reconstruction surgery DIEP, tamoxifen, life

jamilli Member Posts: 16
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I am scheduled to have the DIEP procedure done in November on my right breast. I have done my research and talked to a nember of people and this is the best choice for me. My surgeon will be Dr Watson at UCLA hospital. He comes extremely well recommended. It is all very straight forward to me but I feel a lot of tension. I really feel sorry for myself. This is a pain in the butt and an interference to my life. I have had many bumps in my road to the age of 46 but for the most part life has been great. I have so many things that I worry about: my children, my job, my marriage and my overall health and well being. I know everything is going to be all right I just don't know why I feel so much tension. Is it the tamoxifen? Do I need more personal time? Is it the progressive lack of intimacy that I show to my husband and that he shows me? This is just too much. That positive mental attitude is the most important thing when it comes to being in the cancer world. It's almost like I don't want a positive outlook on things. I'm a little to intense for all of this. Any advise?


  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    All of that, I have thought or said, or wondered...congrats! you are a normal cancer patient!!!!
    Have you thought about talking to an oncological psychologist? I did, it REALLY helped!!!

    Hugs, Kathi
  • jdubious
    jdubious Member Posts: 113
    I've had the same feelings. I'm 45, 2.5 years out from surgery and haven't had reconstruction yet(need to loose weight before I can have diep), and just thinking about it makes me crabby. I feel like it's one more reminder of how my life won't ever be the way it was before. Plus it's another round of having everyone and their brother seeing me undressed - and I feel like I'm SUPPOSED to be OK with that, even if I have regained some of my sense of privacy/modesty since finishing radiation. Maybe after reconstruction I will feel differently and my life will get back to something more normal without the reconstruction looming over me.
    If you are feeling really stressed - talk to your main Dr. about it - could be depression or an anxiety thing that could be medically treated - and I think both are very common among cancer survivors.
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    Let's see, you're dealing with the top killer of women in America, upcoming surgery, stressful changes in routine, along with all the normal things that life can throw at you and you're worried now that you're not positive enough! You sound pretty normal for a cancer patient to me. Facing cancer and its treatment is VERY stressful. Realizing that you AND your family are under some incredible stressers right now is a first step. Doing something about the stress--preferably something healthy--is the next step. There's lots you can do too: basic good nutrition (less caffine, more fruits and veggies, low fat dairy, whole grain bread and cereals, and so forth), 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day for everybody, regular bedtimes, planned fun activites at least once a week, massages, extra hugs, dates with no kids, funny movies, jokes on the internet,music, time at a support group for just you to talk about whatever, and time alone to journal or do whatever helps you de-stress. Yes, I found that tamoxifen damped some of my "perkiness" and I had a friend that reacted with a more intense depression. Both of us found that hard exercise was sufficient to make it bearable. I noticed mine more when it left after I went on exemestane. Talking with a clinical social worker who worked with my oncologist helped even more. She let me know that nothing I was experiencing (same stuff as you) was "crazy" or out of line with having cancer. She noted that she could have my oncologist prescribe something for depression if I felt like I needed it(many people do and it's not a sign of weakness to do something about a stubborn depression), but first she wanted me to try the stuff up above. She also got me in touch with a local support group. Just realizing I was normal helped a lot. Reading that neither a negative nor a positive outlook would change the genetics of my cancer helped a little too. You still come across books that are based on the presumption that a person's attitude caused cancer or its recurrance. The research I've read doesn't support it. However, a positive outlook makes the journey more fun and may help the immune system some. It won't hurt to punch a pillow and admit that things are rough right now. And reach out for help when you need it. I'll be thinking of you.
  • ireneingeorgia
    ireneingeorgia Member Posts: 73
    What you're feeling is perfectly normal, plus the tamoxifen can add to it. It's hard to be the same person afte diagnosis, but you'll get there. I had six surgeries this year because of one surgery that was botched, then I had chemo for 4 months, and 2 weeks after I was done I went and had reconstruction. Although one side still has scarring, I feel more like myelf, and feel much more positive, you will too! Hang in there, we're here with you.
  • 24242
    24242 Member Posts: 1,398
    This is something very common that cancer patients suffer and why anti depressants are so common as well. I was diagnosed at 36 with stage 3 IDC Breast Cancer and found it had spread with 11 out of 21 positive nodes. I think the hardest thing to come to grips with was the fact that it should be obvious to me what I had been doing just wasn't working hence getting the big C. Learning to accept and moving forward helped me not to stay stuck in it all. Even though I had been ill for years after my treatments suffering every side affect known to man it seemed, I was able to realize my stake in this and take an active roll in my recovery. All through my ordeal I always did what I could and just getting up somedays was all I could do. There are plenty of things we can do to help ourselves and that sometimes takes the most courage of all.
    I have to wonder sometimes if it wasn't that worring thing that got me here in the first place. Worry is one thing we all need to do allot less of.
    Being good to yourself is a good place to start
  • susabella
    susabella Member Posts: 46
    Wow, Jamilli! You sound just like me! I've been struggling, trying to stay strong and positive for everyone and most days don't want to get out of bed. Even though everyone tells me how lucky I am that my cancer was caught early, I'm not feeling very lucky at being told I need to have a total mastectomy. I'm losing both breasts and I'm only 44. I know in my heart it will be okay eventually, but getting from point a to b isn't going to be easy. I'm having a pedicle reconstruction at MGH in Boston, but I'm so worried about my kids, husband and family. We've been down this road before. I lost my mother to breast cancer 12 years ago. I hope my anger gives me the determination to fight hard! My prayers are with you, and I'm learning there are no rules on how to feel or deal with any of this. Thanks for expressing yourself so well. I don't feel so alone tonight!