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PTSD and fear

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Hi there:


I just had my checkup at the cancer clinic - it’s been almost three years since my second diagnosis. Just a few weeks ago, I was told I had definite symptoms of PTSD caused by breast cancer trauma too by a local psychotherapist. I am now enrolled in a trauma group for PTSD which starts in a few weeks.

Since my checkup at the clinic I must say I am feeling fear of recurrence in a big way. I haven’t felt this scared for many many years. I always have anxiety but not terror. I am having a chest X-ray done due to a chronic cough. And I am on an Arimidex vacation for two weeks to see if my ongoing digestion issues are due to Arimidex. My checkup in other words was not unremarkable, So why the terror?

I just had to write this down and see if anyone else can relate.


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Comments

  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
    edited January 2020
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    Hi, Wallan -

    I surely can relate to your fear and the PTSD. FWIW, I think it's perfectly reasonable to feel both, given that you had a recurrence just a few years ago which probably re-set the clock on your original trauma and most likely exacerbated it as well. Of course, being reasonable doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

    I've fairly recently started meditating, using a variety of on line sources. Right now, I'm finding Tara Brach's works most helpful. It's helping diffuse the intensity of the response I experience when dealing with any of this stuff - USs, MRIs, etc. It's not 100% but at least I can make the appointments on the phone without freezing up and/or getting ill. I'd tried this stuff several years ago and got nowhere, but apparently I'm now ready for it, fortunately. Perhaps something of that nature could help you while you're waiting for your group to start? Or possibly you could get a private session whilst waiting for the group?

    I would think that the terror is that, once again, the beast is breathing over your shoulder and (to mix a metaphor) you don't know whether it's in the car with you or just in the car next to you making faces at you through the window. Either way, all your fears, all those extremely difficult experiences, are dredged up yet again. Maybe you're feeling as though you've gotten through it twice but might not be so "lucky" this time? Maybe you're feeling worn down by the on-going emotional and physical effects. Maybe it's both. If you can, try to give yourself something to dispel the fear, even if only partially and only for an hour or two. Bury yourself in a page-turner of a book, stream a comedy (or 2), binge watch some shows. Board games and card games are great if you've got people to play with, otherwise crosswords or Sudoku can give your brain a break. It's January, so getting outdoors might not be an option but consider it. Or ice-skating? Be kind and considerate of yourself; do what you'd do for a friend going through the same thing. Revel in your Arimidex break, too. As you start getting the various issues sorted out you'll probably feel some of the terror receding. I certainly hope so. In the meantime, sending you hugs and warm thoughts. In solidarity - Hopeful



  • jojo0529
    jojo0529 Member Posts: 56
    edited January 2020
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    i relate to your post regarding PTSD. The terror is The worst. I hope your cough and digestion improve

  • ashleyez
    ashleyez Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2020
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    Wallan,

    I feel your fear. Sometimes I just don't think that I want to spend the rest of my life worrying about every single ache and pain. Last week I went to my surgical oncologist for check-up. This month is 4 years since my diagnosis and three years of clean bill of health. They freaked out over what I thought was scar tissue from DIEP reconstruction and fat grafting. They performed a needle biopsy of what is more than likely fat necrosis. He even showed me the gunky fluid in the needle, but me being me, I am getting my "affairs in order." I need serious help. I talked with a counselor a few times, but the only thing that I think might help me would be alzheimers so I could forget cancer. (No disrespect intended to the sufferers of that awful disease.)

    I am suffering now waiting for the results. Clonezapam is helping some. I have been chanting Fat Necrosis all weekend.

    Thanks for bearing my rant.




  • wallan
    wallan Member Posts: 192
    edited January 2020
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    Thanks for everyone’s understanding and responses.

    My terror is less intense right now - just under the surface. I do meditate and practice mindfulness. I read good books, binge watch Netflix Shows and movies, sew, go out with friends. So these do keep my mind occupied. Thanks for the tips.

    Today is the start of the PTSD group - we shall see how this goes. Last night I slept about an hour. One hour! Why? I am not sure. My digestion problems has not really improved since being off Arimidex but my cough has left me. Go figure! Insomnia obviously not improved either.

    I have now developed a sore right upper arm. I feel pain when reaching behind or extending my arm over my head. I have not hurt my arm. So I hope this is nothing of course. If it’s not one thing it’s another! The pain is sharp and not achy. It does hurt to press on the spot that hurts the worse. This is new to me. I will see how it progresses. I am getting a bit worried about it.


    Also, has anyone held off from investing in future projects? I lost my job in the summer (it is related to breast cancer discrimination I think) and now I find myself without any ideas or goals for the future. I need to work financially. But when people ask me what I want to do I have no answer. I draw a blank. I have been applying for jobs that are similar to what I did before but only because that is what I know. It is a stressful field so maybe I need something else. But what? I find I don’t want to waste time on doing what I really don’t want to do. Yet, I have no idea what would be the most meaningful. It’s like I have froze and don’t want to waste time on bad projects. Anyone else experienced this? Maybe it’s related to the PTSD?

    Thanks again for your responses. It helps to vent to BC peers.

    wallan.


  • Girl0nFire
    Girl0nFire Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2020
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    Wallan, yes. I am 10 years out from inflammatory breast cancer. As far as we know, I'm cancer-free. (There are hints I may not be...but modern medicine does not pick up on "hints," so I wait for more unambiguous symptoms.)

    What gets me is that for a year or so I've had this strong, strong urge to get my affairs in order. Pare down the junk in my life--books, knick-knacks, clothes I'll probably never need to wear again (retired, now, after facing similar job discrimination), etc. It scares me a little, because i wonder if this is my "higher self" knowing I'm going to recur and die soon.

    Similarly, just as you say, I am trying to wrap up projects that I've had on the burner for a long time, and I'm putting off new ones. The biggest one is, the last of my dogs died more than a year ago, and I want to get another one. But I keep thinking, "What if I recur and die? Who will take of the dog, if I get another one?" Yet I really would like to have another dog....

    Brenda

  • SeattleSunshine
    SeattleSunshine Member Posts: 9
    edited February 2020
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    This is a good thread. I am still in shock; I was dx 8 months ago. i have to go for my baseline mamo post surgery and radiation tomorrow. I had pie and Pepsi for dinner🥺 Clearly not a sustainable coping mechanism.

    A few months ago I planned my funeral. Just on paper. I chose my scripture, “She hath done what she could.” I felt BETTER. Instead of avoiding the bad, I went right at it.

    The classic definition of PTSD is that it can occur when you are in a life threatening situation, or forced to bear witness to someone in a life threatening situation, and you are powerless to help yourself or others. That’s cancer, for sure! It helps to know the symptoms: nightmares, flashbacks, hyper vigilance, replaying the event, being easily triggered, moodiness. It helps to be kind to yourself and accept that these symptoms are like scars. They will likely fade in time but you have been through a lot.

    Meditation, yoga, group, journaling, and therapy are all good strategies. But the first step is to establish safety. Invent a safety ritual. For example, making tea in a pretty pot and mindfully noticing the temperature, the smell, carefully choosing the flavor, etc. all help to anchor in the here and now. Use the same calming ritual over and over so it is like a signal. ( For some reason, prayer drives me to tears.)

    i am currently listening to “the Body Keeps the Score” about trauma. Its very good.

  • Debs3can
    Debs3can Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2020
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    I saw this in my inbox this morning and needed to jump on. In January I "celebrated" 2 years cancer free (the day of my breast cancer surgery) . I am having a lot of bone pain, lower legs and back and continued pain in the area of my surgery. Yesterday I had a bone scan and today I am scheduled for a mammogram. The technician said she noticed a difference from my last scan but could not elaborate. I don't think they should say anything! Of course after hearing that I immediately went to my dark place. Did she see a sign of cancer on my bones? I barely slept last night due to my anxiety over the possibility of the beast's return.

    Later today I am scheduled for a mammogram. When I saw the breast specialist/surgeon last week I mentioned the ongoing pain in the surgery area and that I felt something there around Christmas. The thing I felt was not a lump but more of a thickness. She though it may be some scar tissue and did an ultra sound of the area. "Nothing of concern" was spotted and she recommended I get my mammogram done. She ordered a diagnostic which will be done at the breast center today. Since my diagnosis in November of 2017 I have not had a clear mammogram. I have had a few biopsy that revealed what was seen on the film was a fluid filled cyst and a calcium deposit. I can't even describe the feelings I had after hearing they saw something on the mammogram and ultrasound.

    As I write this I feel my heart pounding. Here comes that familiar anxiety...

  • DoubleG
    DoubleG Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2020
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    My rational self tells me that cancer has robbed me of my entire summer and good health due to chemo and I refuse to allow it to steal my emotional well being. I'm attempting my very best to get back my physical health. However, when you hear in the news that Shannen Doherty (actress) had beat breast cancer several years ago and now is stage 4. Trying to convince yourself to be calm is difficult when you're heart is beating like a jack rabbit being chased.

    My initial diagnosis was described as a grape size tumor. 3 weeks later I underwent a lumpectomy. Within 3 weeks my tumor grew from grape size to lemon size. It did not reach my lymph nodes and I have clear margins. With that said, I was given an entire year of chemo along with 19 rounds of radiation. My initial 6 rounds of chemo were 10 hours long. The oncologist didn't warn me about the Cumulative Effect. In addition to the indignities of all the medical stuff, I suffered a severe reaction to Perjeta. I stopped breathing during chemo twice and my entire back was covered in sores. At first, my doctor indicated I was suffering anxiety/panic attacks and that's what caused me to faint during chemo (I've never had an anxiety attack). After convincing him that I welcome the poison that would kill off the cancer did he look into cutting me off Perjeta. At times, I felt like the Doc was dancing a fine line between killing me or killing the cancer. The Letrozole makes my bones ache. Any suggestions?

    I'm trying to remain positive and grateful and claw my way back to normal. It's difficult when you have a cloud hanging over your head wondering....

    Thanks for listening


  • Survivinginfaith
    Survivinginfaith Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2020
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    I am so grateful that there is (albeit slowly) recognition of PTSD and multiple other after effects of Breast Cancer. At 34, I had MBC. Cancer in right breast and it had spread to all the lymph nodes. Prognosis from Surgeon and Oncologist was dire. This was back in what I call "The Dark Ages of Breast Cancer Treatment". There was no testing or targeting negative vs positive - nothing specific for treatment. Therefore, I was blasted with horrific chemo, and even more horrific radiation. They didn't have drugs to boost your immune system, so I ended up with Pneumonia. During a bad coughing, I broke 3 ribs. Bones were so compromised they were as brittle as a 90 year old's bones. Chemo destroyed my bladder. The radiation damaged my skeletal system. Over the years I've become 'crooked'. My right side is lower than my left. My collarbone on the right side is protruding outward. These are just a few of the physical damages. Fast forward to 63 and an aggressive cancer found in left breast. The local Pathologists couldn't determine the type of cancer (HR neg vs pos) and Oncologist wouldn't start treatment until this was determined. I had to pay to have specimens sent to USC Keck Center in LA. A Pathologist there was able to identify type of cancer. My second rodeo with chemo almost - literally - killed me. My Platelet count was 2. Normal is between 200-400. I had the worst reaction to one of the chemo drugs that the Infusion Nurses and Oncologist had ever seen. The bone pain was beyond description. I couldn't eat, sit, sleep, walk, function in any way. The only thing I could do was cry and pray for death. My Oncologist prescribed large doses of Oxy for the pain. Didn't faze the pain so I had to 'gut it out'. There were many more horrific incidents that I won't describe now, but all of this drove me to daily consider suicide. When I have appointments for check up, I feel like I'm falling down that same rabbit hole. Trying to mentally prepare for the pain of blood draws (my veins are worse than a drug addict's) sends me into another session of fear and sadness. PTSD? You bet. I'll be a victim of PTSD until I die. My HMO insurance only pays for 10 sessions. This is laughable and hardly a way to live a life.

  • Pif
    Pif Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2020
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    The fear is a constant every time you face a new test, but it also helps us be hyper-vigilant.

    My first breast cancer in 2007 was Stage 3 C, two 2+ centimeter lumps and 13/19 lymph nodes-DCIS. I did mastectomy, dose dense ACT, & radiation and after several scans and a few years, 5 on Femora + 5 on Tamoxifen + 2 on Evista, I had kind of quit worrying, but when I felt a denseness, tightness in my remaining breast this October I asked my doctor about it and she didn't feel anything, so we dropped it.

    In mid-December, thanks to insomnia and an achy breast pain, I found a very small lump while lying on my side. I couldn't feel it when doing the standard breast check pose either standing or sitting, but it was there when I was on my side. My GP said she didn't feel it, but she agreed to approve an immediate mammogram even though my annual was only 6 weeks away. (Finding an appointment any earlier in Athens was impossible so I had to drive the 2 hours to Atlanta, but that's a different story.)

    After getting a mammogram, then a biopsy, then an ultrasound (all 3 appts. in ATL though all 3 tests had been done in 1 appt. back in '07), Invasive Lobular cancer was found so I went for a 2nd mastectomy.

    Because we got it really early this time, 1.3 cm and 0/2 lymph nodes, and because it's a completely different type of breast cancer and because ki-67 is 16 instead of 37 this time, my oncologist told me yesterday that I won't need chemo or radiation this time, which still makes me a little nervous, but I'd like to keep my hair & job & brain clarity, so I'm not arguing--at least not yet.

    The first time when everything happened so fast and every bit of news was bad and then worse, I would sit in my car before going in to teach and everything was just black. The fear & shock was unbearable but it was good to put it away long enough to function for brief periods.


    I didn't ask for an anti-anxiety until the appt. before chemo and the doctor was surprised, but he gave me a prescription for 30 pills. I only used them once for chemo, but kept them around for having teeth pulled (lots of bone loss from the chemo = 5 lost teeth and still the occasional toenail).

    With this new cancer I got out the old bottle (yes I kept it and there were many left) and then immediately asked for more and also a mild sleeping pill. I often only use half a pill and try to use either plus or/and a Benadryl. Last night was the first night I took nothing since I found it and I slept so well.

    Try to get at least 7 hours because the fear and insomnia can take you down and make it all worse. Have a mantra (God willing I will survive/God willing I will live a long and healthy life/God willing I will see all 3 of my daughters graduate from high school & college/God willing I will survive/God willing I will live a long and healthy life/God willing I will be here when my husband is old and he needs me, etc.)

    The first time, a survivor friend told me to quit thinking I wasn't going to make it. Sure, the chances of survival for 5 years with my diagnosis were less 50% at that time, but why couldn't I, why shouldn't I be one of the 43-47% who made it? She told me to tell myself every time I walked through a doorway "I'm gonna make it. I'm gonna fight and I'm gonna make it." Even if you think you might be lying to yourself, that's okay. You might not be. Keep trying.


    I keep a cartoon on my bedroom door that's been there since '07. St. Peter is telling a man at the Pearly Gates: "Hey, what are you doing up here? You're not dead yet. Go back down there and keep living until we tell you it's time to come up here." Not bad advice.

    Both times one of the first things I did was start picking out a possible new wife for my husband. He'd need somebody, and even though there were always several good names on the list, I didn't like any of them for him as much as I like me for him.

    I'd get the dog, Wallan. It will help.


    Best Wishes to All,

    Pif



  • farmerlucy
    farmerlucy Member Posts: 596
    edited February 2020
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    Brenda - My husband and I foster/adopt senior dogs. That is one of my exit strategies - if I cannot care for them, at least they could go back to rescue. Seems like for everything I do, I have to have an exit strategy. We need new furniture, but what's the point? It would be nice to paint the hall, but nah, we'll let the next owners do that. My prognosis is good but still I go around like I have one foot in the grave. Maybe because the veil was torn and I KNOW time is limited. It always has been. The difference is that I KNOW now.

    Thankfully the panic attacks are gone for now. I shudder when I think about how terrified I was back then. My brain changed eight years ago, and this is the new me. Strangely I think one of the things that helps is that I still hang out here. Instead of running away, I read about the struggles, progression, and all the scary stuff. Somehow being immersed in it makes it more clinical, with less room for surprises. I guess we just keep on keeping on the best we know how.




  • Terersaw1
    Terersaw1 Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2020
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    I’ve just read all posts,,,we are a special group that can help each other. No one else really ‘gets it’,,,but their help is appreciated. I’m not super religious,,, but I believe in the power of prayer,,it helps. I hope and pray you all get through your own situations and journeys to wellness.

    I am almost 3 years cancer free. I don’t let the ‘monkey on my back’ get in the way too much,,, but I do get concerned about potential return of its wrath. I mainly choose a positive, happy lifestyle,,,be ridding myself of all stressors, and remaining as up beat as possible. Scientifically,,,,this works - as endorphins are released into the body. Fake it till you make it.

    However,,,,I find myself unable to pull myself out of a minor slump, and will be getting some counselling from a social worker who only deals with breast cancer patients! Yay!,,

    I am divorced,,,lost both my parents in one year,,,moved 7 hours way to help my daughter and family,,,,and got breast cancer. Yowsers!

    I love life,,,,but I also find I’m preparing for that day when it comes,,,I’m 66. Fortunate to have made it this far. I do miss having a man in mylife,,,,there have been potentials, but they run once the story gets real. Someday,,,,

    Hang in ladies. Keep positive!

    Xxoo.

  • Belinda977
    Belinda977 Member Posts: 150
    edited February 2020
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    I can totally relate to this post. I have anxiety outside of cancer and this time it's much worse. Stage 1/Grade 1 tumor in 2012 and have been on tamoxifen. I was told this I would most likely never have to worry about this disease again. A new primary in the other breast while on Tamoxifen in July. While my second cancer was very treatable, it rocked my world. In my mind, Tamoxifen was my safety net. Now, that it didn't or stopped working, I feel so vulnerable and anxious. Just started mindfulness activities and other things to help. Hoping to return to my "normal" level of anxiety soon. Exercise also helps me. I just need to do it! Hang in there.

  • LiveLoveLaugh2020
    LiveLoveLaugh2020 Member Posts: 173
    edited February 2020
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    I can also relate. My anxiety/worry has been crazy since dx. And it's hard when people don't understand. They think you're fine, you're done. But they don't realize this is something we always have to worry/think about.

    I am very thankful that everything was caught early. But there is always that fear of recurrence.

    I'm sorry that we all have to go through this. But I hope it gets better for everyone :)


  • kber
    kber Member Posts: 243
    edited February 2020
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    Hi - an upstream poster mentioned that PTSD can also impact family members and it's gotten me thinking that I need to have a conversation with my husband. I started seeing a therapist almost immediately after I finished treatment because I knew (thanks to this site) that 80% of breast cancer survivors suffer PTSD symptoms and I also know that the earlier you address the issues and the earlier you find your own coping skills, the easier it can be.

    I did 6 weeks of CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) and it was extremely helpful. CBT doesn't aim to "cure" your mental health issues so much as allow you to recognize negative patterns and develop strategies to put you in a better head space.

    Now I'm thinking my husband could use the same. He's just blocked the whole experience. For example, he was preparing his year end financial statements for his small business and noted that profitability took a nose dive January to June, bottomed out over July - August, and is just now recovering, and he was trying to understand why. I reminded him that I started chemo in December, had surgery in late May, and finished radiation in August, and that during treatment he essentially took over 90 - 100% of the shopping, child care, driving, cooking, cleaning, etc., I got a genuine blank stare from him, and then avoidance for the rest of the evening. Nope, not even going to consider the impact of my cancer and treatment! Nope, Nope Nope!

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited February 2020
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    Been reading this thread and thought I'd share my experience (posted elsewhere before, apologies if this is a duplicate for you).

    I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor, and did a ton of work around that in my mid-30s. Flash forward to 2017, I got a melanoma dx. Then in 2018, I fractured my pelvis--not from a fall, but from running. Then in April 2019, I was dx'd with BC.

    By the end of May, I knew things were seriously messed up for me and felt like all that work I'd done 20+ years before was for nothing. So I got in with the psychologist where I was treated for BC and have been seeing her regularly since then.

    Like kber I'm doing cognitive behavior process based on the model developed by the US Army (I'm also a veteran). This is hard stuff but so, so worth it. My psychologist has been very clear that the work I did previously was good stuff, and that if the last two and half years hadn't been so tough, I may very well have sailed on through the rest of my life with no issues. But of course those things happened, and here I am.

    I'm not scheduled for follow up scans until April, so I haven't faced that yet.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,183
    edited February 2020
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    Terersaw1, and all the newbies here, welcome to the BCO Community and thank you for sharing your stories. You're sure to make great connections here!

    If you have any questions for us please do get in touch. We're always here!

    Warm wishes,

    The Mods

  • LiveLoveLaugh2020
    LiveLoveLaugh2020 Member Posts: 173
    edited February 2020
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    Kber I agree, it can definitely impact family. Hopefully you are able to talk to your husband and he's willing to talk to someone. A lot of people just bottle their emotions up (including myself sometimes).

    Edj3 wow, you are an inspiration. So sorry for all you've gone through. But I'm glad you see someone now and you are continuing with CBT. I've just started seeing someone and I hope it helps.

    Hang in there ladies :)


  • Keepmewell1
    Keepmewell1 Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2020
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    Just wanted to tell you that I can relate to your scare about fat necrosis. I found a lump in my breast after all of my treatments and went into panic mode. It was far necrosis but I have no memory of anyone telling me that this could occur. Every time I have a mammogram they want to biopsy it. My oncologist will not do that because he measures it regularly and there is no change. It is hard to live worrying about every ache and pain. Unfortunately my cancer did return last May and I have metastatic breast cancer so now I worry about where it will spread next but my fat necrosis is unchanged and I don’t even think about it anymore. I hope that’s what yours turns out to be

  • wallan
    wallan Member Posts: 192
    edited February 2020
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    Everyone here is so awesome. You all get it. I want to have someone in my life to say "I know how hard it is. I am here for you. How can I help?" But no-one in my circle, not one, ever says that. They think I am fine. My DH says I am healthy as a horse, just like him. There is nothing wrong. My sisters act like I had a pimple removed. And colleagues say breast cancer is nothing these days. And my SIL, who was dx with BC the same time I was almost 3 years ago, had stage one, lumpectomy and is on letrozole, acts like her cancer was nothing, and, she is a martyr. Goes to work, babysits, eats kale and talks about how she must do all this for her family that needs her and she smiles and laughs and says she is fine. She will not discuss with me or even admit any fear or pain. So then I feel very guilty. Because my DH compares me to her. And its not the same. This is the second time for me. And the first time, my oncologist was so negative. My prognosis was so so and my oncologist kept telling me treatment wouldn't work. I was traumatized from that alone! Anyways, enough ranting.

    I am in the trauma group now. One psychotherapist says I have PTSD and invited me to the group. But the first day, the other psychotherapist pulls me aside and says I don't really quality for this PTSD group because I did not have one life threatening event, but I can stay for a bit and she may ask me to withdraw. The treatment is CPT for PTSD survivors and was developed for war vets. So, I find the group is intense and brings up all kinds of traumatizing moments. This happens for the other members in the group, but they are not BC survivors. They are domestic violence survivors and there is one police officer. But, I do think it will eventually help because of the effect it has on me now. Unfortunately, no one says "I know how hard it is" still. But, you guys do. Because you know. You live it. Thank goodness for you all!!

    I am trying to find another job too. And I get interviews. But I am not getting the job. Last series of interviews the hiring manager raved about my credentials at the 6 interviews I went thru but then in the end I didn't get the job. Don't know why. Maybe he senses I have little stamina. Maybe he thinks I am too old. I am 57. But this is stressing me out too. Because I need to work for money. My DH is not able or willing to get another better paying job. I am on my own here. And, Arimidex is $1400 per month I was told. So no benefits either. Luckily I have 5 months saved up. Sigh.....

    But I am alive.... I will continue to try and keep on keepin on...

    Thanks for reading...

    Wallan




  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited February 2020
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    Wallan

    It could be that your SIL feels that since her cancer was a low stage/grade, she CAN'T do anything but be cheerful and act like hers was nothing compared to yours. She might feel that it would be disrespectful to you to do otherwise. Or she might have a one & done mindset. I've been stoic and cheerful but I'm not doing it TO or AT anyone. I'm just kind of private about stuff like that. I had one brief discussion with DH about the time of my 3rd surgery in as many months, saying I was surprised he was handling things so well (he's the emotional one in our family). He told me I hadn't seen him when he was alone in the car and had to pull over and have crying freak-out sessions. My response was to tell him I was glad to know he cared, but thanks for not doing it in front of me. I guess he learned at one of the doctors' appointments about one cancer or another, when he kind of moaned when I was told about that cancer, and I elbowed him in the gut and told him to shut it. So although I can be cheerful and stoic most of the time, I don't want to have to handle DH's or anyone else's emotions. We're all wired differently, and I don't see how you can expect your SIL to react the same way you do.

    When I had my first cancer back in 2008, I was a little more freaked out (now it's just, "Oh, really, well let's get rid of it!") and wanted more support. I looked forward to returning to work and, frankly, getting some comfort and attention from my friends there. My first day back, I found out one friend had found out she had terminal, advanced cancer. A closer friend had a tiny, low-grade breast cancer, but wanted a ticket to PINK PINK PINK CANCERWORLD, and was going to be the noisiest spokesperson ever. So what I did was not say one damn word about my own cancer and hysterectomy, because I'd have been embarrassed to complain compared to what the first friend was going through (she died a few months later), and I was embarrassed FOR the other friend and didn't want to be associated with her stupid cancer festivities. I did all my mental recovery online on a different cancer site. And I've done most of my mental recovery here for the more recent rounds. My safest place is a friend I've reconnected with, who has been living with stage 4 ovarian cancer for nearly a decade. She starts another chemo next week. We text a lot, about many things, but she's the one I can share my weirdest thoughts with, via text (she lives in another state). I'd encourage you to find someone like that, if you can. She's a "Cancer Angel" to a few other women, not sure how that started, but perhaps ask at your oncologist or breast center if they match people up? I could never vent to someone in person, but I love being able to do it via text. If your needs are more face-to-face, see if there's a survivor group that meets, or a sponsorship program, maybe. Good luck and hugs to you.

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited February 2020
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    Wallan, does where you were treated for your breast cancer offer any counseling services? Even though my primary trauma is from the childhood sexual abuse, that's where I'm being treated. I can well imagine the group you're in right now would be harder to relate to (although trauma is trauma).

  • wallan
    wallan Member Posts: 192
    edited February 2020
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    Hey ladies:

    Thanks for your responses and sharing. I do go for counselling too. It would be nice to hook up with someone I could vent with. And thank you AliceBastab for putting things into a bit of perspective here. I am sorry for the loss of your friend at work and for the other friend with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Those are horrible situations and I feel for them. We all do have things to deal with, some worse than others. Thank you so much for reminding me of that. As for my SIL, she is a different person and deals with things differently than me. That is so true. It would be great if we could be vent buddies but it ain't gonna happen. Whatever...

    You ladies have really helped. Thank you so much. Again, why I love this board.


    wallan



  • simonerc
    simonerc Member Posts: 154
    edited February 2020
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    Hi wallan!

    I looked at Goodrx. If you can take generic Arimidex, Anastrozole, it is available as low as $11.00 per month. Goodrx is free to use.

    Sending strong thoughts your way!



  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited February 2020
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    Wallan

    👍❤

  • LiveLoveLaugh2020
    LiveLoveLaugh2020 Member Posts: 173
    edited February 2020
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    Wallan I get what you're saying, this can be so isolating at times. I can only imagine how hard it is that your sisters think it's nothing, you get compared to your SIL and everyone thinks you're A-okay. Thankfully I have a great support system around me but I do feel so alone at times because no one understands me (no one can understand unless they have been in this situation).

    I am usually a very private person and keep to myself but after getting diagnosed I decided to reach out because of the difficult journey that this is. I hope that things get better for you! :)

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited February 2020
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    I wish I could just shut my mind off.

  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 681
    edited February 2020
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    I shut my mind off for 1 hour when I go to athletic flow, hot yoga. It's not for everyone, and I'm not recommending everyone go, but it is so challenging that I can't think of anything but getting through the next pose so for an hour my mind and body get a break. I have GAD (since I was a teen) which was exacerbated by ongoing PTSD from being a caregiver for my late husband's cancer when I was 36, and then my own dx 15 years later. I noticed how my anxiety disappeared when I began going to bikram-style yoga classes in 2007 and I continued the practice because of that. When I was dx in 2011 I continued to go during treatment and all surgeries (I had to cut back from my regular 5x week practice). I had to go that much only because I was so anxious all the time. Right now I'm taking 5 mg of Lexapro, which helps, but I wish I didn't have to take it.

    Let's also remember that anti-hormonals have side effects like increased anxiety that exacerbate PTSD and the anxiety and fear that accompanies it.

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 757
    edited February 2020
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    I love the term "cancer angels" I do so appreciate a place like this to share experiences and support one another. It is so true that many in our worlds just don't get it. The other thing is a diagnosis is so individual, these centers claim to care about your individual cancer when the reality is we are lumped into a standard of care based on stats. How is that individual? I do understand now all the work involved that has led to better outcomes/treatments with this particular disease, but to most of us a better prognosis, or having more treatment options available does not change the initial trauma of getting diagnosed with cancer.

    When I am having an especially fearful day I try to repeat my stats to myself. Over and over it helps but not all the time. I get anxious 2 weeks before an appointment or test. I feel like a special needs school kid as I am still having trouble passing these tests!! I get through it, and I am trying to look forward to a time when I can be less fearful, and done with this treatment. I don't know if time will help, but it seems to with some folks. That gives me hope.

    Unfortunately, me and my family will eventually be going through another trauma of losing a loved one to lung cancer. It going to suck big time, yet we are making the best of everyday, because there is no other choice.

  • edj3
    edj3 Member Posts: 1,579
    edited February 2020
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    claireinaz what bikram does for you, running does for me. Best anti-anxiety medicine in the world for me.