Home Now what? The highs and lows of survivorship

Feeling different after cancer


Found a book on kindle that others may relate to, its called "after breast cancer" by hester hill schnipper.

Lately ive felt a bit isolated and unable to describe to others around me what im feeling and how what has happened has changed me.  Im finished with the worst (i hope) of the treatment but im not feeling like its over. Today i was in a book shop and looking at the self help books i couldnt relate to any, when youve had cancer does anything else that you might worry about make sense any longer? I tried to explain this observation to my hubby but couldnt really get the point across. Even buying a cookbook is hard. Im avoiding anything faddy and it all seems a bit pointless somehow.

Anyway, maybe others will also get sonething out of this book. 



  • FLCloverFLClover Member Posts: 1,458
    I know how you feel @MicheleR. It is a hard feeling to describe. Thanks for the book recommendation. I hope it helps those feelings for you 💟
  • AfraserAfraser Member Posts: 4,021
    Can I suggest talking to a counsellor? These are very real feelings but they also may need some examination and resolution. With the best intentions in the world, those closest to you can’t help - they want you back to ‘normal’. No one at all can go back to what they were a year or more ago - we all change, it’s just that those changes are hard to notice, particularly for those who see us all the time. You need a disinterested professional to let you talk out how you are feeling and help you catch up with the changes you have experienced. Your breast care nurse or oncology nurse may be able to recommend someone experienced with post cancer recovery. Best wishes. 
  • MicheleRMicheleR Member Posts: 343
    Hi @Afraser,

    Im not sure if it is a problem or not right now. I feel grateful to be alive and take pleasure in simple things. Everybody else has remained the same.

    What would i say? 

    I dont know how to talk to anyone about it really. Maybe it isnt seismic? I suppose im in the headspace of seizing the day within my current capability and dragging who ever is interested enough along with me. 
    What do you think? I think in time family relationships may become more like they were. I kind of stepped out for a while. 
  • AfraserAfraser Member Posts: 4,021
    I don’t think changes need to be seismic to be important. Living in the present is a great gift, and a brush with something that might kill you is a powerful reminder of the sheer joy of being alive. It’s more a question of how important (or not) it is for you to share these feelings with those near to you. If it’s not important now, then fine. If it becomes important, then a skilled outsider can be helpful in putting those feelings into words or actions. Best wishes.
  • Ausmum2Ausmum2 Member Posts: 57
    I’m not sure if this is helpful or not, but I watched a film recently (Aussie film- Palm Beach, it’s on Netflix at present  ) where one of the characters (post breast cancer) says:
    ”cancer gives you an unwanted clarity” and that really has resonated with me. 

    I find that this line (and the thought behind it which has really put words around what’s going on) has helped me see what is actually happening and has happened. I found using this sentence with my husband and family has helped them to understand that something inside changed (with all the outside changes too) and that none of us are who we were only a few months ago when this all started (I’m in chemo now, with lots more to come) and isn’t who we will be when active treatment ends as this never ends and “normal” is only a cycle on the washing machine. 

  • MicheleRMicheleR Member Posts: 343
    Could do. Yes im feel adjusted now just misunderstood @JennyD78. I like the phrase @Ausmum2. Hope your treatment is going well. I found chemo gave me lots of opportunity to think. It changed me i think. Meeting other people with long term cancer changed me. Im not as worried about recurrence as i thought id be but its there in the background. I think the loss of my hair was very stripping away a lot of things. I can cry easily in movies with themes. It feels like a close call but maybe ultimately needed. I dunno. 

  • SisterSister Member Posts: 4,960
    @Ausmum2 I watched that movie too and thought that the depiction of the character was quite good.
  • MazbethMazbeth Member Posts: 194
    Hi @MicheleR it is an absolute mind game as much as a physical one. I will definitely check out the book. There are days where I still can’t believe everything that has happened. Losing my hair was absolutely devastating for me, like I struggled to see ‘me’ when I looked in the mirror. I wish I could offer some really sagely words, but all I can offer is that I think it just takes time to adjust to the trauma we have experienced. We were all cruising along with our lives when we were diagnosed and we had to suddenly learn about our new temporary world, a world where none of us wanted to be. Everything that was so familiar and assured seemed strange and uncertain.
    I am starting to look like the old me, but I have been changed in many ways. I did go to a psychologist at the start, who was excellent and I am going to go back now that all the treatment and surgeries are done. You never have to worry about what to say to a psychologist, you just say exactly what you said here. Sometimes, just talking with someone who is not connected to you can guide you to some clarity - not necessarily answers, just recognition of how you are feeling and it’s ok. As you know, after the diagnosis it is a flurry of appointments and treatment, but when that is done you are then left to carry on and you finally have time to breathe and think about everything. I have made great friends with some girls who have been through this too and we catch up and there is just such a deep understanding of how we each feel. 
    As I said, I have no real answers, just understanding and listening ears. Take care Mx
  • MicheleRMicheleR Member Posts: 343
    Very nicely put @Mazbeth.

    I think everyone who has been through this becomes a sage in some way even if we cant express adequately. That understanding is priceless.

    There is a show on ABC right now called Lauras choice. I cant watch it. Its about an elderly lady who wants to voluntarily euthanase. I said to my hubby that it causes conflict for me because on one side i empathise with people chronically ill and on the other side i cant fathom giving away my life. He said he agreed with not giving away a life but i said no its more to me, ive just spent 9 months doing everything to stay alive and hanging with people in chemo who wish that they had the life they wanted. Oh he said. 

    I have no doctor appts next week! I booked 3 exercise sessions instead! 
  • Anne65Anne65 Member Posts: 418
    @MicheleR Sorry to hear you are feeling "out of sorts". I thought you may be interested in an online BCNA virtual conference that is on tomorrow arvo/evening called Living the best life you can with breast cancer. It goes for 4 hours & has many guest speakers...as you would expect, including my fave, Dr Charlotte Tottman. SA time is 4.30 to 8.30. I received an email from BCNA inviting me to register which I did. I thought this topic may help you at the moment as you try to deal with your "post cancer" feelings. If you are interested I can send you a link or maybe a facilitator can post the info on the forum. I am looking forward to it & hopefully I can last the 4 hours! Hope you are feeling better soon & please let me know if you want any info about the conference. Love & hugs. take care xxxx
  • MicheleRMicheleR Member Posts: 343
    Hi @Anne65,

    Thank you. 😀 I am booked on that virtual conference. Looking forward to hearing from Charlottee also. I listened to the last virtual conference she was involved with.

    Just ups and downs i think. 
  • Anne65Anne65 Member Posts: 418
    @MicheleR Glad to hear that you are booked in too! I'm from SA so we will both be sitting at our computers at 4.30 with a coffee in hand!! I hope you get a lot out of it & it helps you to understand how you are feeling at the moment. Like you said, the ups & downs that we all go through. This will be the third time I get to hear from Charlotte. I also heard her on the last virtual conference & i also heard her live at a BCNA conference in Adelaide. She is amazing & has a BC story as well. I will be thinking of you this afternoon as we "sit together'. Lots of love & strength xxx
  • MicheleRMicheleR Member Posts: 343
    Hugs @Anne65 x
    Where abouts in SA? Im from Marion. 
  • Anne65Anne65 Member Posts: 418
    @MicheleR I'm a country girl so live in rural SA about 2 hours from Adelaide. Its a good thing I have family in Adelaide which helped a lot especially when I had to stay over for my rad treatment.
    How fabulous was the online conference tonight & again Charlotte was amazing. I sat through the 4 hours very easily as it was so informative & empowering. I do hope you got a lot out of it & it has helped with how you are feeling at the moment. So much to take away from it! Take care & wishing you lots of love xx
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