@Shae - thank you so much for reassuring me, and I’m very glad I didn’t put my foot in it and upset you. You didn’t over explain, it is always interesting to learn more - and your experience may well help others reading your post. 🤗 Evie xx
@Evie-S Not at all! I sometimes over-explain things so people understand where I'm coming from and why 🙂 xx
@Shae - I wanted to apologise to you if my question upset or offended you at all. Reconstruction is a very personal decision; I wasn’t passing any comment or judgment and I didn’t mean to pry, I was just curious as I got the impression from your message that you had wanted it. But I’m glad you are happy with your prosthesis now. Evie xx
" I wonder why your consultant said no to an implant - I had a mastectomy and an implant about 4 years ago and would be happy to share any info if I can help at all."
The reason that I can't have a straight forward implant or expander put in is because they couldn't conserve a lot of the skin, as my cancer had spread from the tumour to the skin, tissue, and ducts. I also had radiotherapy after my surgery, which makes the skin lose its elasticity and the area where the surgery took place has bonded to the chest wall. I wasn't offered immediate recon during my mastectomy because of Covid and, due to other health issues, I am at a higher risk of infection, so straightforward implants are out because. I've spoken to a few specialists about this now. That leaves me with two other options, both of which will require movement of a muscle and using skin and fat to make the breast. There is also a possibility of the fat used for the breast getting reabsorbed into the body, which would mean more surgery to get the breast symmetrical again.
I've spent a year considering all of this though and to be honest, I don't want more surgery, more scars, and more downtime. I'm happy with my prosthesis for now. 🙂
Thank you for posting. I feel the same. I had DCIS diagnosed in Dec 20. I opted for a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. I had no symptoms and my DCIS was picked up at a top to toe health check which my employer had sent my Team for. I have up until recently felt nothing but gratitude for the check and the treatment I received. I have had a great recovery, but emotionally I am not myself. I feel angry, the littlest of things makes me cross. I resent others for not understanding what it’s like. All of which I know is not me.
I don’t know who I am anymore. My colleague in work keeps asking if I ‘have hit the dip yet’. I was determined not to do this, but I think it’s here. I’ve been exercising like mad, I think I’m punishing my body in a way - it’s crazy.
I think I need someone to talk to who has lived experience, I can’t open up.
I hope you reach out to someone Macmillan, Maggie’s.
@Shae - Sherry, I just read your post and wanted to send you a big hug. I think everyone can relate to many of your comments, especially about other people thinking you are done and finished once treatment is over. Have you seen this article?https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-wha...
I am very sorry to read about your relationship breaking down mid chemo, that is horrible but clearly he didn’t deserve to be with you. I think your friend’s comments about reconstruction were rather insensitive - but others who haven’t been through it often say the wrong thing by accident. I wonder why your consultant said no to an implant - I had a mastectomy and an implant about 4 years ago and would be happy to share any info if I can help at all.
You are very wise to cut out negative people. My very wise mother in law says that we should meet up with people who “top up our batteries” rather than draining them. It’s great that you have kept your sense of humour, but I wonder if your friends don’t realise how you are really feeling when you make jokes. I can really relate to that as I do much the same, I don’t really like to open up to many people so I find this forum very much easier to share my thoughts. You are never alone with this forum. Big hugs, Evie xx
Reading all of your messages this morning made me cry because I have been feeling the same and it seems only those who have gone through it understand. Also, apologies if this turns into a small novel.
I was diagnosed last February with a grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. Went through my 6 cycles of chemo from April through July, was hospitalized for a week when I got e. Coli (a takeaway salad nearly took me down), had a single mastectomy and node clearance in August, then finished with radiotherapy last November. I had to go through treatment alone because of covid, as we all have. I had a relationship of 4 years that I thought was stable and he left me mid-chemo.
I remember that last day of radiotherapy. The nurse said "your all done" and I walked out of the room to go get changed, sat in the changing room and cried. No bell ringing, no one to celebrate with. I felt a mix of emotions. There was relief, panic, sadness, and this feeling of being set adrift. I felt shell shocked! But I was the one who made jokes about my situation, tried to make others laugh, and made the most of things through my treatment.
I think what made it worse was that my friends and family acted like it was all over, done and dusted, and now I could just get back to normal. In reality, my body was battered, I felt mentally broken, and now that my focus was no longer on the fight, I had time to really let it all sink in. I have no family here aside from my 22-year-old son, who was a blessing through it all, and my ex-husband, who stepped in and got me to every appointment I had to get to. The rest of my family and friends live in the States. I don't really have close female companions. I work from home and was a bit of a recluse before covid.
Since then, I have had my good and bad days. I already had fibromyalgia and all of the treatment caused me to have more frequent and painful flareups. I've officially started menopause, am tired all of the time, have limited arm/shoulder movement, numbness where the surgery was done, neuropathy in my hands, and have become clumsy as all hell.
What brought me here today was that I had a conversation with a friend about deciding not to have reconstruction done. After talking to the surgeon I found I couldn't just have a simple implant put in. I would have to have a muscle from the back shifted to the front, skin taken from my abdomen along with some fat to make the breast, and 3 months of downtime. My friend said, "Well what if you decide to start dating again? Having a massive scar and no boob will put people off". It made me feel like crap. However, I am standing by my decision. I will be 52 in a couple of weeks, have no interest in dating right now because I need to focus on myself, and if someone doesn't want to be with me because I only have one boob, then they don't need to be in my life! I have a prosthetic boob...deal with it. Maybe I'll stick a squeaker in there just to freak people out. It kind of made me spiral a bit because I started thinking about my appearance and how no one would want to be with someone who had all of these medical issues.
Friends and family just don't get it but you ladies do! The feeling of isolation even when you are with others, having to deal with people who think you should be bouncing right back to your old self after treatment. And even then, I find some ladies who have BC who kind of shame others because they worked through their treatment and exercised daily and are now running a 2k marathon, etc. I get winded just getting my damn knickers on in the morning!
We get good and bad days. It's ok. It's normal. Don't let anyone make you feel like there is something wrong with you because your recovery is different or harder or taking longer. I've started cutting negative people out of my life in the past month and it feels good. Sending you all some huge virtual hugs! I wish it could be in person because I honestly miss not having close female buddies who all support each other.
So sorry to hear you are feeling so desperate right now. 😢 Cancer is so cruel and I for one thought after my treatment had finished I would start to feel better again..... how wrong was I!!
I have been struggling since I wrote the message on here tbh. Recently I called Macmillan because my feelings were so overwhelming I found myself not copying at all. Feeling lost, empty with no confidence or self esteem. Paranoid my fiancé doesnt see me in a sexual way anymore and would prefer to look at other women. I feel inadequate and ugly.
You are not alone. 💕
macmillan have been amazing, they have arranged an assessment with BUPA to see if I qualify for counselling and what support they can offer to help me feel better again. I should be hearing from them soon.
My days are very up and down too.
Have you reached out to Macmillan?
Im the same as you, I’m pushing my partner away because I’m resenting him for no reason at all. I suppose it’s because I don’t think he sees me as an attractive sexual women anymore. I hate what I see when I look in the mirror too. My hair is growing but my lashes have since fallen out again due to Letrozole. That doesn’t help as they frame your face and made me feel more attractive and like my old self.
Have a read of the other replies I received on here. Some links and articles are worth a read.
Never give up, I’m not going too.
We have family and children that love us... that’s worth getting well for.
it’s a struggle I know.
Always here Louise x
I've just come on here to find some support and found your message.
I can relate to how you feel. I finished my treatment in February too and since then my mental health has spiraled out of control!
I was diagnosed stage 3 triple positive in August 2019. 7 round of chemo, mastectomy, Radiotherapy and 18 lots of herceptin and pertuzamab.
Since finishing my mental health has dramatically dropped. I've become something I never thought was possible.
I totally loathe myself right now. I don't recognise myself at all. Mentally and physically. I have an amazing wife who I adore and I KNOW she adores me too and yet I've got into self destruct mode and I'm pushing her away.
It's like I feel she could be happier elsewhere. There is no way she deserves the treatment I'm giving her right now.
We have 4 beautiful children and yet I'm not here for them. My mind is elsewhere, all the time..
I have stupid thoughts all day long that just become overwhelming. I'm pretty sure it all comes down to having a low self esteem and anxiety but I have no control.
My gp has put me on Sertraline but I'm only on day 3. I'm on the list for talking therapies too. I just want to feel well again.
How are you getting on? Have you found any help?
Sending you a virtual hug and sorry that you are feeling so low. If you read the first paragraph of your message again as if you were speaking about someone else you'd see what a really rough, tough, long and frightening experience you've gone through (if that makes sense). And it's been all through lockdown as well. If I'd had half as tough a time of it as you have had, I'd feel the same. My treatment was pretty straightforward and went smoothly and yet I didn't feel great at the end of it - felt more like a old battered boat left adrift in the sea. It's still early days in your recovery, only February that you finished active treatment which isn't very long seeing as the trauma you've been through . You're may be being hard on yourself by expecting to be feeling grateful. Give yourself time to rest and to begin to recover. Do you feel able to talk to your fiancé, family or friends about how you are feeling or ring the nurse helplines here, your breast care nurse or places such as Maggies Centres for support or counselling? Don't suffer alone. I've found Maggies Centres very supportive - they really understand. Others here will reply with their suggestions of what has helped them get through this time. This forum is open 24/7 as well. You will get your spark back but you can't rush yourself. Be kind and caring towards yourself and ditch those high expectations. There is a good, but long article that's often recommended on this forum called 'After the treatment's finished - then what? by Dr Peter Harvey (Consultant Clinical Psychologist). I still read my copy from time to time.
Look after yourself
When you think about it, you have had a huge emotional and physical assault on yourself through the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and, having been under the protective care if the hospital, suddenly you’re let loose. But instead of freedom, we feel insecure and uncertain. It’s hardly surprising your feelings are so jumbled. I’ve provided a link to an excellent article I originally read when a nurse posted it here - it really should have a permanent and prominent home as it’s so helpful.
One thing I learnt was the cancer felt very isolating, assuming my loved ones and friends could never understand as they’ve never ‘had cancer’. It was a wrong assumption. There may be one level you can’t connect on but, as your world gets wider again and you begin to think more about other things and other people besides those in Cancerworld, you realise that life just goes on. It’s a bit different (but it would be if you’d had an accident or something) and your experience is a bit different, but you find your feet and move on as a new cancer-free woman. It IS moving ON, it’s not going back.
It’s perfectly timed with the gradual lifting of the pandemic restrictions so maybe start by visiting a local beauty spot to just enjoy the joys of Spring and move on from there. You’ll soon find the new Louise who is likely to be a lot of the old one, with an added touch of unpleasant life experience and gratitude to be back on your feet. I hope you find the article helpful. All the best xx
Hi Ladies I finished my treatment in mid February this year.
Diagnosed July last year with Grade 3 breast cancer and had 6 months of chemo followed by surgery then 15 cycles of radiotherapy. I had to stop chemo after a few months due to sepsis and being seriously poorly, (in hospital for 7 weeks).
My treatment was a success margins good extra, however I feel so very sad!!
why am I not grateful for being here??
I feel tearful, irritable and very low mood.
I started Letrozole 5 weeks ago too. The only way I can describe how I feel is ....
empty, lost, inadequate, wound up, sad and low mood. I feel like I’ve lost who I was, lost my identity and the Louise I once knew.
I was a confident, happy and sociable butterfly. I felt adequate!
will this feeling ever go away?
I have distanced myself from my Fiancé for what reason I don’t know. I resent him I suppose for not wanting me like he did before I got diagnosed. I am craving to feel wanted again.