Just another thought - we who go through the whole BC experience are altered by it, not made better or worse just a bit different, anyone who hasn't had this experience won't completely 'get' all of it. It's not anyone's fault it's just how it is, and sometimes all the explaining in the world doesn't get it across and tires you out unnecessarily.
Think of it like a bereavement: people hope that you will 'get over it' but in fact you don't, you learn a new way of living that incorporates the experience, and your own experience is completely personal to you. And that's what seems to happen with BC, it changes our lives and there would be something sadly amiss if it doesn't. After all, anything we experience during our lives will influence how we proceed in the future.
The link to the article in post 8 is great, or just google Dr Peter Harvey.
hope this helps
Ok - so this time last week I was in the middle of complete meltdown. For several weeks I'd been plodding on telling myself that I could deal with everything by myself, but the truth was I couldn't. I posted on here because I knew that people on here would understand. Probably didn't really put my post in the right place - After Treatment might have been better! Being in contact with people who have been through it made me realise that feeling like this is OK and gave me the push I needed to ask for help. This started with my OH, then my BCN and my GP. Reading my post back now I'm a little more coherent I almost deleted it, because in truth my friends and family have all been amazing. My expectations on them were very high - usually a coffee and a chat sorts everything out doesn't it? I was struggling with how I was feeling about everything and as usual my nearest and dearest were in the firing line! Work is now sorted too which is a massive relief. I can now get myself sorted at my own pace and will know to ask for help if I need it. Thank you again fo all your replies. You have kept me sane over the past few weeks. xx
Excellent post Salonen13. I'm going to read it out to my husband to see what it's like on my end of the binoculars
Ruthu, one thing I've learned from reading these boards is that.....Nothing is trivial.
I know that family and friends don't know how to react but then again, I don't know how I'm supposed to 'act'. The BC sufferers on TV / film always seem to be the 'heroine' who copes well (too damn well IMO ! ) or the 'victim' who falls apart at the seams.
Looks like either way ain't right.. But, that's the point isn't it ? There IS no correct way. I'm learning that day by day...
I've had WLE and SNB. The results of the SNB I got yesterday. Clear. That had me jumping for joy as you can imagine So now, looking from where I'm standing (and that seems to be next to you Ruthu) it's 'Ok, now can we get back to normal please ?'
Troube is, I've forgotten what normal was. I can't switch the 'cancer head' off. Ache, pain, twinge...hiccup...is it cancer ?
Normal seems to have gone AWOL.
I'm waffling. Apologies.
*Salonen13 -- I have an appointment for next Thursday for Freeman.
Thanks to all of you for your advice and kind words. Writing it all down and reading all your comments has helped me to sort my head a bit and to stop giving myself such a hard time. Just had a long chat with my hubby about how best to deal with all of this and we're starting by seeing my BCN again. As far as returning to work goes I know that my school will be supportive with whatever I decide to do. I just need to be a bit more open with people and stop trying to do all this by myself. Like Karen said - people can't help unless I let them know how to.
I agree with what has been said above. And if the emotional side-effects of Tamoxifen and oestrogen deprivation get too much, you could always ask your GP to prescribe a low does of anti-depressants, as that can really help with hot flushes even if you don't need assistance with the emotional stuff. (If you're on Tamoxifen you can't take Prozac, but your GP should be able to check drug interactions for you.)
I certainly hope its normal!
I was diagnosed in August with the same treatment plan surgery (WLE and SNB although no nodes affected), hormone, radiotherapy and in a couple of weeks I am going to return to work (Phased with some home working).
I am in my third month of hormone and my hair is starting to thin (not too bad for me I have always had very thick hair) and the emotions are running high! Hot flushes are bearable for me at the moment (also had a hysterectomy 3 weeks before WLE so would have had these regardless of WLE).
I think people understand while you are in active treatment (going back and forth to hospital) that you are having/may be having a rough time but when that stops some don't understand the emotional aspect of what you/we are going through and think you should be 'back to normal' when you walk out of the hospital after the last Radiotherapy session.
Well, we on the forum all understand that this is not what happens even being told that for a few weeks after the Radiotherapy finishes we will be tired, fatigued and possibly will have a feeling of being left.
Since diagnosis we see someone most weeks (BS/Radiographer/Oncologist) who we can ask questions and get answers pretty much instantly which is a great comfort blanket which has now been pulled away. I know we can ring the BCN etc. but its just the feeling of security that seeing someone regularly gives you that will be missed.
Speak to people who can help, don't make assumptions that nothing can be done (it can't if people don't know how to help). I also agree with Grumpy, don't waste your energy trying to explain to people who don't get it. Family members want to see you well to save them worry sometimes, if you return to work they think that you must be 100%. I have been very clear when talking about going back to work with my family that I explain I can only do it because I can build up my time gradually and work form home a couple of days a week. I don't think I could go back full time yet, its early days for what you body has been through and is probably still adjusting to the hormone treatment etc.
Please don't be too hard on yourself and take it easy. You can only do what you feel up to doing, don't be measured against anyone else, bodies don't all react the same.
Take Care of yourself
What you are feeling is entirely normal, the only problem is that our nearest and dearest don't realise it. They expect us to be jumping for joy once it is all over and to slot straight back into our pre breast cancer self. Not possible. Your life will settle down again in time, but things will be different for you. Not necessarily either better or worse, just different, as you now have a different perspective on life. In the meantime you are going through a period of adjustment, when you have to come to terms with what has happened to you and how this affects you going forwards. I think there is a period of mourning for the old life before you can celebrate the new one ahead. You may find the following helpful, it is an article by a clinical psychologist about the emotional aftermath of cancer treatment: http://www.cancercounselling.org.uk/northsouth/extra4.nsf/WebResClient/1761049276601BD68025735B00604...
Honey - get on to your Union, because they can negotiate a phased return for you with the employing authority's Occupational Health dept. This is quite a regular proceedure, used for teachers returning to work after major surgery, DX of long-term medical conditions eg MS, and stress-related absences. Explain to your head how you feel and what you would prefer to do - s/he may well be able to initiate this proceedure.
As for the friends and family who are now 'standing back' perhaps you could just remember the support they DID give you, and then shrug your shoulders and give the 2-finger salute (mentally) when they are less than helpful now. You don't have energy to waste on 'explaining' stuff to anyone!!!
Hi there, I'm a teacher just about to embark on treatment. I leave school next week and won't be back for the rest of the year, hopefully resuming my duties in sept 2013. I've asked my principal to put me into support or eal?? Just a thought.
Hi Ruth, I also work in schools. I know how demanding a teaching job is. I think you have anxiety and "stage fright" about going back, even if you love your job. The thought of the work load is probably overwhelming. Before you were diagnosed, did you have that "end of summer holiday" feeling. "Oh no, I'm not as prepared as I should be, I'm not ready to go back". Then when you actually start back and see the kids and get into your routine you wonder why you ruined the last week of your summer hols by worrying about it! I know that in teaching in may not be possible to have a phased return, but you should definitely speak to your head and see if you can get rid of all the extra parts of your job that someone else can do eg. After school clubs, PTA meetings, cover lessons etc. at least in the short term. Are you primary or secondary school? If secondary, use other people in your departments lesson plans and marking schemes, they should be supportive about this after what you have been through. If you are in primary, could your head teacher or deputy take your class in the hall for an extra half day per week, so you get that time to organise yourself in school and don't have to take too much home? Most people/colleagues want to help but they don't know how to or what to do. So if you go to them and ask for the extra support you need in the short term, I would be very disappointed with them if they didn't try to help in any way they could.
Its still very early days,take it easy and a phased return is definately the way to go,i went back to work too early and ended up having to have another month off work when it all became too much.Two years on from initial diagnosis i still get very tired and cant do the amount of work,housework etc that I used to do.Please dont be too hard on yourself,
It is normal to feel tired if you stop and think what your body has gone through over the last few months and including what you have gone through mentally, it really is no wonder!
This is the time to put yourself first and only do what you want to do and not what is expected of you. I would def ask about a phased return to work, if you are eased in you will hopefully find things easier.
Emotionally you are affected by treatment finishing and the tamoxifen that's normal too, I def had my moments, tears that came out of nowhere and a bit of anger too.
Spoil yourself you are allowed.
Do you get over it? No I don't think you do but time passing does make it easier, take care and lots of hugs to you xx
First of all, you are NOT moaning. I think its been said many times on this forum, that cancer is not a competitiion. Everyone reats differently to diagnosis/treatment/emotions, and what you are feeling, is what you are feeling and that is just how it is. Surgery and Radiotherapy are horrid and are bound to have affected you,not to mention the Tamoxifen.
It's only four months since July and I think this is no time at all, so am not suprised you have tearful moments and have not 'snapped out of it'. Anyone who thinks you should be fully recovered emotionally, clearly does not know what they are talking about!!
Teaching is an extremely stressful job. Is it possible you can go back on a phased return? Again, some people do return to work with no problems, (I think that is the exception though), but it rather depends on the type of job. You are responsible for other peope's well being and when you return, pupils and colleagues will probably not reduce their demands on you..they will forget you've been off and why. Once you are back you will be expected to be 'well' so please do not rush back until you feel really ready.
Can you talk to the friends who seem to be avoiding you? Maybe they feel they do not want to keep asking how you are, because you do might not want to be reminded of it all the time? Explain you still need their support. I found people reacted in very different and often suprising ways. Most were, and continue to be, brilliant but a few never phoned. When I phoned them though they were always pleased to hear from me. I think sometimes they were just scared/didn't want to upset me,or were just plain thoughtless!! Surround yourself with loving people and try not to stress about the others.
Look after yourself. Do not be too hard on yourself or let others pressurise you. Cancer is a huge thing and it is not suprising it is not over on the day of your last hospital appointment.
Compared to what a lot of you are going through my moans seem really trivial and I'm not even sure they're worth posting but here goes...
I had a lumpectomy back in July to remove a Grade 1 cancer and 4 nodes. Finished radiotherapy 3 weeks ago and am now taking tamoxifen. Still feeling tired - not sure if this is down to the radiotherapy, tamoxifen or just the whole experience, I've had a few 'warm' moments dring the day and night - though not as bad as I expected and my hair is falling out more and thinning a bit. None of this is too bad but mentally I feel a mess - which doesn't seem to match the relative mildness of my treatment compared to lots of people and the not too horrendous side effects. I'm quite tearful and I'm finding it really hard to concentrate on the most simple thing and this is freaking me out with regards to going back to work. I'm a teacher and I know that when I do go back I'm heading back to a really stressful term which means I'm not going to have the luxury of easing myself in gently - it'll be straight back to working full days and evenings and I'm really worried that I'm not going to cope. I'm also struggling a bit with how some friends and family are reacting. Mostly everyone is being amazing but one or two family members seem to be going down the 'it's time to snap out of it' route which I'm finding really upsetting. Also a couple of really close friends who were amazing thoughout the diagnosis and op and who I could really do with around now seem to be staying away. When I do see them I try to be positive and talk normally with them, but I know that they've caught me duirng a couple of 'low' moments. It feels like they're waiting for the 'old me' to come back.
Is it normal to feel like this? Part of me wants to tell myself to pull myself together but I know that I have been through quite alot and need time. I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone else who has felt like this. Sorry for moaning - so many of you have been through so much more and your strength is amazing.