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Cant Help Feeling Like I Did Something Wrong

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jamiebeth
jamiebeth Member Posts: 4

I was diagnosed a week and a half ago with a second primary, which "luckily" is DCIS. My first primary--IDC--was ten years ago. I was told by the breast surgeon who did my lumpectomy in 2011, as well as my current radiologist that it's a new primary rather than a recurrence. I'm not sure how they can tell. Regardless, I feel like crap emotionally. I can't stop second-guessing myself. Did I eat too much soy? Did I gain too much weight? What did I do to cause this? I'm also scared that my body made two cancers already and I'm only 51. What's next? Why is my body doing this? I had pretty thorough genetic testing in 2011 and all of my tests came back negative for mutations. I plan to be tested again just in case.

Does anyone else with a new primary feel like they either did something wrong or their body is betraying them?

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  • star2017
    star2017 Member Posts: 370
    edited July 2021
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    Yes. I apologized to my loved ones when we discovered the metastasis. I just kept crying and apologizing bc I felt I had done something wrong and would be putting then through this whole struggle again. Of course they were all supportive and told me not to think that way, but I couldn't help it.

  • debal
    debal Member Posts: 600
    edited July 2021
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    JamieB, I'm sure others feel that way regardless if it's a first, second etc Dx. You are asking yourself questions that many of us have at one point or another. Once we have cancer once there is always a chance it will return no matter what we do. We all do what we can by treatment choices, lifestyle modifications etc to minimize recurrence risk. As you work through this new diagnosis I hope you find yourself with less self blame as time passes.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited July 2021
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    It's. Not. Your. Fault. Newly diagnosed, I was going through the list of possible “reasons" and the doctor looked me in the eye and said simply, “It's not your fault." Look in the mirror and repeat: “Its not my fault."

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,946
    edited July 2021
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    The only "fault" that can be connected to breast cancer is that you are a female. No different than men who get testicular or prostate cancer is because they are male. P.S. even men get breast cancer, so it's more like we're HUMAN. Oh, but other animals can get it - I guess it's because we're ALIVE. But I'll bet men haven't been programmed to lay guilt trips on themselves and say "Oh my god, I bet that Twinkie I ate in 2004 is why my balls are rotting!" Look at my signature line. If I felt guilty over cancer, I'd have to lay down on the highway and let a semi squash me. Hell, no, ain't gonna happen.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited July 2021
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    I am currently in the same boat. I had my exchange to implants a week ago yesterday. During the surgery the PS excised and had a biopsy performed on a "blemish". At my post-op visit 3 days ago, I was told that it's cancer. I don't know if it's new or a reoccurrence. I'm an emotional wreck! I started questioning everything I might have done wrong; did I not eat healthy enough?; did I not exercise enough?, etc. It's taken it's toll on me and I know deep down that it was not my fault, but that little voice keeps wanting to whisper to me otherwise. I'm exhausted from beating myself up over it and I haven't even had my scans yet. By the time Wednesday comes I'll be a basket case balled up in a corner. EFF THAT!

    AliceBastable - Lol, I like the way you think! Going to [try hard] to get into that mindset.

  • Esther01
    Esther01 Member Posts: 229
    edited July 2021
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    I understand! I felt exactly the same way... at first. No longer. Turns out there are many mechanisms unknown to us that caused the cancer. There is no humanly possible way to know what you don't know. Even the best mainstream doctors can be clueless. We need to be kinder and gentler on ourselves. We're only human.

    My wonderful integrative doctor believes it was NOT my genetic mutation or my dense breasts or not having children that caused my cancer. She says it was my blood type! Can't control that, of course. Type A's in general do not digest well because we don't have enough digestive enzymes to break down the nutrients in our food and clear away cellular debris. We get"dusty" inside and it creates an environment for unhealthy cells to grow and thrive.

    I now take digestive enzymes with every single meal. I use Orthodigestzyme.

    Please don't blame yourself for the body you were born with, or the medical knowledge we could not be expected to know. Even the finest mainstream doctors don't know this stuff. Fortunately, my integrative doctor helped me understand, cancer is not our fault! You did nothing wrong but to be human.

    Be kind to yourself, give yourself a loving hug. Pamper yourself. Allow others to love on you. You'll get through this!

    Love and blessings,

    Esther

  • mkestrel
    mkestrel Member Posts: 167
    edited July 2021
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    Quote my first surgeon...cancer cells are cells that lose their brakes and keep growing. We don't really know why ...so ...we hack it out with knives and call it science!! That was his reply after I made some snarky comment that most cancer treatment seems to use a shotgun. Lol. I love him, and he did his best. There is so much we don't know and it is normal for an intelligent person to try to figure out where it went wrong. It is also normal to be angry and sad about it. I keep trying to remember that it's not our fault. I keep feeling like I failed, the treatment failed, etc. I asked oncologist if Walmart tamoxifen was made of sidewalk chalk?! I ranted I should have had more scans. (I still think so). I told my family don't worry, it's early stage, I'm listening to my doctor, evidence based treatment and sticking to the plan, I'll be fine. I also ate healthier, lost 40 pounds and figured it was beat. Well guess what, 3 years later mets to spine in a huge train wreck with a scary surgery after I almost ended up paralyzed and now I have to try to explain to everyone that I'm not beating it at all.

    Cancer is a terrible, unpredictable, not completely understood disease without an absolute cure. It's not your fault.

  • jamiebeth
    jamiebeth Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2021
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    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. It's just not fair to any of us. I'm trying to change my mindset, but it's challenging, so I'll start here: It's not my fault!

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited July 2021
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    That's right, jamiebeth. Can we hear that again a little louder please? (Insert colorful adjective if desired, as in "It's not my *blanking* fault!"

    (People sometimes try to find out what we did to cause this because then they can believe they are safe because they don't do that thing.)

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 553
    edited July 2021
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    Or people telling you what you did wrong. Everytime someone tells me that sugar, stress, and laundry detergent is bad for cancer, even though I believe these people are nuts, it's hard to not feel accused for no good reason, like it's my fault the cancer came back to promptly ruin my life.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,035
    edited July 2021
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    Laundry detergent? I have never heard that one! Wouldn’t they think that a lot more people would have cancer if that were true? Or maybe not as many people are washing their clothes as I thought 😉 😂

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,067
    edited July 2021
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    jamiebeth: In case you couldn't hear me yelling at the screen "You did nothing wrong"

    Laundry detergent? That is a new one on me. Under arm deodorant, underwire bras, cheese, soy beans, gluten...the list goes on and on and on.

    Star2017, MKestral: I sometimes think being de novo was a weird blessing even though it was Stage IV. I never had the shock, pain, awful treatments - then think "Yay, I am done. All that horror is over." only to have the horror come right back, even darker.

    Let us all hold hands (virtually of course) across the ether and scream "IT'S NOT MY FAULT"

  • armom4
    armom4 Member Posts: 82
    edited July 2021
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    I do the same thing. I wonder what could I have done differently and what I should do going forward. It's a real struggle for me.

    It's not your fault!

    and

    It's not my fault!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,035
    edited July 2021
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    ARmom,

    Since it's not known why people develop bc (save for genetic mutations which are the exception) there is simply no way to blame yourself! If it was simply a matter of doing x,y, z or not doing x,y,z then very few people would be dx'ed with bc. There is simply no reason to blame yourself for a disease whose cause is poorly understood . Take care

  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited July 2021
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    I don't think I did anything wrong. I think it's just a crapshot. I did very many things 'right' - things known to reduce risk or recurrence. Still drew the short straw. It's just shitty luck. This is the biggest lesson to absorb I guess- we don't control everything & shitty things happen

    as far as the betrayal - I have called my breasts traitorous bitches a few times but at the end of the day, they couldn't help it either and they did their other job very well so /shrug/

    I do think it's all very unfair.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,198
    edited July 2021
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    You know what pisses me off? The rock stars who, for decades, take all those drugs, drink all that alcohol, screw all those groupies, live on the road with no sleep, abusing their bodies to no end. And yet they're still out there playing gigs, livin' it up in their 60s and 70s! Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said with the money he spent on the cocaine he snorted, he could have bought a small island in the Pacific Ocean.

    And here we are thinking, should I have enjoyed that piece of cake at at Grandma's birthday party? Maybe if I'd have run five miles a day instead of three I wouldn't be dealing with bc.

    Well, that's stinkin' thinkin'. It is important that you begin to practice self-kindness towards yourself. If someone you love was dealing with cancer, would you say to them, “Ya musta done something wrong!" Hell no. You would not say that to another person. So why say it to yourself? It is a big fat effing lie. You did not do anything wrong.

    I can understand the bewilderment wondering how this happened in your body. You probably will never know. Please banish self-incriminating thoughts from your mind. It is a process to retrain your thoughts, but take steps to move past the self-blame. There are better ways to spend your energy. Search for them.

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 572
    edited July 2021
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    It's not your fault. I've had someone suggest to me that I have cancer because I didn't take really good care of myself after my husband's cancer diagnosis...I apparently didn't "engage in enough self-care" and huh, look what happened. I guess they thought I was supposed to let him take a cab to his months and months and months of chemo while I went to get a massage at a day spa...I guess I wasn't supposed to stay up all night with him for a week when he had an episode of delirium and he was terrified... because he was my priority and I put him first, well, now I have cancer.

    So, that person is obviously an idiot. And to suggest that to me when I was already scared and of course wondering what I could have done wrong (oh my god, was it orgasms? Don't they release estrogen, was I feeding my cancer with pleasure? Seriously, this is where my mind went)... it's not my fault. It's not your fault. Love and hugs to you.

  • debal
    debal Member Posts: 600
    edited July 2021
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    SF Cakes, I'm sorry about your husband dealing with cancer too. And the last part of your post was hysterical. People can be such idiots.

  • beaverntx
    beaverntx Member Posts: 2,962
    edited July 2021
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    Re the laundry detergent: there is at least one laundry detergent that is lavender scented, lavender is an estrogenic plant. So who came up with the strange connection? Some folks don't get 4 when adding 2 and 2!

  • jamiebeth
    jamiebeth Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2021
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    Thanks again, everyone, for responding. It's just so overwhelming right now. I'm sure you all know what I mean.