BCNA Online Network
Totally lost my shit today
i have been a positive warrior throughout surgery, chemo and rads. I had a simple bone density scan and had a complete melt down wtf.
Perhaps treatment and all its side effects keeps us distracted and when it all ends the emotional & psychological damage still needs to be worked through. Also, it's sometimes the most random everyday shit that triggers the tears & meltdowns. Who knows why. Just roll with it. Cry, scream, tamtrum then dry your eyes & get on with it. What else is there to do? xxoo
I too (despite usually being a career pessimist) found I coped with the active treatment phase better than I expected. My loved-ones were even surprised how well I did. But it was only once treatment ended, and the unexpected and distressing complications and long-term side effects came into focus, that I really started to struggle mentally. The accumulated trauma, the functional impairments, the fear of recurrence, the crippling induced menopause, - nobody told me about any of that beforehand. And remember, if you're on tamoxifen then you're still having treatment and the side-effects that go with it. Just as we have to give back the leave-pass from life, and we start to look fairly well again, and everyone expects us to pick up where we left off, including ourselves, many of us find that 'where we left off' no longer exists. Everything has changed. There isn't even a 'new normal'.
Treatment and its complications destroyed my quality of life, and only now, 3 years after treatment was supposed to be over, can I finally say I feel more-or-less well. But I didn't start to feel the incremental improvements until a year ago. It takes a lot longer to get over treatment (on every level) than we are usually led to believe. And that really sucks coz we end up thinking we must be weird when the reality of our cancer experience crashes into our expectations. Conversations about survivorship pathways are only just starting to happen in Australia and clinicians are slow to acknowledge that (particularly for younger BC patients) just saving our lives is nowhere near enough.
Try to be gentle on yourself, you don't have to be a warrior. Hell, you could even complain your way to happiness if it works for you! But take heart knowing there are thousands of women all around the country who recognise and understand what happened to you today because they too have lived it and are living it with you. This bc 'journey' - sorry, hate that word, sounds far too much like a holiday - is a bloody long one. But so is the line of women who understand what you're going through. I'm still learning more, meeting new people and finding support in new places, all-the-while fighting a sense of guilt that I still need help. And the more women I meet, the more I realise that some days, just getting out of bed can make you a warrior.
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