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Do you ever feel that you are faking it for the sake of others?

Posts: 382
Joined: Nov 2012

Today I am four years cancer free!! My husband calls it my VC day (victory from cancer). My VC day to us is the day I had my bilateral mastectomy. My oncotype score was a 13 so I chose not to have chemo (the hardest decision of my life) and began taking tamoxifen. Took that for 2 years and then switched to Aromasin after hysterectomy. My question is, "Does any one ever feel that you are faking it? " I mean faking that you are OK? That you don't think that every pain is a recurrence? That you feel 20 years older than what you are because of the medicine? That you are even close to the person you were before this all started? I try so hard not to complain about how I feel because I feel that I have put my husband, family and friends through so much. They are great and I want them to think I am the same person I was 4 years ago and that everything is OK.

I think hearing how lucky I am all day because it was ONLY stage 1 (I hate when people say that), just got to me today. Thank you for allowing me to vent. What a great site and what an amazing group of people you are.

lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi Josie, I am 6 months ahead of you. I know what you mean. The Arimidex has really aged me. I am grateful that I am here to see my grandchild grow to be a toddler and to be able to work and play, but sometimes I miss the old me.

This is a great place to share and vent. You are amazing; you have come through it. xoxoxo Lynn

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Aromatase inhibitors do age a person and the side effects are debilitating. Joint and bone pain can be extremely hard to live with, along with vaginal dryness, and etc.

However, I look back on my years with Arimidex with great fondness. Due to this wonderful drug, I was able to do my bucket lists. You can live with it and I have been doing hormonal therapy drugs since March of 1995. I am alive because of them. Let that be the reason to stay on it.

Every experience in life changes us, doesn't it? Having a child is an experience and it's wonderful. We are never the same again either.

Best wishes to you for a cancer free life.


lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

Thank you, Doris. I don't think of myself as cancer free - just NED. I am very grateful for the odds that Arimidex has given me, but that doesn't mean that I don't "fake it." Then there are wonderful, wonderful times, as I said, that make it all worthwhile. I wish you the best. I always appreciate your thoughts and your honesty. xoxoxo Lynn

salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

I am 8 months out of chemo, 7 months out of bi-lateral. My hair is only an inch long still, my eyebrows are still not here, I look nothing like me. I have wrinkles that I should not have gotten for another 15 years. I have pain in my joints I never had before. Every time something is a bit different or off in some way I immediately think cancer. But I smile everytime someone says you look good! Yes I am very happy to be alive and I do not want to complain about how I feel because I am grateful very grateful that my chemo and surgery were successful, but I mourn the loss of me. So glad someone understands. Thanks for the post!! (((Hugs)))

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear Josie21,

I hate to congratulated people because they are 4 years out. With breast cancer especially ER+ kind, you can be 30+ years out and have a recurrence. However at 30 years plus means it is a very slow growing cancer and you might just die of natural causes beating the cancer. No stage has a guarantee and that is why early detection promoted by the Komen Foundation is a farce. One can be stage 0 to stage 3+ and never have a recurrence or they can progress to stage IV. No one knows why. So ONLY isn't a word for breast cancer.

Do remember that 70% of women and men do not progress. Some might have a local or regional recurrence but it doesn't change the stats, they still might go on to never becoming stage IV. The important part to remember is the 70%.

It is normal to take every pain as "is it" , after all you did have cancer at one time. Remember the 70% and the headache, the backache, a dry cough could be just an every day normal complaint that every person has who never had cancer do have.

Go on an live your life, don't allow cancer the importance it shouldn't have in your day. Enjoy where you are with hopes of always remaining cancer free. If you should have a recurrence, then you will deal with it in the same manner as you did the first itme.

Wishing the best,


Posts: 1255
Joined: Oct 2011

Yes, I often feel that way, but you know what....I also am starting to convince myself! My mom used to tell me that if you mimic the person you want to become, in time you can become them. (sort of) My daughter is a well liked waitress at a nice restaurant in our area and is ALWAYS pleasant and cheerful at work. She was not that way at home years ago, but we were just saying the other day how we think she has morphed into that cheerful person at work or not! Reality is something we do have to face, but facing it with a positive attitude, and I know there are times when thats just too hard,
but when we can, it sure helps! Enjoy your VC day, and everyday there after!
As always, all in my prayers.

JuJuBeez's picture
Posts: 332
Joined: Apr 2010

OMG YES!!! I keep saying I'm gonna fake it till I make it! Some days it's harder to than others, but the great group of folks in my dept can pretty much tell when I'm having a bad day. They can just tell by my eyes, they say. It helps not having to hide it so much at work. My job has helped me so much. It gets me out of bed on days that I probably wouldn't otherwise. On the flip side though, sometimes having a full time job is way too much pressure. Having the job that carries the family's health insurance is way, WAY too much pressure.

I'm on my second month of Arimidex, and I feel like the Tin Man without his oil can. Even my hands feel arthritic. Oh well.... I'll just keep faking it till I make it. I will keep smiling and say FINE when someone asks how I'm doing. One lady at work said she knew better when I said FINE... and I started bawling in the ladies room talking to her. I said NO, I'm not FINE. I want to cry, sleep, yell, stomp... and I just keep coming in with my mask and say FINE!!! I'll be lucky if she ever asks me again. LOL Seriously though, her mother was a pink sister so this lady has seen this before.

While I'm not glad any of you are going through the same thing... it is comforting to know that I'm not just crazy. Which I do wonder about myself quite often these past two years.

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Josie - I understand what you mean. I sometimes feel like I want to forget this whole happened and people help with that because they think I am back to normal. Sometimes I want NOT to forget about it, because I cannot. I find myself living my life normally, go to work everyday, do tons of things at a time, just like I used to be before this dx. However, I can't. I feel tired. Emotionally overwhelmed. I can't even fight with people anymore. When there's an argument, I walk away, because the energy is simply not there. This is good I guess. I think when we feel we are scared or not the same, we should talk about it with people, even if it means coming to this group for support. You're not alone. And if there are some activities you cannot be in charge of like you used to, I say you don't do them. More than ever, we have to put ourselves first and second...maybe even third.

Here's a video I want to share with you. Might not be totally related to your post, but it would put things into perspective, overall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs

Sending hugs your way.

sweetvickid's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: Nov 2009

I was triple negative stage 3 so double mastectomy and 21 rounds of chemo. May 2010 was my mastectomy. they do say chemo ages you and I sure feel it. And mentally/emotionally/personality I am not the same person. I still have a profound sense of saddness but to everyone I smile. Somedays I just wish the reoccurance would show up so that I can get it over with.

helen e's picture
helen e
Posts: 223
Joined: Sep 2009

Every little pain in the area of my reconstruction I automatically worry. I have to convince myself that I'm ok. I was only stage 1 also but still had to have a mastectomy. At times I'm convinced it's never coming back and feel I have a handle on my worries but then I get those little aches that remind me of what I had. It's only been 3 years for me but I can totally relate. I am tired all the time and tired of being tired! Just know that you are not alone.

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

I was on Tamoxifen, Arimedex, and Zoladex for 3.5 years. Accelerated aging - my oncologist eventually admitted the side effects of those drugs. Well I am among those 30% which have to deal with the bit*** again and for long. Now I feel how stupid I and my family were for not celebrating my VC enough. Those who never faced cancer have No rights to teach a cancer survivors about Luck and it is very insensitive to say about "How lucky you are", however please never forget about those Warriors in Pink who left us and others who are in ongoing battle for a very long time

Posts: 234
Joined: Mar 2010

I don't have to post much because you all summed it up pretty good! Thats why I like coming to this site because I can count on you all to put a voice to what I can't say! My mom was always telling me to fake it to you make it! even before the bc! :)

Posts: 382
Joined: Nov 2012

Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Everyone has made me feel so much better. You made me feel normal again. I'm not crazy after all! LOL. I am so grateful that I found this site and found all of you!

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

Just to present another perspective...I honestly don't usually feel that way. I tend to bury my head in the sand when it comes to the possible bad news. I am stage IV and have had local recurrences too. So I have already faced that worry. The fears I don't face (because my head is buried in the sand) are a little different, I think.

Stage I, II, III, or IV..we each have our own journey to travel. There is nothing 'lucky' about any cancer! We each have to deal with our fears in our own way.

I would suggest that you find the person who will listen to those complaints without judging you and without reminding you how lucky are. Find someone who will allow you to cry. And remember, you can always come here to vent.

Best wishes, and happy VC day!!



smalldoggroomer's picture
Posts: 1181
Joined: May 2010

I have to admit I do fake it for my family and friends at times.. But I also do it for me. I just feel better being positive. I have days that I'm not but not to many. I am stage IV. And at this time No active cancer. I know that could last years or a week. If it comes back I will deal with it. But I refuse to deal with some thing that hasn't happened yet. I wanted to live for my Husband family and friends. I intend to enjoy them every day I have. I don't know how I will die. None of us do. But I do know how I will live!
I pray for peace for all of us. And the strength to live our lives.

Merry Christmas and peace to all


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