Overwhelmed

ChristyTChristyT Geelong, VicMember Posts: 8
edited December 2018 in Newly diagnosed
Hi all
I am a 40 year old Mum of 3 (3,7,8). 5 weeks ago I found a lump in my left breast. Saw GP the next day and was referred for tests. In the last 5 weeks I have had:
mammogram
ultrasound
biopsy
CAT scan
bone scan
MRI
pelvic ultradound
internal ultrasound
skin sparing mastectomy
Axillary clearance
reconstruction
Port Insertion
Round 1 of chemo (EC)

However, hardest to get my head around is what is still to come:
hair loss
3 more rounds of EC
12 rounds of Taxol
Hormone suppression
Early Menopause
Radiotherapy
Removal of ovaries 
 
Not to mention non medical related issues (stopping work, finances etc)

We are so lucky to have amazing support, but how do you find the strength to deal with all that is still to come?

Feeling very overwhelmed and drowning. 
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Comments

  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,428
    Welcome @ChristyT.  Overwhelmed and drowning is a very good way of putting it.  It is overwhelming and at times you will feel that it is never ending.  I was diagnosed this time last year and finished active treatment at the beginning of September (I think) and most of that time I felt that I was in a tunnel.  This forum is a really good place to come for the support from people who get it - you can let the mask slip, here.  For many of us, it has been important to let go of trying to be the person who does everything and let others take it over.  Having young children adds a different dimension to it (mine are a little older and so could help more) - make sure when you have offers of help from people that you have real things for them to do as it's not really helpful to have 5 spag bols in the fridge when your bathroom is growing and you can't get out of bed to get the kids to school.  Being able to relinquish that feeling that you need to be on top of things is one less emotional drain on you.  I would also suggest that if you can, find an oncology rehab programme (preferably bc) as exercise will help with both the physical impact and the mental.  You don't say where you are located - other members could help with this if we know the general area you are in.
    There's nothing easy about this - it's just a matter of getting through and it does feel like it will never happen but it will.  Every chemo treatment is one less that you have to have.  Rads is not difficult and there are ways to help prevent burns.  And not everyone has issues with the hormone therapy - try not to go there in your head until you have to.
    But do come here for info, support and the odd laugh.  It helps.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,655
    edited November 2018
    Hi Christy. To answer your question simply, it's one day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time. When you feel like you are drowning in BC, you try as much as possible to stay in the moment. I literally say in my head, 'no I'm not going to think about that' and divert my thoughts elsewhere. This is similar to meditation. When your brain wanders, you redirect it to go back to following your breath.

    In moments when you are so overwhelmed that a panic attack occurs or complete breakdown threatens, you need to take some deep breaths. Long breath in, hold for two seconds, then long breath out. Then lightly pat your thighs and arms, saying to yourself 'this is me, this is me'. You can also note to yourself the things who can hear, see, smell, feel and taste. This gets you out of your head, which at moments like those is a good thing!

    My psychologist is big on not doing 'predictive' grief. As much as you are able, don't anticipate your reactions or grief to things that haven't happened yet. In other words, don't cross bridges until you come to them. Do you have a counsellor?

    Hair loss is a big deal for many of us, but not all. I tried the cold cap to spare my youngest two the visual (click on my @ name to read my story) but it didn't work. So I had it all shaved off at a local hipster barber, who gave me a stiff gin & tonic while it was being done, and refused to let me pay for either the cut or the gin! The kindness of strangers. I found having no hair to be very freeing, everyone said I had a great shaped head, that I looked great (chemo can clear your skin and make you 'glow'), and showers are a revelation. It takes some adjusting to publicly looking like you have cancer, but if you can't you can borrow or buy a wig, and no one will ever know. My hair has grown back the same as it was before, but with a different texture (which will pass) and looks so good short that I'm sticking with a pixie cut for now. A friend that I've known since I was 15 told me only the other day that I'd found my look!

    There is very little about BC that's good, but you can find some pearls in there. I have never felt so loved as when I had chemo. My friends were amazing. You gain a deeper truer knowledge of yourself that can be quite profound. And for me, joining this forum has led to me making irl friends who I'll have forever.

    Most of your list will pass, and the things that won't, well, we'll be here to help you, and keep you company along the way. There are also a surprising number of laughs! I'm having a tough time in survivorship. (it's the first anniversary of my diagnosis on Tuesday), and this forum has been beyond invaluable, supportive, caring and kind.

    Can I suggest on Monday you give the BCNA helpline a call? The wonderful women there will be able to give you some excellent support and advice around all the things you're worried about, including the work and finance issues. 1800 500 258.

    Keep putting one foot in front of the other Christy. You'll be surprised how quickly things become routine. And keep your eyes on the prize:  a healthy cancer free you who will be around for your children and their children. When things are at their darkest for me, that's what I think about.

    Keep coming here and let us know how you're getting on. We're with you all the way lovely. Biggest of hugs, K xox
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,655
    @Blossom1961 Here's another Geelongian (is that even a word?!). Any recommendations for local services? K xox
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,370
    Hi Christy, I am happy you decided to post here. As I said to you before, this forum is THE place to come to ease your mind about what is happening. The ladies on here are wonderful and even without visually meeting them you know you have this extended family. Anytime you want to face to face chat we can meet up. 
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,370
    @kmakm Thank you. I have met up with Christy over a fresh juice earlier this week. I forgot about the young women group here where @ChristyT can find other women in very similar circumstances, caring for young ones whilst having treatment. 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,208
    Thinking of you, @ChristyT and sending big hugs .... Oh my gosh - what a swag of stuff you've been thru already in such  short period of time.

    Yep. One day at a time .... if you can, try & have some 'you time' now & then ..... have a go at doing something that you really love doing - I find that if I am kept busy, I don't 'dwell on it' quite as much, as it can be a tad overwhelming.  :( 

    This Bloody disease really mucks with your head a bit too - so feel free to unload here on the blog - we all 'get it'.  

    Take care xxx

  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,655
    You are a star @Blossom1961<3
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,370
    @kmakm I am just following in the footsteps of some wonderful women warrior sisters. Thanking you and my other sisters here for your support
  • ChristyTChristyT Geelong, VicMember Posts: 8
    Thanks everyone for your kind words. Re-reading now it seems a bit dramatic but that’s where your mind heads when you are awake from 3am! 😳
    @Sister you made me laugh with the Bolognese reference! Thanks. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,655
    Hey Christy, if you're awake in the middle of the night (and we ALL get the whale of doom midnight moments!), head over to a thread called Night Howls. You might find some company! K xox


  • Milly21Milly21 Member Posts: 97
    I used this affirmation sometimes when things got to much for me especially at end of the day. “ I give myself permission to have a break from worrying about things I can’t control “ easier said than done I know.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,655
    I like it @Milly21. It's close to the Serenity Prayer, which I think are words to live by (though I'm not religious).

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.
  • ChristyTChristyT Geelong, VicMember Posts: 8
    @kmakm it was 3am too! And yes by 8 I had rebuilt. Thanks I like it. 
    @Milly21 spot on. Thanks for the reminder. 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,188
    Welcome. 
    Wow a full on few weeks.
    I found  just tackling each thing as it come up rather than thinking ahead too much helped me. We are only guessing what ifs if thinking too far ahead. 
    Take time now  to focus on each day and enjoying your life. Something we one  toom for granted. I enjoy birthdays and family celebrations so much more since diagnosis than I ever did. And I just stopped doing what I loathed. I was unwell during chemo so day by day is what got  me  through. Kath X
  • NadiNadi Member Posts: 595
    one step at a time. it will get better, even if it doesn't feel like it
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