Accepting your New Self

primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,255
edited May 2017 in General discussion
I could have put this discussion in the breast reconstruction group but thought it was better in general discussion.

I'm struggling at the monent.

Yes My cancer was found at stage 1 and I had no nodes and clear scans.

Yes I had a bilateral mastectomy due to dense breasts and family history, a decision which wasn't hard but certainly upset me knowing its impact on my intimacy and body image. 

Yes my Herceptin was stopped due to heart failure twice but I got halfway.

Yes I had a good reconstruction, which still just needs the icing on tbe cake (nipples) sorted.

Yes...I have every reason to believe I will be one of the 90%

But by golly things are tough for me presently. I'm  uncomfortable with my body without clothes. The reality has finally hit home after final changeover...that this is it. I don't  have breasts. I have memorials built as breasts. But no sensation. No natural movement. This is it. It has taken me 15 months to really mourn my loss. During treatment I just got on with it. But suddenly it's now got really hard. 

It's a phase I guess. Grief is a funny thing and I just need to work through. 

And even though I'm grateful to have hair again is nothing like my hair. Texture is the same but colour and curl are very different to who I was. I miss my hair.

Somebody said to me this week...I was trying to explain it...I'd just be happy to be alive. Well...hell yeah I am....and I explained it to her. If someone had their leg cut off due to cancer would you say that? Would you not understand why they grieve for the loss?  Our breasts were part of us...our sexuality, fed our children, a coming of age. 

They're just breasts is probably the most hurtful thing someone could say.

Last night I met many ladies at "State of tbe Nation" who so openly shared their stories. The thing that struck me, the thing that brought tears last night the early hours...was remembering what we quietly discussed. She said...12 years doesn't matter how long it is...I will always miss my breasts.  And I realised...Yes...I will too.

Kath x


  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 3,390
    Kath, I think I mourned in reverse to you, 16 months leading into my mastectomy, since having it and reconstruction, I actually haven't thought of it again, I have complete acceptance. I don't grieve at all oddly, so I think we naturally do one or the other. Youre not alone in how you feel thats for certain. With your hair, I promise it does get better...I have 16 months growth now and had numerous trims and my hair is coloured and finally looking more like I used to. I get comments on my hair people liking it short, ohhh im not done yet a bit longer yet :dizzy:

    Grieving is an absolute essential part of this whole thing and I think in order for you to get to a better place you have to do it. You will get there...I truly believe where this wont consume your every thought and the things you love are taking up more of your time.

    You were caught so super early, which is so wonderful! and yes some comments arent thankful to be alive...ummm well of course we are...but only we know to what degree our quality of lives are forever changed depending on our treatments. So I guess its how we look at it.

    Ive changed my diet and exercising daily now, am kicking butt determined to get me back even inspite of pain too can do it. We have our down days...but boy do we have our great ones...hang onto those.
    Hugs Melinda xo
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,883
    edited May 2017
    Oh Kath. We get going, get on with it-- but do we ever get over it? I don't know.

    I've played so many mental tricks on myself in the last ten years I hardly know now what is true and what is not.

    I've 'decided' that my tits were my enemy and I wanted them gone. I'll say that it's nice to be able to do my shirt up without buying a bigger size and taking the waist in. Sometimes I'll choose to believe that. Sex, meh, the other bits worked Ok until it was pretty normal for me to start to lose interest.

    My partner says I'm beautiful. I can't help thinking what he would say if he had seen me before I got dropped in the mincer.

    Yes, we're strong and we're fierce and our bodies and disease don't define us. On a good day. 

    Marg xxxx
  • CassinaCassina Member Posts: 74
    Kath, hang in there girl, I think the whole emotional part of our journey is squashed down and we are so anxious to be strong we forget the impact it has on our grief and loss, loss of body image, loss of our breasts loss of self esteem. You are so strong and have inspired so many, including me, Be down, but remain strong, we need you,
  • Molly001Molly001 Member Posts: 419
    I feel you. It's hard not to feel robbed. Just goin about business then BAM cancer. Glad to be alive, yes, but it's so intensely difficult to be completely out of control over my own body, in both a sense of fear of the cancer, and hatred of the disfigurement. I've had a right mastectomy no recon, massive weight gain (8kg so far) from chemo with 2 cycles still to go, then rads & hormones and I'm starting to panic about what this will do to me and if I will ever recover to feel ok about myself again.  I certainly take a great deal of comfort from reading others stories of surviving and thriving and loving life. My prognosis is not so bad, so I take comfort in knowing I'm doing this to be here for my kids(4 & 1yo), even if I feel shitty about myself. I'll work on that later.
  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,239
    Kath, allow the tears, allow the grieving    yes they are sh*t going through it but you will come out of it different and stronger...  remember I am now nearly 5 years from diagnosis so its taken me a while.....  Mine hit when I finished my treatments and started to acknowledge the ride from hell I have been on..... if you need or want to seek out a good psyhcologist ..... even if getting one means a mental health plan   and doing skype sessions so you get someone who is right for you..
  • fairydustfairydust Member Posts: 290
    @Primeck no wonder you feel as you do. This is the cost you had to pay to survive. No choice.  Okay I get life is a gift but you are only human to mourn what was
    . My hair has also grown back in a style I would have never chosen myself. Trying to get people to understand is an uphill battle. Unless they have had  cancer or have been affected themselves they do not want to know.  
    I am so tired of being fatigued. One day I can take on the world next two days recovering.
    I did not have a mastectomy. I can only imagine how hard that would be. Grieving for what was makes perfect sense to me. In time things do get better. How long ? Who knows?
  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,773
    Hello lovely, Totally get the grieving and I don't have children so don't have that nurturing connection to mine.  I reckon that to be expecting yourself to just forget about a part of your body that has so very many special memories attached to them would be like asking yourself to have amnesia for the majority of your life. And whilst you have had your changeover you are still in the reconstruction stage. I'm quite sure that once you have your new nipples you will attain a new level of acceptance - Grasshopper!!!!! Likewise with your implants - it has taken approximately 10 months for mine to soften and start feeling more - was going to say life like but it doesn't - more realistic, with a bit more movement not just an incredibly firm, nicely shaped lump. Grieve away - I don't actually see myself actually getting over cancer because it is way too much of an assault on your whole body with your mind also being so totally effected. I think we also lose our health innocence and once that has been taken we can't get it back, the fear is always lurking even in our subconscious. Sending you a big hug, know that you're sensational, strong, a truly wonderful lady who generates happiness and laughter and don't beat yourself up for mourning. I think it's perfectly right and healthy. Xx Cath
  • LMK74LMK74 BrisbaneMember Posts: 791
    Primek, I wish I had words to make you feel better but I don't having not experienced what you have. The short time I have been here, I've seen the support and comfort you give to others. You are an inspiration to us all and I personally have appreciated and felt comforted by your words and advice . You are AWESOME. 
    Lisa x
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,364
    edited May 2017
    On the day the doctor said you have breast cancer its a life changer. Hopefully a survival but there will always be battle scars both outside and in and we just have to find a way to make the best of it. Breasts were pleasurable and a bit pesky at times but what's done is done but now for the wilderness of finding ones new identity. Regret shouldn't come into it but it does and we just have to get past it and live a good life. <3
  • nikkidnikkid Member Posts: 1,622
    edited May 2017
    Totally understand @primek....this is something that will always stay with us. What you are feeling, Cath, we have all felt. But I also know how wonderfully strong you are and that this won't hold you back. This is your new you - but you're still the same gorgeous, clever, supportive person you were beforehand.Try and focus on that when you can - but feel free to grieve. 

    Sending hugs

    Nikki x
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,255
    Thankyou all for your lovely comments. Yes I will pass through this phase as will many of you and we will all have our good and bad days. In we go. 
  • mum2jjmum2jj Member Posts: 3,993
    I think the girls have it covered.  I  miss my breasts and don't really love myself naked however I know they had to go.  What I really miss is the sensation of them.  I don't dwell on it often, but can really resonate with what you are saying.  sending you a  hug.
    Paula xx
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,255
    Just to clarify. ..never ever loved myself naked Just okay with it. 
  • CaseypintoCaseypinto Member Posts: 258
    @primek Thank you for steering me here- again, all you ladies on here are just amazing and seem to know the right things to say.  Thank goodness for this network - having a place where you know everyone understands is just truly amazing.  Xx
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