are right you will never feel the same again after a Cancer diagnosis I dont think any of us do again. I had to go for counselling as the Chemo sent me into an early menopause and with the Tamoxifen made me feel mental, but gradually you realise that there is a new you, a better you , one that looks around the world with new eyes and sees everything very different. It will all take time but you will wake up one day very soon and feel that the black cloud you are feeling now has lifted.
I recommend practising Mindfulness and that is something you could explore. There is a very good book by Paul Gilbert all about this topic and it helped me a lot. Sending you love and hugs Tracy xxx

Hi Seagull - it is hard whatever age you are - There are many ‘older’ ladies on this site and I am sure they will be on later. I am mid 50’s but feel incredibly old some days and other days still feel like a 20 year old. I had a Mx of my right breast in February 2010 - like you had 2 ops to get it away - one of the older ladies (she won’t like me saying that) had to have three ops to finally get rid of her tumour! I had node involvement too so had to have chemo and rads and I am now on hormone theropy. You don’t say if you have any more treatment planned - if you do it will be a rollercoster but if you have finished active treatment and are waiting for ‘normal’ I don’t think normal (or what used to be your normal) will come. A cancer Dx is a huge thing and it takes so much out of you physicaly and emotionally and coming to terms with it is a long haul. You say that you are putting on a brave face for your family I understand that completely and if it is all ‘over’ for you, then they will expect you to get back to normal straightaway. What you need to do is give yourself time to grieve and weep - you need to be able to talk to people who have been through the same (this forum is great) also ring the help line as they can put you in touch with someone of your age who has had the same treatment and you can talk to them whenever you need to. You say you have pain - whilst you might not want to resort to painkillers I would speak to your BCN as if you have pain it may need looking at and also there might be someone for you that doesn’t make you fuzzy in the head. Take care xx

Afternoon Seagull
I am in my 60s, had a right-side mx with node clearance end of May. Just finished chemo and starting rads next week. You don’t say if you have had any reconstruction done or if you have to have chemo and such like. I understand what you mean about the fixed smile, my OH has his own health problems and I don’t want to worry him unnecessarily, so like you, I keep the smile there most of the time, not always easy as you know. Physically I haven’t had many problems with the mx or chemo, emotionally good days, bad days but can usually hold back the tears until OH has gone to bed (he’s not good with tears). You don’t say when your last surgery was but if you are still having pain after 2 or 3 weeks, you should speak to your BCN.
There is a thread for more mature post-menopausal women, I will find it and bump for you to have a read through, it may be of some help.
Take care

Hi Seagull, some good advice from the other ladies, I am 52 and feel so old and weary sometimes, I am two years down the line bilateral mastectomy and secondaries in my liver, some days life is good and I almost feel like the person i was, then fatigue and pain comes and I am back to the quivering wreck when first diagnosed. Be kind to yourself, it takes time to recover from the surgery and come to terms with your new self and remember you are not alone xxx

Thanks to all of you who have taken the trouble to respond to me. I really appreciate your kind words. It is now nearly my bedtime and I am tired today as I haven’t had a day time sleep at all. I usually do, can easily drop off - am only 2 weeks since my mx, so it’s not surprising. It always takes me weeks to get over an anaesthetic, even though the medics say it is out of your system in 24hrs. Lucikily I sleep very well at night time too, all that is a bonus.
Off to see my consultant tomorrow for a check up and to get my latest results. Not looking forward to it much!


Hi Seagull - I am not surprised how you feel given that you only had your Mx two weeks ago!! you need time to adjust and you haven’t had your path results yet so being tearful is ok (normal) - you do need to cry and allow yourself time when you feel down. Good luck with your results today - hope the wait is not too long and the consultant will tell you the next steps for you - its so much easier when you know what your results and plans are and you can take back the control that you lose whilst waiting in being in other peoples hands. let us know how you get on xxx

Thanks tracyld
I appreciate you writing. Feel as if i am going to be OK. I have a very good counsellor who has already helped me and a frind who does yogaa I hadn’t heard about Paul Gilbert - found him online, but so far not found any articles by him.

Hi Saffronseed
You are very wise - thank you for your wisdom! Have now had my results and all is well except now have to have radiotherapy and hormone therapy - neither of which I look forward to one bit! My consultant checked me out today and my wound and various pains are all normal - doesdn’y help in coping with it, guess Iam impatient to get through this stage.
i don’t have to put on my brave smile for my family - they are very good and understand, but to the wider world I have to hook my smile over my ears and carry on. My own choice but seems to work.
Forward - one event at a time!


Hi Milo1
Thanks for your thoughts. Sorry to hear that you have such down times - that is what I don’t look forward to in the future.
I have had many other ops in the past, so am prepared for it taking two years or more to get over this, plus there is a lot more psychologically to cope with. Results were good but next steps now on the horizon WShat a devil this C lark is - it seems so devious and tries every possible way of getting us! At least the specialists are getting better at handling it even if they have no answers yet. One day, maybe?

Keep being brave! (Says she who at times is a nervous wreck!) Normally I find the ebst thing is to keep my mind as busy as I can helps me over the difficult times.

Hi Seagull,
The book by Paul Gilbert is called The Compassionate Mind and my psychologist lent me her signed copy which was very good of her. I found it really useful and it helped me to move forward.
Hope you start to feel an impreovement soon. Have a good weekend everyone Love Tracy xxx

Hi Seagull. I am 66. I had BC in both breasts and had two goes too ending up with a double mx. The second op was two years ago yesterday. I feel fine now. I didn’t need chemo or rads however, which was a great relief.

This is early days for you. Every week will make a difference.

It all seems like a bad dream now but unfortunately it wasn’t and it sits in your mind from time to time. There are lots of ladies on here though who have no evidence of disease after many years so that helps.

Good luck with your recovery.

Thanks Yamslass. You give me hope. I guess losing one’s breast/s is like a bereavement and that we have to go thrpugh all the stages, but it never completely goes away.