Mar 29, 2003 - 5:48 pm
Had single mastectomy, 10 lymph nodes removed, followed by chemo and Tamoxifen 3 1/2 years ago.
We have just returned to the States from living in a Middle Eastern country for 7 years. I had the surgery & treatment here. My husband had to go back over there to work. Came back when I was finished, collected me and we returned home. I was here for so long that they had to replace me in the job I had held. First time in about 30 years that I haven't worked.
Had a good follow-up oncologist over there who had spent 10 yrs working in Chicago before going back to his country, knew his stuff medically, but I couldn't talk to him much. There really isn't much, if any emotional support for breast cancer surviviors in that part of the world. Cultural, religious & language barriers that I, at least, couldn't figure out how to surmount.
All this time I have struggled with the sense of mutilation. I've gained 30 lbs. Have mild to moderate lymphadema. I can't look at myself in the mirror, I can't talk about any of this without crying. My husband has been and still is, so gentle and very supportive. He has told me till he is blue in the face that he is so glad I'm alive, that he loves the inside of me and not just my breasts. But, I can't get out of this rut, no, it is more like the Grand Canyon. Our sex life has almost become nonexistant. Me feel sexy? ? ? You have to be kidding! ! ! !
Such a dramatic change in me. I have always been active, outgoing, loving, excited about life. No more. All I want to do is sit in the house and read or watch TV. Don't want anyone to come over, nor to go anywhere.
Called a local hospital re: their Survivor's meeting, then I couldn't make myself go cause I felt so ashamed that I was (at least so far) free from cancer and just hung up on the physical aspects. Reading through the messages on this website, I notice that so many women are still in the middle of their treatment. They are still battling the OGRE, and I feel more shame. Nonetheless I can't figure out how to get on top. Not sure that anyone really needs to answer me, just thought I might feel a little better if I put this all in writing.
May God grant better health to all,