I've been following your thread and I can't get you out of my mind. I'm not sure how old you are, but I lived alone for 8 years prior to meeting and marrying my husband 15 years ago. There were long periods during that 8 years when I felt so alone and there would be weekends when I would literally speak to no-one until I went back into work on Monday morning. Friends were thin on the ground as they were all getting married and having children and I felt like no-one really cared. I thought that my problem was not being in a relationship but it was only after getting together with my husband and still feeling utterly rubbish I realised that I was suffering from depression. I finally saw a doctor and was prescribed some mild anti-depressants and was lucky enough to be given a course of CBT fairly quickly (certainly compared to how long people have to wait these days). As a result of my CBT course I am now able to manage my mental health much better - I am still prone to depression and anxiety but I now know the signs and I have developed various strategies to help me manage it.
I have been very grateful to have developed these skills in coping with my diagnosis and treatment. I am only a few weeks out of active treatment and intending to return to work in the New Year. I have noticed that I am starting to feel a bit more "me" but there is no way of knowing now how I am going to feel when I head back to work.
In the years since my diagnosis I have spoken to various people about managing mental health and a friend who is a clinical psychologist referred me to an online resource (which a lady I have met through my BC support group reminded me about she had to have counselling due to something that occurred during her treatment and she told me her counsellor had also referred her to this website).
The website provides a series of easy to follow worksheets/programmes to help to manage various mental health issues on your own without the need to see a counsellor which may help you to feel a bit better about yourself and life in general.
I really hope you start to feel better soon 🙂
Also catt, I hear and read other BC women say, on and off the Forum, or anyone basically having to go through such serious health issues, that you find out who your "true" friends are!!
It's a very unfortunate fact and truth, and another added difficulty we may have to deal with. But, yeh, let them know and give them a chance. I hope they come up trumps for you. Delly xXx
Hi again @catt57
I'm really disappointed to hear you're feeling very much on your own when it comes to your friends.
Have you told them that you are struggling?? and could do with some support, a bit of cheering up, with a night out etc.?? Otherwise they may be just "presuming" that you are coping??
I don't know if I've posted you this link before, but Jaybro introduced it a few years ago on the Forum, and I keep promoting it. If you haven't already read it, have a good read. Helps put a few things in perspective. Hope the link works, let me know if not.
Yeh, Covid's made things a lot more difficult for people dealing with serious health probs, and support networks. This Forum's a godsend, even though it's through the ether. Can't replace a good physical hug, and some one to one personal contact and support though sadly. So I hope you have more joy from your friends, darlin.
Sending you a big spesh Delly hug 🤗 X❤️❤️X
thank for your words it made me cry as I felt someone actually dose care, and it’s all the people on this site, they care , they are all true warriors I read loads of peoples stories and I just sob, I think it is going to take me a while mentally to get through this as I’m on my own to sort it out as everyone has moved on now, that I have had the op and all my treatment just about up to date so they don’t keep in touch like they use to it sort of feels like, this is going to sound morbid but I just feel as though I have died and now I’m forgotten about no phone calls nothing it’s awful and I still have so much going on with me I’m getting to a stage I just don’t care anymore, I’ve even tried to sort a night out with friends , but no everyone too busy with work kids etc plus this Covid has a lot to answer for it really dose, yet I can pop on here and people just like to chat about anything and everything, but here when I’m not in the forum I just go to bed early watch a bit tv sleep start my week again so I have a routine for what needs doing on what days and that’s me well and my cat when he wants cuddles but you take care love you loads.
Hi again @catt57
Glad to hear you've contacted your team, addressed and switched from exemastane. Hope you're better with the anastrozole. Also glad to hear you're trying anti-depressants. Hope they help too.
Pleeease don't beat yourself up so much. Pleeease DON'T "expect" too much of yourself so SOON. This is such a HUGE massive thing to have to deal and cope with.
Our bodies are quite amazing at dealing with, and recovering well, from the "physical" ops. Not so great with the ongoing drug effects.
But NO-one seems to, or CAN prepare us for how it's going to affect us MENTALLY. THAT is likely to take a lot longer to recover from, darlin girl.
Don't be so HARD on yourself. You need to be GENTLER and more patient with yourself and your MIND. Took me 5 yrs to feel more settled with it all. I literally did a leap in the air, outside the hospital, after I came away from my 5 yr check and being signed off (wish someone had taken a photo of me/it!! 😃). I'm good after 14 yrs. Yet I still come on here, and read about women who unfortunately have recurrences after 10, 14, 20 odd years later.
Yes, it can and does happen. My attitude, with 14 years, is, if it happens, it happens, and I'll deal with it if, or when, it does. But, we can't live the rest of our lives fully, if we are constantly "in fear" of it returning. It may NEVER happen.
You need to GIVE/ALLOW yourself some GENTLE time with it all. Easier once you've finished all your treatments.
I may have come on a bit strong with you, in my original (deleted) post, suggesting/advising you to contact your team that you were struggling with Exemastane, and suggesting you sounded/were depressed (even though you said you weren't), and perhaps asking for antidepressants to hopefully give you a "lift". But you did. GOOD!
Hope they all help. Anti-depressants? You may only need them temporarily, until, with a bit of time, you feel stronger again in yourself and get that "Can Be Bothered" back. Which I'm SURE you WILL do. Just give it time, and be gentle on/with yourself, hey. And do KEEP posting on here.
Loads of love to you, Delly X❤️X
I am working very, very hard to come to terms with the new me - a lot of it is down to how I view myself. My hair has now grown enough not to need wearing a hat, but the hat has sort of become a part of me, as well as something to hide behind/in.
My neighbour rang this morning asking me if I fancied going for a coffee, later on. I so did not want to say yes, but I did - I pushed myself and yes, once there I enjoyed it. I think half of the battle with me is getting ready and making that move. I can always think of a million reasons as to why 'not' to do something, and once you go down that road it becomes harder to move out of that self-inflicted safety zone.
I think I am lucky in that I do not dwell on cancer itself, there is nothing I can do about what is, and if it should return I will have to fight that battle as and when - but I do feel lost/sad/angry at what it has taken from me. Maybe at 64 I should have known/expected been told I would not be the same person, but like you, I was an independent strong person getting on with life and in my own way enjoying it even with all of its ups and downs.
I am working to deal with the changes the reality being there is NO going back the old me has gone. I am a fighter heck I create things from bits and pieces for my crafts - so surely I can create a new me😀 and one that I like.
I wish you all the best in your own fight - remember you are not alone in your feelings, it is not your fault or your doing.
We will both get there and just think the new 'us' will contain NO botox😁
Lots of HUGE hugs, Poppy, wine gums and the moglets.
you brought tears to my eyes, reading your reply, yes I do feel I have lost the old me , and yes I had loads of energy to do all my chores and still go to work etc but I too feel cheated as though someone has moved or hidden my puzzle piece which I would love to find , I feel cheated on a lot of things in my life where as now I’m just a shell moving about now and again, I am just an emotional wreck at times, I’m not the strong person I use to be I feel a failure to myself I have let me down I do hope all goes well for you and you find your puzzle piece as for the Letrozole I had bad reactions to that so I’m now on Anastrozole which has worked better for me .
Sending HUGE HUGS back and lots of love ❤️❤️❤️❤️ CATT57
Hi again @catt57 and everyone
I scrapped most of my previous post. Thought I'd send these instead to give YOU, and ALL of us some cheer😄 ❤️ And just say I hope you're "Can't be bothereds" turn into "CAN be bothered" SOON, catt.
I'm delivering more today, to other threads I subscribe to, on this lovely Forum. Can't possibly get round the whole of it, so perhaps you could also pass them on to your friends on other threads that YOU all subscribe to.
I love them at this time of the year. Such beautiful and spectacular flowers.
Lots of love to everyone, Dellypoos x❤️x
What lovely advice from Jan and Poppy.
I can relate to feeling utterly hopeless and just not wanting to step out of the house at times. Sometimes we only do things because of a “need” but when that “need” isn’t there, it’s hard to do things just for you.
I would very much endorse reaching out to Maggie’s they were my saviours and also talking to people in this forum: as I’ve said many times already on here, there is no substitute for talking to ladies who have actually been through what you are going through.
My advice would be to take small steps and try to find little changes you can make eg if you listen to a particular radio station, turn it over and put another one on, try and just do something to break your daily routine.
You could also try journaling: I started when I got my diagnosis and it is a really really helpful way to offload your thoughts. I’m currently using mine to help me create a new routine now I’m out of active treatment: I write in it in the mornings with some reflections on the day before and a tick list of good positive things I did, then write a (very short!) to-do list (it also helps to remember what I need to do (yet again my household has run out of clean underwear 🤣))
Another suggestion would be to try doing something you haven’t done for a long time: during previous mental health struggles I’ve picked up knitting which I learned as a child and started playing the piano again (not quite sure how that comes across but my point is doing things from a long time ago felt like reawakening bits of my brain that had fallen into disrepair after not being used in so long)
Most importantly however is don’t beat yourself up about how you are feeling, you are going through one of life’s toughest experiences, it doesn’t matter how it affects other people and what they do and how they feel (you have no control over that) what matters is how you feel, and if today isn’t a good day, so what tomorrow is a new one
Lots of hugs
You didn’t say where you are in your treatment schedule so it’s hard to say ‘Oh that’s a chemo side effect”. I feel like that much of the time and there is so much I used to do that is too much of a hassle so it doesn’t get done. I no longer enter writing competitions, no longer knit, I can’t embroider as I have peripheral neuropathy and can’t hold a needle - those were my passions. I even have the new Jack Reacher book at the side of the bed and can’t be arsed to read it.
Depression? No, I have long experience of that and I take an SSRI. However, I know the winter blues will still come. This is something different that is like a brain fog and mine stems from utter fatigue. Cancer fatigue is very different from common or garden fatigue; it’s not tiredness, it’s utter apathy. So the best thing you can do is ring your breast care nurse so you can at least talk about it. She may come up with bouncy ideas like going for a brisk walk (most bones in my feet hurt, I’m breathless after a few yards), but she may also come up with alternatives like tiny steps towards rediscovering yourself. She may also know of some food supplements that might help. It’s so easy to lose yourself to cancer.
Do you have any friends you could confide in? I’m on permanent chemo now and the fatigue is awful but I do get some good or ok days. One of my friends picks me up to go out for a coffee on a Sunday morning. It’s amazing how being part of the real world can lift your spirits, ordinary people enjoying themselves and not sitting anxiously awaiting their turn at the hospital. Do you have a car and are you able to drive right now? Even if you get in the car with your coat over your pjs, you can drive to a beauty spot when the sun’s out and just look around at what you’re missing. Then you might wish you didn’t have your bunny slippers on so you can;t breathe in that fresh air - next time, you get dressed, if not made up. I can’t remember when I last wore makeup!
Is there a Maggie’s Centre you can access? You can just walk in and talk to someone in a private area. They are so familiar with all this, they are bound to have some ideas. I wouldn’t recommend the Moving Forward course while you feel like this but there may be support groups online - I’ve found them the most prolific source of ideas. You might also consider turning the tables and using your experience to respond to others who post on here (if you don’t already). ‘Passing it on’ is a good way to raise your self esteem. Another thing that occurs to me is logging into Futurelearn where there are thousands of free courses which put you under no obligation at all. You might find something catches your eye and stimulates your brain - the one on Colour was amazing. The one on Ancient Rome, you could jump inside an oculus and investigate the reconstructed temple! It’s not for everyone but there may be something (and you can do it in bed). The point is, the more you get in touch with people and places beyond Cancerworld, the more likely it is you’ll rediscover yourself - changed but still you.
I’m rambling again. I wish you all the best,
Yes, and yes - I have to push myself really hard especially as I live alone and there is NO pressure on me to do anything.
I do crafts (booked my 1st fair at the end of Nov) since my treatment ended - but that said I had to really dig deep to make the phone call as well as to keep going. There are days I simply cannot find that reserve (I was not really like this before cancer). I cannot say why I am like this my treatment finished in April but there is a definite lethargy both physically and mentally.
I know some of it is down to my hair being slow to grow back and I have put some weight on being on letrozole, I look in the mirror and at times I truly dislike myself or the 'self' I have become - which stops me wanting to go out at times.
Also being diagnosed has changed my outlook on a lot of things, does it matter if I don't hoover every day, wash the pots or whatever else once seemed important to do. I think we sort of become withdrawn more private, maybe we are protecting ourselves no one tells you how to cope/feel after your treatment has finished.
The most important thing is time - give yourself time to heal on all counts, but to be aware of slipping into a deep depression which can happen the longer we let ourselves slide.
I do find the loss of the old me sad I was in denial at first these days I accept she has gone never to return but it still stings don't know about you but I feel cheated and robbed.
I know others will be along there are members more equipped to explain better...
Just know you are not alone, it is not your doing.
Being on here and talking about it has helped me a lot I hope you find likewise support.
Lots of HUGE Hugs
Is that your cat in the photo/avatar with your name? He/she looks gorgeous. Very sleek. I'm a huge cat lover.
I'm soo very sorry you are struggling so much, darlin
Lots of love to you, Delly x❤️x
dose anyone have the same problem , can’t be bothered in going out, can’t be bothered in doing your hair etc, hate it when you have to go out for an appointment so you have to get dressed etc, just totally no energy or get up and go, just feel lost and lonely , I need help from you guys on ideas to make me kick butt and get things in order, and no I’m not depressed just no get up and go energy levels low .
Love & Hugs CATT 57 Xxxx