My heart goes out to you! Over the last few years you have had to put up,with so much. You are very lucky to have the support of your family. This must be so distressing for them too!
Have you considered giving up work and just coping with being a wife and mum and enjoying it? Plan some holidays or activities together. Just take one day at a time!
I was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive and had db mx following a course of 8xchemo and then had rads after surgery! Then I had herceptin and I am still taking Letrozole. I also underwent several attempts to have reconstruction and am still not sorted!😡I have given up full time work -which was teaching- and go in as a volunteer as and when I feel able to. I still get very tired and have an issue with walking!😔
Be kind to yourself and follow what your body is saying to you!
Hi Butterfly, Grace and Jill
Many thanks so much for your replies and your welcome words of advice and support. I have started looking into your recommendations Butterfly and feel that if I can be proactive, it should help my current feelings and help me to take control and move forward. The anti depressants are called Mirtazapine (30mg) but oh dear - I have not been very good on them at all! Have been really ill so had to stop after only a few days. I have been in touch with my BCN to ask for her recommendations about ones which can be safely taken with Tamoxifen and am waiting to hear from her. To be honest I would rather not take any more medication but I just want to feel 'normal' again (whatever that is nowadays). I don't trust my body anymore and after the lumptectomy, hysterectomy and the latest abdominal surgery I just feel almost 'butchered' if you know what I mean. I need to see my GP again next week to see how things are going. The truth is - they're the same. My GP has been fab over the last 2 years with all my health issues but I don't think my latest visit was hugely successful on reflection. I was very emotional and he basically said, "Here's some tablets .... I'll refer you for counselling.... off you go... come back in 2 weeks." I am also waiting to get an appointment regarding the counselling (again not really sure what format that will take until the initial meeting) so am feeling in limbo again. I am going to look more into the 'Mindfulness Meditation' and start there.
One day at a time - we need to be kind to ourselves.
You must be exhausted, all that treatment. You say your GP has prescribed an anti depressant, you don't say what or what the dose is..... You are also wondering whether Counselling and the Anti depressant will be enough. Looking at your treatment i reckon you're a pretty resiliant person but we all have an upper limit.
Anti depressants work on Clinical Depression, you may be having an absolutely appropriate response to repeated stressful events which grind you down and affect your mood. In terms of Counselling it very much depends on what it is he has referred you for.
Person Centred Counselling offers the opportunity to talk about how you are feeling, generally no solution will be offered, this is an opportunity for you to identify what will be good for you.
There are lots of therapies available in Primary care which can be as effective as medication but do take work on your part such at CBT Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (looks at how our thoughts manifest into unhelpful behaviour and challenge that / make plans to change.. CAT Cognitive Analytical Therapy looks deeper at your life experiences from childhood and how this manifests into unhelpful patterns of behaviour.
From your post it feels like a good starting point would be to find a support group in your area, do you have a Maggies, or a Cancer Care Centre Just talking about things with somebody completely independantly enable us to make a plan of the things we need to work on. Some things you could look at on the internet are Stress Vulnerability Model which will give you a good understanding and also Mindfulness, (Headspace have some great downloads of Mindfulness Meditation. Vidymala Birch and Danny Penman also have a few good books with CD.
It feels like you are wanting to move on but the reality is that this is a very different life now, you are a different person and that has been shaped by your experience so may take a little longer to discover the new you.
Hope you are feeling better very soon. Take Care Butterfly x
Wow, you have been through loads. As I read on a utube comment board, it is a miracle you are still able to breath.
I have had breast cancer twice, in 2012 and last year, a mx a week before Xmas. I also was hoping to get back to work and was moving on in life but no, cancer had other plans. I am now just taking it one day at a time. I feel very up and down. It's half term and my children are on computer games and I'm watching iplayer. In the past I would have thought what a waste of a day but it's not, I'm healing my body and soul. I also find watching utube clips very helpful, I am not alone and neither are you.
Lots of love grace x
I have often visited this wonderful website but have never actually posted anything until now. I now think it is time that I get my feelings down and hopefully get chance to hear some welcome words of advice and support from anyone who is going through, or has gone through, something similar. It is a long story and I hope that you can bear with me. My BC journey started in October 2013 where I was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 2 IDC as well as DCIS and LCIS, following an early mammogram (I was 48). I count myself as lucky in the fact that the cancer was caught early. I had a lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, radiotherapy and was prescribed tamoxifen. Although I found the radiotherapy particularly challenging due to severe ‘burns’ under my breast, I am very much aware that many people have to go through much worse.
After recovery, I went back to work, was successful in applying for promotion and was keen to move forward with my life. Unfortunately however, this has not been the case. In October 2014 (one month after starting my new job) I was hospitalised for a week due to a severe chest infection. During this spell in hospital and following a series of scans, an ‘abnormal’ axillary lymph node was found in my BC armpit. Following biopsy, no cancer was found and I was told that the node would be monitored on an annual basis. To this date, the lymph node is still enlarged and I continue to be monitored for it. I went back to work following the hospital stay, feeling guilty about the time off, and once more tried to get back on track with moving forward.
The next setback came at the end of December 2014, when I started experiencing severe stomach pains and the need to urinate constantly. (Prior to having my 2 beautiful daughters, my previous gynaecological history had included 5 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy). After a visit to A&E, I was catheterised and admitted once more to hospital. Scans and tests showed that I had a large ovarian cyst and huge fibroids. At the same time, the gynaecologist carried out a smear test and results showed that I had a pre-cancerous cervix. I was scheduled for a colposcopy and LLETZ, prior to emergency total abdominal hysterectomy and removal of my ovaries. Welcome then to the immediate impact of a surgically induced menopause and all that entails!!
I was back at work after 8 weeks of recovery and once more, laden with guilt, was determined that I would move forward. I celebrated my 50th birthday in December 2015 and looked forward to a happy and healthy 2016! That now brings me more or less up to date with the latest setback. On 12th January this year, I found a lump in my abdomen and after a visit to my GP, I was admitted immediately again to hospital. A day later, I was having emergency surgery. I was unfortunately administered general anaesthetic into my arm tissue, before the second attempt into my BC arm finally put me to sleep. The effects of this were quite traumatising! I was discharged after a week and waited nervously yet again for more results. The lump was thankfully found to be benign and so I am at the stage of moving forward yet again.
And that is now where the problem lies. I seem to have fallen apart after this latest event and am finding it hard to cope and come to terms with it. I can’t stop crying, feel so incredibly down and have lost all hope and positivity. I don’t want to see anyone – I want to hide under my duvet and let the world carry on. I feel extremely shocked and traumatised by the catalogue of events, and also feel embarrassed and ashamed at my health and the impact it continues to have on my work. I should be back at work! When I read my story back, it doesn’t seem real! I always say ‘you couldn’t write it’! What will the next hurdle be? I have no strength and am so tired by it all. Both my parents died of cancer (15 and 11 years ago) and getting over their deaths also took its toll over the years but recently I just wanted my mum! My husband is an absolute rock and continues to support and love me unconditionally. My daughters have coped so well with everything but what impact am I having on them all? I feel so lonely and don’t know which way to turn. I have been back to my GP and told him how I am feeling; he has prescribed anti-depressants and referred me for counselling, but will this be enough? Thank you for listening – I apologise if I sound in any way self-indulgent.