What next - struggling to cope?

I have often visited this wonderful website but have never actually posted anything until now. I now think it is time that I get my feelings down and hopefully get chance to hear some welcome words of advice and support from anyone who is going through, or has gone through, something similar. It is a long story and I hope that you can bear with me. My BC journey started in October 2013 where I was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 2 IDC as well as DCIS and LCIS, following an early mammogram (I was 48). I count myself as lucky in the fact that the cancer was caught early. I had a lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, radiotherapy and was prescribed tamoxifen. Although I found the radiotherapy particularly challenging due to severe ‘burns’ under my breast, I am very much aware that many people have to go through much worse.

After recovery, I went back to work, was successful in applying for promotion and was keen to move forward with my life. Unfortunately however, this has not been the case. In October 2014 (one month after starting my new job) I was hospitalised for a week due to a severe chest infection. During this spell in hospital and following a series of scans, an ‘abnormal’ axillary lymph node was found in my BC armpit. Following biopsy, no cancer was found and I was told that the node would be monitored on an annual basis. To this date, the lymph node is still enlarged and I continue to be monitored for it. I went back to work following the hospital stay, feeling guilty about the time off, and once more tried to get back on track with moving forward.

The next setback came at the end of December 2014, when I started experiencing severe stomach pains and the need to urinate constantly. (Prior to having my 2 beautiful daughters, my previous gynaecological history had included 5 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy). After a visit to A&E, I was catheterised and admitted once more to hospital. Scans and tests showed that I had a large ovarian cyst and huge fibroids. At the same time, the gynaecologist carried out a smear test and results showed that I had a pre-cancerous cervix. I was scheduled for a colposcopy and LLETZ, prior to emergency total abdominal hysterectomy and removal of my ovaries. Welcome then to the immediate impact of a surgically induced menopause and all that entails!!

I was back at work after 8 weeks of recovery and once more, laden with guilt, was determined that I would move forward. I celebrated my 50th birthday in December 2015 and looked forward to a happy and healthy 2016! That now brings me more or less up to date with the latest setback. On 12th January this year, I found a lump in my abdomen and after a visit to my GP, I was admitted immediately again to hospital. A day later, I was having emergency surgery. I was unfortunately administered general anaesthetic into my arm tissue, before the second attempt into my BC arm finally put me to sleep. The effects of this were quite traumatising! I was discharged after a week and waited nervously yet again for more results. The lump was thankfully found to be benign and so I am at the stage of moving forward yet again.

And that is now where the problem lies. I seem to have fallen apart after this latest event and am finding it hard to cope and come to terms with it. I can’t stop crying, feel so incredibly down and have lost all hope and positivity. I don’t want to see anyone – I want to hide under my duvet and let the world carry on. I feel extremely shocked and traumatised by the catalogue of events, and also feel embarrassed and ashamed at my health and the impact it continues to have on my work. I should be back at work! When I read my story back, it doesn’t seem real! I always say ‘you couldn’t write it’! What will the next hurdle be? I have no strength and am so tired by it all. Both my parents died of cancer (15 and 11 years ago) and getting over their deaths also took its toll over the years but recently I just wanted my mum! My husband is an absolute rock and continues to support and love me unconditionally. My daughters have coped so well with everything but what impact am I having on them all? I feel so lonely and don’t know which way to turn. I have been back to my GP and told him how I am feeling; he has prescribed anti-depressants and referred me for counselling, but will this be enough? Thank you for listening – I apologise if I sound in any way self-indulgent.

Wow, you have been through loads.  As I read on a utube comment board, it is a miracle you are still able to breath.


I have had breast cancer twice, in 2012 and last year, a  mx a week before Xmas.  I also was hoping to get back to work and was moving on in life but no, cancer had other plans. I am now just taking it one day at a time.  I feel very up and down.  It’s half term and my children  are on computer games and I’m watching iplayer.   In the past I would have thought what a waste of a day but it’s not, I’m healing my body and soul.  I also find watching utube clips very helpful, I am not alone and neither are you. 


Lots of love grace x


Hi George,don’t feel guilty for being ill it’s not like you chose to have all these things happen to you did you ?I think one of these events on their own would be enough to make you feel low ,but with the stress of all combined I’m not surprised you are struggling .Give the anti depressants time to kick in and hopefully you will feel a little better ,if they seem to be helping go back and discuss upping the dose.I think recovering from treatment and moving on after cancer is almost as hard (maybe as hard) as going through it in the first place .Hope you feel better soon,Jill.

That should be if the anti depressants DONT seem to be helping go back and discuss upping the dose!!xx