Dealing with emotions

SharonP Member Posts: 2
Hello ... I'm generally not a joiner in community forums of this type, but here I am ... 
I was diagnosed on December 23 last year (2018) and had surgery (lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy) on January 15. I start radiotherapy on Feb 18. I've recovered physically really well: my surgeon is great, she's done a fabulous job and I don't think I'll have a scar - so probably no permanent physical reminder. I'm back at the gym and am walking regularly and I hope to start running again soon. 
So the physical side of things is okay. I have a wonderfully supportive husband and even though my grown up kids live in other states (as does my sister, my mother, my brother and every other family member plus my best friend) they're all really caring and fabulous.

But my emotions are a bit all over the place at the moment. I don't want to think of this as a big deal, but for some reason it kinda feels like a big deal. Is it? Or am I just making something big out of something that's ordinary and routine and not really a big deal at all?

Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with anxiety about returning to work? I've been working from home this week, but today decided to go in to work. I drove (for the first time since my surgery) and when I parked the car I felt really anxious. It took a while to get up the courage to go into the office and now I'm not super keen to go back tomorrow.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,374
    @SharonP Yes I hear you. I hit panic stations every time I need to go to work. My first day back my daughter had to come get me after the first hour. The trauma of getting the BC in the first place seems to set us on a roller coaster, and not a fun one. I attend mindfulness classes which help but are not the complete answer. Everyone responds differently. You may need to speak to someone about it and decide your next step. BCNA are available to talk to as a starting point. Believe me, you are not alone in these feelings. 
    Sending big hugs xxx We get each other through but it isn’t an easy ride
  • Sister
    Sister Member Posts: 4,960
    Welcome @SharonP .  You are not making too much of this - it is a big deal.  Most of us have been through it or are going through it.  The shock to both your emotional and physical well-being is enormous.  You'll find a lot of support and even more important, understanding on this site but you may be wise to also see a counsellor who understands the effects of cancer.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,565
    Hi @SharonP - welcome to the forum - I hope we'll be able to help you along the way - ask away any questions - as we have been there before you.

    Your surgery was literally 1 year after mine (Jan 17 last year) .... and my emotions were (sometimes still are) all over the place.  It is totally normal.  Sometimes I think the BC diagnosis, surgery etc  is as much a mental hit as a physical hit - it mucks with our brains.

    Where abouts are you (city/town) - we may have members nearby who know what resources are available to you?  If you feel distressed, you can always  ring the Helpline here for a chat .....  Helpline      1800 500 258

    You may have to have  a rethink on your work - particularly when starting rads, as you will be having treatment every day, not 
    necessarily at the same time.   Do you have any sick leave up your sleeve?   Can you chat with your boss about flexible hours or taking the time off during rads, as it can make you tired/fatigued - and is a tad mentally challenging too sometimes?

    Facing your work buddies & having them all want to ask about how you are going just brings it all back - I think you are AMAZING for even contemplating returning to work in such a short time!!   

    I am retired, so I just tried to keep myself as busy as I could the whole time ..... my ukulele group kept me REALLY busy (which was good) as I lead the group!  3 weeks after surgery, we attended the big Uke Festival in the Blue Mountains (on again this weekend) and I was really chuffed that I was able to be there, as initially I thought I may not make it.

    Be kind to yourself - take it easy.  When you get spooked - take deep breaths, take time out if you can - get a coffee ..... 

    take care & big hugs coming your way xxx
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,369
    It's a really personal decision but I told my work team immediately after confirmation of diagnosis and it was a good move. I knew I would have chemo, I wanted to work through if I could and I felt it would all go better if we just got it dealt with at the start. But it has to be something you feel really comfortable about. I'd worked with someone who had done the same thing, and wasn't too worried about the responses. If and when you do tell, let them know what you want. I didn't want sympathy or special treatment (other than TELL me if I am getting chemo brain - they would have and I didn't!) and established that jokes etc were welcome. That way peole don't get all awkward and add to the things you have to cope with unintentionally. Best wishes. 
  • Beryl C.
    Beryl C. Member Posts: 270
    Sharon you mention semester so is this a university course? The time commitment you mention is very significant for someone who's had surgery and radiation. I understand that attending a course is one way to feel 'normal' and in control - we all need that. Thinking ahead, it may be worthwhile asking about flexibility if there are assignments or any form of homework required. I was working only a few weeks after my masectomy but was involved with planning which involved only one other person. I welcomed the 'normalising' opportunity provided by work.
  • MisseMooks
    MisseMooks Member Posts: 10
    I would like to put out there Youtube tutorials by Eckhart Tolle , this man leterally changed my life and how to cope with serious illnes ...I have been practacing his teachings for approx 10 months and my dropped significantly and I seem to cope better with all the emotions that come with BC..
    One you can manage all the thoughts fears , it much easier to continue with your normal routine