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Moving Beyond & Back to Stressful Lives

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2kidzmom View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 15 2008 at 7:04am
Hi Everyone,
 
It is such a GREAT feeling to be post-treatment and have a clean bill of health!  But as many of us know, your breast cancer becomes basically your "life" for awhile.  From the time you are diagnosed until the time you are done with treatment, it is truly all-consuming.  So once you are finished with chemo and radiation and can hopefully breathe a big sigh of relief, it's a WONDERFUL feeling. 
 
But then it's back to reality, and for many of us it's back to whatever stressers we may have had in our lives before that we maybe put on the back burner.  Although I am SO SO SO grateful to be out f treatment with things looking positive, I have had to get back to stressful issues that I had put on hold. 
 
Without too much gorey detail Wink, living in a not-so-peachy marriage with some resulting financial repurcussions has forced me to begin seeking a either a third part-time job or a new fulltime job with greater income.  Needless to say, this takes a toll both emotionally and physically.  And everyone around you sees that you look fine and expect you to be back to "normal".  Teenagers don't understand that you can still be tired, and neither do many husbands or other family members.
 
Anyway, I know that many of us have stressful situations going on in our lives.  And although I am eternally grateful for my health, it is tough going from one very stressful situation (breast cancer) to another (or juggling them both at the same time).  How much can the body truly handle?? 
 
I am still optimistic but just needed to share, as I am sure that many of us here have similar stresses in our lives that we must deal with while moving past our breast cancer.  Thanks for letting me get this off my chest (no pun intended)...LOL!!
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trip2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 7:38am
Hi 2kidzmom,
 
You are so right, you've put it in a nutshell.Thumbs%20Up
 
I'm sorry to hear about the not-so-peachy marriage and no kids are not going to understand.  No one does really except those who have been thru your journey.
 
I was just reading an article the other day and they were saying more studies should be done to help the survivors after treatment since there are still emotional, health, side effects, etc. that aren't being looked at and this all effects all of our lives, so the stress can pile up.  And as you say we are back into regular life again and we're thankful but we have that extra load on our shoulders now.
 
You can come in here and think out loud or vent, whatever, we are here for you and I hope your troubles settle down a bit for you soon.
 
Hug


Edited by trip2 - May 15 2008 at 7:40am
Stage 2 2003
Stage 1 2007
BRCA 1+
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2kidzmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 2kidzmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 8:46am
 
Thanks, and Hug to you too!!
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julie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote julie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 10:13am
I am worried about that same thing. How do you keep the stress out of your life so you can stay healthy and at the same time pay all of your doctor bills and keep up with the expenses of everyday life?
You can only cut back on certain expenses...and then what do you do? My husband and I are already talking about this. We are trying to cut food and gas expense, but what else do you cut out so you don't have to work so hard to bring in more income?
I think that stress can play a big roll in our health and we have to take care of ourselves.
Take care and I hope you find a balance for your self.

Julie


37 years old
dx 3/15/08
4/15/08 Double mast/expanders
stage 3a, grade 3
Triple negative,in 4 nodes
dose dense A/C, Taxol, Radiation, Avastin
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote teckard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 2:56pm
Hi 2kidzmom,

Sorry to hear that you have to endure a not so good marriage.  Been there done that.  While it has been difficult fighting cancer without a significant other I am grateful to not have that type of stress.

Being diagnosed with Cancer has really had an impact on how I think about my life and how I want to change the way I had been living my life.  Most of my life I have had some type of stress in my life.  Learning how to deal with stress is going to be my focus.  We can't take stress out of our lives...  learning how to channel that stress is what becomes important.    I  plan to take care of my Mind, body and soul.  I am a true believer that huge levels of stress had an impact on my cancer diagnosis.  I don't want this stuff coming back so I intend to take care of how my body channels stress. 

I hope this helps you some.  Thank God you are finished with treatments. I have 1 more round of TAC next week and then I am done!!!!!!  I have chose to put off reconstruction to let my body heal.  So right now I am bald and boobless..... 

Have a great evening.

Tina

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2kidzmom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 2kidzmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 3:10pm
But that's okay, because you can still be Bald, Boobless, and BEAUTIFUL!  And it sounds like you are! 
 
Thanks, and good luck with that last one..YEY!  Smile
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Cheryl51 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cheryl51 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 6:43pm

You bring up an issue that I feel is extremely important and one that is not dealt with all that well.  I believe that the period after treatment when you "return to your life" is an extremely stressful and vulnerable time.  It is also a time when many folks expect you to be "back to your old self" and there is a lot of pressure to be ok. 

I know that I feel profoundly changed by the experience of breast cancer.  I don't even look like the same person.  Some people who hadn't seen me in a year don't even recognize me.  This isn't just physical, it is the result of going through something and being changed forever. 

I feel that the emotional issues are still not dealt with well by the medical profession and that there is a lot of room to develop after treatment groups, etc. to give women a place to relate to each other. 

I'm sorry that you are not getting the support you need...and deserve.  Hey, I'm here to listen...

Best,

Cheryl51

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cg--- View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cg--- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2008 at 7:36pm

Dear Cheryl,

I am comforted to know that we have a professional listener around that understands. Thank you for being you.
 
Connie
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Terri View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Terri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2008 at 6:40am
I finished my last radiation tx 2 weeks ago. Everyone i knew was asking me how excited I was to finish tx. I cried on the way home from radiation that day which really took me by surprise. I didn`t feel excited at all, I was scared! All these months I was so brave and positive and now that I`m finished I`m more afraid than ever! I keep looking back and wondering if I should have gotten a second opinion about which chemo drugs I received. I try to find articles on FEC to see if it was the best for me, etc.
 Most people around me expect me to be "back to normal", they don`t realize that my life will have a different "normal". It will never be the same. Some days I feel like I`m so lucky to realize that every day is a gift. I`ve been doing things for myself to enjoy life more (like walking on the beach at sunset). Then other days  I`m sad and scared about my future.
Did anyone else feel this way after they finished tx?
IDC DX 8/17/07 (age 41)
Stage 1 Grade 1-2, 1.35 cm
2 nodes neg, Lumpectomy 10/07
Chemo: FEC 100 x 6, 35 rads
BRCA 1/2 NEG
PET/CT & Brain CT Nov 09
Brain MRI Aug 2012 NED
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trip2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2008 at 1:30pm

Terri, to answer your question in your last paragraph, yes! 

I'm 7 months out and have no idea when this will settle out with me.
You are not alone at all.  Hug
Stage 2 2003
Stage 1 2007
BRCA 1+
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shellieh51 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2008 at 2:41pm
Ladies,
Yes we have all been there.  Yesterday I participated in a Living Beyond Breast Cancer teleconference 'Patient to Survivor' - it was very good and I received some great information.  A transcript of this should be available at lbbc.org.

I am almost 10 months out from my last chemo treatment.  My mind is working well (finally) but the issues with fatigue and stress are still very much a part of my life.  I understand that we get to a point when we don't think about thinks as much but unfortunately, I am not at that point yet.  I have a stressful position and worked throughout BC treatments.  I am now on medical leave for what was supposed to be a benign parotid tumor.  The bugger surprised everyone - especially me - by being malignant so once more I am on a cancer journey.

I am so sorry for those that do not have a good support system.  My husband has been wonderful and is an even better person than the great guy I married 28 years ago.  He traveled this path with his mother who lost the challenge at age 51. 

Please check with your physician for referrals for help.  I see a psychologist every two weeks as part of an integrative medicine program at the cancer center.  It has helped immensely.  Because I see a resident my co-pay is lower than if I was seeing a 'real' doctor.

Bless you.

Shellie


dx 11/6/2006 1.5cm IDC, Gr3, TN, BRCA-, lump, partial breast rads 1/2007, 4 AC, 12 wkly Taxol. Completed tx 8/2/2007. NED 12/2007. Malignant parotid tumor 4/2008. Clear head 4/09 & bones 11/08 -
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bunnysmama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2008 at 2:48pm

It's so nice to see that others feel the same way that I felt (and continue to feel).  It's so difficult to put into words the fundamental shift that takes place in the core of your being once you've been through diagnosis and treatment to those who have not "been there."  Even our caretakers, the people who were closest to us through it all, cannot truly understand what it means.

Terri, like you, I cried the day I finished my last radiation treatment a year ago.  My husband took me out to brunch to "celebrate" and I sat across the table from him in miserable tears, and he didn't know how to respond because he was so confused by my reaction.  I'm sure the waitress thought we were fighting and I was embarassed that I couldn't stop crying in public, but the emotion was so strong that I just couldn't turn off the faucet.

And like others here, I've found it difficult to settle back in to a "normal" life.  After an experience like this, I thought for sure everything would be somehow different.  I was going to take more time to smell the roses and enjoy the second chance at life that I was given.  But, of course, reality sets in and I've found that I'm busier than ever.  My job is more demanding and I've taken on a part-time job at night to supplement our income.  Working out has become more of a priority since it's one of the few ways we can have any "control" over what's happening to our bodies, but it's not something I enjoy doing.  My husband is trying to get promoted so he's spending more time at the office, leaving me with more responsibility at home and with our 4-year-old daughter.  Who can stop to smell the flowers when the bills don't go away by themselves and the laundry keeps piling up? 
 
In a way, being this busy isn't a bad thing because it doesn't leave me any time to think too much about the "what if's" and the "why's," but I don't want to live my life stressed out and exhausted.
 
Thank you all for sharing how you feel as well.  It makes me realize that I'm not the only one going through this and I'm not wrong for feeling this way.
Dx 11/06 @ age 37
IDC
Stage I, Grade 3
BRCA2+
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kirby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2008 at 2:57pm
Terri, 
 
I found the after treatment part, quite difficult. I felt I went through treatment in a bit of shock and putting one foot in front of the other. Now I had time to reflect a bit on what I had been through and it was scary. I don't know how I did it. On top of that I hated my hair. I liked being bald better than this stuff growing on my head. And yes, people expected you to just close the door on that chapter. They liked it safely and tidily put away. What helped me the most was an online organization, FPP. Basically it was a support group. This group is great too. I am 7 years out and still checking the scene occasionally. It never goes away but it does get easier.
kirby

dx Feb. 2001. Age 44
Lumpectomy

2cm. no nodes stage 1 grade 3

4 rnds AC, 35 rads
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Terri View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Terri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2008 at 8:06am
Shellie I`m so sorry to hear you have to go through all of this over again. I`m glad you have a good husband and support system. I am lucky to have a good husband too. We were married less than a year when I was diagnosed. Poor man learned the true meaning of  "in sickness and in health" a little too soon!

Thankyou Kirby, Pam, Shellie and Bunnysmama for sharing your feelings. I can relate to things all of you have said!  It`s comforting to know that we all have these emotions about the end of treatment when most people  around us just expects us to be over it.

IDC DX 8/17/07 (age 41)
Stage 1 Grade 1-2, 1.35 cm
2 nodes neg, Lumpectomy 10/07
Chemo: FEC 100 x 6, 35 rads
BRCA 1/2 NEG
PET/CT & Brain CT Nov 09
Brain MRI Aug 2012 NED
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