WHO AM I NOW, life after treatment

peggy65
peggy65 Member Posts: 100
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
i am interested in finding survivors who have completed treatment, chemo and or radiation for breast cancer. i am in this phase on the journey and find that the stumbling blocks are very different than when i was in treatment. this group of survivors need support from ones who are in the same boat. such things that may be discussed are: am i sick or well, i don't act like i used to before treatment, examining your self image, depression, fatigue, recurrence. thanks
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Comments

  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    Peggy...
    if you spend much time here you will see all these subjects and more discussed at length. We call it our 'new normal'.
    I am a 22+ year survivor and it is still a journey for me even though my health has been stable for some years now. But, when you think about it, all of life is a journey in one way or another and if it had not been cancer that started us down this new path it would have been something else. Getting together with others who are holding the flashlight for you will help you tremendously on your new path.
    That's what we are all about here.
  • ohilly
    ohilly Member Posts: 441
    I can definitely relate
    This is one post I can absolutely relate to. For me, it's about (I feel superficial saying this) my physical appearance: many of you have followed my struggles with my formerly thick, beautiful hair which came back thin (derm says the chemo 'unmasked' underlying female pattern baldness, but I personally believe it's the Femara. Every time I look in the mirror I don't seem the same person I used to be and it's jolting. I am accepting it more, but still feel sad that I don't have my old hair.

    I'd be interested to hear what the others say.

    Best of luck,

    Ohilly
  • tami90650
    tami90650 Member Posts: 82
    life after cancer
    Im 19 months from my last treatment of chemo and 16 months since my last radiation and I have to admit my life is different, from the inside to the outside. Some things about me now are better than before. Today I have no problem telling people that I love them because we arent promised tomorrow- no one is. I see things in a different way now. Today I have more compation for others and I am definitely an activist for breast cancer and other cancers too. The down side for me is that I weigh over 200 pounds now. I weighed less full term pregnant with twins. I look in the mirror and I am shocked at all the changes. I have gray hair now too. And the worse so far is any changes in my body and my mind tells me that the cancer is back. When I started taking tamoxifen and I woke up in the middle of the night with charlie horses or bad muscle cramps, I thought the cancer was now in another part of me.
    I did grow closer to God through all this too. Anyways Im just putting one foot in front of the other and going with the flow too. Talking about this does help alot.
  • Jeanne D
    Jeanne D Member Posts: 1,867
    tami90650 said:

    life after cancer
    Im 19 months from my last treatment of chemo and 16 months since my last radiation and I have to admit my life is different, from the inside to the outside. Some things about me now are better than before. Today I have no problem telling people that I love them because we arent promised tomorrow- no one is. I see things in a different way now. Today I have more compation for others and I am definitely an activist for breast cancer and other cancers too. The down side for me is that I weigh over 200 pounds now. I weighed less full term pregnant with twins. I look in the mirror and I am shocked at all the changes. I have gray hair now too. And the worse so far is any changes in my body and my mind tells me that the cancer is back. When I started taking tamoxifen and I woke up in the middle of the night with charlie horses or bad muscle cramps, I thought the cancer was now in another part of me.
    I did grow closer to God through all this too. Anyways Im just putting one foot in front of the other and going with the flow too. Talking about this does help alot.

    I completed treatments once but..
    I completed surgery and radiation treatments 23 years ago for breast cancer. Now, here I am again, I have had the surgery and am now taking radiation treatments, to be followed with tamoxifen for 5 years. This is a new breast cancer, not a recurrence. The doctor's keep telling me that, I guess, thinking it will make me feel better. Guess what? It doesn't. 23 years ago after I completed my treatment, I did look at the world differently. I appreciated more, I loved and lived my life to the fullest. Now, with breast cancer again, I find myself angry, mad and isolating myself as much as I can from the world. My family and friends won't allow me to, but, that is what I want to do. Mainly, because I am just waiting for another cancer to show up somewhere. I will never feel free of it and that is sad. If it does come back somewhere, I am doing nothing about it. I have personally had enough of this. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, love my family and my friends and I have a very good life. Except...I have cancer again and I won't go thru this another time.
  • Mitz
    Mitz Member Posts: 5
    Jeanne D said:

    I completed treatments once but..
    I completed surgery and radiation treatments 23 years ago for breast cancer. Now, here I am again, I have had the surgery and am now taking radiation treatments, to be followed with tamoxifen for 5 years. This is a new breast cancer, not a recurrence. The doctor's keep telling me that, I guess, thinking it will make me feel better. Guess what? It doesn't. 23 years ago after I completed my treatment, I did look at the world differently. I appreciated more, I loved and lived my life to the fullest. Now, with breast cancer again, I find myself angry, mad and isolating myself as much as I can from the world. My family and friends won't allow me to, but, that is what I want to do. Mainly, because I am just waiting for another cancer to show up somewhere. I will never feel free of it and that is sad. If it does come back somewhere, I am doing nothing about it. I have personally had enough of this. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, love my family and my friends and I have a very good life. Except...I have cancer again and I won't go thru this another time.

    Keep your head up
    You need to still fight! It is a journey that we are all on together and if you need us to hold your hand then that is what we will do. If you need to yell, scream and cry then that is what we are here for as well. I registered back in 04 when I was going through treatment and couldn't handled it however I am back and truly need understand how important this forum is for all of us! So with that said let's continue to fight and support all of those folks like us...we all need eachother!
  • peggy65
    peggy65 Member Posts: 100
    i had all of those symptoms.
    i had all of those symptoms. i can just imagine how angry you must be. i am not sure how i would react and i understand the feeling of not wanting to go through with it again. as you continue through the process, i am hopeful that you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. i send you support and best wishes. hugs, peggy
  • Noel
    Noel Member Posts: 3,095 Member
    peggy65 said:

    i had all of those symptoms.
    i had all of those symptoms. i can just imagine how angry you must be. i am not sure how i would react and i understand the feeling of not wanting to go through with it again. as you continue through the process, i am hopeful that you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. i send you support and best wishes. hugs, peggy

    I am angry and I would think
    I am angry and I would think anyone diagnosed with cancer would be. This disease is horrible. And, you spend the rest of your life after treatment worrying about it..when will it come back..where will it come back...is this a lump blah blah blah. Your life is never going to be the same. The cancer will always be looming over you like a dark cloud. And, if it isn't..then you must be in denial. I hate cancer!
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    6 years after.....
    I posted a response to the post 'How to Survive being a Survivor" ( or something like that!)
    I am 6 years out of treatment, and finished my 5 years of Arimidex in February. The answer I gave to how to survive being a survivor may give you insight into how I feel at this point in time!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Yes, this is something I
    Yes, this is something I want to connect with others with as well. I will be out of treatment (except for clinical trial stuff a few times a year) in mid-June. I think we will go through many emotions, both negative and positive. This is a great place to explore them. One thing is the fear of recurrence. How does one handle this in daily life? Does it lessen over time? What is the line between being vigilant about our health and being obsessed with every minor problem? For instance, if my ribs hurt off and on for a few weeks, do I run to the doctor, thinking the beast has returned? How to live one's life this way? I have many questions, too. Let's discuss as they come up. For now, I am happy to be rid of chemo and that it's spring. I have fear, but I don't have a constant black cloud over me.
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    Life is different. I'm 5
    Life is different. I'm 5 years out. I used to enjoy major landscaping projects but today can only handle a few potted plants. But what I've discovered is I enjoy the few I have. I think I like simplicity. I've found other interests to replace the ones I can't do anymore. I think a lot of it is just getting older. Well, in my case it's developing Parkinson's. I see it in older people though. The ones who can adapt have a happier life. So we adjust and adjust again and one day find we are in a different place. But that is what life is all about.
  • ohilly
    ohilly Member Posts: 441
    chenheart said:

    6 years after.....
    I posted a response to the post 'How to Survive being a Survivor" ( or something like that!)
    I am 6 years out of treatment, and finished my 5 years of Arimidex in February. The answer I gave to how to survive being a survivor may give you insight into how I feel at this point in time!

    Hugs,
    Claudia

    I have a question
    Chenheart, since you mentioned you just finished 5 years on Arimidex, I have a question for you: so what happens when you stop taking these aromatase inhibitors? How do we keep the estrogen out of our bodies from that point on, and do the side effects go away?

    If you know, please clue me in.

    Ohilly
  • tasha_111
    tasha_111 Member Posts: 2,072
    Marcia527 said:

    Life is different. I'm 5
    Life is different. I'm 5 years out. I used to enjoy major landscaping projects but today can only handle a few potted plants. But what I've discovered is I enjoy the few I have. I think I like simplicity. I've found other interests to replace the ones I can't do anymore. I think a lot of it is just getting older. Well, in my case it's developing Parkinson's. I see it in older people though. The ones who can adapt have a happier life. So we adjust and adjust again and one day find we are in a different place. But that is what life is all about.

    Marcia is my twin sista!!!!!!!!!!
    I knew it! I ran my own landscaping (design and build) business in england before I moved here to canada. Now I am trying to start up again... I can't believe that chemo-brain robbed me of the knowledge that I had once been a well renowned horticulturalist...... Blimey I really was in a bubble! Anyway, now I have got it and I'm going for it again.
    Thank you Marcia!!!!!!!!!!! Huge Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    tasha_111 said:

    Marcia is my twin sista!!!!!!!!!!
    I knew it! I ran my own landscaping (design and build) business in england before I moved here to canada. Now I am trying to start up again... I can't believe that chemo-brain robbed me of the knowledge that I had once been a well renowned horticulturalist...... Blimey I really was in a bubble! Anyway, now I have got it and I'm going for it again.
    Thank you Marcia!!!!!!!!!!! Huge Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    See Julia, and you were
    See Julia, and you were looking for a job not too long ago and didn't know what to do. Run your own landscaping business. You already have all that knowledge. Love ya, Lili
  • tasha_111
    tasha_111 Member Posts: 2,072

    See Julia, and you were
    See Julia, and you were looking for a job not too long ago and didn't know what to do. Run your own landscaping business. You already have all that knowledge. Love ya, Lili

    Thank you Lili
    Thank you so much for the encouragement, I can't believe that it didn't twig with me what I used to do (and love).. I didn't have a lot of self confidence but why do you need it when you know about stuff.......Thank you for what you wrote... You have given me the lift that I needed... Huge Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Lishorn
    Lishorn Member Posts: 3
    Jeanne D said:

    I completed treatments once but..
    I completed surgery and radiation treatments 23 years ago for breast cancer. Now, here I am again, I have had the surgery and am now taking radiation treatments, to be followed with tamoxifen for 5 years. This is a new breast cancer, not a recurrence. The doctor's keep telling me that, I guess, thinking it will make me feel better. Guess what? It doesn't. 23 years ago after I completed my treatment, I did look at the world differently. I appreciated more, I loved and lived my life to the fullest. Now, with breast cancer again, I find myself angry, mad and isolating myself as much as I can from the world. My family and friends won't allow me to, but, that is what I want to do. Mainly, because I am just waiting for another cancer to show up somewhere. I will never feel free of it and that is sad. If it does come back somewhere, I am doing nothing about it. I have personally had enough of this. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, love my family and my friends and I have a very good life. Except...I have cancer again and I won't go thru this another time.

    I understand the fear of
    I understand the fear of cancer coming back. I had thyroid cancer and each day I wonder if its going to come back or will I develop another type of cancer in my body. I took a large dose of RAI to kill the cancer but I had very bad side effects. I told my sister that I couldn't go through the treatment again. It made me feel unclean and sick. Cancer has changed my view of life; I tend to say how I feel about things and view life differently. It has also brought me closer to God. I try not to think about the cancer but it’s on my mind every day. My surgery was on 7/30/08 but to this day, I am still dealing with side effects from RAI. I have also gained 43 pounds, which is really freaking me out because I weightrd 155 at 5'7. Losing the weight is so hard because I feel tired all the time. My doctors tell me that I am on the right synthroid dose; I guess my body is reacting to the changes it went through. People tell me that I had the good cancer but what is good about any cancer...cancer is still cancer regardless of the type of cancer. I tell them if it is so good you can have. And, they dont know how to respond to my comment. I have not gotten angry, but I am really really scared as you all are. My prayers go out to all of you. You guys are the best, and you are a source of encouragement. Thank you so much for your stories.
  • Eil4186
    Eil4186 Member Posts: 949
    Marcia527 said:

    Life is different. I'm 5
    Life is different. I'm 5 years out. I used to enjoy major landscaping projects but today can only handle a few potted plants. But what I've discovered is I enjoy the few I have. I think I like simplicity. I've found other interests to replace the ones I can't do anymore. I think a lot of it is just getting older. Well, in my case it's developing Parkinson's. I see it in older people though. The ones who can adapt have a happier life. So we adjust and adjust again and one day find we are in a different place. But that is what life is all about.

    Hi Marcia, I did not realize
    Hi Marcia, I did not realize you had Parkinsons. How are you doing so far? You are in my prayers.
  • bethforhealth
    bethforhealth Member Posts: 2
    Peggy ~ "Recovery" is the journey you are entering when treatment ends and life begins in a new direction. This part of the cancer journey is often more difficult as their are no professionals directing your steps. But, this is where you get to recover what you remember of who you were, let go of what is gone, and build on the good that remains strong and true. It helps to find someone you trust to talk with from time to time. (I am happy to correspond or chat!) Learning to trust your health again is a big part of this journey. You are a survivor, but move beyond that term and begin to THRIVE, not just survivie! There is much to celebrate, remember, and be grateful for in your life. ~ Beth
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    Eil4186 said:

    Hi Marcia, I did not realize
    Hi Marcia, I did not realize you had Parkinsons. How are you doing so far? You are in my prayers.

    Thanks Eil. I have trouble
    Thanks Eil. I have trouble with small finger movements and walking sometimes but I'm doing ok.
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    tasha_111 said:

    Marcia is my twin sista!!!!!!!!!!
    I knew it! I ran my own landscaping (design and build) business in england before I moved here to canada. Now I am trying to start up again... I can't believe that chemo-brain robbed me of the knowledge that I had once been a well renowned horticulturalist...... Blimey I really was in a bubble! Anyway, now I have got it and I'm going for it again.
    Thank you Marcia!!!!!!!!!!! Huge Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Tasha's Landscaping
    Hi, I didn't know you ran a landscaping business in the UK! You kinda overlooked telling us that when you were thinking of jobs you could do, what a wonderful skill/talent. I sure wish you were here in the Ozarks. I have no skills or knowledge--you could save my poor plants and bushes.
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    ohilly said:

    I can definitely relate
    This is one post I can absolutely relate to. For me, it's about (I feel superficial saying this) my physical appearance: many of you have followed my struggles with my formerly thick, beautiful hair which came back thin (derm says the chemo 'unmasked' underlying female pattern baldness, but I personally believe it's the Femara. Every time I look in the mirror I don't seem the same person I used to be and it's jolting. I am accepting it more, but still feel sad that I don't have my old hair.

    I'd be interested to hear what the others say.

    Best of luck,

    Ohilly

    Oh, our hair...
    Hello, Ohilly. The hair thing. So difficult. I always had very thick, wavy hair - runs in my family. My hair is now much thinner (as in quantity, not texture). But, you know - my Mom complained years ago that menopause itself thinned out her hair (she's not had cancer; therefore, no treatments nor related meds). For me, I keep my hair really short now - kind of a "pixie" cut, I guess. Prior to BC, always had long hair - at least to my shoulders. Truthfully, as much as I absolutely hated being bald - once my hair began to grow back, I just couldn't deal with the time & upkeep needed for long hair. I feel liberated! Wash & go! And actually, people tell me I look "younger" with short hair! I guess they see my haircut, not the wrinkles on my face!!! I always wear really cute earrings now - which I didn't with long hair because they didn't show up. Also, with shorter hair, it looks "fuller" than if it was longer.

    Still, I understand how you feel. You are mourning for your "old" hair. As women, it is so much a part of our identity. Cancer takes much from us. I hope you find a way to accept what you look like, and feel comfortable in your own skin again. Best wishes to you.

    Kind regards, Susan