Big thank you, Jaybro Wonky & Lucy51. You really understand how I feel.
I didn’t intend any criticism of my friends. They have been a lifeline during treatment. But they have their troubles and I do my best to be a good friend.
Everyone tells me how well I look and it’s only those like you, who have been through this particular ordeal, who understand how the effects of breast cancer go on far longer than people imagine. I think I was trying to convince myself to cut myself some slack and stop pretending everything’s fine.
You’ve cheered me up with your posts. I hope that this (long) recovery goes well for you. It has taken me ages even to start posting again - I wanted to put a horrible year behind me. So thank you for hearing and responding.
Dorabel, such an articulate and honest post. It is truly shocking how isolating cancer can be. I lost my oldest friend because of the ignorance/ lack of empathy, which seemingly and sadly prevails.
I am completely with you on this, though I only finished treatment in June. Often I feel way older than I felt (I was a young 67) and spend a lot of each day dealing with side effects of HT as well as chemotherapy. I’m being sent for a second MRI as my oncologist cannot accept that what I’m experiencing started within the first week of chemo and, like yours, she accepts only the tingling fingers and toes. However, when you consider those poisons destroy tissue indiscriminately, surely it makes sense that not everyone’s tissue recovers at the same rate! I feel a bit insulted that the oncologist doesn’t accept that I know my own body but, hey, I get an extra MRI which is extra reassurance. However, it means more tension while waiting for results. Grrr.
I’m sorry about your friends. I’ve noticed that some friends are choosing to ignore the cancer now but I suspect that’s their kind way of moving me along (which I don’t actually need) and not reminding me of 16 months of mini-hell. I’d much rather people took it in their stride, accepted it’s always going to hover somewhere in the background but I can live with that, and just felt pleased I’m emerging the other side. It’s important to talk about it, isn’t it? But I guess we have to accept that things for us can never go back to ‘normal’ whereas their normal continues unbroken for now. We’re a bit different now but we are not outsiders. Could you select one friend and have a heart to heart? If they showed generosity and kindness during your illness, they sound like friends who would care to listen. As one of mine said when I apologised for asking for a lift yet again, “There’s little that is so important that it can’t be rearranged.” Maybe your friends seem preoccupied but you don't know if they’ll listen till you ask.
I’ve not cheered you up much but I suspect, like me, you don’t want to be cheered up right now. There’s a time of grieving and resentment, let alone anger, still to get through. Times like Christmas aren’t going to change that. I wish you well x
As I said, “I think cancer, and its treatment, has aged me.” to my GP I realised it was true. Earlier, when I’d asked the oncologist whether chemotherapy had messed up my insides and my joints, I was told, “Oh no, you just get a bit of tingling in your fingertips.”
Last year was treatment for cancer; this year has been treatment for the effects of treatment. My insides will never be the same again (will spare you the details). The arthritis has suddenly become unbearable and a knee replacement is booked for next March. All I can advise the oncologist is this: I hope he never has to find out from the inside.
So if I’m feeling a bit low at this dark time of the year, there are perfectly rational reasons: not just the ever-present terror of recurrence (is it arthritis or bone cancer?) but a battered body with practical difficulties to address every day.
BTW, my cancer is now an old story that is no longer to be raised among my friends. Their support during treatment was wonderful but we all move on and they have their own worries. It feels impolite to mention the C word.
It’s two years since my diagnosis and I wondered if others have similar experiences.