How do i deal with this

3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
Hi all. I only joined this group today but was diagnosed with BC in January this year. I had a mastectomy and 20 lymph nodes removed from left hand side. Cancer was in 8. I have been through 6 months of chemo and am a visit no 7/25 for radiation. My marriage has broken down, i have our 3 sons living with me. I have a casual job (which i love) as i am financially stuffed. My husband lost his job a couple of years ago, we ended up having to sell our home of 17 years which broke my heart and he bought a business using the majority of the money. The business has pretty much failed leaving me with nothing at 48 years of age. I am desperate to get a full time job but until radiation is done that isn't possible. My kids are all working and help out but it is a struggle. I am just so scared the cancer is still there somewhere. My surgeon is confident she got it all but at the end of the day it's in my system. How do i deal with this? Sorry for the long whingy post.


  • UnicornkissesUnicornkisses Central CoastMember Posts: 398
    edited October 2017
    @3boysmum I am so sorry to hear of the problems you have been having.
    There seems to be no end in sight sometimes with all this treatment.
    There have been a few posts on here about the fear of recurrence, perhaps someone more website savvy than me can put up a link for you.
    There is also a fact sheet on the BCNA main website under resources that deals with this.
    One wonderful lady has also written a book on the subject, someone is sure to put the link up here for you.
    In the meantime, see if you can find the discussions using the menu down the side.
    I plan on taking this subject up with the Cancer Centre Psychologist I am seeing.
    Make use of them if you can access one in your area, they are free and you can see them as long and as often as you need to, not just to discuss Cancer, either.
    The other person you could seek help from is your Breast Care Nurse. She should help you find some peace, or direct you to services you can access.

    I am sure we all go through the same thoughts. Going through treatment helps to take our minds off it because we are actively doing something to combat the cancer, but when that is finished, we are left with our thoughts and we have to find a way we can deal with them.
    I am in the last weeks of radiation, then I will be in the same boat.
    My surgeon is happy with my mastectomy (after failed lumpectomy) and I only had one Sentinel node affected, but my Oncologist is not so certain, he says there is never a 0 chance of recurrence with hormone positive breast cancer.
    I am just trying to think that I have done two surgeries, 5 months of pretty intense chemo, 25 radiation sessions, which, if my skin is anything to go by, is probably doing its job, and that once I go on to the hormone blocking tablets, I have done everything I can to stop the cancer.

    I now just have to get the rest of my life in some sort of order with my reduced ability to work, and get busy with living. I am not going to go with regrets of not doing the things I want to do, no matter when that time comes around.

    I hope you too can access some help to come to a comfortable place with your diagnoses, and some strategies to help when the ugly thoughts raise their heads.

    with sisterly hugs, Jennie

  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,634
    This is so hard. I wish I had a whoopee answer but as one of the very wise women on this site says the answer is to plod on. You put one foot in front of the other, repeat the process. You find after a while that you have travelled far further than you thought you could. Then you take a deep breath and do it again. Great you have the support of your kids. You are already a long way through treatment. That lurking feeling about recurrence is a hard one to lose but bit by bit we all reclaim our lives. I hope some others can suggest some practical help as many others have had to face similar difficulties. And you are not whinging!! You deserve a medal. 
  • 3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
    Thanks @Unicornkisses.....i feel like such a whinger!! I spoke to my radiation nurse yesterday and she told me they have a psychologist i can access. I will definitely do this. Thanks for the love. I just feel so alone sometimes. The boys are great and do their best but sometimes i really struggle. 
  • 3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
    Lol @Afraser.....i wanted that whoopeee answer!!!!!
  • 3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
    @afraser the rest of my post disappeared...still learning how to post here!!
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,419
    edited October 2017
    Sounds like your life had hit some road blocks in there before you then being thrown the darn breast cancer curve ball.

    It's not clear from your post  if you are still living with your husband. If you are not have you been to see centrelink about a wage subsidy and rental allowance? ..Or at least health care cards etc, all things that can reduce financial burdon. Even if together you both may be entitled to this help.

    You may be able to access your superannuation due to financial burdon. I was able to access part of my life insurance under trauma cover. It meant we could pay off the mortgage and I could remain off work while on chemo as I was very sick on it.  

    If you feel well enough you could start applying for full time work now and just give them a future start date. It's only  2 more weeks to go. 

    As to living with the fear. We all get the fear of return. There is no promise we are one of the 90% that remain cancer free in 5 years. However with some good self talk you can start to believe it. Survivorship is hard, finding yourself again, feeling safe, feeling joy...are all things to work on. You deserve it. We all deserve it.

    So think about things you can do you enjoy that aren't expensive. A picnic with a friend. A walk in the sun. Making a special meal with your sons. Perhaps a game night with your family . Try to bring back some fun and laughter into a life that has been full of stress, loss and fear.
    Even in a darkest times people can overcome and feel happy again.

    You can do it. You might just need someone to help you do that if you can't find your way through.

    Through your GP you can have a mental health plan completed and entitled to counselling fully covered by Medicare. 

    You might have mental health services at the hospital you attend that provide completely free services.

    Cancer council provide free counselling and can provide practical financial help too.

    And blogging out your fears and worries helps.
    We are here. We get it. We understand. Kath x

  • 3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
    Thanks @primek. I was speaking to my radiation nurse yesterday and she mentioned they have a psychologist there. I will get a referral from my gp next week and make an appointment. I am not living with my husband, just myself and the boys. I have been in contact with centrelink but working cuts out anything they can provide. I need the work more as it keeps me occupied and that is crucial! I will be happy again. I know that. Just need to get my head in a good space!! Thank you.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,634
    Such terrific advice from some terrific women - don't think you are alone. I had 17 nodes and a breast removed and have just had my 5 year check on my remaining breast and all clear. Hope my oncologist has good news also in December. At that stage my chance of a recurrence drops dramatically. I can of course get another unrelated cancer but as you know all too well, so can anyone.  I am so much better equipped to deal with it if it happens. Not the sort of life experience I would have chosen, but from this distance, still valuable. Dealing with cancer is like using a telescope - from the start you look one way and getting through it all seems impossible. 5 years on you look from the other end and it seems no time at all. As primek says there are no absolute guarantees about cancer. But there aren't many in life generally and we still want very much to be here. Take care. 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,419
    If through the hospital you probably won't need a GP referral. You might be able to self refer. Ask the Nurse ...or they may be able to do it. 
  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,695
    Hey @3boysmum, before you do anything else, how about booking a holiday with the boys if they are available for one with you? The Otis Foundation and its benefactors are so wonderful for offering mini holidays for breast cancer survivors and their families to de-stress. Here is the link - dont know how quickly you will be able to book in but even if it's a little while it's something to look forward to. And as for whinging, no such thing on this site - you are venting and we all get it. Wishing you all the best with the rest of your treatment. Keep us all up to date with how you are going. Xx
  • UnicornkissesUnicornkisses Central CoastMember Posts: 398
    edited October 2017
    @3boysmum, it sounds like you are going through the private radiology clinic? You can though use the psychologists at Gosford Public Hospital, it is free and you can go as often and as long as you need to. I don't think I needed a referral.  I go there, even though I have most of my treatment through the private system. The breast care nurses are also based there and you can see them at the same time if you want to.

  • 3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
    Thanks @Unicornkisses. I am going through the ROC at Gosford. I had my chemo at Nth Gosford private but they don't have a psychologist service. Do i just ring Gosford Hospital and ask reception? 
  • 3boysmum3boysmum Central CoastMember Posts: 19
    Thanks @socoda. I will look into this. I really can't afford to do anything at the moment though. Maybe when i snag a fulltime job!! Thanks again.xx
  • UnicornkissesUnicornkisses Central CoastMember Posts: 398
    @3boysmum I Will leave the number for the counselling service on your timeline, but yes, you can ring Gosford hospital and ask for the counselling service.
    ROC Gosford have a counsellor but I think you have to pay for it.
    The other way you can do it is to go to your GP arrange a chronic care management plan and then you can organise allied health visit referrals at the same time.
    It resets in January though, and you have to redo it with your GP. You get 5 per year.

    I have one in place and have seen a dietitian and a exercise physiologist. You still have to pay but Medicare will then cover part of it. Cost will depend on who you see, so you would then have to ring each one and ask them before the referral is written.
    My GP has a dietitian at their practise and it was bulk billed on the Care plan, no cost to me.

    The exercise physiologist was at the Mariners Centre at Tuggerah and it cost $85 with a Medicare rebate, I think I will find a different one next year.
    I also plan to include a podiatrist visit next year.
    You get 5 allied health visits covered fully or partially per year. Some of them can be a psychologist.
    But it is a bit confusing.
    I would ask your GP about it for other people you might want to see.

    If you just go to Sue or Kaitlin at the Gosford Public it is simple and straightforward. I go to Kaitlin and love her. And they are very familiar with the issues of Cancer Patients as it is in the Cancer Centre.

    Let me know if you don't find the number on your timeline.
  • MiraMira I live in my computer .... Member Posts: 416
    Hey 3 boysmum, I don't have any advice but just wanted to send you some love.  You aren't alone in here. :) 
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