Welcome to the forums.
As well as the forums we also have a support helpline where the staff can offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.
You're so not alone...I had a Mastectomy in January last year and I also have Graves Disease...I had complications and infections which resulted in me rejecting 2 implants and 6 further ops later, I had LD Flap op which took a muscle from my back...Although I am mostly ok now, I am not completely rebuilt, I am still waiting for a couple of touch up ops and a match to my other breast, but seeing as I have been through so much, they are leaving me alone for a year..
I had started a new job and was prmoted, despite having Cancer, but ude to the unforseen complications, I lost my job in may, am guessing through to needing time off...I was gutted...I lost my looks, my job, my house and nearly everything in it..and of course, my breast...So I am too going though a similar process of grieving for my old life..
I alslo look at old pictures of myself and in the mirror and the 2 images do not tally in my mind..and though people kindly say I am still me, the same person, I fear I am not..I can barely look at underwear in shops, which I used to love and no matter what I wear, I'm still not happy with the way I look..I can't explain why..
I'm much better than I was, it does get easier..I think I am just gutted at them saying I would simply lose my breast, get a new one and a few months on they would fix the other one and promised me the boobs of a 20 year old...I was quite superficially appeased by this, being 48 at the time, I am now 49..But, it wasn't quite like that..My thyroid started playing up and I took a lot longer to heal, kept getting infected and so my new boobs are a long way off, but I can't quite move on, as I am reminded of that damned cancer everyday...I just want to put it all behind me and carry on, but my scars, both front and back are pretty severe and I feel incomplete...unfinished...I know I am lucky to have beaten it and to still be alive..and I do feel it..in a way...but also not..
I guess it's swings and roundabouts...I get better being busy and try not to think about it..I have days where I don't think about or dwell on it all...(those are good days!) and days where I just wish the world would swallow me up and I just cry and cry and cry..But I write them off as bad days...tomorrow's another..
I don't quite feel ready to grab my life back..I'm a strong woman, thankfully..but for some reason, I find it difficult to get over..so no...you're not alone...and am pretty sure there are many, many others like us...We are lucky, we live to tell the tale, but that doesn't mean we're not affected...We will come to terms with it, when we're ready...and then move on...it's what we do...I so hope yoour time comes quickly...and mine xxx
Trust me Nanny Sal, EVERTHING you are feeling and experiencing, is entirely normal.
You get no medal for soldiering on by yourself with BC and remember, even though some appear to be going great guns, who knows what happens when they are at home or work!
Hide away here for a bit, we don't mind 🙂
Hi Nanny Sal
There is nothing pathetic about how you are feeling at all. It's a normal reaction to a totally abnormal situation! Your body and brain have been to hell and back and that is bound to catch up with you at some point.
In the grand scheme of life after BC, it is still early days for you in my view. I am 5 years post DX now and I can tell you, that exactly 3 years after my DX, i hit a massive brick wall (which then took 2 years to recover from!). For me, I had been in denial and had lots of surgey and reconstruction issues to cope with. Then I HATED my body, wouldnt look at it and that impacted on how i felt about myself and work performance - in fact my whole life really.
You are absolutely grieving for your old life and who wouldn't? It is part of the recovery process, we have to grieve and mourn that old life, in order for us to take steps to feel comfortable with the 'new normal' which so many people talk about and that takes TIME.
Don't worry about those on line who appear to be doing so well.. I did that too and it made me feel worse. In truth, we all deal with the after effects of this hideous disease in our own way and we don't really know what goes on behind closed doors. For all we know, those who seem to be coping well, may well be having meltdowns in the bath each night..
Your nearest and dearest (unless they have walked a mile in your shoes) will never be able to empathise properly, but a counsellor who is trained to listen to the issues which we face, may be a better option? A counsellor won't be able to fix the lympodema or the hot flushes, you can rant and express your TRUE feelings and they won't be shocked or upset.
Things will get better and you are not alone with your feelings. They are all perfectly valid and to be expected, considering what you have been through.
Please don't worry. I am exactly the same. I try to feel positive that I've so far survived this but awful that I look and feel so different. It's what they call the 'New Normal' didn't really understand what that meant before as I was so focused on finishing treatment and getting back to 'normal' but you don't - it is a 'new normal'. Day at a time.
Hi Nanny Sal
I hear you 🙂 you are honestly not alone, I am 3 years from dx and have just returned from my mamogram so nervous times ! When I finished treatment in september 12 I had a bit of a up surge I think it was the relief of active treatment being over, but I did have quite a slump about 18 months to 2 years after dx, I also have lymphodema in the breast and arm and totally understand about the sleeve dressing everyday you have a constant reminder of bc , I dont think we ever go back to our old lives and yes we grieve for it as we were happy and carefree and worried over the simplest of things now we have the constant worry of bc in our lives, it does get easier and with time you will start to feel better but with other health worries to deal with as well its probably hard to imagine you will,
I still get very tired if I work extra hours or just overdo it in general, I also have dreadful hot flushes that wake me at night keeping me tired ! And through the day that exhaust you.... We are grateful to be here of course but things can be very very hard at times and only the people who have been through it really understand how could anyone else really ? they think its done with and move on and as you say if only it were that simple , our eyes have been opened to a totally different world one that can be hard to deal with at times, we no we must and we will but its still hard, I hope things go well for you, and this is the place to vent... we do understand L xx
I'm so sorry to hear that you are feeling like this, please remember that our helpline staff are there to support you, why not give them a call, the free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and lines are open 9-5 Monday to Friday and 10-2 Saturday.