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The Ups and Downs of the Transition Phase


Someone wrote recently that she wished she still had breast cancer because her life now is more difficult than it was when she was going through chemo. Her job is more demanding and now she lacks the support she had while in active treatment.

I want NOTHING to do with my reconstructed breasts or anything breast related, including follow up visits! Crazy, yes, it is, but many of us feel a bit crazy once all the treatment ends and we are thrown into "follow up care." I should know, this is my third time, you would think I would be an expert by now. I am not!

I am not sure what doctors think when we are out of the active treatment phase. Do they think we are so happy to be finished with the active treatment that we go right back into our pre-cancer life as if we never missed a beat? Are we all the "good little post-breast cancer patients" that do as we are told without thought?

Do doctors even "get" that many of us do not want to be reminded of anything to do with breast cancer once we are "thrust" back into our pre-cancer world? Don't they understand that we don't all see every follow up appointment as "comforting and reassuring?" I left my last follow up visit with my BS feeling no different after the appointment than I did before the appointment other than relief to get it over with.

I really wish I could remove my breasts when I go for my next BS follow up appointment. I would love to put them on a tray, hand them to the nurse and say, "I'll be here in the waiting room and will take them back when he is done examining them!" At least the thought of doing that makes me laugh and feel a little better!

My BS told me I shouldn't be examining my own breast, to leave that to the experts like him. Since then, I don't even want to see my breasts in the mirror! My breasts were reconstructed after each mastectomy. They don't match at all because I had to "wait" for my other breast to get cancer in it too, before my former BS would remove it. He lied to me, told me it was against hospital policy to remove a healthy breast so I was denied a bilateral mastectomy! Note I said "former" BS. I moved my records from a highly regarded cancer hospital to my local hospital last year, a month later my mammogram showed spots not seen on the previous years films. Yep, my third breast cancer diagnosis!

I know there are others out there who are having difficulty with transition. This thread is a place to vent! Many of us have "crazy" thoughts, I know I do. So what? So what if we don't conform to the status quo??? We have a right to the way we feel, even if no one else feels the same, even if what we sound crazy, or our thoughts are ridiculous! We should be able to voice them and not be afraid to share. I know from experience that others here have reached out to me when I was ready to throw in the towel as far as follow up appointments go. We need a place to vent so others can support us.

I believe that "crazy thoughts" especially in the transition phase are far more normal than we think!

How do you feel going through transition? Add your thoughts to this thread!


  • iamnobird
    iamnobird Member Posts: 229

    Oh man, I hear you. I am not in the transition phase yet as I have 1 more chemo and then radiation to get there. But I feel your post for sure. I know that I will be tempted to have nothing to do with follow ups. My fondest dream is to be the person I was before cancer who had zero health concerns and no need for medication or anything more than basic screening. I also know that I will follow up anyways. This is an incredibly stressful and emotionally exhausting diagnosis. I think all sorts of thoughts are part of it. I also hope that everyone can give us time and space to have these thoughts. 😁

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,168

    iamnobird, thanks for commenting! I don't think anyone is aware of how stressful and emotionally exhausting breast cancer is until they are going through it. I am at a good place right now, but then again, I don't have any appointments with my BS or MO until January and I remind myself that is really "next year!" Makes it seem farther away than it is, and that is how I like it!

    Wishing you the best as you finish up your treatments. You still have a way to go, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! You will get there! Sending you tons of cyber hugs!!!!