What tools have helped you move on?

I’m about four months post end of treatment and like a lot of people I’m finding this time quite difficult. There’s the enormity of what I’ve been through to process. I find the realisation that I am actually going to die quite confronting (before cancer, like most people, I was in denial about it!)  I’ve lost my innocence. Coming to terms with the fact that I’ll probably die a lot sooner than I ever thought I would and may never reach old age (or even middle age) is very hard.   My friends are all getting married and popping out babies, so we’re on very different  life  paths. They’re not the best when it comes to listening. They’re thinking about life, I’m thinking about death. Cancer has been the loneliest and most isolating experience of my life. I want my innocence back. 

I’ve seen a counsellor which has been semi- helpful to me, but I’m interested to know what other techniques/tools people used to help them come to terms with their diagnosis/fear of recurrence/early death.

Hi Bibibi


Sounds like you need a big hug. The one thing I’ve felt, which you didn’t mention, is losing your sense of safety in the world? I’ve spend most of my life living with fear, anxiety and panic disorder so breast cancer couldn’t match that. There wasn’t any space for cancer. I never gave the cancer a thought - all I cared about was would I be sick (my phobia) and would I have a panic attack. Everyone involved in my care has been incredibly supportive and I got through the full menu - got my release papers last Friday after 16 months in the circus.


However, once the treatments were over, I felt strong enough to ask questions and I did have a short period where I went into the same mindset as you. Close to meltdown. My breast care nurse came up with some amazing insight (actually simple logic) that changed my perspective and I’ll happily share that if you’re interested. Just say.


This article, which one of the nurses here posted a few months ago and I’ve asked to get a permanent home so anyone can find it easily, is excellent and I read it repeatedly: workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what.pdf Maybe that will help you a bit.


You know you need to find a change of perspective. You have your whole life ahead of you and you need to start living again. You will meet on this site the most needy of people with breast cancer and we completely outweigh the positives: those who return to the site to give back support and encouragement they gained from initially. There are some wonderful champions but they are fewer. So you notice the bad stuff more than the good.


Some good: the survival rate for early-detected breast cancer is well over 90% and increasing each year. Another for instance: my mother had breast cancer in her 40s (found very early) and never thought of it again. In her 60s, she got a different form of breast cancer. Another partial mastectomy, radiotherapy and tamoxifen, but I never knew her refer to it unless asked. She died of heart failure at 89. (I wish I had a fraction of her resilience but maybe this is why I don’t equate breast cancer with death). People like that don’t talk much about it so we don’t hear about their success stories. Because they haven’t let their cancer define them or reshape their life.


As I said, I’ll happily share my bc nurse’s little lecture which may help a bit - it certainly helped me. Maybe try some of the hypnosis videos on YouTube (Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing got me through everything, along with some Michael Sealey). Regularly tuning in does a lot to reduce anxiety. Take good care of yourself.

Jan x



Hi Bibibi, hug from me also. You seem to be saying you are Stage 4, so you might want to ask the nurses on here for threads from ladies in that position, though that said post whatever and wherever you feel most at ease. 

Tools? Well I have tried many things: “art therapy” “move more” - very good MacMillan initiative, if you are well enough. Can’t say I have found something I have ‘clicked with’, but there is a lot out there, for us. 

My best tool has been absorbing myself in books. I was always a reader, but I move mountains of them these days, as I find I can ‘forget’ when I am tuned into a good book. I guess movies and music would work in similar ways. 

‘Being kind to yourself’ too - if you fancy spaghetti hoops on toast, have them ( for instance). I think we all have to realise we cannot be someone we aren’t, at present, to make people around us feel better. So sticking with routines and ‘normality’ can be hard for us. Nothing routine or normal, about it!

My other tool is REST/SLEEP, as much and as often as possible. 

Hope this is of some help. X