Home Now what? The highs and lows of survivorship



Feeling low and guilty

I know logically that I have so much to be thankful for but I’m starting to experience the mood swings thanks to being on Anastrozole; it’s only been a month but I’m truly hoping it will settle down. I feel so guilty because I feel I’m being utterly horrible to my husband and I often having the feeling of wanting to run away or go into the bedroom and shut everything out. It’s not fair on him and he’s been trying hard but frankly I’ve been appalling to be around. What do you do to keep your mood positive despite the medication? I’m pretty good with exercise, eating well, sleep okay. 

Comments

  • Anne65Anne65 Member Posts: 409
    @Rdc2022 You poor thing! Dont be so hard on yourself. Drugs can do funny things to us & at least you recognise that it is effecting your mood. I am not on the drug so am not aware of its side effects but the advice I can give is to talk to your husband & explain that you know your mood is being effected & not to take it personally. Im sure he'll understand & the fact that you are aware of the change in you, is a positive thing as you know how your body & mind is reacting. I would also encourage good eating & exercise but it sounds like you are already doing that so good on you!! Keep talking to your husband, family & friends so they will understand what you are going through. Do things that youve always enjoyed & used to make you smile & feel good.........going out for coffee, walking along the beach & be kind to yourself & have plenty of "me time". There are so many good counsellors out there & support groups if you feel you need to talk to someone who is going through the same as you. Youre doing great, so try to keep strong & you will get there. Sending love & strength xx <3
  • jennyssjennyss Western NSWMember Posts: 1,533
    Dear @Rdc2022,
    Lucky me, I have been on anastrozole for five years with minimal side-effects. I hope your treatment settles down nicely. How about support from a counsellor? Lots of our network buddies find this very helpful.

    from jennyss in Western NSW
  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 822
    Hi @Rdc2022, have you spoken to your oncologist? That all sounds terrible. Sorry you are suffering so much. It's hard.

    I am on Letrozole but only changed to it recently after being on tamoxifen for 20 months. I was ok on tamoxifen initially but the last couple months I felt like a 80 yr old. My moods were up and down, my legs felt like concrete and I was so breathless. My oncologist stopped it immediately and gave me a little break and then a change of AI. So far ok but my oncologist also said if I suffered too much with side effects then I could try another.

    Maybe you could talk to your oncologist about either strategies to manage how long to keep going like this before trying something else. I really hope it settles down for you. Best wishes to you.
  • Rdc2022Rdc2022 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks everyone…. Great feedback. I’m someone who is not used to being on medication so it scares me a little - especially when you hear horror stories. I really hope it settles down. I have to be patient as it’s only a month that I’ve been taking Anastrozole. 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,321
    @Rdc2022 while it's plausible that your medication is the cause of your mood change, it's worth considering if there are other things happening as well.

    Hormone therapy usually comes as the unwelcome tail attached to an already challenging beast. Dragging ourselves through diagnosis and whatever treatment is prescribed after that is physically and mentally exhausting, even if you manage to keep your act together through the process.

    It's really common to have a bit of a crash when the pressure backs off.

    Talk to your onc, but be prepared to be told you will need some more time to adjust to the meds. Have you considered seeing a counsellor? It's worth paying someone to be the recipient of suppressed rage if you can afford it.

    If you don't want to do that, maybe your partner might benefit from some advice from a professional who has seen this stuff before. It took a couple of years for my partner to share their feeling about what living with me through BCV2 was like. That made me feel like shit and I wish they had received some support too. I was a complete cow.
  • Rdc2022Rdc2022 Member Posts: 5
    Hi, thanks for your well-considered reply. I’ve got stage 1 BC with no spread to lymph nodes, so in terms of treatment it was pretty quick and minimal. From diagnosis to starting taking meds was four months exactly. But, I suspect, piled on top of an incredibly busy and challenging few years with lots of massive change (much good) I’ve ended up feeling like a hamster in a wheel who’d like to get off. So you’re right, I’ve crashed! I think I’m also grieving many things…. (My husband is a champ who tells me every day that he loves me and does a lot to try to make me happy). At the moment, I’m feeling emotionally drained and not like the normal « me ». I normally am pretty positive and recognise I do have a choice in how I deal with my thoughts: I have tended to snap, feel instantly irritated, and overreact when I could learn to think before I act or speak and weigh up how important the issue at hand is. The truth is I’m happiest when I focus on my health and well-being, which is really what matters right now. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,913
    Dear @Rdc2022

    My only tuppenceworth is the advantages of some time, possibly quite short, with a good counsellor. Your focus is on your health and well-being, excellent - but that means your emotional well-being too. Cancer can churn up stuff. It can knock your normal equilibrium a bit off centre. It may make less important things seem more important because your priorities are shaken up. Someone who is not a friend, or a loved one, can be the best person to talk to, no assumptions, no judgements. My biggest issue (seriously buried) was my fear of death. A good counsellor, who never mentioned the issue, nevertheless set me on a thinking and learning path that changed a great deal (it’ll be 10 years in October since diagnosis and I’ve been really well). Cancer’s a bugger but dealing with it can have some really good long term outcomes. Very best wishes. 
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 475
    Hi @Rdc2022
    I am 64 and was diagnosed almost 2 years ago.Those who know me would describe me as resilient and in control.
    When I was diagnosed I became an emotional wreck , crying at the most in opportune times ( like at the supermarket checkout) and catastrophic ing about my imminent death.
    My cancer was stage 2 , nothing in lymph nodes and I had a double mastectomy ( my choice), radiation therapy , and am now on hormone therapy  AIs ).
    I didn’t start the hormone therapy until after my radiotherapy amd I can’t say it may me any more moody/ emotional than I already was.
    Thats not to say it doesn’t have this as a side effect.
    Talk to your oncologist but also your GP about getting a referral to a counsellor or psychologist - I saw one who specialised in cancer related distress - I only needed a couple of sessions and they were very helpful.
    I also found the podcast on here “What you don’t know until you do” by Dr Charlotte Tottman on here very helpful - she is a psychologist who specialises in cancer patients who herself got breast cancer.
    Take care and remember you can post in here any time, questions , venting, whatever.
    🌺
  • Rdc2022Rdc2022 Member Posts: 5
    Hi @Julez1958,
    thanks so much for your comments, I’m glad you are further along the recovery road now and I hope you’re doing well. Your post has helped crystallise where I’m at. I’m not an emotional wreck but I could do with some help…. Was it easy to find a psychologist who dealt with cancer-related distress? I’ve listened to some of the podcast and like it too. This forum is proving very helpful. 😃
  • Rdc2022Rdc2022 Member Posts: 5
    Hello @Afraser
    I appreciate what you said, thank you. Very glad you are doing so well. I’m looking forward to being further along the road to recovery too. 
  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 822
    Hi @Rdc2022, having read your comment above you could ask your surgeon or oncologist for a good psychologist or even your breast care nurse if you have one or your GP. One of them would know where you can access that help. Maybe the BCNA helpline could also be helpful with that. I had a couple sessions with a psychologist who had breast cancer herself and I found it really helped me. Good luck 
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 475
    Hi @Rdc2022
    it wasnt hard finding a psychologist who specialised in cancer related distress ( I got the referral from my breast cancer surgeon who is associated with St Vincents  Hospital  in Sydney) but it was hard getting an appointment!
    Initially I was told that there were no appointments for 3 months and I asked to go on a wait list if there was a cancellation which of course there was as a result of Covid 19.
    My GP had also told me she could give me some names if needed.
    I also meant to say that I am pretty good emotionally now - not 100 percent but in a much better place than where I was.
    Another resource I found helpful was the blog by Dr Liz O’Riordan a UK breast cancer surgeon who got breast cancer - she did a TED talk on it which was really good.

  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,075
    @Rdc2022

    I was fortunate to have a Counsellor present when diagnosed. 
    Her advice was my hubby to be the gatekeeper initially.   
    Also whenever I was feeling overwhelmed by it all, take a moment to pat myself down gently, arms, thighs and saying this is me.  It brings you back to the present.   I didn't need a Counsellor again 
    Hope that helps 
    Take care
    Best wishes 
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