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I thought I was doing okay

JSNJSN BrisbaneMember Posts: 34
edited December 2018 in General discussion
I thought I was doing okay.

Finished treatment in April.  Now part of the short grey hair brigade-hair has grown back grey and wirey so growing some length is not an option unless I want to look like 'the Doc' from Back to the future.

Back at work.  It has taken the better part of 6 months to get my head around it all, renegotiating all my relationships, relationship to work stuff and myself etc.  I honestly thought I was doing ok. 

Then. Just in the last week I am an absolute panicky mess.  A work colleague has just been diagnosed with cancer and someone I know who survived cancer has had a recurrence.

Now I can barely move off the bed. Nervous, anxious, scared and confronted.

I hate feeling like this and I hate remembering what I went through.  Not because of the process it took-the surgery and treatment was active and I was doing something.  It's the after part that is hard. I read in someone else's post that the advertisements, the billboards, the breast cancer reminders are everywhere and they kind of stalk you.  I have had some counseling.  I did a mindfulness workshop of 6 weeks duration and I still don't know if the fear and panic will ever end.  It is so hard to live with. I find I am going along busy, happy, content, smiling and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder why I have cut my hair so short? Oh that's right I had cancer.  I had breast cancer. Cancer.  The thing that everyone fears.  The thing that terrifies me.  The thing that people die of. 

I want to forget, I want there to be as much distance as possible between me and the diagnosis.  I want to be 5 years post diagnosis, 15 years post diagnosis or even 20 years.  I don't want to be tarred with this awful brush. I don't want to be the person people look at and think "she had cancer, oh yes she used to have shoulder length brown hair now she has grey short hair.  She has put on a bit of weight too".  I see colleagues at work, whom I previously had good relationships with, as shallow, superficial, judgemental and not my kind of people.  I see people through different eyes.  Through a different lens.  Everything has changed. I have changed. I am still trying to work out what and who that is.  I have periods where I forget.  And then crashing reminders of what I had and went through. Breast cancer.

Every twinge, every ache, every small different feeling in my body and I'm 'oh that's right that itchy feeling is from the radiation".  "Wait, I had radiation? I had breast cancer?" And the tumble of emotions, thoughts, feelings, reality all rolls back in.

I embark on an overseas holiday with my husband in a week.  And now I am terrified and I don't want to go. I just want to stay on my bed. I keep thinking I should be happy and be doing as much as I can.  Everything has changed.  All my relationships.  My relationship with myself, everything. 

Thanks for listening while I am having this panic attack.


  • wendy55wendy55 Copper Triangle South AustraliaMember Posts: 499
    Hi ladies, and I thought it was just me!, I am sitting here typing this and my eyes are raining, I just feel so sad and I dont know why, pity I dont practice what I preach sometimes, thank you to @iserbrown and @Afraser for their previous posts when my chemo tablets were changed, I have just been advised that the brand I am now to take has exactly the same fillers, so that makes me feel a little better,I think it must be the time of year, everything seems to have hit me at once,I feel overwhelmed and not motivated, so I will put my big girl pants on, take a deep breath and this too shall pass.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,130
    Pleased to read that the chemo tablets that you have been changed to have exactly the same fillers.
    Hey you are allowed to feel misty eyed, it's one helluva journey to date and time for reflection occasionally as long as you don't stay there too long.  
    We're all here to help each other out where we can and hopefully bring a smile as well as a tear!
    For me personally at present, I have been given a painkiller to take and no effect, so I've decided I am one tough nut to crack!
    Take care and best wishes 
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
    edited December 2018
    I can't add anything useful to what the others have said @jsn other than I'm thinking of you and hope that you've been able to get a handle on this. 

    If not and you're unable to access counselling with the Christmas period you may want to try one of the following:

    Beyond blue  - Call 1300 2244 36   24 hours 7 days a week or you can chat online 3 pm – 12 am 7 days a week, 

    Life line Australia National 13 11 14  24 hours 7 days a week  

    Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20  Operating hours will be business hours (EADT) – not weekends or public holidays.

    Most of us have hit a wall at some stage but if it's so bad that you can't manage anything, it sounds like you need to talk to a professional.  There is no shame in reaching out.  You've been knocked about with this disease and I think sometimes that it messes with your head more than it does with your body.

  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,558
    @JSN I don’t have anything to add to what the ladies above have said to you but wanted you to know I am sending big hugs your way.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,891
    edited December 2018
    As @primek says @JSN  - you don't always hear the 'good stories' .... so here are two!

    BOTH my brothers' mothers in law were diagnosed with BC roughly at my age (65) and that was an era when it was whip it off, take full strength chemo and then Tamoxifen for 10 years (whether you were menopausal or not!)

    They are still bouncing around in their 90s now!!  GO GRANNY!!

    I hope you really enjoy your holiday - I treated myself to a trip to Norfolk Island at the end of my active treatment - it was the best medicine out there!   :)  

    Wishing you a VERY Merry Xmas too!  ;)  

  • Jenny_BCNAJenny_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 20
    edited December 2018
    Hey @JSN
    Sending you a private message
  • jennyssjennyss Western NSWMember Posts: 813
    Dear @JSN

    from jennyss in Western NSW
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