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I can't go back to the life I had.

16 REPLIES 16
knowles
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Had my surgery Oct, chemo Nov- May then rads, now on Arimidex. Yes, been through all these awful times. Back full--time nursing now, still get tired, still get 'I cant do it' attacks....but getting there. The hot flushes are finally wearing off, just stiff hand/finger joints. I have finally come to t erms with the fact I am not the same woman, and never will be, but I'm very glad to be alive and life is still worth living.
Good luck to all of you, Zoe x

fizzie
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

I've been coming home from work really shattered recently and wondering how I'll make it through to the end of the week (7 months since surgery) - and it's so good to read that this isn't unusual. Over the last couple of weeks, I've also been doubting my ability to do my job as well as I used to - but I love what I'm doing and at the moment wouldn't consider a change of direction.

On another thread, someone recommended an article by Dr Peter Harvey on After Treatment Has Finished - it's excellent and you can track it down by searching his name and the title. If you have problems, please let me know and I can send it to you. He has some very cogent things to say about finding 'normality' again after cancer diagnosis and treatment (as I suspected, it can't be found and it's a case of adjusting to a different reality and finding another 'normal')

I was heartened to hear from Roadrunner - you're a bit further down the line and it's great to hear positive things when you're exhausted and feeling a bit down.

Lizzie x

Tinyperson
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi Lola,

I take Sage Leaf tablets at night and that seemed to have an effect on the hot flushes and helped me sleep. You can get them from Holland & Barrat.

Hazel

baglady
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Thank god im normal! .. going through awful bouts of tears and insecurity at the moment. finally went to dr last week and im going to see a counceller ( sorry about spelling!) I was diognosed in feb this year and had op followed by chemo followed by rads now on tamoxifen and starting herceptin next week.. not been at work since feb and starting back in a couple of weeks with mixed feelings.. i dont think being at home all day when your down helps your mood.. but not sure how work will be either! sorry i dont have advice but i do think if you know your not alone in your feelings it helps a bit
take care everyone x

RoadRunner
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Lola,

I would give the job more time. You are still very close to your treatment, and very tired. I would let the dust settle a little before making any major changes. I am now 12 months on from finishing chemo (tho' still on herceptin & tamoxifen) and feel much more positive about work. This time last year it all seemed so petty & unimportant.

As for the hot flushes, here are my suggestions:

Try a chillow (I got mine from Amazon) - it really helps cool you down at night.
Try taking your tamoxifen at a different time (night instead of morning or vice versa)
Try splitting the dose - take half at night and half in the morning - that made a big difference for me
Try evening primrose oil or starflower oil, with or without extra vitamin E

And finally - I have had several sessions of acupuncture, which also help, but the effect only lasts so long, and it's not a cheap option.

LolaP
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi.

Thanks everyone for all the advice! I should have joined this forum weeks ago!

I really do want to be positive, and I don't actually want to slip back into someone who moans about silly things, so I think I'll maybe try some counselling, bite the financial bullet and reduce my hours a bit for the next few months, and get out of retail. (I am doing the proofreading/editing stuff to give me the option of working part time somewhere, making up the difference with freelance) Has anyone encountered any difficulty telling prospective new employers about the cancer?

(kayty, you sound like I feel! One thing that is encouraging is that, although I'm still really tired, I'm no longer so exhausted that I don't care, so it must be getting better. It is really frustrating, though. I will just keep reminding myself of the alternative/what the outcome could have been, and of how I felt at my worse, which was about a month ago. It just seems to be taking forever to get back to 'normal'.)

kayty
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

HI

I am so glad I have found this thread as I am feel so tired and as the day goes on I too am desperately exhausted. I had surgery in Feb followed by 4 weeks of Rads now on Tamoxifen. I feel worse now than I have ever done with the severe fatigue and constant hot flushes. I work part time now and really dont want to but don't want to give in. I have spoke to my GP many times and he really doesn't know what to do with me and thinks it is the hangover from the treatment.

I saw BC nurse 3 weeks ago and she said this is normal!!!

I don't feel normal I want to function again!

Mood swings well there's another story!!!

Molennium
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

I stopped taking tamoxifen after 2.5 years, I did have a good prognosis with or without it, but I couldn't sleep through hot flushes, developed constant constipation, had metallic taste in the mouth and had to drive 39 miles each way to work each day. I am afraid something had to go and it was the tamoxifen. If I'd had a worse prognosis I might have had to change my job. I don't think there's any thought given to side effects of these treatments, I had to work to pay off my mortgage, and I still work although I've paid it off now

Mole

mounties
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

I was put on tamoxifen last yr after i finished treatment. I am 52, i could not cope wit hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats so went back to g who spoke to my onc and i was put on arimidex. To start with hot flushes were bad but 3 months later i would not know i was taking anything. Even sex drive seems to be coming back after 2 yrs. So don't sit and suffer, tamoxifen causes awful mood swings. If u can't cope don't be afraid to tell your gp or onc. Good luck

cherub
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi there,

I finished my treatment earlier in the year and was having a lot of problems with disturbed sleep due to a combination of the fallout from everything and menopause symptoms. I was having a recurrent nightmare about forgetting to take medication and the knock on effects being serious; it was when I started dreaming about being told I was terminally ill that I realised I had to get some help. I was lucky to be able to get counselling via my oncologists. I am aware that it does not help everyone and in the past I have been sceptical, but it has certainly helped me. However, to go down this route you must be prepared to work with the person who is counselling you and use it to regain some control.

I spent an awful long time in bed last year due to severe fatigue and I found I was associating the bedroom with cancer. I decided to move the TV/DVD from the bedroom, then I moved the furniture round and changed the curtains and cushions. This was done at no expense as I found a few bits I hadn't used for ages in the airing cupboard, so made do with these. I also lit perfumed incense at bedtime and put a CD of relaxation music on as a background. Within 2 - 3 weeks the sleep disturbances had started to tail off and I was fine for about 4 months. I've also taken up yoga and meditation - I was doing this at home most of the the time but plucked up the courage to join a class 3 weeks ago.

Unfortunately I had an episode at the weekend (medication dream came back 2 nights running) but I put that down to attending a business exhibition last week which was a long day for me and quite hot and stressful as I was trying to get some new contacts. I learned from it that I wasn't really well enough prepared and had done too much at the last minute, so I figure this was the trigger. The woman who is counselling me told me this could happen, even after 2-3 years post treatment. Thankfully, I've returned to normal again and slept like a baby last night. Unfortunately, every day life means we have to experience stress at times, not easy after cancer.

Back in May all I could think of was "what if it comes back". Now I think forward to 2011 as during that year I will celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary, my 50th birthday and hopefully the end of my remission period.

Hang in there, things will get better as time goes on. Try to ask for help if you need it, there is no shame in this and you will be able to move on, even if it's in very small ways.

lyndu
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Apologies, I see that I addressed that to the wrong person - should have been for LolaP. And I used to be an editor...

Lyn

lyndu
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi psheehan,
I can't help with the problem, I do know where you're coming from but it's just one of the things that I eventually worked through. It was almost a relief when I found myself moaning about something trivial.

What I would say, though (and forgive me if you think I have overstepped here) - if money is tight, be careful of putting too much faith in being able to earn a full-time living through freelance proofreading and editing. Unless you have a very specific expertise (like you can edit foreign or scientific texts) the competition is ferocious for the declining amount of work publishers do in editing their material. I used to work in electronic publishing and received an enormous number of applications for freelance work, none of which we used. Sorry if this isn't what you want to hear - and sorry it's not more help with the #### customers either.

Lyn

ForumMember
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi Psheehan

I had surgery in Feb, rads in June and went back on a phased return July. I have started this month back to normal. I commute with about one and a half to two hours each way journey and am doing a master's degree on top. I do honestly not know what has hit me. I have to go to bed at nine most nights, am tired throughout the day - not just normal tiredness, but that desperate exhaustion which is like when I had babies to get up for. I am not even on tamoxifen so cant blame that. I know in my heart I can't carry on like this, but like most people, have a very tight budget so havent got much choice. Its almost as though you know you cant keep going, but do so anyway because you are at a loss what to do. I am like you as my master's course is my escape to doing something else one day so that thought it what is keeping me going at the moment. Also, like you, my employer's have been wonderful to me and after what I have read about how others have been treated by their work, that is a huge bonus. Maybe we need more time to adjust to the return? I dont want to make any big decisions at the moment whilst I feel so tired as I may live to regret them.

All the best.

Cathy
x

FizBix
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi p

know exactly where you are coming from

living abroad i would say the Brits are particularly rude and agressive about trivia and how they may have been inconvenienced

think it's because everyone has no time and working too hard

my recommendation would be to move abroad to somewhere far more relaxed!

love FB xx

ForumMember
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi psheehan

I am sorry to read that you are having a difficult time , there are a couple of Breast Cancer Care's support services that might be of interest to you as they can offer help and support via the telephone in addition to the support you have here.

The first is Breast Cancer Care's telephone support group. It's a chance to get together once a week to talk with people who've been there. Linked together by phone in comfortable surroundings, you can express your feelings and discuss the practical and emotional impact of living with breast cancer. The groups will be particularly useful for you if you feel isolated. The groups are completely free (we pay for the phone calls) and as long as you have access to a phone and have a quiet private place from which to call, you can join us from anywhere in the UK.

There is also Breast Cancer Care's peer support service. The telephone service aims to quickly put you in touch with one of our trained peer supporters, who has had a personal experience of breast cancer. Our peer supporters are from diverse backgrounds and ages and have experienced different types of breast cancer and treatments. They are ready to listen, offer skilled emotional support and share their experiences and understanding.

For more information about these and our other support services available to you, please telephone our helpline on 0808 800 6000 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm) or email:

I hope this helps

Kind regards
Lucy

cazzb
Member

Re: I can't go back to the life I had.

Hi
Don't know if this will help but why shouldn't you be having all those feelings? Your life has changed and so will your outlook. What seemed important before will now be quite trivial. However try not to be too hard on otherpeople, There were probably times before when you got cross over trivial things, a shop not having a dress in your size, the queue at starbucks being way too long in your lunch break!!! Perhaps you could speak to someone about remedies to alleviate hot fluxhes and other side effect of tampxifen( I'm due to start those soon, am seeing onc tomorrow for 1st appt).

Give yourself time and don't be too hard on yourself. You're probably not as grumpy to others as you think. And besises you are allowed to feel c**p after what you've been through.
Try to keep smiling
Love cazzb

LolaP
Member

I can't go back to the life I had.

Help! I was diagnosed in February, had the surgery in March, and finished radiotherapy in July. I felt quite rough while recovering from the radiotherapy, so didn't start back to work until the middle of August. I enjoyed my job (in a bookshop) before the illness, but things changed while I was ill- the job is different (less fun/more corporate) and I'm different! I am very miserable and desperately need a change. I'm exhausted every day, really depressed, and finding it hard to work through the week without crying/feeling desperate about not having the time and money to find another job. I feel so grateful to be alive, and can't stand to hear people complaining about insignificant things- I'm afraid I'll lose my temper, and my job, if I 'lose it' and tell people to shut the heck up and quit moaning. The world is full of people with real troubles and impossible situations, and these folks are angry because a book hasn't come in 2 days after they've ordered it... I used to be able to rise above all that... now I feel utterly trapped and anxious, and the Tamoxifen isn't helping: can't sleep, and have mega-flushes throughout most nights. This all seems so whiny when I've been given this second chance, and that the people I work for have been so accommodating during my illness. I actually hate my job/resent the time I spend there. I'm working toward becoming a freelance proofreader/editor, but need to work in the meantime to afford the courses/pay the bills. Any suggestions for sleeping/getting a better attitude??