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Topic: Managing the Emotions of a Cancer Diagnosis

Forum: Emotional Crises: Anxiety, Depression & Other Emotional Effects —

Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around breast cancer fears, diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Apr 21, 2016 01:44PM - edited Apr 21, 2016 02:46PM by Moderators

Moderators wrote:

From first hearing the words "you have cancer" through treatment and post-treatment, it is not uncommon to feel anxious, angry, afraid, numb, confused, or depressed. Accepting the diagnosis and figuring out what cancer will mean in your life is challenging, and adjusting to the emotions takes time.

Breastcancer.org Community members share some of the things that they have found helpful to do or to consider to help manage all these feelings. Please share your insights as well!

  • "….I'm hoping time helps. I don't think these 'moments' will ever totally go away but I'm hoping the time between gets longer and longer. Venting is a good thing." -- CatsRus
  • "What you are feeling is totally normal. I remember when I was healing from reconstructive surgery, and I was taking my usual bird bath, some of the bandages were loosening and I was so scared because I wasn't ready to see it yet. Even at my follow up, when they had to remove the bandages I was so nervous. Anyway, my new breast was very swollen, and it hadn't obviously settled yet and that takes time. And like my new breast, I had to adjust and take time too. For me there was a grieving period, I would imagine for everyone there has to be. So, be kind to yourself. It will take time to adjust, you're not crazy and everyone here gets it. It's exactly like an emotional roller coaster." -- EstelaLorca
  • "….Please be kind to yourself - you have every right to greive your breasts, your lost body image, your lost body confidence, really everything you had before as nothing is the same now as you feel different. They are finally recognizing that survivorship needs support too, it is not an easy road and well documented that the year post treatment finishing is often tougher emotionally than the year of treatment - yes cancer really is the "gift" that keeps on pooping on us!" -- Lily55
  • "For anyone's who's had a bad/uncomfortable experience with a support group - please don't give up on it. There are a number of ways to deal with that and still get the benefits of such a group. One is to speak up - either IN the group, if you feel comfortable doing that (and I'd bet you'd not be the only one thinking what you were) or else call the coordinator/facilitator of the group the next day and discuss your feelings with her. Believe, me, it really can make a HUGE difference…." -- Hopeful82014
  • "I found a vacation was a great thing that got me out of cancer/doctors/hospitals/worry mode. I think it was getting me out of the physical environment, having some fun, seeing there is an alternate life, maybe. I don't know but I definitely came back refreshed and ready to move on and improve my life. I'm also a firm believer in exercise. It can really lift your mood. I walk a lot out in nature, because I love nature. If you like to dance, find Zumba. If you like to ride a bike, get a bike. Join a book club…." -- TwoHobbies
  • "Do you have a local YMCA where you are? They have a great program where they partner with Livestrong. It is a 12-week course focused on helping you get back to your fit and finer self. There is a group session to start the class that typically runs about 30 minutes where they discuss recovery and survivorship and trying to stay mentally and physical fit. Then there is a 45 to 50 minute work-out that starts slow and then builds as the program progresses...even if you are already a fit person it helps you get on track with fitness goals and the social interaction with fellow cancer survivors is awesome." -- MEG2
  • "…Something I've learned at my yoga, meditation class: when you wake up in the morning, be thankful that you're still alive and that a new day has started, full of possibilities and opportunities. Say this every morning :-) I know that this helps me through the treatments…" -- MoreShoes
  • "I strongly suggest going to see someone such as a psychologist. I had horrible anxiety, and my psychologist suggested doing EMDR which is a technique that was developed to help those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I don't know why it works, but it basically runs off the idea that your brain hasn't filed some folders appropriately. EMDR is a technique with eye movement or hand tapping that helps to file them, and it worked wonders for me. I have been able to get through my tumor markers and other testing with 1/3 of the anxiety (or what I call normal anxiety) rather than having the anxiety control me during those times. So something like that or just talking to someone could be very helpful." -- nbnotes
  • "I'm living in a new area and looking for a fresh start minus much of the physical 'looking' part. Time to start faking it till I make it." -- AmyA
  • "I love Crossfit, it's a great workout but it also fosters a community/family feel. I can't tell you how many people I have met in my box and other boxes. I know many people who have met their significant others at competitions or parties. Worth a shot :)" -- Basia
  • "When I get down, two things help me: music and a walk. Here's something that always lifts my spirits. ((hugs)) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBaHPND2QJg" -- badger
  • "It is hard. Meds helped me a lot. Believe it or not I'll be four years out in just a couple months. I was sooo terrified back then. I was convinced I wouldn't be here in a year, let alone four. Talking to someone helps too." -- farmerlucy
  • "There's no shame in getting help. One of my work colleagues who supported me during treatment has recently been diagnosed with something akin to MS. Now, I get to ask if he needs anything. We even compare medications (we both have Ativan)."
  • "Self compassion: I was first introduced to this term by my social worker in our psychotherapy session. Self compassion is a concept that teaches us the need to be compassionate toward ourselves just like how we would be toward others. A simple exercise that worked for me (in my own words):
    1. "When you're feeling a strong emotion, identify the part of your body that you feel a sensation. For me, I was in an anxiety attack, and I felt the same terrible coldness in my chest.
    2. "Gently place your palm on the area with the sensation, and close your eyes.
    3. "Focus, try to clear your thoughts, give a name to the root emotion you are feeling. Common emotions include anger, Grieve, sadness, jealousy, fear, heartache, pressure/stress, Happiness, etc. Just be very honest and identify the root of your emotion.
    4. "Take your time. When you're ready, ask yourself why you feel that way. For me, the root emotion behind my anxiety was fear, and I was fearful because I was afraid that I will not be able to find a partner in my life due to my illness. Now, we feel all sorts of emotions in each day, so you can practice this every time you need to calm yourself down.
    5. "Imagine someone coming to you to tell you that she has the same fear. In your compassion, what would you tell her to assure her, and what suggestions would you give her? Direct your compassion back to yourself. If thinking is hard, write things in a journal. Or talk to someone. Identifying your emotions and their causes is the first step to helping your mind."
    6. Our bodies are sick. Too bad about it. But our minds are not. And we need to do our best to give our minds a second chance to experience this world and what's left of our lives." -- ElaineTherese
  • "Two of the nicest things that have been said to me came from my 6 year old (then 5). I wasn't sure how he would react about me losing my hair, if he would be embarrassed or shocked... All I knew was that he was curious and kept asking when I was going to show him. (I didn't show him for a little while because I was waiting for it thin out before shaving but didn't want him to see me with all kinds of bald spots.) So when I finally took off my beanie to show him one day, he wanted to take a good close look and said "COOL!" Yay, I was happy. The other nice thing he said, was when we were walking to a restaurant one day, it was a hot day and I was debating if I should go bald in public for the first time. After a little while my son looked at me and said "mom, nobody really cares". :-) To be fair, I should tell you that when I told him that that chemo would make my hair all fall out, he said matter of factly, 'then you can't go outside.' It made me LOL :-)" -- mye
  • "My husband and I were checking out at my local health food store, chatting with the clerk, who looked like a hipster Keanu Reeves with his long dark hair pulled back in a man bun. I'm bald, wearing my flat cap, jeans, a ratty t-shirt from my favorite taco shop, and little makeup. I'm feeling relatively well, smiling and laughing a lot, joking with him and my husband. As we're wrapping up, the clerk says to me out of the blue, 'I just want you to know you have a beautiful smile.' He starts to mumble as if he's suddenly gotten shy. I miss a few of his words, but he ends the sentence with, '...there's always time to say something nice to someone.' I'm pleasantly stunned! We left after a little more friendly conversation, but I've thought about that several times since. I'm grateful for it. He's right, there is always time to say something nice to someone. Just the slightest kindness from a complete stranger has a lot of power." -- Cheesequake
  • "My sister gave me a handful of healing rocks, each with a note telling what it is supposed to do. I am not usually into the spiritual thing, but I swear that I do feel the energy of some of them sometimes. I hold them one at a time to see which resonate with me different days- it changes. I'm not sure that I'm a believer, but feel like it can't hurt and I can use all the help that I can get. I've found that meditation helps. I started restorative yoga with treatment/surgery recovery to help with stiff joints, but the meditation aspect and mental benefits have been the best unexpected thing. It has helped me to stay in the moment, appreciate the moment, and take a day at a time. My sister also gave me a mandala coloring book for meditation. I love it." -- formydaughter
  • "...My secret to feeling good? Exercise...that is, taking long walks each day, whether it be by myself or with friends. Reading. Treating myself, kindly and gently. Really! And that means not looking at myself too closely in the mirror. Comfortable shoes! If my feet hurt....I can't think straight. Music...definitely calms my spirit. Family....oh how I enjoy looking forward to being with family and then returning home and letting only the good memories warm my heart. Amnesia...choosing to forget my hurt feelings, wrinkles and whatever else SHOULD bother me...but I won't! And finally. ...You know what should really get you out of the dumps????? Volunteer.....what is it that you really, truly would love to do that would fulfill your soul? Do you love to garden? Do you love to drive? Do something for others! Volunteer to drive cancer patients to treatments. Join a botanical society and cultivate the land and cultivate friends along the way. I love to read...so I became a literacy volunteer. Volunteering fulfills my heart and eases my pain.....make a difference and you will see how emotionally empowering it is.... And if that doesn't work....make an appointment with your team and tell them you need help. By no means are you alone....speak up!" -- voraciousreader
  • "As far as your family goes: I think people don't know what to say, write, or send after all it is not a joyous occasion like having a baby, and let's face it "Get Well Soon" just doesn't set right. Do also remember phones and skype work both ways. If you feel like reaching out, do. Call them. I have found lots of people don't realize how quick you recover - they think you're bedridden for weeks. Maybe they don't call because they think you're resting and may disturb you? My sister-in-law could not believe I was doing laundry 2 days after, she thought I'd be asleep for a week!! Working out, that's hard. I missed it, I am no athlete but it is my sanity. I started walking on the elliptical at the end of week 1 (with Dr's consent). By week 4 I was back running 3.5 miles daily and doing bicep and tricep exercises...I had reconstruction with TE so have restricted movement for 6 weeks no pec movements. It goes by fast and though I doubt my routine compares to yours, I am hoping to show you will be back in the game soon! Don't feel lazy, remember if you push things too fast you may end up setting yourself back. Just think about healing. Feeling alone is normal, but you only have to look around here to know that's not true..... I extend a virtual hand to hold or squeeze. It really will get better." -- Englishmummy
  • "{{{{Hugs}}}} Be good to yourself! This is traumatic surgery, not only physically but emotionally. One thought is that you could ask your doc for some anti-anxiety medication. Another is just that it takes time to heal. It takes time to feel strong again, to take up the burden of running the household and being there for your family. Let them take care of you; it will help them feel strong. Let your friends help--has anyone offered? I know that for me, having friends around made an enormous difference, especially the fact that they brought in dinner for several nights. Give it time. And maybe ask your doctor if there is someone you can talk to, i.e. a social worker, just to help you sort out what's going on? Good luck, and you always can find support here." -- rainnyc
  • "You are entitled to your feelings. Your diagnosis and prognosis don't change the fact that cancer is huge bomb that goes off in the life of us who are diagnoses. So please don't feel because others face different cancers and/or treatments that your feelings and worries are not valid or worthy. You need to express your emotions, don't bottle them up. It can be cleansing and healing.
    "When I faced really difficult times I've reached out here but also to the American Cancer Society. They provide emotional support too. Here is the number and just tell them you need some emotional support and they can help. 1 (800) 227-2345. If you continue to struggle seek out an oncology trained counselor (ACS can help with that too).
    "I had bouts of fear and crying too, like I've never had in my life before my diagnosis. Some people even tried to tell me that I shouldn't cry and 'just be positive', which only made things worse. As time went on I found I wasn't the only one struggling to cope with the fear, sadness and depression that are the side effects of a cancer diagnosis.
    "Your life has been changed, it will be different for you going forward, but you can learn to cope and be happy again, with help. (((HUGS)))) You are not alone. Hang in there!
    "I understand wanting to shield your children but this is life. At some point you have to be a mom and human and your kids may learn (age appropriate) about life and how to cope with a struggle like cancer by watching how you deal with this.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear (or tears) it is working through the fear and tears to do what you have to do, to be healthy for yourself and your family." -- DoggieBytes
  • "Get out, exercise, try to meet new friends, volunteer. Force yourself. Fake it till you make it. That advice is as good as gold. Take it from someone who's been there....reach out and get help when you need it. And lastly, please don't rely on a man to make you feel complete. You. Are. Enough. Once you are back on track and feeling good, just open your energy up to the universe and if it is meant to happen, it will happen. I firmly believe that. But you have to be out in the world living fully first." -- bc101


Some additional resources from Breastcancer.org:

Research News:

Support Tool Helps Women Emotionally Adjust After Being Diagnosed With Early-Stage Disease

Being Diagnosed With Cancer Affects How Brain Works

Specific Type of Stress Management Helps Improve Mood and Quality of Life Long-Term

Many Women Newly Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Have PTSD Symptoms

Articles:

Blogs:

Our Friends Answer: What Helped You Get Calm?

I Am Strong, I Am Not

Managing the Emotions Around Metastatic Breast Cancer


Other Discussion Board topics that you may find helpful:

Feeling a bit down

Why was I stronger DURING treatment than I am now?

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Apr 21, 2016 04:40PM SAMYsMom wrote:

These are great suggestions. At 6mos post dx, I hit a wall. I thought I had been handling everything so well, but then one day, I woke up and my mind caught up to what my body had been through. I was sad and missing my "body." Thankfully, during a surgical follow-up, my doc recommended seeing a therapist. I had never been to one before, but it was just what I needed.

Dx 5/7/2002, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant
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Apr 22, 2016 08:38AM Moderators wrote:

And we're glad it helped! Thank you for sharing. Heart

The Mods


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May 16, 2016 09:51AM kmm1964 wrote:

I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast cancer on my left breast. After having the MRI "boob" test done, I was told that I had small ones forming on my right breast as well. At that time, I decided to have a double mastectomy. I had the operation along with the expanders put in at the same time (to alleviate going back into the hospital).

I just went back to my dr and we are scheduled for my implants at the end of the month. My question is this: When the dr was marking me up, I was flooded with doubt, anger, frustration, fear of reliving the entire situation over again. I know removing the cancer the first time was the hardest part, but is this normal to cry? Also, I have to have a preventative hysterectomy due to this.

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May 16, 2016 12:34PM - edited May 16, 2016 12:36PM by Moderators

Thank you so much for posting, and we are so sorry for all you are going through. YES, though, it is very normal to feel these emotions. It is so much to process physically and emotionally.

We're here for you!


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May 16, 2016 01:52PM barbe1958 wrote:

kmm, it is totally normal to cry! You would be sad if it happened to someone you loved, wouldn't you? It's appropriate and timely. It shows you are dealing with your emotions well. Holding it all in is dangerous for your well-being.

I didn't cry about my double masts until I was about to climb onto the surgical table. The nurse asked me why I was crying...?!!? Seriously? Duh! I wish I had dealt with it in a more appropriate place where my husband could hug and support me. At least the nurse held my hand and the anesthetist kept his hand on my head until I went under. Human touch meant a lot at the time.

We have to grieve our loss; the loss of our health, the loss of body parts that make us a woman; the loss of innocence of our own death, the loss of friends who can't deal with it all and the loss of confidence and trust in our own bodies.

I had a hard time after my hysterectomy due to the lack of hormones. It was before my cancer and looking back, to me it was harder than dealing with cancer. No one warned me about the sudden lack of hormones and my body hit a wall I had a hard time getting around. Notice I didn't say OVER - I said AROUND. There are a lot of things in life that people expect us to "get over" and we get hung up on thinking we're not doing well. Change that thought to "get around" and it makes it a lot easier to deal with.

You will find that people will think it's all over once you've had your surgeries, but we "get it" here, it's always in your mind somewhere, ready to jump out and scare you. But remember this - you are NOT alone. Many women have blazed this trail ahead of you and can be the best support you've ever had. Don't expect someone to understand who has not gone through what you have.

Be well, my friend.

Dx 12/10/2008, IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/15/2008 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 2/4/2016, IDC: Papillary, Left, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/10/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/16/2016 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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May 16, 2016 06:12PM kmm1964 wrote:

Oh Barbe1958, thank you so very much for your response. It makes alot of sense. Sometimes I just want to run away or get in the bed and just cover my head and hope that it all goes away and just "cry". You know, I am not near as bad as other cancer patients and I try and remind myself of that, but I think that no matter what stage cancer is, the same emotions overcome you. I may be wrong, that's just how I feel. I tried going to a psychologist talking with her, but she counsels patients with cancer but is not and has not gone through it herself. She has been helpful, but it's just not there. Then I tried going to Breast Cancer Survivors meeting. The group I was put in was in the older group that I just didn't feel comfortable and the younger group from what I've been told, is pretty rough. So, I'm in a pickle. My husband has been absolutely fabulous during all of this. He accepts me for all that is coming our way. My kids have been very supportative but I'm just so down and thinking, does this feeling ever end? Will there ever be a time that I can stand in the kitchen or anyway and not break down crying.

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May 16, 2016 06:21PM kbram wrote:

Barbe, what a lovely and compassionate reply to kmm. Very nicely stated. I like it!

Kathy



Dx 10/18/2014, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 17, 2016 06:33PM barbe1958 wrote:

kmm, you will stop crying when your body is ready, don't push yourself. And you are absolutely right that it doesn't matter the stage, cancer is cancer! And it's the only cancer you have so it is a HUGE cancer. When I was pregnant with my first child I was pretty excited and my (now ex-)mother-in-law would say "You're not the first one to be pregnant you know!" I found that really cruel but inside my head I would be saying "Maybe not, but it's MY first pregnancy!"

What I'm saying is that this is YOUR cancer. Don't let anyone belittle it or put you down for the stage or grade. I started as stage one and am now stage four. I was belittled by a lot of stage three gals, who are STILL stage three. Go figure. No one else knows your journey but you.

I had a friend who was getting married and she prided herself on being so cool and calm the whole planning process. Blah, blah. She cried like a three-year old, sobbing on her father's chest as she walked down the aisle!! No one handles things the same way as someone else.

Dx 12/10/2008, IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/15/2008 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 2/4/2016, IDC: Papillary, Left, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/10/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/16/2016 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Aug 19, 2016 02:57PM Lita57 wrote:

Barbe, I LOVE your responses to kmm. You are a lovely, compassionate woman. I was just Dx'd with St IV in April, so a lot of what you said rings true for me. I find myself tearing up at least a few times a day, and I just let it happen. Tears help both body and spirit. Too bad I didn't pursue acting - now I can tear up almost at will any time of the day.

Stage IV De Novo, Occult, Amorphic. New Brain Mets Aug 2017. Now on Gemzar and Zometa. Dragged into an arranged marriage with Mr. Cancer that I didn't agree to, and divorce is forbidden. Grateful for however many GOOD days I have left. Dx 4/14/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/other, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 4/26/2016 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 5/15/2016 Chemotherapy 5/22/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy 4/20/2017 External: Bone Dx 8/23/2017, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 9/5/2017 External: Brain Chemotherapy 10/10/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Aug 19, 2016 05:16PM barbe1958 wrote:

Thanks Lita, I get criticized a lot for being blunt so I appreciate your feedback.

Dx 12/10/2008, IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/15/2008 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 2/4/2016, IDC: Papillary, Left, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/10/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/16/2016 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Aug 21, 2016 12:29AM - edited Aug 21, 2016 12:57AM by Lita57

I've been really angry because of my situation, and I know I have to work thru it somehow. My dad smoked for 30 years, was exposed to a lot of asbestos in his job, drank like a fish and died at 85. My mom never smoked or drank, but got cancer and passed when she was 48. Go figure!

When I was young, I used to attribute my mom's death to all the Diet Pepsi she consumed: two 16 oz bottles a day, and more in the summer (we didn't have those 2 liter plastic bottles back in the early 70's). She also used a lot of Coffee Mate and ate Diet Parkay Margarine - nothing but chemicals in both. My dad, if he drank soda at all, it had to be the real thing with sugar, and he only put real milk in his coffee and wouldn't touch that imitation margarine in the little tub.

There's an interesting article in the Winter 2016 issue of CURE magazine that discusses the randomness of cancer. Why do some people smoke and NEVER get cancer? Why does breast cancer show up in women with no family history of any cancer whatsoever? The randomness of cancer is especially prevalent in very small children - obviously they didn't smoke or drink more than a glass of Chardonnay every evening. I'm not going to summarize the article, but it's an interesting read. For a lot people, cancer is just the hand you're dealt - of course this is very controversial, as the article points out.

But I'm still pissed...REALLY pissed! I didn't drink soda for decades because of what I thought it did to my mom. I was a "meatless Monday" person a couple times a week, and mostly ate fish and poultry, eschewing my beloved bacon, cold cuts, etc. because of nitrates and nitrites. I never went to McDonalds or Taco Bell. I did all my own yard work, walked, and joined Curves. What the hell for?

In truth, food choices and exercise probably delayed my "random" cancer by X number of years, but I still got it regardless of all the sacrifices I made. Now I'm not going to go crazy and let myself go, but I went out and bought a 2 liter bottle of Diet Caffeine Free Coke (I don't like the taste of Diet Pepsi), and I plan to drink it. I had my husband grill up some fat, juicy steaks last weekend (but I could only swallow half of it because I was still on a chemo cycle), and I'm planning on going to McDonald's next week and get their new garlic fries. Might as well. Gonna die anyway.

Not having any sugar cravings on "off cycle weeks," tho. I used to enjoy dessert once in a while, especially cheesecake and Ben & Jerry's, but since menopause kicked in, I really tried to watch the sugar consumption too, especially when they declared me PRE-diabetic in 2010. I'm not going to run out and get a big Sara Lee's because I heard that sugar feeds the cancer - not sure if that's an old wives' tale or not, but it makes sense. Cancer needs easy-to-procure calories to keep dividing, and one digests sugars and carbs quicker than protein and fats.

It effin' sucks that I have to apply for permanent disability because of all the compression fractures in my spine and ribs - all because of my new second husband, cancer. There is NO SUCH THING as divorce, when you're married to Stage IV cancer - it literally is until "death do us part."

Yep, infuriated by all this, and that's the way I'm gonna be for a while, which is good. You have to be ANGRY to keep fighting.

(Note: Also cross posted to The Steam Room thread.)

Stage IV De Novo, Occult, Amorphic. New Brain Mets Aug 2017. Now on Gemzar and Zometa. Dragged into an arranged marriage with Mr. Cancer that I didn't agree to, and divorce is forbidden. Grateful for however many GOOD days I have left. Dx 4/14/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/other, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 4/26/2016 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 5/15/2016 Chemotherapy 5/22/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy 4/20/2017 External: Bone Dx 8/23/2017, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 9/5/2017 External: Brain Chemotherapy 10/10/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Aug 21, 2016 11:47AM barbe1958 wrote:

GREAT rant Lita!!!!!

Less than 15% of breast cancer is passed down in families so get that out of your head. As for lifestyle, told you so! LOL Just kidding, not. It's got nothing to do with what you do or don't do. That's just another way to "blame the patient" for getting cancer!! The alcohol they tell us not to drink is just an urban legend, too. It "implies a lifestyle" of not taking care of oneself - I finally found the logic in a paper I read years ago. Bullshit, eh?????

Overweight? Who isn't???? With hormones and crap in our food we don't have a hope in hell of staying food-healthy. Give it up. Eat desert first. I do.

Cancer doesn't feed on sugar. It uses carbs. Sugar is carbs, ergo the doctors tell you that if you eat sugar it's your fault you have cancer. Alcohol is full of sugar!! Don't drink. Don't eat dairy. Don't eat red meat.

Organic veggies and fruit?? Not me!! I'd like my food without bugs, molds and other crap that is taken care of when it's NOT organic. Remember when Mexico was spraying their strawberries with human feces as fertilization? That was PURE organic. Who wants that????????

Don't second guess yourself. You were picked for cancer because you are pretty and have a great sense of humour. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Dx 12/10/2008, IDC: Papillary, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/15/2008 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 2/4/2016, IDC: Papillary, Left, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/10/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/16/2016 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Aug 21, 2016 05:11PM Lita57 wrote:

Barbe - Great response! My new husband, "Mr. Cancer," picked me because I'm gorgeous and the life of the party, too. Mr. Cancer is a polygamist. He has "wives" all around the globe. That's okay...I'm more than happy to share him with everyone.

Yes, I know all this food and alcohol stuff is a bunch of crap. I'm part Italian, and over in Italy they drink wine with lunch AND dinner every day. They have less cancer than we do. In Germany, they eat a lot of processed sausage, cured meats, etc., and they're not all dropping dead from cancer either.

So, I'm inclined to go along with Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti who were featured in that recent article in CURE magazine about how random cancer really is. There was also a woman who wrote an article in a recent issue of Prevention. She came down w/lung cancer, and the first thing out of everyone's mouth was, "Gee, I didn't know you smoked." Turns out the woman NEVER smoked! She just randomly got cancer. I've always said, "If you live long enough, either cancer or heart disease is going to take you out, and there's nothing you can really do about it." My husband and I have a very dear friend who was in shape, ate well, didn't drink and dropped dead from a heart attack on the handball court in his late 50s. So there you go.

I try not to buy ANY produce from Mexico....I remember the feces tainted strawberries all too well :o(. Never ate them, but just the thought is enuf to make you sick.

Stage IV De Novo, Occult, Amorphic. New Brain Mets Aug 2017. Now on Gemzar and Zometa. Dragged into an arranged marriage with Mr. Cancer that I didn't agree to, and divorce is forbidden. Grateful for however many GOOD days I have left. Dx 4/14/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/other, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 4/26/2016 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 5/15/2016 Chemotherapy 5/22/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy 4/20/2017 External: Bone Dx 8/23/2017, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 9/5/2017 External: Brain Chemotherapy 10/10/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Aug 22, 2016 04:54PM artistatheart wrote:

Great response barbe! You two are pretty funny. Lita, I suspect you and I are not the only ones by far who are angry at our stupid damn luck. I concur with all that you said. I was the one in our family who preached about the diet soda, bacon, sugar blah blah blah. And here I am! I have a friend who smokes like a chimney, eats like a pig and drinks like a fish for YEARS! And she is constantly trying to get me to "go on a walk", as if I had only done that every day I wouldn't be here. I ride my bike for MILES, snow ski and go to the gym. But I still get the attitude from some of my yoga co-workers that if I had only......makes me crazy!!!

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/24/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Aug 23, 2016 12:23AM Lita57 wrote:

Thanks, artista...I think we all got this by CHANCE, especially if no one in our family had any previous breast cancer. We may have staved it off for x # of years by eating right, but it got us anyway.

I wish someone would do a serious study on Cortisol (stress hormone) and cancer. I also think more women are getting cancer because we are expected to be all things to all people and our stressed to the max. We have demanding jobs, kids to chaperone, have to take care of (or oversee the convalescent home's care of) elderly parents, and deal with the ups and downs of marriage. Even those of us in our 50s, 60s and beyond are not immune. Our kids may have moved out, our parents may have passed, but we still have lots of stressful crap to deal with. Plus, all those stressful years have already taken their toll. Some BCs are estrogen receptor positive...they might be CORTISOL positive, too.

Stage IV De Novo, Occult, Amorphic. New Brain Mets Aug 2017. Now on Gemzar and Zometa. Dragged into an arranged marriage with Mr. Cancer that I didn't agree to, and divorce is forbidden. Grateful for however many GOOD days I have left. Dx 4/14/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/other, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 4/26/2016 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 5/15/2016 Chemotherapy 5/22/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy 4/20/2017 External: Bone Dx 8/23/2017, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 9/5/2017 External: Brain Chemotherapy 10/10/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Aug 23, 2016 06:03PM superius wrote:

Hear Hear Lita57, about the Stress!!!

Dx 5/28/2015, IDC, Right, 2cm, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/18/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/27/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 23, 2016 08:52PM artistatheart wrote:

I agree 100% Lita! Now I have the stress of feeling like I have to keep my job due to my income and I carry the medical benefits. We finally decided to sell our big beautiful home in order to downsize, live smaller. So far no bites. Sometimes it feels like life just can't cut me a break....However I plan to just keep moving forward until I can't. Appreciate what is good right now!

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/24/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Dec 18, 2016 05:37PM jenn32214 wrote:

"I wish someone would do a serious study on Cortisol (stress hormone) and cancer." If you find one let me know and I'll sign up.

The amount of stress and crisis I've head to deal with the past several years could fill a book. Including being separated from a man addicted to porn and pot and is self declared "polyamourous". But I have no extended family around and he is the only one really helping me. Plus I can't work full time so have no health insurance with my employer and need to stay on his. Thank god its pretty good, Especially with me having BC and now maybe ovarian cancer. I posted about this on another thread:

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/79/topics/850175?page=1#idx_10

So yeah I'm angry, terrified, having panic attacks, unpredictably weepy...

Dx 3/15/2016, DCIS/IDC: Tubular, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 7/24/2016 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jan 24, 2017 10:32AM Catsme wrote:

I made it through a double mastectomy and am now on arimidex. I feel pretty good physically, but I am already having some anxiety about every ache or pain. I have a great support group and medical team. Any thoughts on how to ease the anxiety before it grows?

Dx 12/7/2016, ILC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/4/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 1/20/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Feb 4, 2017 07:51PM Angelaw69 wrote:

It consumes my every thought, from that moment on January 12th at 5:15pm, when I was told I had breast cancer. I try and think of other things, and go about my day like nothing’s wrong, like my world did not just turn upside down.  2017 was not supposed to be like this. I was going to graduate from college. I had it all planned out, it was my year to shine. I was finely going to do what I have waited almost 30  years to do, not having graduated from High School, this graduation was so important to me. I was going to do what I never thought I could. I was going to accomplish what I never thought I would. I now have what I never thought I would have, fighting what I never thought I would have to.

Fighting!  I have asked myself many times since I found out, why people say “you’re going to fight this”. What exactly am I fighting? I didn't really understand that statement until now, I believe it means I have to fight to make it through each step with strength, so I can go onto the next step after that, and the next one after that, until I can stand and say I made it.  It’s amazing the things I have learned as far as what to say and not say to someone who just learned they have cancer. My cancer is an early stage invasive mammary carcinoma. Oh, I think I will scream if I hear one more person say “Hey, at least they caught it early” or “there are so many treatments out there now, you’re going to be fine”. Thank you for that information, I am so grateful to know that, I don't have to worry about anything any more. I then feel guilty for thinking that because I know it’s not their fault, and they just don’t know what to say, so they say that. I wish I could give them the correct words to say also but I don’t know them. I don’t even know what to say about it myself, or even know what to think, although that is all I can do is think about it. I try to work on school work, for that one class that I have left before I ‘Drop out’, or as others say, before I put my schooling on hold. Its what I feel was best to do until I know what direction my treatment plan will be.

Thanks for letting me vent a little. I know it may not seem like it, but I am doing a little better each day. My lumpectomy is next week so at least I can start to take those steps. Love to all.


Dx 1/12/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/13/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Feb 16, 2017 09:29AM wallan wrote:

Hi Angelaw69:

I just read your post and I can relate. Hugs to you.

I hope your lumpectomy went well and you are continuing to take those tiny steps.

wallan


Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/31/2004 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/30/2004 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Dx 1/25/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Mucinous/IDC: Cribriform, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Apr 22, 2017 11:13PM VelvetPoppy wrote:

~Lita & Barbe~

Thank you for the encouraging posts. I tried for the longest to figure out why I got breast cancer. There was no history in my family.

I am a year out of surgery and almost a year out of rads. I have been told by all of my docs that the cancer is gone. Was actually removed with the biopsies. My 6 month mammo was clean and showed no abnormalities except for evidence of surgery. Yet I still worry it will come back. I think about my cancer every day. My breast reminds me from its physical appearance and from the stings & stabs I experience.

I have spoken to the MO about my anxiety and he tells me to give myself time. He says I have been through some major life-changing experiences in the past year. I know he is right - I had the cancer diagnosis, surgery (and everything leading up to it), radiation, I retired from my job and lost my mother - all in a nine month period. But, as you have said, when people hear that your cancer is gone, they think you are 'cured' and you need to get back to normal. Unless someone has been through the biopsies, scans, needles, surgery, radiation (chemo, for some) and any anti-cancer drug with its side effects, they don't understand what a long road this is.

It doesn't matter what type of cancer you have/had, what stage, what grade or how large or small the tumor is/was, it is still cancer and scary as h--l!

I am so glad I found this forum. I will be back.


Oncotype Dx: 11 Dx 12/9/2015, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/7/2016, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/28/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 3/17/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 7/29/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Apr 24, 2017 02:16PM BeaRN wrote:

Wow! you have definitely gone through a lot in nine months. However, I'm going to tell you from my own personal experiences, keep the "I'm not cured" in the back of your mind. The doctors told me I had less than a 1% chance of recurrence in my other breast. Within six months, I had DCIS. My only option to help my psyche recover was another mastectomy. You see I was 37 at the time, I'm 63 now. Everyone has a different experience but please just stay in tune with your body and any changes it goes through. If anything doesn't seem quite right, go to the doctor. You are your best advocate. It's your life and no one elses. My cancer never showed up on mammogram until a few days before surgery. I just knew something was haywire. It took me six months to get my primary doctor to send me to a surgeon. By then it had spread to the margins of my breast tissue, luckily not the lymph nodes..so the second time I advocated for myself and went right to the surgeon. Doctors are human and they make mistakes. This is a mistake that shouldn't be made however. I wish you the best in life and love and happiness. Take care of yourself. So happy to hear that "you're cured".

The StitchBitch
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Apr 24, 2017 03:37PM Moderators wrote:

And thank YOU BeaRN for chiming in here with such encouraging words!

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Jun 7, 2017 12:31PM Eleanora23 wrote:

I relate to your writing Poppy. When I am not in denial/ forgetting (Some long stretches!) I am scared still. I sometimes fall into a good long dose of denial, healthy in a way, yet not healthy that there isn't anyone I can talk to about this. Good to read some posts here today. Take care, Ellie

Dx 12/24/2015, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Dx 1/1/2016, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 4/6/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 4/7/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 6/12/2016 Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Jun 10, 2017 09:58AM MexicoHeather wrote:

Hi. I joined a support group, but unfortunately I missed it this month. The last time I tried to express my feelings to the Oncologist was a disaster.

I'm not afraid to die, I don't worry about recurrence, it's everything else! I'm still in Rads, the 6 month check up is next week.




Dios es Amor. Dx 10/1/2016, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/5/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 5/10/2017 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/10/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 12/6/2018 Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 22, 2017 06:34PM MexicoHeather wrote:

Well cr@p! The six month check was worse! Let's see, I should be happy I am in menopause, my chest rash is emotional (I'm at 22/33 rad treatments), and I am retired. No, no and I think it's called disabled, not retired.

No one wants to be told how to feel about their own disease or to be told that at least their crappy situation isn't as crappy as that of someone else.

Dios es Amor. Dx 10/1/2016, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/5/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 5/10/2017 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/10/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 12/6/2018 Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 22, 2017 06:48PM Tappermom383 wrote:

My husband saw a doctor at the VA this morning. She told him she had BC last year. Also said it's so common now among women her age (in her 50s). Somewhat speechless as he told me this on the phone, I said, "That's doesn't make it less terrible!"

It got caught early...your road is so much easier than others...you're lucky you didn't have to have ___ (fill in the blank) - yeah, so? I still have cancer!

And that's why I tend to minimize what I'm going through. I just don't want to hear it from anyone.

MJ

Diagnosed at 70 after four excisional biopsies over the course of 47 years. MammaPrint came back Low Risk. DexaScan: osteopenia. Cancer removed was 1.8 cm. Dx 3/23/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 5/22/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 7/17/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 22, 2017 08:53PM VelvetPoppy wrote:

I am right with you, Tappermom.

I was just told the other day, by a friend no less, that I am "dwelling on this cancer thing". I need to "let it go and the SEs you are experiencing will likely go away because they are probably imaginary. You had a clean mammogram, so that means you are cured".

I was stunned! My friend! We have been like sisters for more than 20 years! I shared this whole experience with her and she doesn't get it. Someone here, or on another thread, said if you haven't been diagnosed with BC and experienced everything that goes with it, you can't understand what we are going through. My friend had a cyst removed from her breast more than 30 years ago and she is comparing my experience with hers-all she sees is we both had breast surgery.

I told her there is no "cured". As you said, "I still have cancer!" This could come back in the effected breast or show up in the healthy breast. I won't know until or if it happens. I will live under the shadow of BC and worry about every mammogram for the rest of my life. I love my friend and will not let this bit of ignorance color our friendship, but I will educate her. I don't minimize what I'm going through. If you ask, I will tell you what happened and I will advocate monthly breast exams, and annual mammograms.


Oncotype Dx: 11 Dx 12/9/2015, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/7/2016, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/28/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 3/17/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 7/29/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Mar 21, 2018 03:10PM - edited Mar 21, 2018 03:11PM by Juniper81

I found out on Monday, 2 days ago that was going to need a double mastectomy. When I was thinking only a lumpectomy. I am emotional wreck. I need to shower but I am too upset to see myself naked anymore. I feel like if I see them I will not stop crying. If anything touches them I cry. I know I am doing this to live a long time as well as be here for my kids but this is hard. The first day I decided I was going to do some research to find a way to not make it be true, maybe I really do not need it.

I like my boobs, I like feeling them and being intimate with my husband. How do you say goodbye to boobs?


I think I need some one on one support, possiblily therapist. How do I go about finding one that understands this?

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