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BC took my confidence

hope4thebest's picture
hope4thebest
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

I try to be postive, but have been having a hardtime lately.  All my Dr's say the the bc is gone (with extensvie surgeries), and everyone around me stresses the importance of a good attitude.  I can feel my strength coming back.  I took a PT sales job and am having a hard time being 'myself" because I have changed.  I am insecure about my ability to succeed, and the idea of someday being independent again.  I only work 2 nites a week, and that takes me alot of time preparing, transport, etc.  I've posted about cancerbrain, and know I am dealing with almost a handicap as I try to move forward.  On top of that, I have this general physical weakness from the bilateral mastectomy and anemic bloodcount. 

Since this post'cancer life is new to me, I am kind of lost.  My lifestlye has changed and so most of the old friends have faded away.  I try not to take this personally.  With quitting smoking and not wanting to drink, my habits are different and I am just getting to know myself again.  I am just focused on Recovery- healing, nutrition and exersice.  Then, sleep.  Anything outside of that, I am nervous about whether I can do it, ie. Going out late nite used to be regular.  Now, it is a challenge.  I used to love to do a roadtrip, now cannot unless planned well ahead of time.  I feel vulnerable and what used be a casual phonecall is now a challenge for me.  I have to lay down, get my headphones, beverage, and foucs.  No more multitasking.  I feel a lack faith in myself because this bc really humbled me.  

Tonite at my shift, I had an anxiety attack when one of the sharks ( people I work with) stole one of my sales. We work on commission, and I am the new girl.  They do this often, but this time I burst into tears and could not stop.  I have to learn how to speak up, but I am too weak to be a shark.  Even outside of work when I try to contradict someone, or disagree, I get all panic stricken.  It takes energy out of me and I start to tremble.  I do love the job, the people are nice but it is very competitive.  It's not second nature to me, I am a teacher, too.  The sales seemed like an easier job for the present time.  To my relief, the owner of the company gave me the postion and is sponsoring me, and truly one of my biggest supporters.  

With this email, I am realzing that some of my anxiety is trying to "appear normal", like someone without cancer.  I still feel a certain amount of shame with the cancer diagnosis, and for some reason feel compelled to hide the fact that it happened.  I know that it is a painful subject for most people, so am trying to live my new life in good health and leave the bc behind.  This board is my outlet.  I tried a support group in person, but it is far away, and exhausting to get there and back, unless I had a chauffeur.  That is not so easy.  This takes alot longer than I imagined.  I am alomst 2 years into it, and had my final surgery in Nov 2012.  Getting back up into life again is like starting over.  I am getting used to the idea but it is a whole new world.

Thanks for listening, do we ever become comfortable with the bc diagnosis?

McMarty's picture
McMarty
Posts: 191
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi there Hope4thebest!  What a great 'name'!  I think we are all familiar with those feelings.  The good news is, things do get easier!  It sounds like, with you having your last surgery in Nov, you should get better and better now.  It's not like you just wake up normal.  It's just that life distracts you and you get busy again and then one day you realize - HEY - I feel good.

You are right, you are different now but that 'different' will balance out, find its own way and bring joy again.  I wish just telling you 'don't be ashamed of what you've been through' would work!  There is nothing to be ashamed of!  That took me awhile to grasp.  But you did not deserve bc, and it was NOT your fault!  IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!!! 

Sure there are people out there uncomfortable with the subject but there are also people who have been touched by bc in some way all around you.  You are who you are and now the experience of surviving bc has been woven into who you are but it is not the total of who you are.  You are unique and special and the whole world needs your gifts and abilities and personality.

Just hold on!  You'll be surprised the difference a few months (even weeks) can make as you recover!

 

Josie21
Posts: 338
Joined: Nov 2012

I am so sorry that you are having such a hard time right now.  For me personally I have never been quite the same since my diagnosis.  Truth be told, how can we ever feel the same again.  I was 43 when I was diagnosed and I felt lost for a while.   Confidence problems, anxiety, sadness, loss of excitement for the future, all took a hold of me.  I couldn't shake it.  Worse, after all the treatments, everyone just assumes you are supposed to get right back to normal.  You're CURED!!  That's what everyone thinks.  But as we know,  it doesn't quite work like that.  No matter what your Stage, in our minds the beast is always lurking.   The first couple of years for me were definitely the worst.  I needed an antidepressant for a while and then suddenly I started to come back.  I realized I was going to give myself a break.  I did not cause this and I was now different.  I get tired easily and my attention span for listening to stupidity is about five minutes.  I just can't do it anymore.  I give my energy to those who truly love me and understand the new me.  I don't spread myself too thin and I have to say, life is good now.  I embraced my new normal.  It is what it is.  I no longer make excuses for why I am tired or anxious or anything else!!   The day I realized that others just did not understand what breast cancer does to our mind and body was an awakening for me.  My body and my mind took a beating, but I survived and so did you!!  It has only been two years.  You just finished having your last surgery three months ago.  You need more time to adjust to your new life.  I am four years out and I remember being where you are.  Please give yourself a break!!  You need more time to wrap your head around all of this.  You can do it.

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

It took my confidence too.  After my original treatments I only had 4 months NED.  In that time I found a new job with bosses who cared about the people they worked with.  The friday before training started I had a biopsy for a local recurrence.  The following wednesday (on the third day of training) I got the call that the biopsy was positive.  Fortunately, I was right about the people there.  They did care, and I got my confidence in the working enviornment back. 

I still don't have physical confidence in my body.  I used to think it would do anything I asked of it...but now, not so much.

I wonder if teaching (I assume full time) and working two nights a week is too much?  If you are too tired your body and your mind can't heal as quickly.  I know exhaustion was a big part of why I took a LOA 9 months into my new job.  I also started anti-depressants at that time, again I think due to exhaustion.

Bottom line, give yourself a break.  It's ok to be emotional, you've been through a lot.  It's ok to back away from confrontation and be 'the bigger person'.  One thing we can count on...Life will continue to change.  So give yourself some time to fully recover.  Then you'll be ready for those good changes that are coming!

Hugs,

Linda

 

 

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 624
Joined: Nov 2005

Hello Hope.

Everything in this thread sounds so familiar. 

In 1986 I lost my right breast.  Then in 1988 I lost the left one.

Chemo, rads, tamoxifen...

Then in 1996 I was dx with bone cancer, just as I was getting a divorce after 28 years of marriage.

I thought things would never come right again.

I was 38 at first dx.  I am now 64.

I have been officially cancer free for 11 years.

I am still 'breastless', but am in a good place, with a man who cares for me as I am (he never knew me with breasts), and living well at age 64.

The kicker is that I was recently dx with diabetes.  So now I am insulin dependent and back on meds again. 

But I can do this.  That is what cancer taught me. 

Your confidence will return and you will take what comes and kick butt again, harder than ever before.

Not overnight, but it will happen.  And the wonderful people here will help.  Then one day you will help someone else.  That's the way we roll.  :)

Eleanor1's picture
Eleanor1
Posts: 68
Joined: Sep 2012

I can see myself in you. I just finished chemo a week ago but I am more scared than when I first started. it feels like I am lost and cannot get my spunk back. Everyone around me are very supportive and just waiting for me to start "living" again. i know things will never be the same but I hope and pray always that I will learn to accept what's left, embrace it and rebuild again. 

hope4thebest's picture
hope4thebest
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

But also I will kick butt, too!!  I felt so bad, and went in to see my PCP, I knew things were off balance.  Within just a few minutes, she knew more than I did.  SHe told me to get a day job.  Alot of stress comes when we disrupt our schedules.  WIth my PT night job, it was messing up my sleep patterns keeping me up sometimes past 3am!  She also increased my antidepressant. I do not like taking more meds, but hope it is temporary.  And, yes, I used to teach before the bc.  Right now, this PT job is my only source of income.  It is hard to give it up, but I do have some savings and want to heal, so I think I will follow Dr's orders.  She also said "give yourself a break",  just like some of you wrote.  This board helps me so much, thank you.

 

burcu123
Posts: 70
Joined: Jan 2013

I am feeling exactly the same. i lost so much. What helped me some is when I was allowed to be angry. This is your own hurricane , earthquake, tsunami, own disaster. You have a right to be angry, it is unfair.

We all know life is unfair, and bad things happen to good people all the time, this does not help eliminate the anger.

Breast cancer teaches us important things, this does not mean you have to be happy to have breast cancer. It is always better if you have never had it.

Be angry, then move on . Anger is a strong force , it can be directed postively.

Join the fight against cancer, educate, counsel others.

By the way did I tell you it is possible to prevent breast cancer. Please see my previous posts. Everyone is so pissed of me as I constantly talk about chemoprevention of breast cancer, so I do not want to repaet. It will be especialy important if you have any sisters, daughter, niece , mother etc

sweetvickid's picture
sweetvickid
Posts: 441
Joined: Nov 2009

As I read you post I could see me in you.   Been there done all of that.  I had my last chemo the end of January 2011.  I am just now starting to feel the old me coming back.  Before BC I was a confident take charge kind of person.  All of that went away and I was just kind a bluffing my way along. Didn't want to let friends and family down.Didn't have anyone I could confide all of it to. Then I had a friend who was a therapist call my bluff.With her help I realized I don't have to be superworman let alone live up to everybodies expectations!

We seem to think that once treatment is over the journey is over.  WE are then only at the halfway point my friend.  You will have some false starts at finding the new you.  I tried doing some temp work and failed utterly which of course made me feel even worse.  Tried being in your face about my BC and hated that because I was letting it define who I was.  Then swung the other way and that didn't work either.  I have finally found a middle road.  Yes I have had breast cancer but that was just a blip in the road.  I am so much more than just a breast cancer survivor.  You too will figure out what works best for you.  You just have to kepp plugging along.  If one direction is not working just regroup and ry a different road.  Eventually you will find your way.

Last month I started a new job and I am just loving it.  My boss and I had a long talk.  At the end of it he said now is my time to shine and he is so glad that he will be a part of it.  So I am finally getting my mojo back.

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2121
Joined: Jun 2010

Have you been able to find some doctor to help you through this phase of recovery?  A doctor that deals with helping people who have issues like you have?

You are cancer free and 70% of women and men do not ever have another bout of breast cancer.   Yes, there is a possibility but until it happens, one should not spend a lot of time thinking about it.  One can not wash their clothes while their wearing them.  Focus only on the fact that you HAD cancer and it is gone.

Your statement  "I am realzing that some of my anxiety is trying to "appear normal, like someone without cancer."  I do have cancer (stage iv) but I do feel like I am normal in everyway.   I am not certain I can understand what your saying.  No one need to know that you had breast cancer because unless you remove your clothes, they can't tell unlike someone who wears a leg or arm prosthesis.

Your statement "I still feel a certain amount of shame with the cancer diagnosis, and for some reason feel compelled to hide the fact that it happened."  Back before 1980 women did not speak of breast cancer, they whispered about it to only their female relatives.  It was a terrible time for women who had breast cancer.  All that did change when Nancy Brinker and the SGK Foundation, today everyone is proud of their pink survivor label.  Again, thanks to Nancy for removing the stigma.  There is no shame in a cancer diagnosis anymore than there is shame in having the flu or a cold.  It isn't something you seek out to have.

With those two statements, I do strongely urge you to seek a good doctor that can help you sort all this out.

Wishing you the best,

Doris 

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

I come across a post that expresses something I felt unconsciously but could not put

into words. This is one of those posts. Thank you so much for expressing so eloquently

what I could not put my finger on. I have been struggling and lack of confidence is definitely

a big player in my struggles. I read this at least twice and it resonated with me in a big way.

Thanks for the honesty

 

Hug,

Ayse

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

we are changed after every big experience.  Turning 21, getting married, having children, getting divorced etc.  We are never the same after those milestones.  Cancer is no different...meaning that we cannot go back to pre-cancer days.  But it's ok, we have gained knowlege, experience, empathy, understanding and yes heartache.  No one deserves this, nothing to be ashamed of, it just hppened...to you, to me, to all of us.

Just because treatment is over does not mean we suddenly are "well".  We have to regain strength and enery and that takes TIME.  It was 6 mos before I was able to change my bedding by myself...it was a milestone.  Don't try to rush yourself, you'll get there in good time when your body is ready.  It's been thru a lot.  Mentality sometimes takes longer, everyone is different.  I am glad your doc recognized the evening job was too much at this time.  It's been a little over 3 years since my last chemo and gradually I have developed my new normal.  I don't think about cancer everyday, even looking at my mastectomy scar doesn't bring "it all back".  That's a biggee.  I still have my moments when the demons come back, but less often and don't stay long. 

Give yourself time to heal physcially and mentally and don't beat yourself up and expect to be 100% just yet.  You are still the same you as before with the same talents, ability and loveability.  You ask do we ever become comfortable with the bc dx?  I guess I have, doesn't mean I like it, doesn't mean I won't fight like a demon should I ever have to again...but the beast NO LONGER RULES MY LIFE.  You've had two long years dealing with this, it will take longer than 3 mo to get your strenght back and your mental strength.

Your entitled to feel blue sometimes, but I'm glad you're getting help. 

Hugs, Judy :-)

 

 

 

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

we are changed after every big experience.  Turning 21, getting married, having children, getting divorced etc.  We are never the same after those milestones.  Cancer is no different...meaning that we cannot go back to pre-cancer days.  But it's ok, we have gained knowlege, experience, empathy, understanding and yes heartache.  No one deserves this, nothing to be ashamed of, it just hppened...to you, to me, to all of us.

Just because treatment is over does not mean we suddenly are "well".  We have to regain strength and enery and that takes TIME.  It was 6 mos before I was able to change my bedding by myself...it was a milestone.  Don't try to rush yourself, you'll get there in good time when your body is ready.  It's been thru a lot.  Mentality sometimes takes longer, everyone is different.  I am glad your doc recognized the evening job was too much at this time.  It's been a little over 3 years since my last chemo and gradually I have developed my new normal.  I don't think about cancer everyday, even looking at my mastectomy scar doesn't bring "it all back".  That's a biggee.  I still have my moments when the demons come back, but less often and don't stay long. 

Give yourself time to heal physcially and mentally and don't beat yourself up and expect to be 100% just yet.  You are still the same you as before with the same talents, ability and loveability.  You ask do we ever become comfortable with the bc dx?  I guess I have, doesn't mean I like it, doesn't mean I won't fight like a demon should I ever have to again...but the beast NO LONGER RULES MY LIFE.  You've had two long years dealing with this, it will take longer than 3 mo to get your strenght back and your mental strength.

Your entitled to feel blue sometimes, but I'm glad you're getting help. 

Hugs, Judy :-)

 

 

 

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

we are changed after every big experience.  Turning 21, getting married, having children, getting divorced etc.  We are never the same after those milestones.  Cancer is no different...meaning that we cannot go back to pre-cancer days.  But it's ok, we have gained knowlege, experience, empathy, understanding and yes heartache.  No one deserves this, nothing to be ashamed of, it just hppened...to you, to me, to all of us.

Just because treatment is over does not mean we suddenly are "well".  We have to regain strength and enery and that takes TIME.  It was 6 mos before I was able to change my bedding by myself...it was a milestone.  Don't try to rush yourself, you'll get there in good time when your body is ready.  It's been thru a lot.  Mentality sometimes takes longer, everyone is different.  I am glad your doc recognized the evening job was too much at this time.  It's been a little over 3 years since my last chemo and gradually I have developed my new normal.  I don't think about cancer everyday, even looking at my mastectomy scar doesn't bring "it all back".  That's a biggee.  I still have my moments when the demons come back, but less often and don't stay long. 

Give yourself time to heal physcially and mentally and don't beat yourself up and expect to be 100% just yet.  You are still the same you as before with the same talents, ability and loveability.  You ask do we ever become comfortable with the bc dx?  I guess I have, doesn't mean I like it, doesn't mean I won't fight like a demon should I ever have to again...but the beast NO LONGER RULES MY LIFE.  You've had two long years dealing with this, it will take longer than 3 mo to get your strenght back and your mental strength.

Your entitled to feel blue sometimes, but I'm glad you're getting help. 

Hugs, Judy :-)

 

 

 

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

we are changed after every big experience.  Turning 21, getting married, having children, getting divorced etc.  We are never the same after those milestones.  Cancer is no different...meaning that we cannot go back to pre-cancer days.  But it's ok, we have gained knowlege, experience, empathy, understanding and yes heartache.  No one deserves this, nothing to be ashamed of, it just hppened...to you, to me, to all of us.

Just because treatment is over does not mean we suddenly are "well".  We have to regain strength and enery and that takes TIME.  It was 6 mos before I was able to change my bedding by myself...it was a milestone.  Don't try to rush yourself, you'll get there in good time when your body is ready.  It's been thru a lot.  Mentality sometimes takes longer, everyone is different.  I am glad your doc recognized the evening job was too much at this time.  It's been a little over 3 years since my last chemo and gradually I have developed my new normal.  I don't think about cancer everyday, even looking at my mastectomy scar doesn't bring "it all back".  That's a biggee.  I still have my moments when the demons come back, but less often and don't stay long. 

Give yourself time to heal physcially and mentally and don't beat yourself up and expect to be 100% just yet.  You are still the same you as before with the same talents, ability and loveability.  You ask do we ever become comfortable with the bc dx?  I guess I have, doesn't mean I like it, doesn't mean I won't fight like a demon should I ever have to again...but the beast NO LONGER RULES MY LIFE.  You've had two long years dealing with this, it will take longer than 3 mo to get your strenght back and your mental strength.

Your entitled to feel blue sometimes, but I'm glad you're getting help. 

Hugs, Judy :-)

 

 

 

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

we are changed after every big experience.  Turning 21, getting married, having children, getting divorced etc.  We are never the same after those milestones.  Cancer is no different...meaning that we cannot go back to pre-cancer days.  But it's ok, we have gained knowlege, experience, empathy, understanding and yes heartache.  No one deserves this, nothing to be ashamed of, it just hppened...to you, to me, to all of us.

Just because treatment is over does not mean we suddenly are "well".  We have to regain strength and enery and that takes TIME.  It was 6 mos before I was able to change my bedding by myself...it was a milestone.  Don't try to rush yourself, you'll get there in good time when your body is ready.  It's been thru a lot.  Mentality sometimes takes longer, everyone is different.  I am glad your doc recognized the evening job was too much at this time.  It's been a little over 3 years since my last chemo and gradually I have developed my new normal.  I don't think about cancer everyday, even looking at my mastectomy scar doesn't bring "it all back".  That's a biggee.  I still have my moments when the demons come back, but less often and don't stay long. 

Give yourself time to heal physcially and mentally and don't beat yourself up and expect to be 100% just yet.  You are still the same you as before with the same talents, ability and loveability.  You ask do we ever become comfortable with the bc dx?  I guess I have, doesn't mean I like it, doesn't mean I won't fight like a demon should I ever have to again...but the beast NO LONGER RULES MY LIFE.  You've had two long years dealing with this, it will take longer than 3 mo to get your strenght back and your mental strength.

Your entitled to feel blue sometimes, but I'm glad you're getting help. 

Hugs, Judy :-)

 

 

 

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

we are changed after every big experience.  Turning 21, getting married, having children, getting divorced etc.  We are never the same after those milestones.  Cancer is no different...meaning that we cannot go back to pre-cancer days.  But it's ok, we have gained knowlege, experience, empathy, understanding and yes heartache.  No one deserves this, nothing to be ashamed of, it just hppened...to you, to me, to all of us.

Just because treatment is over does not mean we suddenly are "well".  We have to regain strength and enery and that takes TIME.  It was 6 mos before I was able to change my bedding by myself...it was a milestone.  Don't try to rush yourself, you'll get there in good time when your body is ready.  It's been thru a lot.  Mentality sometimes takes longer, everyone is different.  I am glad your doc recognized the evening job was too much at this time.  It's been a little over 3 years since my last chemo and gradually I have developed my new normal.  I don't think about cancer everyday, even looking at my mastectomy scar doesn't bring "it all back".  That's a biggee.  I still have my moments when the demons come back, but less often and don't stay long. 

Give yourself time to heal physcially and mentally and don't beat yourself up and expect to be 100% just yet.  You are still the same you as before with the same talents, ability and loveability.  You ask do we ever become comfortable with the bc dx?  I guess I have, doesn't mean I like it, doesn't mean I won't fight like a demon should I ever have to again...but the beast NO LONGER RULES MY LIFE.  You've had two long years dealing with this, it will take longer than 3 mo to get your strenght back and your mental strength.

Your entitled to feel blue sometimes, but I'm glad you're getting help. 

Hugs, Judy :-)

 

 

 

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5280
Joined: Oct 2010

I wish you the best-I hope all works out-everything has changed-and change is hard for most/ many of us.

 

I'll check back to see how you are doing>>>

 

Denise

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