your posts and the article have struck a cord with me.
I am 4 weeks post mx with ld flap reconstruction. Because everyone tells me that to look at me you would never suspect I'd had anything wrong with me or done I feel like I should be on cloud 9 but everytime I strip for a shower all I see is an alien boob and scars and I know I will never be the same again.
One of my closest friends hasn't been near me since the day I told her of my diagnosis and because I've been lucky enough not to need chemo most people are behaving like this is a blip and I now need to get on and return to 'normal'. One person even compared it to when she had sinusitis and it hurt to move her head, so she could understand how uncomfortable I was moving about!
I think the phrase out of sight out of mind is apt so maybe we should wear a bikini top around certain people as a reminder that covering up doesn't mean it hasn't happened and we have to live with the physical and emotional effects forever!
Hi again Jenji
I slept badly, the wind and my brain, bad combination!
It feels as though I am really failing with this body thing to be honest. That said, I know if I can access some good support, I might be able to manage better and find some coping strategies like you have.
i was fine for ages, the MX went well, had the reconstuction done twice. Had kids to focus on and life. But at the end of 2012, it all went pear shaped and have been up and down like a yo yo, all body related.
Suddenly I am very aware of the changes and I hate them, they make me angry and very sad at times. But because it is all hidden, no one is aware I suppose.
I am glad you can see light at the end of the tunnel and even if is not constant, at least you have made a start, you can only move forwards now can't you.
Have a good day today Jenji xx
Hi again Naz
It has really helped to have that support and to know that someone would understand all the issues around body image. The fact is we have to live with this change and have to find a way of coping and dealing with it so that it doesn't dominate everything as it did for me.
The thing about having a specialist person is that they are trained and focussed on the cancer issues. I am so glad I asked my breast care nurse about it so if you have no direct luck with Macmillan then ask the Breast Care people even if you are not in touch with them on a regular basis.
Right now,18 months after the mastectomy, I really feel I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But that is not constant and it just makes me feel a little more hopeful about potential relationships and confidence in other situations.
I am up late tonight so I hope you are asleep and able to stay asleep until you feel rested.
Thanks so much for your reply back.
This body image stuff is a big thing for me, the biggest of the lot. I say to myself, 'Thank god I am alive', til im blue in face, but the fact remains, I need to feel good about myself too. Not just for a week or so, but for a long time to come. I have emailed macmillan to see what support is on offer, so I hope they reply.
You are so right, body does effect everything. I have been surprised at exactly how much. It affects my mood, confidence, work, relationship with partner, everything..
I am also glad that you found some good bras and lighter prothesis, well done! How do you feel about things now? Did the Onc Psyh help you?
Take care too.
Sorry you are having bad time...Oncology Psychologist...She was one of the services offered by my local Cancer Support Centre and I have been seeing her for a year but will stop soon. The trouble is that this body thing just brought up so much stuff about my whole self, despite the fact that I always felt okay about my body. I think it's really important to talk about it as it has an effect on everything. I happen to be 66 but liking my body and seeing myself as still having a sexual identity is a really important part of still being alive and being me! I just got a new, lighter, different kind of prosthesis (how I hate that word!) and some new bras and that helped me feel better (to the outside world) at Christmas.
I would look into finding someone to talk to who really knows about this body image thing.
Thank you for some of your posts over the time as they have really helped me.
Take care and be kind to yourself.
Thank you all for this thread. And for the article which touches so much on things I have felt...the 'pink and fluffy' image of Breast Cancer and not the reality.
And, Oh Yes, I miss my old body and the fact that every day I am reminded of that. I am not sure why just after my mastectomy 16 months ago I felt so happy and euphoric dancing around with one breast and looking at myself. Maybe just relief. But maybe I had forgotten that it wasn't going to grow back and that it is for ever !! However long forever is.
I am so glad for you all out there and grateful to my Onc Psych.
I send lots of love and hugs to anyone who reads this...
Hello Naz, Pleased it helped, and good to know that you have contacted your counsellor. mine was so patient , Its as you say it lurks just below the surface, and rears its ubly head just when we least expect it.
These cold dark wet winter days don't help much. roll on spring, but I have seen some early daffodils out they looked so lovely.
those nasties are giving me a bad time at the moment- got a few aches under left arm??/ - so ... panicking
when will it end
Higgles Jenny. xx
Thanks Jenny, you are a real life saver do you know that :).
Feeling a bit brigher this afternoon, keeping busy helps lots, as does getting out and about in the fresh air.
I made contact with the counsellor whom i saw last year some time, the other day and enquired about support groups etc and she told me what was available. I thought by now, I would feel loads better, but what I have come to realise, is that is never quite goes away, it kind of sits beneath the surface. I have noticed that the bad feelings dont last as long now and If i distract myself enough, it all passes soon enough, but when the bad feelings come, they are horrid.
Thanks for the tea and listening ear, it means a great deal xxx
Hello Naz, I don't think that you have coped badly, . I think you have done better than me You have often been on here and boosted me up when I have been feeling low, and I have thought wow what a fantastic lady, you have supported me and I guess many others. so you should be proud of what you have done, you have continued to bring up your two lovely children whilst on this horrible journey. so that shows how well you have coped. I know its easy to say all this, but I truly mean it. You aren't alone, we are all on here for you at anytime. I am just about to have a cup of cup, so will make one for you.
All I can suggest is that if you are still feeling rubbish etc this week go and see you GP or BCn if you are still in contact with her. Get yourself some nice shower gel, and some gentle body cream and pamper yourself, including the bits we don't like. keep in touch.
Sending lots of Huggles Jenny. x
Hello Naz, and everyone else. just read the article- brilliant . You truly aren't alone, and you have done so well so far, I feel much the same. i am ok when I am dressed etc, startiing to feel "normal" whatever that is, and not constantly thinking that I look different. But when in the shower etc, well that is very different, just feel mishapen, and ugly, although i know that my surgeon has done a brilliant job, and I am so grateful to be alive. It just seems that although the surgery treatment part is behind us, we will always be reminded of what has happened. and that is much harder than everyone thinks. As the article says friends and family etc seem to think that once treatment is over we are back to how we were. if only they truly understood.
Naz, keep smiling keep fighting, you aren't alone, we are all still here with you.
Sending a big bundle of warm Huggles.
PS the baby will be one on Weds, so where did that year go. hugs to your lovely 2.
It is good to hear I am not alone, as it does feel that way at times. I sometimes wonder if I ever really survived the experience at all because some days, I get hit with this wave of sadness and the grief which follows is really hard. Then it passes, before something else happens.
Don't get me wrong, I am SO happy to be alive, but like you Louis, I feel that part of me has died, regarding how I feel about my body, it was such violent surgery.. and to live with this numb mound forever, well that feels hard too at times.
Some days are great and others are not so great, maybe I just need to accept this is how it is now.
I feel the same Naz so thanks for bringing this up:)
Thanks for the link Mary, certainly hit the nail on head for me!
I've just read this
Thought it might strike a chord for you too.