Hi oldspice - sorry I should have named you and given you the credit for recommending the Cancer Survivor’s Companion book, rather than saying “a lady recommended it”.
Hi everyone. So glad that so many of you have taken up my recommendation about the Cancer Survivors Handbook x
Hi Linda - that was kind of you to come back on and let me know, I’m glad you are finding it helpful - as I have. I think you start teaching again tomorrow. Sending you a big hug and lots of strength. It’s always hard going back to something after a break and I think my whole BC experience robbed me of some of my confidence - prob a mixture of hormones and Tamoxifen thrown in too for good measure too. If you feel like it, do pop back on and let us know how you get on tomorrow.
Just wanted to say I got the Cancer Survivor's Handbook on your recommendation and it's so good. Thank you, so much of it hits home to me. I also bought a copy for my neighbour who has just finished chemo and radiotherapy.
Thanks again - I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel now.
CorrieFan - please do not feel embarrassed by your earlier post, there was nothing to be embarrassed about and this forum is exactly the right place to come and offload. Here you will find lots of supportive non judgmental ladies, all totally understand where you are coming from. It already sounds like you have a plan - to get through the next 6 weeks of school then you have the summer holidays to rethink. Just remember we will all be with you on Monday as you go back into class - you won’t be alone, we will all be there virtually holding your hand. You can do it!
Hi CorrieFan - I'm so sorry to read your initial post and I feel the pain you're going through.
There's not a lot to add to what others have said. The only advice I would repeat is to give yourself time. I think going through this whole horrid journey makes us re-evaluate everything. There are quite often times, I still feel like I'm in a whirlwind and I'm just over 2 year on from diagnosis.
I would also add, always come on here - there will always be someone listening and very often able to respond.
This is the best thing to come out of my whole experience of breast cancer. A caring community of ladies been or going through the same as me!
Take care my lovely - remember you are one of the bravest people and you've done a truly amazing thing by kicking cancer's butt!! You are amazing xx
Oh ladies, you are all so kind! Thank you so much!
I felt a bit embarrassed by my outpouring earlier but I definitely needed to get it out. I think it's that thing of feeling like I "should" be able to cope because the worst is (hopefully!) over. But I have found going back to work so much harder than I expected. I suppose it's complicated by not really knowing how much is a result of the breast cancer and how much is just not wanting to do that job anymore. I've been overthinking everything and putting myself under a lot of pressure to come up with solutions instantly I think. If I can get through the next 6 weeks of school then it will be the summer holidays and I can regroup again hopefully. I turn 40 this year and I think subconsciously I hoped to be "sorted" by then but I realise I am lucky to be alive and need to be thankful. I think I just lost the plot a bit today and spiralled into really low self-esteem.
Nettie - all the best for your job application. You sound very together. I envy that although I'm sure you'll say you have your moments too. I'm so sorry you had to go through the cancer awfulness twice. I'm praying I never have a reoccurance, like we all do. Please let me know how you get on with the job.
Evie - Thank you so much for recommending the book. I will definitely check it out.
Paulus - You are right -I do need to figure out what I want. I'm trying but keep going round in circles! I will keep going and try to relax a bit in the mean time.
Holeinone - Thank you so much for posting first. It meant a lot to me and was a big help.
Honestly, you have all helped so much. Thank you xxx
I can very much relate to you, I was diagnosed 2nd time around with BC last November and had MX with immediately DIEP at the end of February. The op in itself is major trauma to your body (and mind) which our bodies need to recover from, on top of that you have your hormones all over the place (from the Tamoxifen and also the general anaesthetic) whilst trying to rebuild your life and face the day to day. It is good that you are getting counselling, I take anything offered to me this time around, counselling, physio and whatever else is going, 1st time around in 2005 I dashed straight back to work after lumpectomy and carried on working through my radiotherapy treatment. I had 5 years on tamoxifen and luckily only had minor side effects. I am also on phased return and working from home for now, my first day back was yesterday. I think my GP would have signed me off longer, she stated that my wounds might be healed but that does not mean the head is in the right place. I am also fortunate to have support from my employer. At the start of the journey I felt like you, to use my time off to find myself and come out a happier and a more content person. I don’t know why I thought I could change so much in such a short period of time? I also read these glamour stories, but this is real life and we have the here and now. The counselling helped with some aspects, some aspects I had to work out myself, I accepted I can’t change everything in only a few months when it took me years to get there. Give yourself more time to heal from inside out, hopefully the counselling will help. I yesterday posted my first application for a new position, not because I don’t like my current job or can’t face it, I thought about what I would really like to do for the next few years and I would like to ‘stretch’ myself a bit further and expand my knowledge so just went for it, this is my first job application in 13 years. Nothing might come out of it but there are options to explore and at least I can say that I tried. In the meantime I’ll return to the office in a couple of weeks, if I learned anything these last few months then that’s to be patient and listen to my body.
I hope you will find out what is right for you. I am on another hormone tablet now for the next 10 years and at the moment can’t complain about any side effects, we all react differently. Perhaps also keep your GP in the loop on how you feel and get on, mine is very supportive and understanding.
I send you hugs and be kind to yourself, we are our own worst critics xx
Hi CorrieFan - a big hug from me too. You’ve had 2 lovely replies and I too didn’t want to read and not reply.
I’m not sure if I can say anything to help, but I’m here to listen if you want to chat more (feel free on PM too if you prefer). I thought that I’d read in the info leaflet that Tamoxifen can cause anxiety etc, but can’t now see that in the leaflet with my drugs - but I know I’ve read about it on threads on here. I don’t know what age you are or if menopausal, but any changes in hormones could well be at least part of the reason why you are feeling as you do. I’ve been taking Tamoxifen now for 2 years and when I started my onc said that any side effects will be worst in the first few months then should settle - although for some people the side effects never do settle. I was speaking to another friend who was really suffering with menopause symptoms (she’s not had BC), feeling really anxious and had to get HRT to help her get on with life.
I agree with the other advice you have had. You have been through a lot and had your whole world and confidence shaken. It’s a very emotional time. I admire the fact that you are a teacher and have ever had the confidence to stand up in front of teenagers - they scare me at the best of times!
I think you will find counselling a real help. I have had some counselling and it did help me a lot. One lady recently recommended a book called “The Cancer Survivor’s Companion” by Frances Goodhart and Lucy Atkins. I have bought it and it’s very good, it reinforces what I have learned in my counselling sessions.
You need to know that what you are feeling is very very normal and you mustn’t beat yourself up about feeling as you do. Be gentle on yourself and imagine what you would say to your best friend if she sent you the message you posted on here. Perhaps you set the bar a bit too high to start with and should stop reading all those glossy magazines with all those stories that are making you feel inadequate. The very fact that you are a teacher and manage teenagers is a success story itself - as I have said, I admire you for that. I know several teachers who have felt just like you and have stopped teaching because of the pressure and red tape, and badly behaved teenagers. One friend has started private tutoring. Could you do that at least until you work out where your real passion lies?
Sorry, that was a bit longer than I planned. Please do chat more if that helps.
Big hugs coming your way 🤗
Sorry for your turmoil.
I am in my 60's and don't work - but I am wondering from all you write if you actually need more time off. When you can step away from thinking about BC, and go back to how you were feeling anyway? That you were already questioning if you wanted to continue in teaching? I am sure counselling will help you, but again, it will help you look at what you actually want - and what you don't want?
I think we all go through times of knowing exactly what we don't want, what makes us unhappy, what we want a change from - I certainly do, in fact in my personal life that is a permanent turmoil! But the hard bit always seems to be how to go about finding what it is that we actually do want, and how to practically and sensibly achieve it? The devil and the deep blue sea syndrome?
I don't think I've been any help - but I just wanted to say that I ' get it ' . . . . and wish you well.
Didn't want to read and run as you sounded so low
You have been through a lot lately, this whole journey strips you down to nothing then leaves you vulnerable. It takes time to build yourself back up to who you were before, it really does. All I can say to you at the moment is be kind to yourself and give it time. Your emotions are all over the place of course they are, you are human! You will be able to think straight in the near future, you will be able to cope again, you will!
I am sure more ladies will be along to offer advice or just a virtual hug, here's one from me (((hug)))
Take care x
I feel like I'm going mad so hoping someone, somewhere can help.
I have just gone back to work 3 months after mx (diep recon). My work have been really supportive and I couldn't ask for more. I'm a teacher and they have got me on a phased return - I don't start properly teaching until next Monday. For a year or so (since before dx) I have felt like I'd lost all passion for the job and started looking to move out of teaching. I tried to use my time off recovering from op to figure out what I want from life or what I could try to retrain to do. I tried to think of the time on sick leave as a positive to get my life in order and thought I would come out of it all a success story - like these women who set up charities or start businesses after cancer (you know - the kind of inspirational stories you read in nice magazines?!) I went round in circles and suddenly it was time to go back to work and nothing (and everything) had changed.
I am now back at work and feel so inadequate all the time. I'm starting to realise that I've maybe been fixating on changing career and hoping that will solve all my problems. But I feel so completely lost and depressed all the time, I drove home in tears today even though nothing bad had happened. I can't now even imagine getting any new job, let alone having the energy to do something well. On top of that, I now am terrified of actually teaching again, and feel convinced more than ever that I can't do the job I have and will never be able to get back to how I was. I don't know how I'm going to stand in front of hoards of teenagers again. Everything just feels like so much pressure and I feel sick inside emotionally. I just want to cry all the time.
It occurred to me on the way home that I have been taking Taxoxifen for about 6 weeks with no side effects that I've noticed. Could that be making me feel like this? I don't know whether to believe my feelings now? How do I know if it's really my feelings or just the tablets? I feel so, so lost and like I've lost control of my life and my emotions.
I have booked a counselling appointment for Friday but I feel like I need some sanity before then. Please help xxx