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How do you survive being a survivor?

Mitz
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2004

It will be five years out of treatment May 6, 2009 and I still can't move on. I was diagnosed two weeks before my 35th birthday. Life was good, great job, owned my own home, great friends, dating and having fun :) then it all hit like a ton of bricks! Lost my breast, my job, my house, my friends, my reproductive system and have been in menapause now for years! Everyone wants me to "get back to normal" and they miss the "old" Michelle. I am pretty sure she has left the building however I am with them...I want her back too! I keep saying that once I get back to the gym and lose the weight that I have gained due to the menapause then I will feel great and all will be right with my world again. The man of my dreams will appear and not care that I have one breast that looks different than the other. I don't know I guess I just need to know that I am not the only one out there (I know I am not) feeling all of these things. I do have to say one more thing on this post...I am truly lucky to have survived something that so many of our sisters did not!! I am thankful for having another day as well as hopeful that we will find a cure for this monster so that we don't lose another sister or brother to this disease!! Thanks for reading and thanks for any thoughts you may have.

ohilly
Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

Hey, I feel the same way. I was just living my life, going along, when bc hit out of nowhere. I realize others have it worse and that my cancer was caught early (stage I, but BRCA 1/double mastectomy), but I still feel that my life has been and will for the foreseeable future be defined by cancer.

If you have any answers, let me know.

Ohilly

Mitz
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2004

You are 100% correct that others have it worse which is one reason why I still fight. I was stage 3 and BRCA 2. Why do we let this damn desease define us? Once I get the answers I will let you know and you do the same.

Keep fighting!

ohilly
Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

So, another BRCA person. Do you ever worry about getting other cancers besides bc? I do. I had a colonoscopy and am due to have my skin checked all over for the moles this Friday.

My thoughts are with you!

Ohilly

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

Doesn't breast cancer "usually" go to your breast, bones, liver or brain, if it comes back? That is what I have read. And, that is why my oncologist ordered a bone scan and a liver scan. Anyone have those after breast cancer? The scans? And, I agree with both of you. Our/My life is defined by cancer and I doubt I can ever change that. And, I don't consider myself a survivor. I consider myself a victim and always will. I hate that word survivor.... Cause how can you be a survivor when chances are..it will come back.

ohilly
Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

Kristin N, I don't hate the word survivor, but I agree with you that I do feel like a victim. I did not ask to get cancer. Yes, many people have it worse than me, but many have it better, too. I look around me and see a lot of seemingly healthy people (of course, they could be sick, too, and I just don't know that) and feel angry. But angry at who? There's no one to get angry with or at. I'm just angry.

Ohilly

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Kristin,

Yes, cancer can go to those organs. But this is not inevitable. In fact, in most cases, chances are that it will not come back metastasized. There is no pre-ordained path that your cancer will take. I have an aggressive cancer and the chances that it will come to those organs is still not high. And there are many things I am doing to further reduce those odds: surgery, chemo, radiation, zometa, experimental vaccine, exercise, healthy diet, stress-reduced life, purpose-filled life (still working on that one). I'm not saying you have full control over this. Part of the scary thing is precisely how out of control one feels. But, a bad outcome is certainly not inevitable. Not even close.

JoMama54's picture
JoMama54
Posts: 78
Joined: Mar 2009

I know exactly how you feel..............my life has gone downhill since 2000 when my husband and best friend came home and told me he wanted a divorce. Two years later met someone and a year later he moved in with me and together we remodeled my home...then he found out he had brain cancer and shot himself in my basement bathroom, left alone again. 2006 had to move in to help my elderly parents. I was up 4 to 6 time a night taking care of them and trying to work my full time insurance job............well March 2008 I had a nervous breakdown had to put my dad in the Veterans home in April, spent 2 weeks at the Primary Childrens Hospital with a 10 year old twin grandson with a brain tumor (thank god it was benign) and then June found out I had DCIS I guess that would be the icing on my black cloud. :-( Biopsy July 1 lumpectomy on my birthday July 11 and the big M on July 24 and back into surgery with problems on July 25, back to the Dr. 3 time a week cause I would not drain and another surgery on 9/11 blood clot the day after that my Mom was admitted to the Veterans home cause I couldn't take care of myself little alone her. She passed away On Jan 27, 2009 (luekemia), and I almost lost my Dad 3 weeks ago. Oh and I lost my job of 15 years with the insurance company I worked for. So the bills keep piling up and I can't remember sh@/! Hurt all over because the of oral chemo. and I really need to quit smoking!!!!!!! Sorry guys I really got carried away venting! Really when will life get back to normal.........I personally don't think it ever will. But all in all I do feel blessed! Have a good day!
JoMama

celinelvr
Posts: 30
Joined: Mar 2009

I also, not even being through chemo yet -ask myself about what kind of quality of life I can actually have. I honestly believe that the stress of 10 years of caretaking, the unfair loss of my job in 2005, my husband's 5 by-passes in 2006,and resultng loss of his job in 2007 has contributed to me having cancer! If I continue this course of "bad luck" where will I be? LIfe is a terminal ill ness anyway. The monent we are born we start to die.
JoMamma, I have never heard anyone who has had it as bad as you. All the others too - My heart goes out to you all.
I don't feel like a survivor with all this over my head- I don't know how I am going to survive being a survivor, but I am going to do the best I know how to fight this unfair and emotionally painful crap!
~ Milly

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Milly, you are so right about life. It is very depressing to think that we are constantly moving towards death. Sometimes I feel like I am being slowly dragged towards death and I am digging my heels in but am powerless to stop. Youth is so fleeting. The decades pass so quickly......its sad. In a way no matter how positive the prognosis is for anyone with cancer, we are still al terminal. We all have to die, the question is sooner or later. Sometimes I think, I have fought so hard not to let cancer get me, whats the victory when I am still going to die?

cats_toy's picture
cats_toy
Posts: 1463
Joined: Feb 2009

JoMama,
you are a very, very strong, woman. To go through all that you have, and still in the end state you feel blessed...that is wonderful. All of your issues just shows the strength in you. I always see others coping with such agonizing problems and realize how very lucky I am. I had stage 2 and chose to go with a partial mastectomy, already talked to one plastic surgeon and am waiting for the appointment for a second opinion. We all have such similar stories, and most handle them pretty much the same. I see strength and courage more than anything else in these posts. Chemo and radiation were fairly easy, so I cannot complain, but I had a very strong group of people surrounding me to constantly praise my own strength, and that really helps alot. Our family had a small bad streak in the last couple of years. I lost my dad in August of 2006, my mom was diagnosed with bc in September 2006, she had a lumpectomy and radiation, which finished by the end of 2006. I was diagnosed in Feb of 2007, did chemo, radiation through 2007, then my brother had a quintuple bypass a few months after that. I hope we are all done for awhile, it does get somewhat tiresome being around hospitals and doctors all the time. I wish you all well with your various treatments.

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

It took me a couple of days to reply. I was so heartbroken for you i didn't know what to say. But i can't not say anything. You are one of the most amazing women i have ever had the pleasure to meet. All that you have been through and you feel blessed. AMAZING!! I am praying for you tonight that this spring will bring you a rebirth of joy, peace, love and all the blessings you deserve. I admire your spirit.
love jackie

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

I can understand how you are feeling I will be 3 yrs out on the 17th of this month. In a way that sounds like a long time, but yet it often feels like no time at all has passed. I still think about cancer every day and the memories of my diagnosis and treatments replay in my mind often. Even though I had a stage 1 cancer, I still wonder if I will have a recurrence. I have 2 more 3 month oncology visits and then in July I will switch to 6 month visits and this makes me very anxious. I actually look forward to visits with my cancer doctors because I think they make me feel calm and as though nothing bad can happen while they are watching over me.

I understand what you mean when you say that you feel as though you are not the same. I look back to the old me; I never feared or thought about death and was pretty happy go lucky. Now I think about and fear death many, many times a day. I too lost my fertility. I don't understand others when they say they don't miss their periods and don't mind that chemo put them in menopause. I was 42 at diagnosis but we were hoping for a child still. I had my last period after my second chemo treatment and remember feeling sad because I knew it would be my last. My period represented fertility, youth, and femininity to me. I miss my cycle and the routine as the month passed and how I always felt light, energetic and happy after my cycle ended each month. I could count on it and it was part of normal life for decades and then wham, chemo takes it away. Now there is nothing at all. The same 365 days a year---no waxing and waning of emotions. Just the same...I am technically not menopausal according to my bloodwork but no cycle. Perhaps due to tamoxifen, who knows?

Please know that you are not alone. There are others of us out there who feel angry, cheated, and like victims. Yes we are very lucky to be alive and winning the fight, but that does not discount all we have endured and all we have lost. Hang in there, I pray that things will get better for you soon. I am sorry for the loss of your Mom.

Jeanne D's picture
Jeanne D
Posts: 1867
Joined: Mar 2009

No, I don't consider myself that. I consider myself a victim..TWICE! To survive something, in my opinion, it means you are done with it, rid of it forever. And, with Cancer, you are not, in my opinion again. But, if some of you feel that you are a survivor...I envy you.

peggy65's picture
peggy65
Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2009

yeah, our world does come crashing down after a diagnosis of cancer. i know that you are discouraged but as time goes on you will begin to feel better, i hope. we are all with you and i for one have been there. it is a real challenge that is very complicated. keep your head up. blessings, peggy

dorothyt's picture
dorothyt
Posts: 105
Joined: Oct 2008

First, I would Like to say hello to all of you that do not know me. I have been so depressed that I could not post any comments.
On June 12 it will be a year since my mastectomy. Life is not the same for me. I feel like I'm in someones else body.
I saw my oncologist in March and she told me that the cancer is gone, and my other test look great also. For that, I'm very thankful. Now help me with the sleepless nights, the joint pain, the memory loss ,the exhaustion, the hot flashes.....

Ltalcott's picture
Ltalcott
Posts: 119
Joined: Mar 2009

Dorothy,

I'm only a month from bilateral mastectomies, so you have a long time on me. Lots of women here are the discussion board are where you are, though.

We are forever changed by our cancer--but we are not cancer. We are the same people we were before cancer--PLUS!

I don't know that my cancer will make me stronger--but it has already changed the way I view things. Our mortality has tapped us on the shoulder. Sure, everyone is going to die--but like Kenny Chesney says, "nobody wants to go now."

Have you been on any medication to help the depression, the sleepless nights, the joint pain? I know every drug has side effects, but it's all a balancing act--better living through chemistry!

Lisa

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi Dorothy, nice to meet you! I am sorry you are feeling so yucky. I understand many of your issues as I have them too. I am taking a natural herb called melatonin for sleep and it has been helping some. I am taking a very low dose of clonadine which is for blood pressure(I don't have high blood presure)which is for my rosacea and it has helped with my hot flashes. I was taking gabapentin(anti-seizure meds) for them at one time and that helped too.

I am very happy for you that your cancer is gone. When you see your doctor I would ask about these things that are bothering you and hopefully he/she can perscribe something to help.
Glad you are here with us, please let us know if we can help any time. Blessings, Eil

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

Well, I don't quite know...if we are all truly going to die of something~ what disease would I chose? Lou Gehrig's disease? Multiple Sclerosis? Alzheimers? Parkinson's? Cancer? I know I didn't want this diagnosis, but I can't think of too many life-altering diseases I would want.
Living in a third world country and dying of dysentery,cholera or starvation doesn't give me the warm
fuzzies, either. Barring any of that~ I could get creamed by a bus,a drunk driver, or get hit by a stray bullet while minding my own business drinking lemonade on my front porch. Living in California, I know there could be a 7 point earthquake tonight which might crush me to death in my bed.

I don't know if I am going to have a recurrance. What I am doing is this: Living my life! I go on picnics, I joined a book club, I walk 3X a week with a walking buddy, I keep abreast (no pun intended) of politics, both local and national, I invite people over, I say hello to strangers, I ALWAYS hug bald-headed women wearing bandanas, I paint my fingernails, I planted a garden. None of this is major, nor will it save the planet, much less my own life. But it helps me be Claudia. I decided a long time ago that Cancer is what I fight, NOT who I am.
And by doing the above-mentioned things, plus a few more, I also became Stronger Than and not Angry At.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a Pollyanna. I loved the mountains, sunsets, flowers, etc etc BEFORE cancer, thank you very much! I didn't "need" cancer to make me more aware of the fragility of life and that I should appreciate it more.

I simply can't turn back the clock to the days before dx. I don't forget that I am a survivor~ every day I am above ground I have survived something!!!

Sorry for rambling here...I love you all dearly and my heart aches for the desperate circumstances so many of us are in. If I had the magic I would change it all. Sadly I don't.

What I do have is this forum, and Kindred Spirits, and a safe place to land.

Hugs,
Claudia

bfbear's picture
bfbear
Posts: 381
Joined: Mar 2009

Hello all,

I wish I could feel like you, Claudia.
I was depressed before my dx, and that hasn't changed since the dx a month ago. Yes, I'm on antidepressants, but they weren't working great before and even though we've doubled the dosage, I still wouldn't mind if I just happened to die on the operating table next month during my dbl. mastectomy.
I don't care about the boobs as much as I just don't care to live...it's too much of a battle. I really don't know how so many of you have kept going. I'm already totally fed up with all the care and concern of others and the thought of the burden I am going to be for awhile after the surgery, disrupting my family's schedule, making things difficult for my sister and older daughter who are taking time out of their busy lives to help after the surgery.
I am tired of answering the phone, reading emails, talking in general. I guess I'm just plain tired...sorry to be such a downer...
D

outdoorgirl's picture
outdoorgirl
Posts: 1569
Joined: Mar 2009

bfbear,
You've got a right for feeling the way you do.
I'm sorry that things are so bleak. I remember feeling bad that my husband had to take care of me and sometimes spend his lunch hours,and then part of his working days, taking me to chemo treatments. I was such a firm believer that I didn't want cancer to take over so much of our lives that it totally changed it! It was already trying to kill me,I didn't want it to have any more than it had to!
You know,I didn't have to have full mastectomies,only one partial where the tumor was,but I really admire you all who have to deal with that! I would think that you would have to be a very strong person to go through that!
Could you just take a break from all of that correspondence and just screen your calls? You know,I was usually like Pavlov's dog,and had to answer the phone everytime it rang,but I don't do that anymore. Since being diagnosed(especially then),I screen my calls and whoever I don't want to talk to-we've got caller id on our phone-I just let the answering machine get and then I either call them back or I don't! People are well meaning most of the time,but they have got to understand what you're going through and leave you alone sometimes!! Have you ever heard of Caring Bridge? It's a site online that patients and their families can use like an online diary. That way your only writing down all the information about how you are and how your doctor visits go once,and it's when you feel like it! And your friends,family,whomever can respond and send you messages! I wish I would have known about it when I was first diagnosed! But actually I found out about it when a friend from my church was diagnosed with bc and had to have a double mastectomy followed by reconstruction,and she had found out about Caring Bridge and used it. And she is honestly doing well today.
Bfbear,you've got your CSN network buddies who love and care about you. Let them gather round you and help walk you through-cause they will if you let them! And I am saying a quick prayer for you now! Try to hang in there!
Love,Patty

bfbear's picture
bfbear
Posts: 381
Joined: Mar 2009

Thank you Patty, Lisa, Mimivac and all of you wonderful, courageous women for your words and the time you took to write them. I can't tell you how hard it is to write my true feelings, but I did last night, and you have made me feel hugged. I am seeing my therapist this week and I'll do my best to be honest with her about the gravity of the situation (it's hard to show vulnerability...I hate appearing weak even if I, supposedly, have a right to).
And today I hardly answered the phone at all, and it helped. All your advice is good stuff. This is definitely a lesson in humility and making priorities. But somewhere along the line, I really have got to find a reason to live, not just make it from one day to the next...I guess.
Thanks again to you all. I very much appreciate all the wise things you write and offer up.
D

Ltalcott's picture
Ltalcott
Posts: 119
Joined: Mar 2009

Sometimes making it from day to day is all anyone can do--and it's enough!

"The good thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time." Abraham Lincoln.

Lisa

peggy65's picture
peggy65
Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2009

you have to do what you have to do! i went through similar feelings. always worried about my husband caring for me and my children worrying. oh my goodness, it was exhausting. but you know you are the one going through the disease so anything you need to do to get through each you must do. it is hard for us wives and mothers to put ourselves first, we are not used to doing that but we have to do it. as you continue to process this things will become clearer. i support you as you go through this rough patch. hugs, peggy

Ltalcott's picture
Ltalcott
Posts: 119
Joined: Mar 2009

I don't know if anything I've written below will help or if it is way presumptuous of me to even say or think it:

Debi,

You deserve the care that your family is going to give you. No one can do it all alone. If the situation were reversed, would you help your sister or your daughter?

Actions change feelings, so when you feel down, you need to pretend. If you do something, take a walk, talk to someone, go to a movie, you will feel better. I pretend a lot, and at times I hate doing it. And at times I just forget about pretending and go to bed early. But when I pretend, I really do feel better.

Lisa

peggy65's picture
peggy65
Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2009

thanks for you comments last week. we are going back to lahey clinic in boston in a few weeks. my husband will have another psa and we will see what comes of it. the new doc at lahey is really wonderful so we are so happy that we are getting a second opinion. hope all is well with you and you continue to be so positive. it is really a gift. blessings, peggy

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

D, you are just being honest. And that is OK here. Listen, if you don't want to answer the phone or emails, don't. There are weeks when I don't. People understand. And if they don't, so what? You need to practice extreme self care right now. At this moment of your life, it's all about you. And your family is there to help. None of us can live our lives completely independently. We all need help and sometimes a lot of it. What do you have to be ashamed about? You got sick and you need help. This will happen to almost everyone on this planet at some point. I know you don't feel like it will, but your treatment will end, D. Life will stabilize. You are very new to diagnosis. It's natural to feel that this is a never-ending stream of suffering. But you will get out on the other side. You don't have to believe me. Just wait it out. And forget the pressure of talking and being with others. Right now, you think about you.

Moopy23's picture
Moopy23
Posts: 1753
Joined: Jan 2009

Hello, I am on the eighth day of my 5th chemo, and it is usually during these days that I fall completely and fully victim to the thoughts some of you have shared so movingly. My husband and my friends here are somehow able to pull me out. As Claudia has done this morning, in a testament to life that is powerful, eloquent, and overflowing with compassion.

I thank each of you for sharing and helping me to understand that the abyss may always be out there. I thank Claudia, for reminding me that above ground--changed though it may be-- is still a good place, and worth the fight to stay there.

...this forum, and Kindred Spirits, and a safe place to land: I wish these may give you more comfort, as they have given me. And on this Good Friday, I pray that we, like Claudia, can seek--and find--much to celebrate in our changed lives.

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Hey Moopy,

As you know, I have the same thoughts on these days when our white blood cell counts are at their lowest. That's why I've stayed away for a few days. But yesterday, something funny happened. I started making plans -- vacation plans, plans to join a fancy new gym, plans to take a walk in one of our city parks. And I opened the balcony door and let the cats sun themselves. I know we are all hurting, but, as Claudia says, there is also joy out there and there's no reason we can't experience that. I'm no Pollyanna either. I loved life before cancer and did not need its lessons, for sure. I have felt bitter that I am often decades younger that other people I know who have fought this disease. But, it is what it is. Feeling that way doesn't make me happier or healthier. I've worked too hard to get through chemo to not enjoy the fruits of life as much as I can. And hey, I understand depression, believe me. I'm just sick of it.

BTW, Moopy, my doctor told me that sometimes the last chemo is not as tough. So far, this has been true for me. The fatigue was not as bad and I was about 80% recovered by Tuesday. I pray this is the same for you in a few weeks.

Mimi

Moopy23's picture
Moopy23
Posts: 1753
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi, Mimi, it lifts MY spirits to picture your kitties sunning themselves on the balcony and you out and about in the city, visiting parks and shopping for organic fruits and veggies.

Glad to see you back and feeling good. And thank you for your report from the chemo number six front. Fatigue has just felled me this time. Very encouraging to know the last one may not be so tough.

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Moopy! Don't you just love the insight and perspective given to us by our 50 ft. sister! Seems to me that When i hear such testament to life (as you said) it uplifts me for days and i am able to crawl out of my pity-pot (which also happens around this time..our treatment was on the same day) put on my big girl panties and try to make the best that i can out of my day. Yes it is a effort. But at the end of the day i am glad i did. I agree anyday above ground is a day I am thankful I have survived. But thanks to all of you dear friends here... there are and will be days when I will find joy in life and also be walking 50 ft high with Chen!
God Bless
Jackie

peggy65's picture
peggy65
Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2009

hang in there! this too shall pass. i send my love and hugs to you. and may you surround yourself with good thoughts as you travel this difficult path. love, peggy

jojo elizapest's picture
jojo elizapest
Posts: 122
Joined: Mar 2009

so hard to put those raw real feelings down...but thanks Moopy and others for the reminder that topside is still better than the alternative.

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

How beautifully put! I thank you for the uplift! You did have some sort of magic my 50 ft sis. You made my day.
love and hugs
Jackie

Derbygirl's picture
Derbygirl
Posts: 198
Joined: Jul 2008

Claudia, I enjoyed reading your uplifting post and agree with you. Life After Breast Cancer is different and I'm learning to live as if cancer will not return.

jojo elizapest's picture
jojo elizapest
Posts: 122
Joined: Mar 2009

YES

(imagine arm pumping action and jumping on mattress!)

thanks, jojo

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Mitz, first off congratulations on being 5 years out of treatment. I can relate to your story, even though I just finished chemo and still have radiation to do. I also was diagnosed at age 34 -- when I felt at the peak of my life. I saw things fall apart in front of me as well. I don't know where the old me is, either. I guess we have to build new lives after this beast -- or at least new perspectives. I'm sorry you lost so much at such a young age. But I do know that the one thing about tackling this young is that we have many years to slowly build back our lives. I think it's great that you have goals -- getting fit is a great one. I have that goal, too. With the weather becoming nicer, I have all sorts of plans of what I will do. Are you a list maker? Studies have shown that people who write down their goals and write down what life will look like once they've achieved them are more likely to carry through. Sounds trite, but I have found that it works. We are all searching for ourselves, I think. Good luck and keep writing to us.

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

It makes my heart happy that you are coming around good after chemo. Your words give me hope and joy. It sounds like you are doing all the things you need to do to reclaim your life. Making plans and looking forward to some fun back in our lives is what keeps us going. I know i have so many things i am looking forward to doing again. Maybe some of the plans aren't quite what they were before..but hey they are my plans and each one I get to do will make me happy!! Be sure to keep us on your list (i know you will)! i sure have enjoyed all your uplifting and informational posts, my friend..and am wishing you sunshine and good days always.
Happy Easter
Jackie

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Thanks, Jackie. I am certainly not planning on leaving my sisters here anytime soon. You are all too important to me and give me too much encouragement. As I told Moopy, my 6th chemo was considerably lighter than my 5th. I hope it will be the same for you. You make your plans and share them with us. We want to hear all of the things you are doing with your life, big and small. I think when we talk about these things, it helps all of us to find our own way. My big plan for the weekend: go to the farmer's market and buy fresh, organic local fruits and vegetables and eat them. Hey, it is not earth shattering, but it makes me happy.

Mimi

Moopy23's picture
Moopy23
Posts: 1753
Joined: Jan 2009

Yes, I wish you and all our sisters sunshine and good days.Thanks friend Jackie, for your post. Hope your plans to get out and go fishing with Bob and Tootsie come about today!

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

It was too windy to fish but we had a good day with a barbeque and planted flowers,,tootsie watched. I love you.
Jackie

fauxma's picture
fauxma
Posts: 3544
Joined: Dec 2008

Claudia,
You put that so well. It's so much how I feel. Something, someday is going to get me, but I don't know what or when and I can't spend the time that I have anticipating it or worrying over it. Then I will rob myself of today and today is a great day. It started when I woke up, just that I woke up. That's always the starting place and then it goes how it goes. Some days are fantastic, some average and some suck but I am here and I am going to live my life like I don't have an expiration date.
Unlike you, I am a bit of a pollyanna. I just seem to automatically try to find something positive in the stuff life gives us. Sometimes I can't. I couldn't when my father died in his sleep from a heart attack when I was fifteen until years later and I realized that it strengthened my bond with my mother. I didn't want all my various cancers but they have made me realize that I am tougher than I thought (although I would prefer to have been a cancer free cream puff). But I think life is a growing experience. We learn from each other, from ourselves, from all that life gives us (the good and the bad). I am so grateful for all of you on this board. I have learned so much from you and admire you more than you can ever know.
I feel deeply for those that have so much harder a row to hoe than I do and my heart goes out to those that are battling depression. I had a brief time (about 18 months) when I was on medication for depression. I wanted to crawl under a blanket and not emerge. I didn't want to kill myself but I would have been happy if something anything just happened to me. I don't even remember when I did emerge from that blanket but I did. It must be so painful to have this diagnosis when someone is already feeling at the end of their rope. I can only say go back to the doctor tell me exactly how you are feeling and ask for different meds or a therapist or something. And follow the advice of the rest of this group. Don't answer phones etc if you don't want to, tell people to back off, take as much control as you can of the situation becuase it is your situation not theirs. However well meaning, friends, family and coworkers need to understand that they don't understand.
And as for me, I intend to sit at the feet of the 50 ft woman and listen and worship and bask in her reflected glory because she is not only tall she is on target.
Love you all so much,
Stef

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2735
Joined: Jul 2006

I think what helped me the most was realizing what was important. My priority list.

I was scared at first that every little thing was the cancer returning. I've grown away from that now. Why waste today worrying about tomorrow? It may be better than today. I need to make as many good memories now as I can. For tomorrow I will be looking back at it. Although I've forgotten the treatment days for the most part. Maybe selective memory is the answer.

creampuff91344's picture
creampuff91344
Posts: 989
Joined: Nov 2008

All of you dear friends are so inspiring, which makes me want to go out there and inspire someone myself. Maybe this is what this whole board is about. Encouragement is a major part of survivorship, whether the encouragement comes from family, friends, or well meaning acquaintences. As always, I am encouraged by all of you having set a goal, and for working hard to attain that goal. I have posted this before, but it still keeps me going forward. A dear friend of mine brought a placque to me the day I finished chemo. It says, "Courage is not always a loud roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow." I read this every morning before starting my day, and every night before bedtime. Whatever tomorrow brings, I am going to accept it, take charge when I can, and let others lead when needed. No one knows how long our individual journey will be, but by golly we can bring light to those around us, no matter the length of time we have left on this earth. I am joining your ranks, have started a list of goals, and I will attain each and every one of them before I say "I give". That's a promise. Hugs to all.

Judy

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

Thank you Judy for your lovely post...I adore the quote and may I add it to my list words to live by??

Hugs,
Claudia

creampuff91344's picture
creampuff91344
Posts: 989
Joined: Nov 2008

I would love you to add this quote to your list of words to live by......hot diggidie....my first inspiration! See what this board does to you. Thanks for the post. Hugs.

Judy

Jeanne D's picture
Jeanne D
Posts: 1867
Joined: Mar 2009

I hope that someday I can be more like you and not worry about it everyday.

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

That day will come! Once we realize that worrying about it won't put us into remission OR recurrance, and is actually a hindrance to our mental well-being, it is easier to let it go. Instead of holding onto the "what-if's" with a death-grip, it is holding on to the tip of my baby-finger. It pinches me every so often, or tugs on my sleeve to let me know it is there, but for the most part I am able to ignore it. I pat it on its head and acknowledge it, but it doesn't own me. I won't let it!

Hugs,
Claudia

kbc4869's picture
kbc4869
Posts: 166
Joined: Apr 2005

Hi Mitz -- like you, I finished TX 5 years ago this June, I was 34 at DX, and single at the time. I'll share how I've come to think of it . . . and I of course can't speak for all the girls but . . .

I don't think we're ever going to get back the life we had before cancer. I think we need to give up and let go of that life. What we can have is another life. Maybe it has some physical and psychological issues that we'd prefer not to have put in our laps. And dealing with those takes time and can be a challange. We all have to get there on our own terms and in our own time. But the new life can still be good. Like Chen says, there's sunsets and gardens . . . like Mimi says there's cats sunning themselves on the balcony. Maybe focusing on the small beautiful stuff more than the big scary stuff is what can get us through today. I try not to think of yesterday so much and minimize thoughts of tomorrow. When I focus on today, it seems manageable.

That's the secret I think.

ohilly
Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

Kbc4869, you are so right whe you say we have to accept that we'll never get our pre-cancer lives back, but at the same time realize we can have a good, but different life. This is what happened to me about my hair thinning: I was tortured because I kept on expectig it to come back the way it did before. I am still upset about it, but less than before because now I have accepted that my hair is never going to be the way it was, and I just have to deal with it. Actually, a nurse I saw recently when I went to get my Femara infusion told me the same thing.

It's natural to want your 'old' life back, but at least for me personally, it has brought some level of peace accepting that this will not happen.

Ohilly

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

Thank you KBC for what you wrote. This is so hard to deal with, but, with postings from people like you...it gives hope.

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