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Accepting the change

5 REPLIES 5
Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Accepting the change

@Lucy51 - thank you for your kind words. I too really expected my counsellor to tell me that if I did “X” then my previous life would return and I would stop worrying, and I was disappointed in the early days that counsellors don’t do that. It’s good that you’ve got in touch with the Someone like Me service.

I really do think it’s a case of baby steps and kind of going with the flow, accepting that you will have good and bad days. But most of all, try not to judge yourself and think that what you are feeling is out of proportion. It isn’t. You have had a shock diagnosis and you are reacting to that. You are trying to process it all and that takes time. My treatment was a bit before yours and I still have ups and downs, especially around the diagnosis anniversary time. Evie xx

Lucy51
Member

Re: Accepting the change

Hi Evie-S

thank you for your lovely reply. Your explanation of how to work through counselling is a good one. I think when I started I thought I would be told what I had to do, what I should focus on and I’d come out the other side as I was pre cancer. I realise now that isn’t the case but I have to work through it all and go back to things that happened in the past. 
I think when you’re still struggling it feels like you’re on you’re own, that no one else feels like this. I know for many they’re able to work through it all and start to move on. I don’t feel as if anything has changed in 2 years and because my treatment didn’t involve chemo/rads, how I feel is out of proportion. I posted when I was feeling really down and just needed to hear how others were coping. 
I have spoken to a lovely lady from Someone Like Me who was brilliant and helped a lot. I think I just need to try to keep things in proportion and eventually things will improve. Thank you for your help and advice it really helps xx 

Evie-S
Community Champion

Re: Accepting the change

@Lucy51 - I’m really sorry to read your post, but I also want to echo NarniaGirl’s lovely message and reassurance that it is very normal to be feeling as you do. I also had counselling after my treatment and I did find it helped me. To begin with I thought she would somehow be able to make the anxiety disappear, but eventually I understood that her role was to help me work through things myself. I like to use images to understand things and one image she gave me was a bookshelf, with each book on the shelf one chapter in my life. I had to process the events in the books to come to terms with them, so that it became my choice if or when to take each of the books off the shelf and read it. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you - it did to me, but it’s hard to put down in writing 🤔.

Edit: Sorry, I meant to ask whether you had thought about contacting the Someone Like Me service? That might help.

If I can help at all by listening, or chatting, I’m very happy to do so. I really do understand what you say, I have my ups and downs - I think many of us probably have the same, but everyone is individual and will deal with it their own way. I also agree that I much prefer to speak about things on here than to friends and family - they mean well but they haven’t been there and can’t always understand. Sending you hugs, Evie xx

Lucy51
Member

Re: Accepting the change

Hi, thank you for your lovely reply. It’s helped a huge amount, like you say just knowing I’m not the only one feeling like this. 
I did see a physio, about 18 months ago and it helped a lot with the nerve pain and tightness. I was also offered acupuncture as there is one area that just didn’t improve. Unfortunately the acupuncture didn’t help either. When I had my check up last September with the cancer doctor I asked about the pain again as i can’t help worrying about it sometimes but as I don’t need/want to take painkillers (it’s bearable) he wasn’t interested. He actually told me to stop worrying about it and it will stop hurting! It’s just a constant reminder of what I’ve had done. 
The counsellor talks about grief and I think a lot of how I feel is exactly that. It all happened so quick, I just couldn’t talk about it to friends and family and the op not going to plan has definitely made it harder to cope with. 
Thank you again xx 

NarniaGirl
Member

Re: Accepting the change

Hi, I'm just over two years on and would like to reassure you it's ok and normal to still be dealing with the emotions of all we've been through. I also felt very emotionally numb when it was all happening and my MacMillan nurse was very helpful when I told her. She said feeling nothing or numb is the brains way of shielding you when you've had a shock and so I should just accept it and go with it. But I do wonder if it delays emotional recovery. It must have been very hard for you not having the recon when you wanted it, and now all the delays due to covid. Maybe that's why it doesn't feel like you can close the chapter yet, so it's good you're still seeing a counsellor. Sometimes when we are feeling low we don't believe we deserve help and support, but we do and sometimes we need to learn how to be kind to ourselves. Also, don't underestimate how much being in pain can drag down our mood. Pain uses up a lot of energy. I had post-mastectomy pain and frozen shoulder and thought I just had to put up with it but my breast care nurse referred me to physiotherapy and it made a huge difference. The general exercises we're given in a leaflet are good, but a physiotherapist can help you with exercises particularly to suit you and also help you cope with pain too. In fact, I think I felt considerably better when the pain was sorted because if you have a nagging pain or stiffness it's a constant reminder isn't it. Like you, I thought nothing was going to help, but it was just didn't know what was possible and I didn't have the answers myself and needed to get advice. Ring the helpline here, try your doctors, or your breast care nurse and they should be able to point you in the right direction like they did me. Even just sharing things on this forum helps - problem shared, problem halved etc. For example, reading your post has helped me know I'm not alone in how I've felt. Hope mine has helped you a bit too. 

Lucy51
Member

Accepting the change

I finished treatment just under 2 years ago. I had a very quick and easy time as only needed a mastectomy and HT after. I was supposed to have recon at the same time but there was a possibility it couldn’t be completed because of previous surgery on my stomach. When I woke up I was told they couldn’t go ahead so I had had a skin sparing mastectomy and reduction on the good side. 
I didn’t/couldn’t prepare myself for any of this and felt like I walked through it completely numb. Post surgery the emotion hit me like a brick and I’m still struggling. Since then covid has delayed a further attempt at recon but I am on the waiting list. 
Is it reasonable to still be struggling 2 years on? I find the smallest things upsetting and I’ve no interest in clothes or how I look and I still have post mastectomy pain.  I know all I have to do is accept it’s happened and move on as I can’t change any of it and I couldn’t avoid it but I find it so hard. 
I’m speaking to a counsellor once a week but I’m thinking of stopping. I think until I change how I feel and start to accept it nothing is going to help.