I just wanted to say your stories ring a lot of truths with me.
The angry and frustration and weight gain and follow-up care and work situations!!!!
I am nearly 2 years post diagnosis and I'm still mentally recovering and I think I always will be.
I'm also going to the younger womens residential in Edinburgh and I'm so looking forward to it.
Has anyone else found themselves more tearful, like at TV and silly stuff?
Anytime ladies, sometimes you just need to get it all out and stop putting the 'I'm so happy cause I'm meant to be' face on. KAM80 with the reconstruction, do what's right for you, that's all that matters.
Survivor78 - It's now all about the work/life balance for me, I hope you do take some of your advice and find a balance too.
You guys should def meet up and go to the groups. Strength in numbers and all that! Please let me know how you get on x .
Ladies, just wanted to write and thank you all for your support yesterday. Today I have had a tear free happy day! The first in a couple of weeks. I made a big decision today and I have taken up the offer of a part-time job with a friend and plan to tell my boss I'm leaving on Monday (much sooner than he or I expected). My friend owns her own company had been saying to me for months that she could offer me part-time work, today I swallowed my pride, accepted that it's OK to have a life and I met with her and discussed the possibility of starting with her. I start a week on Monday enough time to finish up at my current place and pull together my handover.
I'm going to work part-time for her while I look for a new full time job in the same sector but a different role. Her offices are much closer to my house which means no more commuting in to city centre and more opportunity to actually get to the gym and shift the two stone I gained during chemo. I feel like such a weight has been lifted and that I'm actually doing something to help myself.
I've accepted that it's OK to want a life work balance and that it doesn't mean that I'm not ambitious, it's just that I've got a different type of ambition now. I like, some of you, live in fear that the cancer might come back, and I've made the decision that I'm not prepared to spend anymore of my life (however long or short it may be) apologising or feeling bad about myself for wanting to work less and enjoy more. I'm not naive enough to think that this will be the end of my dark days completely, I'm sure they will still be there lurking when I least expect them, but at least for today I feel more positive than I have done since I stopped my hospital treatment.
KAM80 gutted that your not closer and can't attend, but please, please sign up for one in your area, I'll write back and let you know how I get on after the 8th March.
Think it's great that you are going to the awareness evening, good for you! I hope you get the support and answers to your concerns there and make the right decision for you. Please keep us posted how you get on.
As for the stress - make sure you keep it at bay, work to live and take time for yourself. I'm learning slowly the hard way.
Please stay in touch and I wish you all every happiness - goodness knows we deserve it after what we've gone through.
Lizalou, thank you so much for such a positive and inspirational story. Congratulations on your miracle boy! It's nice to hear such a positive story. I did IVF in between surgeries and chemo, but hope that if IVF doesn't prove successful that we will be able to adopt (although I've not looked in to the situation having had cancer and 55% chance of it coming back yet... I've got enough stress!).
Surviver78 my work situation is complicated as I was made redundant last year and was taken on by my previous boss in a freelance capacity... If I'm honest my hearts not in the job anymore and I feel like it's time for a change, I just hope the laws which are in place protect me when I apply for new roles. I feel I've changed so much as a result of my diagnosis and I don't want to work 60+ hours a week which is what is expected in my line of work.
KAM80 I'm attending the Scottish forum on 7/8th of March in Edinburgh. I would really encourage you to sign up to one in your area, I went to a focus group a few months ago run by BCC (to provide feedback on how we as young women are treated and the level of support we are given) it was good to speak with like minded women who were experiencing similar issues to me. If you go into the Younger women and families pages there's a thread for peeps who are concerned about signing up. You should have a look.
Agree at what you are saying about no matter what age you go through this makes it any easier, but as we both agree being younger brings additional pressures or stresses. I wouldn't wish this diagnosis on my worst enemy. Chemo almost killed me last year, I've never been so ill in my life and as for the emotional scars it's left, nothing could have prepared me for this!
I can totally understand being terrified by the op, and understand your concerns. But speak to them and see if they can put you in touch with other patients to ask the questions you might have?
Good Luck Ladies, keep in touch.
This thread has rung so many bells with me - I was 28 when diagnosed in Feb 2007. I had been married less than two years. By the time I finished treatment I was about to get divorced and was then told I couldn't have children. I was absoutely devastated and in some ways found the family thing as hard to deal with as cancer because it felt, as you said, like my life had been totally wrecked.
Seven years (tomorrow!) on I am living with my partner of 5 years and our beautiful, naturally conceived, enormous surprise of a 2 year old son. I have mild lyphodema and a bit of back ache from having a fake one and real one but apart from that I feel like me. BUT... I don't think that the emotional stress and strain can be underestimated at all, be kind to yourselves. You're not failures in any way - it would be weird not to be bloody angry about all this. It is horrible, it isn't fair and it's not the way anyone would choose their life to go. I found counselling helped - going back to work for me was one of the toughest times.
I got through treatment, thought I was fine, went back to a high stress job and fell apart a bit as I didn't want to admit to anyone that I was struggling to put it all behind me as I felt everyone just wanted me to get on with my life and shut up about it all. Talking to someone who didn't love me or even know me helped - it made me realise it was totally normal and I'd been through something horrendous. When you say it out loud you think of course I'm struggling this is awful!!!
The fear comes back from time to time, every ache and pain is a big deal - mine was 14/25 nodes affected, an 8cm tumour, HER+++ hormone neg so no tamoxifen but mine had a high chance of recurrence and so far so good. Just take it a day at a time and don't put pressure on yourselves to be super human - you're already amazing
Survivor 78, I've replied to KAM 80, but the same goes. I do think being younger adds, my mother in law was diagnosed 3 months before me, she had surgery and radio, and was retired and owned her own house, she's late 60's. She didn't need to worry about how she would pay her mortgage, whether a family would ever be possible, how she was going to go back to work, whether she'll ever get a mortgage again, how future employers will react.... Of course she lives in the same fear that the cancer might come back... but she doesn't share the same pressures I feel. Being younger brings its own issues. x
KAM 80, reading your story I can identify massively. I was diagnosed last Jan, 11 months before my wedding and we had planned to have a family this year. Cancer put paid to that plan when I had to undergo surgery chemotherapy and radio. I decided not to take tamoxifen as I was a borderline case for it, so I can't sypthise about the tamoxifen, but my mood swings, hot flashes and weight gain have been awful - as I'm now post meanupasual.
I feel the same dispair and anger your feeling about your life being tipped upside down, only I describe mine as someone took a wrecking ball last year smashed it right through my life and now I'm sitting in the middle of the debrie trying to work out who I am, where I'm going in life and what I'm going to do.... My friends were great while I was 'sick' but peoples perceptions are difficult to manage (I find) they think because youve been discharged your hairs coming back and your back at work your well. They don't realise the scars your experiencing mentally have just shown themselves and so they continue on with their lives (as they should, don't get me wrong I'm not saying they should hault everything for me) not realising the daily pain and suffering you are going through.
I know the feeling about friends having children, my best friend had a baby while I was going on chemo and kept making comments about 'by the time I have children' as if this is a lifestyle choice I've chosen... We already have a dog and I do find him a massive comfort as sometimes the fact I have to walk him forces me to get out of my PJ's and take him out.
People don't get that I've just fought tooth and nail for my life. I've gone back to work and I have no motivation for it, I work in a fast paced, client driven environment working to deadlines - everyone wants a peice of me and I've simply got nothing left to give. Yesterday it came to a head and I sat down with my boss and we both agreed this isn't working. I've decided to look for another role which doesn't require so much of my life and that I don't have to work 60+ hours a week. And while part of me felt relief the other part of me felt like a failure, I was succesful and career driven before Cancer, now I don't seem to have drive for much.
With regards to the ache and pain. I totally understand that. I've had some bad pain in my ribs before Christmas and I was terrified it had spread to my bones, my nurse kept trying to tell me it was nothing and then the anger took over and I demanded an appointment at the breast unit. What gets me is once I'd had the surgery, chemo and radio no-ones done any scans to check that we definetely got it all. If one more nurse says to me, 'your cancer free' I will scream. My response to that was YOU don't know that because I've not had any scans and I've not had my first of my 6 month scans. I also don't understand why they don't scan you post treatment, espeically in my case because the cancer had start to spread and was in 3 of my lymphnodes, I was told that chemo was for the rouge cells, well what if a rouge cell wasn't obliterated by the chemo? I've to just wait and see???
With regards to your appearance - I'm with you on that too, I put on 2 stone (I just got my wedding pics back 2 stone heavier, most brides loose weight not me). I can't loose anything and am knowingly comfort eating when the depression takes hold, so not even trying to help myself in that department. My hair is less than an inch in length and I have scars under my arms and across my chest (I didnt need a full mastectomy) and now have Lymphodema starting in my arm, my hand is so fat I struggle to hold my pen to write as a result of the swelling.
I wondered have you thought about reconstruction? I don't know if it would help you any? But you are allowed to change your mind and can have it done even a year after, my aunt did it this way. Also there are other hormone drugs you could potentially try? Have you spoken to your oncologist about the side effects? Have you been to the moving on sessions run by breast cancer care? I've signed up but can't get in till May. I've also registered on the Young womens forum and hoping to meet some like minded women my own age who maybe understand a bit more about what I'm going through.