I too am in my late 50`s and just over 2 years on from diagnosis and eventful treatment with WLE Chemotherapay Radiotherapy and Herceptin.
The diagnosis for me was devastating and I moved dramatically from feeling invincible in a full time job,and trying to ensure the best treatment for my mum who was terminally ill with breast cancer to experiencing a complete loss of self confidence and inability to deal with any routine home admin for many months.
It took me a long time to feel comfortable in familiar social situations, & I decided at the end of a year off sick that I would retire. I unfortunately had very unsupportive employer who had divulged my diagnosis to all the staff against my expressed wishes - less than 24 hours from confirmation of my diagnosis.
Reflecting on events of the last 2 years, I feel that for a life changing diagnosis like Breast Cancer, loss of confidence can be a consequence of loss of control in one life. It is quite hard to adjust and then recover from a passive life which involves taking highly toxic drugs -even if they can be life saving.
On a positive note even I have to acknowledge that normality in life can be regained following treatment for cancer but it does take time. What I would say is don't expect too much of yourself, a phased return to work is a great opportunity to regain pre diagnosis normality.Treatment with Herceptin alone can make you very tired.I was really surprised to acknowledge just how much better I felt 6 months on from completion of Herceptin. Regular exercise has helped me enormously - starting with swimming 2 lengths of the pool and walking a few hundred yards 3 months post chemotherapy to swimming 3 miles in the pool per week & a weekly walk of 6 miles.
Take heart from those who have gone before - how you feel now is normal -you will recover but it will take time.
although I am still receiving Herceptin, the 'aggressive' treatment i.e surgery, chemo and radiotherapy is finished. I am struggling with my emotions and lack of confidence and have returned to work (phased return) I am 57yrs old and would love to hear from other women who have been there before me. Thanks Patsy