Hi Adrift. I think you hit the nail on the head that it can be very hard to process feelings as they are all rather disjointed, especially when trying to put into words. It's a bit like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle ( a jumble) but you gradually sort out the 'corners and the edges' and then, I suppose, work your way in.
As regards friends&family, there are occasionally obstacles in that dept, from my point of view; as a (very understanding) friend said to me recently, some people can be inadvertently "crass" (his word) and I am inclined to agree. I've just had a "preachy" text from a friend about "the importance of socialising over Christmas". She hasn't experienced BC, so cannot understand my feelings and how misjudged her opinion looks to me. The fatigue is presumably not on her radar. This is the same person who advocated that a couple of new lipsticks would sort me out. No, they are not a cure, even if from Channel!
I think that we each have very unique reactions ( even though common themes run through much of it all) and just need gentle patience & kindness ( from friends & family) to help us gradually adjust to what happened to us.
I'm finding lots of rest and quiet are working best for me, plus prattling on on this forum, of course!
I'm sorry to hear about the feelings you are having, it seems to me that you are grieving the loss of who you were, and how you looked. Being diagnosed is such a bombshell into what may have previously been a normal life (whatever that is). I am ahead of you, I finished treatment radio - no chemo), a year ago, and was fortunate enough to be referred to a counsellor based within my local cancer hospital. At the time, I didn't think it was helping much, even though I left feeling calmer each time, but looking back I see it really did help, as the counsellor listened to everything I had to say, no matter how disjointed it came out. If your family and friends aren't ready to listen, is there a counsellor that you can speak to? If there is one near you, Maggie's centres are very good for listening and meeting people that have been through similar experiences.
If you are really struggling with tamoxifen, there may be alternatives, speak to your BCN to ask what options there are.
Please be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to grieve for what you have lost. Things will improve. x
My heart goes out to you. Maybe if you looked into recon to have your physical "loss" of boob replaced, that you are also grieving from, you would/could feel better. I certainly did, just from my initial expanders, prior to permanent silicones (still not yet had done). Wow, what a difference it made. Felt like I'd got some of my old self back, when I looked in the mirror, rather than constantly upset every time I did, and so avoiding doing so. Gave my confidence a really good boost. Forget vanity. As Cheryl and the other L'Oreal advert models say: "You deserve it"!! It may be just the thing to help shift your "Blues" somewhat.
I can remember literally falling on the floor, seeing myself in the hospital bathroom mirror for the first time, following my first mastectomy. Even worse after my second mast, a year later. Took me 7 years to get around to recon, due to other of life's brown stuff. So wished I'd done it sooner.
Hope you're feeling better soon.
your post sums up how I’m feeling too. I didn’t have chemo/radio but the surgery I had has been difficult and I’m waiting on recon.
I finished treatment in May and fell apart as I woke up from surgery. I’m aware I’ve posted about the same feelings over and over (sorry) as they’re just not going away but have no where else to go with this. Like you I’ve found it hard to talk about, when I do people try to be well meaning but they don’t understand. I go from wanting to talk to wanting to be left alone, tbh I don’t always know what I want to say. My family have been great in practical ways but emotionally it’s left me struggling. I don’t say anything about how I’m feeling to them although I’m sure they know I’m not feeling great. I’m having counselling which is helping, baby steps but at times I still find it really hard. Sending you my best wishes xx
Thank you so much for all your wonderful supportive replies when you are all also going through a difficult time. I will take it day by day and also have some complimentary therapy as I had this throughout chemo and it helped me. This is a wonderful service and I have used Someone Like me before.
love Loulinen x
Jaybro (Jan) as always you write such valuable posts and I'm mainly replying to keep this thread from getting buried.
Loulinen and others, hope you are doing OK.
First you find a way of making it clear to all those well-intentioned friends and family who think it’s all over. They say that because they’ve been so fearful for you and it’s how they want things to be. But it’s not how things are for you. You are in a bit of a vacuum after the certainties of hospital care and it’s scary. I’ve asked the person in charge of this site to find a way to pin helpful articles like the one below so we can have easy access. She’s asked me meantime to keep posting it. I’m currently reading it every day because I’m still waiting for my first mammogram results (I’m a couple of months ahead of you) and at times I feel I’m falling apart. I got through all those treatments numbed out and just with my eye on the goal And now all I seem to have is uncertainties. This bloke seems to get it: http://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what...
Your hospital should have signposted you to various aftercare services (many run by Macmillan). They’re not for everyone and I think I did the Moving Forward course too early (they had a cancellation so I went, but I’m not ready to move forward yet). But there are also feelgood therapies like reflexology, reiki, physical activity groups, knit n natter, anything that suits your personality. Do you have a Haven within reach, a Maggie’s centre, something like that?
Whatever you do, don’t keep holding it in. That’s the worst place for your frustration. I found my GP (who told me she knows nothing of cancer matters!) very helpful with low mood. It was sheer coincidence that the medication she put me on for neuropathic pain, following the chemo and radiotherapy, lifted my mood AND eased the side effects of the hormone therapy. Meantime, choose the friend who’s the best listener and pour it all out! And keep posting.
We WILL get through this swampy phase. All the best,
No need to apologise at all, this is the place to talk and let go of how you are/aren't feeling! I was feeling like this too and it does ease up but you must be kind to yourself. Accept how you are feeling right now in the knowledge that it will pass but you must carry on as normal as much as you can (without doing any physical damage of course!). 'You' will come back, it's just that you are hiding in the background right now, waiting to emerge! You have been through so much, physically and emotionally and you are amazing. If you can face going to work for a day or so, start doing it, no matter how battered your confidence is - doing your normal everyday things are the way for you to 'come back', you will focus on other things and this alone will make you feel so much better. Explain to your family that you are struggling and that going through something like this changes someone even if they are healthy again. Look after yourself, know that you are amazing and most of all be patient with yourself xx
Hey! You posted your feelings and such respect for doing that. I'm sure you will get loads of support from this community. I do agree that friends and family's interest can wane, there is, to me this strange 'aftermath' where you end up feeling rather alone.
Never, ever, under rate yourself; you have achieved so much!
I agree the Tamoxifen doesn't help, but its got to be accepted ( I hate it as it a daily reminder) .
I cannot even begin to know what losing your hair is like; but I do understand what looking at a 'wonky' boob, every day, is like.
Hug to you. X
Loulinen ❤️ You have no needs to apologise for your post ❤️ It is like being in a hurricane while everything is happening then you finish treatments and feel spat out the other side of the hurricane as you watch it dance off into the distance. I felt like broken jigsaw puzzle afterwards, like you my long hair was gone and my body was one I didn’t recognise anymore either. There are things your trust can offer you that could help you as you take it step by step to re-finding you and everyone does it in their own at in their own time ❤️ Spirit and soul equine therapy helped me, you can get 4 free sessions through Macmillan if you are in Derbyshire or Yorkshire if that might help, the lady who runs it is a breast cancer survivor herself, so she understands the journey ❤️ Don’t know if this will help but hope it does, I am sure others will be along to give tips that they used after treatments ❤️ 💕💕✨✨shi xx
Hi don't apologise !! It's a very familiar place you find yourself in to a lot of us on the forum .Intially you are in shock ,then you grit your teeth and get through treatment whatever that entails, then you are relieved to have got through to the other side -then the dust settles and you look around you and think what the hell just happened ??? There is so much fall out after treatment emotional and physical and it's only after you are out the other side that you really have time to think about that and the things you have lost / things that have changed/ things that will never be the same again .If can take time and sometimes some support from outside friends and family ( counselling /CBT / complimentary therapies maybe ?) to get to a good place after treatment finishes .I hope you feel better soon .Jill x
im going to apologise first for my post. I’m feeling so down in the dumps. I finished chemo 5 months ago and radiotherapy 4 months ago. After I finished I couldn’t believe what I had just been through and had been so strong and focused throughout, even losing my lovely long hair didn’t upset me as much as I thought it would. Now the past couple of weeks I have started to struggle emotionally and mentally. My hair is growing but it is such a mess, I also miss my breast and just keep looking at myself and I don’t know who I am anymore. This is holding me back from going back to work. My confidence and self esteem is very low. My friends and family tell me I should be happy to be healthy again, and I am I’m very grateful but I just don’t know how to feel better about myself 😔. I don’t think the tamoxifen helps as My joints ache and I’m so fatigued. I feel like I am boring people keep talking about it so I have been holding it in.