One of the most important things that has changed since being dx with bc is the thought that I may not make old age. Before bc, I took my health for granted and thought I would be ok for the next 40 years etc. Now I do not worry about work so much. It pays my bills but to be stressed about it is not worth it. I also lost my dad very suddenly just as I finished treatment. I feel very mortal and will never take my health for granted again.
I don't think I'll ever feel the happiness that I felt pre-dx. Up to then, life really had been really pretty good.... I have lost confidence in my body completely...and I've lost my certainty that life would last for a very long time yet!Previously I was so sure I would live til I was very old!I had looked after myself pretty well before- exercised regularly, organic food etc...so I was SO confident I was never going to get cancer. I don't think I was a particularly stressed out person either. Last year, the year of dx and radiotherapy (no chemo) I just threw myself back into loads of 'work'(ie. in music, which I love) after the treatment and kept my mind occupied on this and lots of teaching. Suddenly though, this year, I am feeling really depressed and scared about the future and I am crying rather a lot. I am TERRIFIED of getting a recurrence. I am thinking about getting some couselling, but don't really want to give this cancer thing any more space in my life....Wouldn't we all just love to be back where we were before? I'd be grateful for any advice. Thanks.
Dx 2 years ago and was fit and well at that point. Had usual slash, poison, burn, then went down the road of 'life is for living' as had quite a poor prognosis. Booked hols, theatre trips, concerts, Ribbon Walk.....then slam, bang, severe back problems landed me in hospital, and had to cancel everything!! I am convinced it was caused by Taxotere as when I had bone scan pre treatment there was no problem, but now basically spine is crumbling away; so between ops all I can do is lie down without extreme pain. Even sitting in wheelchair dificult. So, wretched cancer is with me every second of every day; my bloods always come back with cause for concern, and they are constantly sending me for yet another scan of some sort, yet so far, no further recurrence, so I have that to be thankful for.
But I have learned the hard way that life is what happens when you're making other plans!! The important thing to me is spending time with those who I love, and not worrying too much when others get upset that I haven't got time for them because I have too many blasted appointments!
So I am now waiting for another op, and living with hope that it might ease some of the pain and give me my life back. It just seems to be all problems, doesn't it?
I watched the Diva's programme on TV and got really upset at the women who had had BC and had gone on to achieve things, while I was stuck flat on my back! Ah well, maybe next year.......!
I think since being dx i have changed for the better, health wise i was drinking and smoking but being dx gave me a wake up call to appreciate life and everything in it - Dont take anything for granted. Im a much stronger person now i gave up smoking and i only drink on special occassions. I found my confidence again what i had lost. Ive learnt to live for now and try and be the best that you can cos you just dont know whats round the corner.
Love Leslee x
I actually don't think I've undergone any great life change as a result of having BC. What I have realised is that I had already got my priorities in life sorted and that I've made the right choice of friends over the years.I'm also fortunate to have a decent supportive family.My mum has been fantastic(despite having nursed my dad through cancer for 4yrs and looking after my younger sister who had a stroke and heart surgery!)
I'm back at work in an organisation which really does offer assistance on return to work.Maybe I was born under a lucky star or something.Hopefully cancer has just been a blip and I can go back to my real life now.
I've met some really nice girls on this horrible journey and we've tried to support each other as best we can.We realise that even in the short time we've had to deal with this horrible disease,we're not all fighting the same battle.
At least we have an excuse for being a bit grumpy now and then.
Take care ladies
I'm really glad I've found this thread although rather late. Such a relief to find I'm not the only one who hasn't been turned into a saint by cancer. Half the time I'm an irritable, grumpy old woman inwardly snarling at all and sundry and the other half, I don't care about anything except getting the most out every minute and appreciating how brilliant my family have been.
love to all
I have certainly changed, don't suffer fools....but then I never did, but I'm not not afraid to speak my thoughts. I have answered doctors back, got treatment becuase I've forced it, and that's in France..!
I gave up my job, left UK and we live here now, running a Gite and have lots of animals, something that I never thought I would do - give up material things/money!!/Selfridges....ahhhhh but now it's welly boots and trying to remember to have a bath when I smell too much - ha ha.
can't not think about BC, as it's constantly there to remind me, and it keeps coming back - must treat it too well perhaps?? but I don't feel sick (touch wood) and I get on with life, I've run three marathons since BC, 2003, and feel good about that and being able to still get on with life. I know perhaps some day that's not going to be the case and I've just lost a close friend who's dx was a lot better than mine, so it's always present.
but, I life each day to the full and keep happy.
Its sooooooo good to hear other people feeling the same way as I do. I was diagnosed 2 yrs ago, had the op/chemo/radiotherapy and at the time didnt like to look on the internet in case I found something I would rather not read. This forum would have been so helpful during my treatment and given me such support - I wish I'd found it a long while ago - also my experiences might have helped someone too. Nice to meet you all, and thanks for your comments xx
how have I changed? Well, 2 years ago I was running a business in Gambia,always stressed out and never enough time to do all I had to do. Had a 4 bedroomed house which was kept spotless at all times. Never had enough time to do anything for myself. Had a chatroom where I was kind of an agony aunt to lonely and/or distressed people nighttime.
Now...I live in Belgium and have no job. Only do what I want to do. Have a one bedroomed flat where I live with my 2 children and couldn't care less when it's messy. Gave up the chatroom because I needed a place to moan more than they did.
Joined 2 cancer forums, but gave one of them up today after losing my rag about someone whining about having survival guilt.
My character changed quite a lot. I always was very independant but I won't hesitate now asking for help when I need it. I always used to think about what I said so I wouldn't upset people. Now I say things without thinking...if I upset somebody too bad. I just speak my mind. But, on the good side, I always tell people how much they are loved/appreciated as well. Since I started on this journey I have met some amazing women. I met 2 of them on the other site and one has joined us here, I hope the other one will too. And here I have discovered how important it is when somebody says...it's ok to shout, rant, moan or whinge, we all go through that.
Good moaning, all (yes, I know it's afternoon)
I'm more patient about some things, like hospital waiting rooms, and less patient with other things, like people moaning over trivialities. But everything's relative. Those people are moaning because those trivial things are important to them. In the early days of "my" cancer, on two occasions in the hospital waiting room women were complaining of the long wait. I told them I was just glad I was being treated at the Christie. (how smug was that!!!) Both of these ladies were from abroad and spoke little English. It took everything I had not to really say what I wanted to say - like, excuse me but this is all FREE and just how much have YOU contributed to the NHS???
Tyson, it could have been me who wrote your post because you've done exactly what I've done, downsizing and all, giving up work (or almost, in my case). And talking of the rebellious stage, know exactly where you're coming from. A lovely lady I met recently recommended an excellent book, "Cancer made me a shallower person". I bought it for myself for Christmas, didn't look at it when it arrived, wrapped it up, wrote a tag, "To Maureen with lots of love from Maureen xx". It's written in cartoon style and the author says it exactly as it is, the bubble coming from her mouth with "I've got cancer, I've got cancer" when people are talking to her. I found it a brilliant read.
Anyway, good luck to us all.
I don't find I discuss my cancer with friends very much at all now, I just don't feel I need to any more. I'm also considering leaving my monthly meditation group as I don't really feel a need to be with other breast cancer patients any more and think it would be all part of the process of moving on if I did this. It was strictly about meditation and within the group situation BC wasn't discussed. However, someone new came into the group a few months back and it has now morphed into a BC support group on account of this person being very vulnerable and this is not what I want from it.
Tyson that rings such a bell with me, it is a bit like the people who tell me to be positive, I just want to shout "life is sh*t and then you die"....even tho I don't think that, I am tired of the expectations of other people that I will suddenly become this saintly individual. No way! yer, there IS a limit to the amount friends will listen to me going on about cancer, but have two really good friends who seem to take it in their stride, bless 'em.
As for people who moan about their minor ailments, I listen in a particularly patronising way and then say "gosh, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for you to have that verruca/suffer an upset tummy". They usually get the message. HA!
I have downsized my house and got rid of the mortgage, given up work and only stay in touch with the friends and family that I like. 90 percent of the time I am happy and positive and in many ways my life has changed for the better - but at times I also feel very alone and vulnerable - I often look around in a crowded shop for example and want to shout 'do you know what I've got and how scared I am!'. Also, there comes a time when you cant keep talking about your illness to friends bless em. Two years on from diagnosis I am also going thru a bit of a rebellious phase. It is really bizarre cos I want to smoke, fill myself full of junk food and slob in front of the TV because everyone keeps telling me to be healthy - its a bit like being a teenager again. Am I strange or has anyone else felt like this?????????
Well, I'm bad tempered, very intolerant, very moody, chemo brain full strength...need I go on ???!!! I was always a very calm quiet person but now I'll lose it at the slightest little thing - major stuff I can cope with - it's the stuff like 'will you make up your mind and decide what we're having for tea' snappiness at my OH who has been fab and doesn't deserve it but takes in good heart. He tells anyone who asks after me that I'm bad tempered but it's the drugs.
A worrying change - I have moments like earlier this afternoon when I decided to clean out a cupboard in the kitchen !!!! Took me ages as I cannot get my brain in gear but I'm now very smug that I've done it !!
Can't think of anything else to add but that's the memory loss so may revisit later.
Jane, You have cheered me up no end with your post. I am back working full time and the trivial stuff I am having to deal with is driving me mad but as you say this helps with the big moans I have. Yes, I hope I will not be described as saintly or lovely as I am neither. i like your dry and dark humour!
p.s. I am not going to exotic holidays so my neck may escape the wringer this time
Do you know...contrary as ever I find a good moan about the inconsequential really helps with the big moans about will I die this year or not?...so I indulge my irritations with ill beahved people in supermarkets, sympthasise with stories of crap managers(with early retirement cause you're dying of cancer, you lose the manager.) As for the BT on line help desk when your phone stops working and the dishawashrer mender man who didn't turn up...such essentials of life take on a whole new meaning of moaning.
Mind you I do find details of trips abroad to exotic places make me want to hit the story tellers on the head...or wring their necks....
I have thankfully not become a saintly heroine and my epitaph will not be 'another lovely kind woman lost'
I find you prioritise things differently and housework and staying indoors are definitely low on the list. I also take exception to people who moan about trivia and have on more than one occasion remarked 'I wish that was the only problem I have' - some people lead charmed lives but dont seem to realise how lucky they are!
I don't 'sweat the small stuff ' anymore and I can't stand being around or listening to negative people moaning about stupid,trivial things! I live for every day!
i have been thinking about this thread for a while as i think i have turned into a grumpy old woman, i cant put up with whinging people, like a woman kicking off in Asdas yesterday because a woman with a trolley went through the basket only till! so what? and i told her to stop being silly. People who think they are ill when they are not, my friends who whinge about there crap marriages, my friends who complain about getting old, Hello I want to get old, and i could go on..........
I'm somewhere between bloody minded and Mary Poppins!!
I have stopped keeping things at the back of the wardrobe for best and this year did the Christmas shop at Sainsburys in diamond earrings.
I agree with all of the above and have just realised this year that life is for living, so I ve been to ballets, Will Young Concert( he was fab) I've been to Spain in a villa with OH ( no kids a first for us)
I 've had 3 weekends breaks in hotels
I' ve even been to london just for the hell of it with my daughters & ended with a trip to Norwich to stay with a friend.
These are things I have always thought I will do later when kids have left home but now I say what the hell you only lived once and go for it..........
Mind I love Valkyrie line If you don't like my body shape anymore - tough, I'm on anti-cancer drugs - what's your excuse??????
I can't wait to see what I will be doing this year ( hopefully theres some kind of reconstruction next year as frankly my sagging 38E boob is starteing to depress me.
Have a Good New year all
I agree with being a bit more laid back - OH tipped a cafetiere over our office carpet this morning and I can honestly say a couple of years ago I would have gone mad at him for being so clumsy. Today, I just helped him mop it up and put carpet cleaner on it.
Yes, definitley more restless - don't feel the need to stay for any length of time anywhere - got better things to do . . . . . . . . .
Def don't suffer fools glady anymore
Speak my mind - sod it if I offend
Work to live - don't live to work
If you don't like my body shape anymore - tough, I'm on anti-cancer drugs - what's your excuse??????
Love my dog even more - he doesn't care what I look or feel like - loves me as I am
Best Wishes Everyone - rant over
Hi - How nice to have an opportunity to put thoughts into words....
I think I am ..
More laid back - smalll hiccups in life just do not bother me - e.g. so what if I missed my bus, another will be along in half an hour.
Wanting to get on with things, not keep waiting until tomorrow ... life is for living.
More honest about how I feel
Surprised at my own strength, emotional and physical.
Unfortunately suffering from bouts of depression and loss of confidence, but I can deal with this.
Less tolerant of people complaining about life especially people who corner you and list their ailments at parties...
It has been interesting seeing what others have put..
hope you all have a Great New Year and life gets better and grows for you
How am I?? difficult one really.........................when i was first diagnosed, i was absolutely petrified, truly, i couldn't see how my life would ever get back on an even keel, couldn't see how my husband would ever want to look at me again, let alone make love to me.BUT, what I have learned,,,,,so far, as it is only the early stage of this so called 'journey':
1......I am loved, for me,just as i am, by many many people, who have pulled out all of the stops for me;
2.....that I am stronger than i ever thought possible;
3.....that life really IS for living and I am planniing on being in Holland in March, to see my favourite band;
4.....that it's ok to be scared, because there will be someone there to catch me if, or when, i fall;
5.....that I CAN cope without a nipple/areola, and so can my husband;
6......that I am still a desirable woman
7 ...that human kindness comes in many guises and has no boundaries
8...that it's ok to feel exactly how I want to feel at any given moment, on any particular day about this bloody disease...
It has affected my metal health to the degree of being off work with 'depression' and I was 'only' diognosed with primary BC had WLS and SNB, reds, now on Arimidex etc. No do not trust my body or feelings. Over 3 stone lighter, my breast size has gone from 36b to 32flat as a pancake(less breast for desease to recur!, was not overweight in the first place, so nearly a year on and I am in an emotional mess. I am almost a total recluse. I have to say I was not in a great place before DX but in a worse place now. BC affects us all so differently some are much stronged than others emotionally.
I have thought about this all day as read it this morning.
Like others have said I have not been able to plan future events. However once i reached 3 years since Dx and clear i have begun to hope i am cancer free and have planned a few things. I even dream of my daughters getting married and grandchildren.
This brings me onto how i have changed, my WEIGHT is awful.
I have lost confidence in my body but hope to get fit in the new year.
I am more selfish, in that if i want to go anywhere or do anything i WILL DO IT.
Less careful with money, when DX thought whats the point of saving.
Can't be bothered with naggin hubby about the house and doing things on it, As long as everyone is comfy thats fine.
My faith is stronger as for some reason i feel maybe i am closer to facing eternity.
Good post this and thought provoking.
I find I can't be bothered with people who complain about really petty things. I'm very grateful I responded well to my treatment and just thankful for what I have; I've stopped worrying about things like needing a new bathroom, kitchen and stair carpet in my house as they are no longer big issues.
I have always been a strong person emotionally, but needed counselling for this. However, it taught me new ways of coping and got me more focused. After a very poor start to this year (when I thought I was emotionally well enough to get back into the swing but wasn't) I am now ready to get on with 2009, be more proactive in the business we started 6 weeks before I was diagnosed. I also want to make more headway into the course I'm on and plough on with getting it finished.
In some respects the cancer has opened new doors for me and I have definitely calmed down a bit. I had a lot of stress in the 5 years leading up to this and I refuse to allow that into my life again.
Well I,m on my second round of chemo and ironically I,m more optomistic than last year.
Like you Oscar, I now don,t suffer fools gladly but on the other side of the coin I am more patient than I used to be. Everything used to be black and white but now I acknowledge that in life there are grey areas.
And strangely, I feel I am now a nicer person. I,m definately more considerate but maybe that,s because of all the kindness that has been shown towards me.
I live abroad and the community here have been brilliant, really caring.
I too am amazed how strong you can be when needs be.
All of those, Oscar, but re number 2, a feeling of great pride in myself for having coped with the last twelve months is giving me a different sort of confidence
I always used to look forward to the future but now I am always afraid of what the next months will bring.Vx
couldent of put it better myself I feel exactly the same as you, it isnt just the physical aspects of the disease its the emotional turmoil that it throws you into, best wishes suzan x
1. Don't trust my own body;
2. Less confident;
3. Don't plan ahead too much in the future;
4. Don't suffer fools gladly;
5. Don't have any patience; and
6. I now realise that you find the strength from somewhere to deal with all the harsh things that life throws at you.