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Surviving on your own

14 REPLIES 14
Milly15
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hello Whiskey, so sorry to hear that you have had to join us, but its good that you have found this site, welcome.

There are lots of different topics so investigate them when you have time.

Telling people is almost as bad as hearing the news from the medics, but its easier once you have told them. I told a gay male friend that I had found a lump, and then went to my first consultation alone. Then I told my two closest friends.  That was it until after it was all over and that I'd had a couple of extra hospital stays. Then I told my family.

I found it easier to tell those three close friends as they were less emotional than family were. I couldn't deal with emotion, I needed to get my own head round it first. After I had told my family I started telling others on an individual basis. 

I guess you will find a way, but you don't have to tell everyone at once. When you feel comfortable about talking about it, you will know when the time is right.

Don't rush into anything, you have enough to cope with, but you may feel better sharing it with at least one or two friends.

I still have friends who I havent told because I dont see them that often.

Those I have told, even my close friends, don't want to talk about it, however, I have got used to it now. If I mention it they refer to it as the big C which I hate, it's cancer, but I dont correct them, I guess its their way if coping with it.

Try not to feel alone in this, you will be assigned a breast cancer nurse and once your treatment starts you will meet up with others going through this.

Sending you love and hugs.  Hang in there, you are strong and you can fight this, think positive thoughts. ❤️

Whiskey
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hi Milly

I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer in June. Initially the treatment was surgery and Chemo but that is no longer an option so it is Chemo to shrink the tumour.

I have always been so independent and now I feel so alone and isolated. I have told my daughter and son but they are busy with their own life. I am finding it hard to tell my social groups. How did you cope? 

Calling on my past experiences I decided to get off my pitty pot and join this group for advice. Dealing with hair loss, housework etc. I agree with you I do need to get out and about stops me dwelling

CiderQueen
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hi Milly,

Thanks for your message.
I agree with you that after initially finding my lump life was buzzing with constant hospital appointments and then the two operations followed by the radiotherapy but now things have gone flat and  awful to say it I miss the trips out to the hospital although I was going for a serious reason it was nice to go out after the Covid lockdown.

I am taking Anastrozole and seem to be ok with it and going into my third month now.I have to take it for 10 years apparently so hopefully I won’t get any nasty side effects.I shall be 81 by then if I get that far ! 
I gather you live in Norfolk.I had relations who lived in Great Ellingham and my eldest daughter lives in Suffolk in a small village called Woolpit.
Well done for your fund raising efforts and for keeping busy and active 😊

Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Surviving on your own

@JoanneN - if you want to hug a message, at the foot of the message you should find 2 buttons. There is one pink button saying “reply” and another orange circle with a white heart in it, and next to the orange one it gives the number of “hugs”. If you want to hug a message click on the orange circle with the white heart. I hope that makes sense. Evie xx

JoanneN
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

So sorry you feel isolated . I also have friends who have had cancer and sometimes feel that they are dealing with it better than me or that I should be recovering more quickly . I was able to attend a Breast Cancer Support Group last week which I found helpful - a roomful of women each with a different story. I don't know if you have been offered that . We had a talk from a Personal Trainer who said not to beat yourself up if you think you're not recovering quickly enough he meant primarily physically but that goes for all aspects of recovery . I wanted to send a hug but can't remember how to do it- I'm not very social media savvy.

 

Milly15
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hello CiderQueen, I know what you mean about being left on your own.  It feels that at the time of diagnosis and treatment everything is buzzing and you don't really have time to focus on what is happening, and then suddenly all the treatment is either plodding along or has finished.  Friends and family are shocked and don't quite know what to say and then they feel ok to let you get on with it and carry on as if everything is normal.

The thing is that nothing is normal to us anymore.  Every pain, lump or bump and our minds go into overdrive.  I have found walking (in all weathers), keeping busy in the house and garden and sometimes just window shopping, anything to keep my mind from overthinking.

I have given up talking about it to family. I have recently done some fund raising for Breast Cancer Pink Ladies Tractor Run in Norfolk UK; a cake stall and boot fair, this has kept me more than busy, and I have met a number of women who have had or have breast cancer.  Not that they have become best buddies, but at least I had people to talk with who had the same experience which helped both me and them.  A couple of them said that they were similar to us, where they had no one to talk to.  

I don't think there is an answer to our situation, except try to get out and about, which is easier in the summer months, the winter will be a different story, so keep in touch via here, share any tips you may have in managing this uncomfortable situation we find ourselves in.

Stay strong, sending you big hugs

Milly15

CiderQueen
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hi Milly,

I also live on my own and when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2021 I found it hard to come to terms with.

I have two operations to remove the lump as there was not enough margin taken in the first operation and also had the sentinel lymph gland removed as there were traces of cancer there as well.

I had a week of radiotherapy and now I’m out on my own and feel very isolated.I do have two daughters but they have their own issues and have the attitude that I had cancer and now it’s gone so get on with life.My eldest daughter has had part of a kidney removed due to cancer and seems to be managing better than me but she has 5 children and a very full life.

Loneliness is a killer and allows too much time for thinking.

I do hope you have some friends to confide in but like me you probably tend to bottle it up .

 

 

Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Surviving on your own

@Milly15 - wow, I’ve had a look at some photos, I love all the effort everyone has made, it looks like a really fun event. Please do report back.

And chat about anything else, anytime. Hugs to you too, Evie xx

Milly15
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hello Evie-S, thank you. The Pink Ladies Tractor Run is being held on 3rd July here in South Norfolk. 

Due to Covid it wasn't held for a couple of years. Women borrow a tractor (if they don't own one), decorate it and themselves in pink, and raise money for beast cancer research.  I'm busy sorting out anything pink around the house.  This Saturday I'm having a cake stall in our town to help the fundraising.

If you Google Pink Ladies Tractor Run, you should be able to find it, there a loads of pictures from previous years.

I shall report back on here so that you can see how much we raise.

Bug hugs, Millie15

Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Surviving on your own

@Milly15 - thank you for your kind hugs and words, very much appreciated. I am very intrigued to hear more about the Pink Ladies Tractor Run - have you done this before, and how does it work? Sounds like a lot of fun as raising much needed funds.

Evie xx

Milly15
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hello Evie-S, thank you for your helpful comments and the link to the Dr. Peter Harvey document, it's very enlightening and makes so much sense.  Somehow it puts it all into perspective and helps refocus on the future whatever that may be.

For some reason I don't have a dedicated BCN which hasn't helped, but my GP practice has been helpful and understanding, however, I so hate to bother them, perhaps now I will be able to move forward and stop worrying about the 'what ifs'. 

I'm taking part in the Pink Ladies Tractor Run here in Norfolk in July so I am busy raising funds for Breast Cancer research, nothing like doing something for the future to help find a cure for this terrible disease to focus the mind.  I'm also making decorations for my tractor, being a bit silly also helps.

Just having someone to share these things with has been enormously helpful, so thank you for your support.  I do appreciate it.

Big hugs,

Milly15

Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Surviving on your own

Hello @Milly15 - I am very happy to listen and share any experiences I have. I can totally relate to your comments about talking about what we have been through with friends. I know friends can mean well but, like you say, some don’t know what to say, and others accidentally say the wrong thing. For me it‘s easier to talk to others who have been through the same or similar as they “just get it, without explanation or judgment”. Sometimes talking anonymously can be helpful too.

I’m glad to hear that writing it all down has helped and yes a diary sounds a good idea. You can just write in it when you feel the need, and perhaps also jot down helpful things you might read or hear.

When I was first diagnosed, I think I went into shock/autopilot and just got on with the chemo, mastectomy and radiotherapy. It was only once I’d finished treatment did I really appreciate how much it had hit me mentally too. I’d read posts on here about this but didn’t really understand how many people do feel once treatment has finished.

I wonder if you have come across this article - if not, you might find it helpful

http://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what...

On a physical level, I can start by responding to your question about numbness where the nodes were. It is the weirdest sensation isn’t it, washing yourself/shaving/putting on deodorant and not feeling anything. I can’t remember how long it lasted, but I now do have some feeling back under my arm - and I really can’t remember when it came back. I’m sure it must have been gradual and I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting to get any feeling back.

Losing a breast isn’t a small thing to experience, so we need time to process it and get used to our new bodies. Even though we know it’s the right decision to have a mastectomy doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept - I kept asking that question “why me?” Or “what did I do wrong” - the answer is that we are women. I had a reconstruction at the same time and afterwards it took me some time to get used to the fact that I no longer have matching breasts. But I have experimented with various inserts/prosthesis to try to even them up and finally found something that works for me.

Please feel free to keep chatting if that helps, and also to ask any questions that I might be able to answer - even if you think it might be too personal.

Sending you a big hug. Evie xx

Milly15
Member

Re: Surviving on your own

Hello Evie-S, thank you for your response.  There are times when I just need to talk through how I feel about losing one of my breasts and the impact that it has had on me mentally.  Don't get me wrong I know it has saved my life and it was my choice to have the breast removed as I didn't want to keep going through operations for lumpectomies.  Apparently it was the right choice as there were other cells that were changing into cancer.

Living alone is fine, but friends don't like to talk about cancer full stop, and change the subject whenever I talk about it, it's like there has been a death and people don't know what to say.  Some people say 'the big C is awful' and then go on to talk about something totally different.  

It's real and it has happened and it was/is Cancer not the big C

I now don't try to discuss it.  For instance the arm where the lymph nodes have been removed is numb, and I wonder if I will ever get the feeling back.  To have someone to talk with about how I'm feeling physically would help at times.

Just writing all this down has helped enormously.  Perhaps I should start a diary. 

Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

Milly 15

Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Surviving on your own

Hi @Milly15 - I’ve just read your post and wondered what sort of issues you wanted to air - is it to do with the mastectomy/treatment or living alone? I had a mastectomy about 5 years ago and happy to chat about that angle if that helps - but I may have misunderstood your post. Or I’m happy to listen if you just want to offload. Best wishes, Evie xx

Milly15
Member

Surviving on your own

I'm a widow with no family and I live in a small town.  In the street where Iive almost everyone goes out to work.  I found a lump in December and went into auto pilot, 'let's get this sorted and worry about this when I have to'.  I had a mastectomy in January and fortunately the cancer hadn't spread.

It would be good to discuss some of the issues that I haven't had chance to air with others in a similar situation.