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feeling better, reconstructed

hope4thebest's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

It has been 2 years, and things are finally settling into place.  My iron levels were off but that is fixed and I am forward bound.  It is nice to have this healthy life that I have worked so hard on.  Every day, I am exercising.  I have quit smoking and drinking, so feel like I have a new identity, but I do not really know myself yet.  I am single and can't hide behind my spouse, and I am heading home to see my siblings for the first time since the bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction.  It has been difficult, I had DCIS throughout my left breast, so decided to get them both done.  I sometimes remind myself that I chose this road.  But, it is lonely.  Most folks do not understand me, or keep a safe distance.  It is not because I am a BC posterchild, but I need something new in my life to grab my attention.  My family has sent some cards, but not much contact.

I am heading home in 2 weeks.  Mixed reviews, so many people will expect to see the same person, but I am different.  I do things for myself now.  If it is not healthy, I am not down with it.  Many of my relatives and friends are unsure as of what to say.  I am thinking of letting us just gloss over things, and not go into discussion about the breast cancer.  I have not heard from one of my sisters or 16 yr old niece, after the text with my date of my vacation at home.  They haven't really written or expressed much empathy.  I am somewhat bitter about this but I guess I should just 'let go' and not speak of it.  ....or wait until they bring it up.  It is hard to pretend this never happened, but maybe that is for the best?

It is my first time home as a survivor.  Thank you for your support, you people are a great help.


Posts: 579
Joined: Dec 2010

Did you get on with your family before BC.  Wondered if there is a past.  Seems like for females they are particularly cold.  I understand difficulty in some handling this bit not all of your family.  Must have been tough, wonder how your home visit goes.  Sounds like you need some good friends, someone to share with and lean on.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2791
Joined: Jun 2010

I had some similiar relationship issues.  Here's what helped me. Ah, hindsight. . .

I have no expectations of the folks who disappointed me other than they will likely disappoint me again if I keep hoping for them to be something they're not.  I decided whether they were important for me to have in my life or not.  They were, so I knew the only thing I could control was me.  I did have a very teary conversation about my disappointments with my only sister as well as a former good friend about a year after my treatments were over.  I simply told them how they hurt me and gave specific examples.  (I did have some wine).  They apologized.  I forgave them (important to me) and no, nothing has really changed.  I said what I needed to (after a whole lot of thought) and then I let it go.   My hurt was over them not knowing what to do so they did nothing - and it hurt me.  In hindsight, I  know that I could have called them at any time and asked them to do something for me.  I sat and brooded and waited for them to do something on their own.  They didn't.  I did not/do not want an adversarial relationship with them because they are important to me.  My friend was defensive with lots of excuses when we had the coversation.  I stopped her and said "it doesn't matter WHY, I just need to tell you how it effected me.  And I forgive you."  She was wrong.  I wasn't.  And it was past.

 Relationships and feelings are difficult during cancer and in spite of  everything you're told about how things (you) change, the change is so much larger than you thought.  I still care deeply about these folks of my precancer life, they have a place in my life now, but it just isn't the same for me and I'm now ok with that.

I think you have to decide how important these people are to you and decide if you even want to let them know your feelings.  Coming from the heart rather than anger and being willing to move forward in spite of the past I also think is necessary.  Also being willing to take the risk that if you say something, it may end or severely damage a relationship.   My response to stupid comments like "it's over now, forget about it, this what I'd do, etc." is "we'll just have to agree to disagree about that".   

Wishing you the best of luck with these family issues.  It seems that your family is important to you or you would not be hurt.


hope4thebest's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you all for your hope and encouragement.  Sometimes, it is easy to let fear get the best of me.  I am nervous about my return trip, mostly because of the expectations I have for myself, I am wanting to be active, but realize I have physical limitations, still.  My upperbody, arms are still pretty weak, so I get tired more than before.  I have to lie down in the afternoon, and cannot keep up with 'the world'.  I treasure you ladies because you understand how all the relationships in our live have changed, being survivors.  The rest of the world has no idea of how we feel.

It seems that I am disallusioned with some of my family and friends for not supporting me now and during the battle years, but they just will never get it.  And I really do not want them to have to know about the level of suffering that comes with this illness.  So, I am moving forward with such new awareness, that I barely know myself anymore, but I must use this as power.  I am really surprised that they just evade the subject, no-one has mentioned my health so far.  It is almost like, if they do not talk about it, it did not happen.   

My sister who does not text, call or anything, is mother of 3, and hands full.  We have always been different people, our relationship has been strained for many years.  A few yrs back our dad passed away (cancer), and our family dynamic is changing.  I used to be the go-to person for help, talking, working, helping, and now, after recovery, I cannot fullfill those duties.  I am afraid without them, she and her family will reject me.  I think that you are right Suzanne, even if I said what was on my mind, it would not change them, or the situation.  So, I will 'put it behind me' and to share only when I need to.  

There are many people who have entered my life since the cancer and my bond will strengthen with others, due to this unique disiease.  I will visit many old friends and see new things, it will be good.  I will try not to dwell on those who are not around, it is the present that metters.  


Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

I hope that when you see your family that it will be a good visit.  At least, you aren't expecting too much and that is probably for the best.  I hope they surprise you and treat you great!

Hugs, Jan

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

You are so inspiring how you've taken control of your life and health!  So congrats to you on that. 

I am also wishing you good luck with your family.  Hoping this trip will put a smile on your face and be all that you want it to be.



Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

You said the perfect work, survivor!  You're going home as a survivor!  We are all so proud of you and wish you well on this trip.

Sue :)

DianeBC's picture
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

You just go home and whatever happens, happens.  You don't have big expectations, so hopefully, if it doesn't go well, you won't be hurt anymore.  I hope it goes the other way though.  I hope you're pleasantly surprised!

Good luck,


Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

Very glad that you're feeling so much better and that you're really getting healthy.  I should be more like you.  Wishing you lots of good luck on your trip home.

Hugs, Angie

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Wishing you a good trip and a happy one!

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

Just try to enjoy seeing your family.  Post when you get back to update us on how it goes.


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