I've got one friend who is so encouraging and says, 'You can do this, you can get through and out the other side'.
I've got another friend, who herselfs suffers from depression and every time I'm ill after chemo, says 'You can stop the treatment anytime you want, you don't really want to have a poorer quality of life do you'.
I can't think of anything more you don't want to hear from someone when you feel so ill and even doubt yourself if it's the right choice, but when you are told what the alternative would mean, I think encouraging support is so important.
Ironically I wasn't overweight when I developed cancer. I think she's decided the only thing she can see that I can control to prevent it coming back, not that she thinks it's my own fault... but it was hard not to hear that at the time!
Errrrm, and what is her theory behind this needing to lose weight thing? Surely....its not that she thinks being overweight has caused your cancer ????
Oh Charys you'd think the hospital staff would know better! Well done you for getting through the interview.
I've a friend who's developed a theory that I need to lose weight, really quickly, and should see this as a wake up call! I was perfectly healthy before BC, and yes I've gained weight since diagnosis, but I'm losing it slowly with GP support to make sure it doesn't yoyo back on, apparently I need to do more than my GP is asking of me... and quickly....
"if I was you I'd just have them both off" - like a double mastectomy is a lifestyle choice with no emotional impact, medical complications or risks!!
Sounds so easy doesn't it Maggie !!! LOL This is dumb for many reasons, firstly for the ones you've stated. Secondly because breast cancer treatments have changed and there is something called 'breast conserving surgery' and thirdly because the treatment team may not even offer that choice or think it appropriate. Annoying !!
Yeah, people don't mean it (I hope) they just don't know how to react - actually its fairly easy - you just listen and take cues from the person who is diagnosed. Everyone is different in the type of response they want, and so you just say 'Hi' and see how they lead it from there.
"My friend / colleague / sister in law / you-name-it had breast cancer x years ago, and she's fine" (or worse: "and she died")
Ohhhhh, I think I've told this story on this very thread....but it merits being told again. LOL After I'd finished my treatment in the summer of 2016 I went for an interview with the NHS for a voluntary role. I was rocked to the core to find out the interview was in exactly the room I had had my bc counselling - I got over it despite being shakey. The interviewer started asking about my diagnosis and treatment and said her sister had had the same at my very age. I then made the mistake of saying 'Oh did she, and how is she ?'. The exact words 'She's dead'. Seriously LOLOL I floundered and said I was sorry to hear that and the conversation continued into the type of bc she had suffered from. I continued floundering and said it sounded like a different form to mine (which it did), to which she replied 'No, I think it was the same type'. FFS !!!!!!
B74 - you're right we need the laughs, and people aren't insensitive deliberately. Your post really made me smile, it reminded me of the lady who said, "if I was you I'd just have them both off" - like a double mastectomy is a lifestyle choice with no emotional impact, medical complications or risks!!
Wow some of you have had to deal with the most incredible insensitivity! You really have to laugh because the alternative might be punching them in the face! Thankfully most of my friends and family have been kind and supportive. My biggest gripes (some of which I may have been guilty of in the past but will try to avoid ever doing again) are:
Also my 13 year old daughter said about my impeding mastectomy, "don't worry mum, you don't really have any boobs anyway". But I did just laugh, because one day after she's breastfed her kids, she won't have any left either!!
Thanks, no, I'm not in a position to go private. I could try to get the hospital to refer me. My hospital is in barnsley... not a million miles away.
I think I need to go to him for a second/third/fourth opinion. I am just not liking any I've seen here, and every time I get a different one. Mind you, this last appointment, which I thought was for onc turned out to be a surgical registrar, who said they will be handling any problems I have with Letrozole, and proceeded to tell me how letrozole blocks hormones (instead of being an aromatse inhibitor) and that it had 100% efficacy.
He is called Mr Arora and is based at Tameside Hospital, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester. I heard nothing but good things about him from the other ladies in the breast clinic. He is kind, compassionate, and caring. He has a wonderful sense of humour at the right time, and really puts you at ease.
Know this is a late reply, wasn't diagnosed until middle of Sept. My breast surgeon was wonderful and throughout said WLE is NOT the easy option,
and he advised me to take as good care of myself as I would with a larger option. I also had ANC at the same time, and he said that although the scars were not very large, underneath the skin there is a large damaged area that needs to be looked after
I think something along the lines of 'it's great the CT was clear, but total bummer it's in the other breast' would have summed up the situation....
Awww passtamissus, thats a tough thing to hear isn't it, you are reeling and struggling and there feels like there is just ' really bad news' (the breast cancer) and 'potentially even more hideous news' (from the scan).
I was thinking what my response might be if you'd have told me your scan was clear - it would be something along the lines of 'that is a relief you are at least spared an additional worry and complex treatments, ontop of what you are already facing'. Would that have been ok, or would that have been a bit off the mark too? I'm genuinely interested, as often we pick up these thoughtless comments that people make (and boy there are mannnyyyy) but I'm wondering what we would prefer them to be?
"I never thought I’d be the only one with my own breasts"
Oh.....my......word! The answer to that one is - yeah and we [ the other two sisters] never thought we'd be the ones to get all the intelligence to share!
telling people I have cancer in the other breast and need a mastectomy but the CT was clear gets a 'great news!'
I realise the CT is definitely great news, but I still need another mastectomy!!!
Maggie 48 your post did make me smile as I know exactly what you mean.
Having been recently diagnosed with invasive lobular and invasive tubular in one breast I insisted I have further scanning of my clear breast to make sure nothing had been missed there. When I was told there was nothing the response from my sister was “you must be so relieved” ! Yes I’m about to go on for a mastectomy and sentinel node remodel I’m ecstatic. Same sister, who is renowned for her lack of tact said “ I never thought I’d be the only one with my own breasts “ ( younger sister had a mastectomy 15 years ago). Leaves me speechless.
Work colleague when told said “at least you’ll get Xmas off work”
Brother in law offered my hubby help sirthing things out when I’m gone. He was rapidly sent packing and told he has no place in my life or recovery.
Begining to think I’m surrounded by idiots but guess it’s really that they don’t know what to say so end up saying the wrong thing
hey ho hope you’re recovery is going well. I’ve postponed my op until 7/12 so I can have a much looked forward to holiday and then knuckle down to dealing with this.
huge hugs and much love xx Melanie
Too late, she has already booked flight and changed it once, and my sister paid for a night in a hotel for her. She never asked what I wanted. My husband thinks she means well but I should have been more firm. Anyway, the surgery date could still be postponed if the CT scan I had yesterday doesn't come back clean. Small probability and I sure hope not but we cannot be sure and it is all very stressful and her coming is not helpful.
My mum lives in another country and she wants to visit me in hospital when I am having surgery and come home with me after. She said, I am not going to take care of you (cooking and cleaning), I just want to be near you during those days. Well, what good is that then? I am certainly not going to cook and clean for her. Luckily I have my husband who is very supportive, I prefer it would be just the two of us.
had thickening of the skin and a hard area in left breast which lead to initial mastectomy. Then they found it was lobular so did MRI of other breast, biopsy come back showing cancer there as well, so right mastectomy planned. No, I don't think I did anything to get breast cancer other than have an aunt who's had it 4 times...
I am curious to know what were the early symptoms that you noticed before you visited the hospital. Seeing a lump is an obvious symptom. Do you remember seeing any other symptoms even before the lump? Also, did you ever feel that some particular habit of yours caused you cancer. Your own self realisation kind of thing..
I would find that comment upsetting too, Pastamissus, I think it's rather cruel. It's difficult to live with depression just as it's difficult to live with cancer, but that's what we have to do; find a way of living with them. Actively fighting health issues tends to increase stress and make everything worse.
Have you tried telling your friend you found her observation unhelpful? Perhaps a simple mention that you're not fighting anything, just making the best of the situation you're in and looking at life constructively.
Generally I don't think other people want to hurt us, but there are plenty of people around who have an urge to manage our feelings for us, and see this as helping. Perhaps a little kindly redirection prompts them to think again.
Background: I have had depression for over 27 years, been on medication most of that time and have spent alot of time feeling suicidal. Things have been good the past 7 years, and now I have breast cancer I don't want to die.
A friend who knows this background, when I told her I was likely looking at a second mastectomy for cancer in the other breast helpfully commented 'so you've decided to fight it'
For some reason, that really upset me. I'm not fighting anything, I have an illness that I'm trying to cope with with medical help.
That's shocking, Zellah. Do let us know what your BCN says about this and what, if anythine, she does about it.
Here's hoping the rest of your treatment goes smoothly and helpfullly.
Hello Quaggie, that's a funny name, well I been through similar, like you terrified after waiting 6 hours, getting more anxious, the anesthetist said , she was running late, the pump needed changing it was empty, meanwhile I will get some pain relief in you so you don't feel things when the surgeon performs on you. So I felt really frieghtened, & said I hope the anesthetic works!! Woke up in tears, of releif. I hope this helps reassure others, that are going through the same, that we are having to put up with enough anxiousness, aswell as lack of empthay & brashness , due to their familiarity with routine, from medical staff. So do an email to CQC, any other organisations , I going to ask bcn. I told my GP , I need to be referred somewhere else if I need more surgery, she said she agrees , not good enough waiting 6 hours & been treated with inappropriateness.
A great link. Yes, people say the oddest things which I agree is often down to their own fears of getting breast cancer.
Just came across this article that highlights some things that may not be helpful to say and possible helpful responses. Hope the link works!!
Sorry, if I interrupted the back to work discussion. Hope it all works out for you.
Regards 🐣 chick
Well, Delly, I'm neither a psychologist nor a lawyer, but I've had to learn quite a bit about human nature and how to manage very difficult situations prompted by extremely difficult people. Not saying I'm an expert, but I have triumphed on more than one occasion.
Many years ago I took up a job in what was to me a new part of the country; this was to be a really promising career move. Over a few months, I discovered that there was another woman in that Institution who had thought my job was hers by rights, but hadn't been interviewed as the Director of the Institution didn't think she was suitable. She was working in admin and my job was academic. She had a 'thing' for my own Line Manager, apparently they had been inseparable, so she 'persuaded' my LM to create a second post (in effect half my own). The LM then 'persuaded' the Director to appoint her (I shall call her Madonna - not her real name). The Director was a rather weak person and gave in for the sake of peace. By then, there was a new Deputy Director who didn't know the history to all this, and was even weaker.
Problems Problems. I was side-lined very quickly so had to watch how I was treated and the work I took up. I politely and firmly insisted on keeping to my job description, which was quite detailed.This annoyed both Madonna and the LM.
The Institution was spread over several sites, and it reached me that Madonna was slandering me (some of what she was claiming was seriously slanderous) in the main building, where she had worked in admin for many years. As I was very new to that Insitution and to that town, I had to be very careful. I didn't know anyone, was in the process of buying a house and could not up-sticks and move. I made a point of getting to know colleagues on the main site and being friendly and helpful, without saying anything critical of Madonna. Sure enough, her behaviour became more desperate as mine remained diplomatic, friendly and supportive.
On the site where Madonna and I were stationed, she became extremely provocative. It was clear she was trying to make me boil over so she could make a formal complaint, so I did the opposite, i.e. was consistently pleasant, cheerful and helpful. It occurred to me that as I was very much a new girl, people would not come to my defence unless they could see the situation getting really really nasty, with her behaviour going over the top and my behaviour being consistently reasonable and co-operative. In was in my interests to encourage Madonna to get worse, painful though that was. So, whenever she was foul mouthed, I would offer to make her a cup of tea, or do something else kind for her. She hated being in the same room as me so as soon as she went into a side rooom, I would find some excuse to go in there too, e.g. to photocopy something. She would growl and flounce out again back to her desk. So I would innocently return to my own desk, which would prompt her to growl even more loudly and go off downstairs. I would remain detached.
It worked. A colleague from the main site phoned me up and advised me not to turn my back on Madonna if she had something heavy in her hand (yes, really). Eventually, staff on the main site complained to the Director that matters were getting out of hand, and that the problem didn't lie with me as I was being reasonable. They were revising their views of Madonna, and could see the same level of nastiness getting out of control across the Institution. There was an investigation and a meeting prompted by senior staff. I was exonerated in front of the shop steward; Madonna and our Line Manager were both given written warnings. Madonna was moved to a different site under a different LM.
I then had to work similar psychology on my LM. He played some very silly games, so I stuck to my job like glue and was helpful and supportive of him. I had to behave to him as though I liked him as, of course, if people think we like them they are more likely to like us, so we can then build a mutually helpful relationship. It was painful but it worked. After a year we had a decent working relationship and he actually apologised for his earlier treatment of me.
I'm not suggesting that Alibobs' colleagues are anything like as underhand as the people I've known, but similar psychology might help. Assuming the Asian colleagues are nice, shy people who are just a bit immersed in their own culture and protecting themselves, friendliness could bring them out of their shells. And if the Line Manager is trying to sideline Alibobs, then she will see how good A is at getting on with colleagues of all cutlures and will not be able to claim anything against her.
Chin up everyone; keep going.
Wow appletree - That's an amazingly diplomatic suggestion. Very subtle approach, without any threat. you're not a psychologist by any chance are you?? I'd have never thought of that.
Alibobs - I hope it all goes well for you darlin girl. Are you a legal exec or something like that? Am only asking, as to how easy a person you may be, to gain employment elsewhere, should you need to, in the worst case scenario. If it doesn't work, I'll get Appletree to join me in sorting them out for you,by other methods, hey?!
Good luck. Am keen to hear how you go on
Lots of love to everyone
Oh dear Alibobs, what a nasty situation to be in. I agree with Delly that your Asian colleagues sound very rude and rather racist. I do empathize and would find returning to work very daunting.
Is there some way in which you can turn things round to work to your advantage? It's horribly easy to allow other people to trample us into a corner, especially if we're feeling fragile after illness, so I'm wondering how you can take your boss and these particular colleagues by surprise, whilst giving yourself some control over the situation and building your own confidence.
I might be completely up the creak with my suggestions, in which case please excuse me, but here are a few thoughts.
Can you prompt some conversation with your Asian Colleagues? Is there anything you can ask their advice on, such as something to do with Asian food you'd like to try? What type of Asian dress do they wear? Is it the very subdued type of Muslim garments, or are they wearing colourful scarves you could admire?
I'm also wondering whether you might ask them to update you on what has been happening in the workplace whilst you've been on sick leave. People often do like being asked for advice. If other colleagues have been shunning them, perhaps they feel rather left out, so are clinging to each other and their own culture in defence. They might rise to the occasion if you can give them a lead on working together in some way. (On the other hand, I might be completely misjudging the situation.)
It sounds as though other non-Asian colleagues haven't made much effort with/got very far with this little clique, so if you can find a way of bringing them out a bit and prompting some English conversation, you could be earning brownie points and defying any attempt on your Boss's part to put you at a disadvantage.
Good luck with your return to work.
It makes me so sad to read these posts of insensitivite conduct of company HR idiots!!
I have to say it is the same now in Education; I retired from teaching as soon as could as the new ‘breed’ of head teacher is only concerned about school performance and not the staff or indeed the pupils!!! Thankfully I didn’t have to cope with bc whilst still working.
I hope you lovely ladies ignore all that rubbish and take time to care for yourselves...and enjoy the holidays too.
People don’t realise that you only see 10% of a person at face value...who knows what the other 90% is sufferering.
Best wishes to everyone and hope you’re feeling ok today.
love Rosie xx
Oh geez, those HR staff deserve to hauled over the coals for that sort of treatment of staff!! They are legally obliged to help staff return to work in appropriate fashion and should know how to talk to people. It's so disappointing that they are failing people in this way.
I think I'm lucky that I'm taking a break from work for the time being so I don't have the pressure of returning to work before I'm ready, although I am missing the social aspect of work at the moment especially as my colleagues in my last place were so supportive and understanding.
That’s dreadful !! Does she have a sister - sounds like our own beloved HR person ! 😄
You go on that holiday and enjoy yourself, s@d them...you are so entitled to put yourself first here, ( I had a similar carry on, we went after my surgery on 4th July, I kept getting almost daily calls from Occ Health but ignored it.. we so needed that holiday.)
Have a great time!