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Topic: Manage my emotional effects

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: Mar 14, 2019 09:13AM

TammyKh wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm a new member and a new breast cancer patient. I'm 32, single, living alone and have no family history of breast cancer. I have been eating and living healthy. I don't eat beef, pork, clam. I also don't smoke, drink or take any drugs. I usually go to bed around 11pm and wake up at 8-9 am. I have a good job with a good salary that can support my traveling hobby. I go traveling almost once a month, except in the winter. I want to tell you as detailed as possible so that you can know that I am happy with my life although it is not most perfect. Hence, being a cancer patient is still an unaccepted truth yet.

I was diagnosed with IDC, stage 1A last October and underwent an one-side mastectomy in January. I would take hormone therapy next month and undergo a breast reconstruction surgery in June probably. Since I have been sick, I have been through struggles and depression in terms of my life, my relationship, my graduate studies plan and my future. My doctors keep advising me that my mind should be relaxing and nervous or stressed-free. However, I am in the most vulnerable time of my life, my anxiety, fear, depression and instability about my future fail to prevent from negative and fearful thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, I am an introvert person and reluctant to talk and share my personal businesses to everyone. I don't feel comfortable to talk about my illness, so just my family and a few people have known about my circumstance. It's really bad, I understand.

Yesterday was my last tissue expander filling and I had a bad dream last night. I was dreamed of my tissue expander was broken and I felt fluid was running throughout my body and leaked out. I was in panic and asked help but nobody helped. Then, I grasped my phone to call my surgeon and he asked me to go to the hospital immediately. I remembered I went to the emergency facility alone and tried to ask people where my surgeon's office was but no one knew. I had to find his office by myself and after it took me so long to go around the hospital, I failed to find his office. I was exhausted, disappointed, screaming and collapsing. I woke up with my sweaty body and couldn't sleep well later.

It is impossible for me to do what I want at this moment. I need to have my surgeon's permission if I want to fly or travel somewhere; I need to tell my oncologist if I want a pregnancy; I can't go to yoga classes when I don't feel well; I have to keep updating my side effects and symptoms; I can't get back to sleep on my side yet and sometimes I still need some medicines and pain killers. Indeed, it is very inconvenient but I have no choice. I have to overweight my health over other inconvenience and activities.

Sunshine after the rain, I understand it, so I keep telling myself that I will be healthy again soon. There are too many interesting things waiting me for enjoying and exploring. I need to be healthy, energetic and optimistic to pursue my happiness and ongoing plans. I have to keep looking at bright examples who beat their hardships and have put their positive impacts on the humankind.

Much appreciated if you can let me know your experience, how you deal with and overcome these emotional effects.

Thank you.

Dx 10/24/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/10/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 14, 2019 01:24PM Moderators wrote:

Dear TammyKTam,

We are so sorry for what you are going through and we hear how hard this all is. We appreciate that you are taking the time to reach out to others with shared experiences who may offer support and helpful information. We are sure that there are others here who can understand what you are describing. Sometimes it takes a little time to connect. If you don't from others in awhile you might also try posting in the IDC Forum or the Singles with Breast Cancer Forum or contact us via a private message and we will brainstorm other topics and forums for you to get the support that you need.

The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Mar 14, 2019 04:16PM notdefined wrote:

Sending hugs.  I just received my diagnosis 2 months ago, so I don't have a success story to share at this time, but at least this will bump your post for others to see. I would also encourage you to dig into mindfulness/meditation techniques.  There is so much misery in the "what-ifs" of the future, and leaning on the past for what we used to have.  Mindfulness is a focus of the present moment, because that is all we can truly impact. That being said, it is not an all encompassing answer.  Just a tool that may help.  Hope that you get the answers you are looking for.

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Mar 14, 2019 04:44PM hapa wrote:

I had a lot of anxiety. At one point during chemo I was only listening to classical music and stopped watching/reading the news. I never quite got the hang of meditation. Things have gotten better since I've mostly completed treatment. I'm doing everything I can to prevent going stage IV. In my mind, if there's nothing more to do, there's nothing more to worry about. I also found a local support group which helped a bit.

Dx 12/14/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 2/14/2018 Ibrance (palbociclib) Dx 3/20/2018, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, 3/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 3/28/2018 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 3/28/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 3/28/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 8/22/2018 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 10/22/2018 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 14, 2019 07:02PM MexicoHeather wrote:

Hello to you. I was very moved when you mentioned feeling restricted -- our circles get pretty constrained by appointments and all the change. I know how hard it is not to stress. PM me if you need to. What are you thinking about studying in grad school?

Dios es Amor. Dx 10/1/2016, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/4/2016 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Surgery 12/4/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 1/18/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 5/9/2017 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/9/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 12/5/2018 Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 14, 2019 07:33PM CaliKelly wrote:

Hi TammyKTam, I'm so sorry your life has been interrupted, when you are so young, but if you can think of it as an interruption, a detour, not a complete denial of your life's plans and dreams, and try to take it step by step, you can get through this, stronger! I'm older than you, but have lived as healthfully as I possibly could, proper diet, tons of exercise, no bad habits, so I understand the shock of cancer diagnosis. I've finished my active treatments, been through everything the medical team advised, spent a challenging 2 and a half years. But here I am, on the other side of it all, and feeling great, really enjoying life, and honestly, I think I I gained as much or more than I've lost. I feel mentally and physically stronger than ever. I'm enjoying doing things I've put off ,like learning to surf, or things I used to fear, like publicly showing my artwork. The anxiety will subside, as you become more used to the day to day reality of treatments. Fear of the unknown is the worst thing. Your dreams at first reflect your feelings of not being in control of your life, and body, and the lonely feeling of having cancer. Coming here to confide in others, who know what you're going through will surely help, emotionally and gain you knowledge. My best wishes to you💜💜💜 You can do whatever you have to do!

Dx 6/17/2015, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 8/10/2015 TAC Surgery 1/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/28/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 11/2/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 10/6/2017 Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap Surgery 1/30/2019 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 14, 2019 07:36PM AliceBastable wrote:

You mentioned illness and being sick - are you having other medical issues besides cancer? There's a thread for comorbidities that might be helpful if you're going through a dual diagnosis.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 15, 2019 12:16AM blah333 wrote:

Hi. I was 35, also alone but also dirt poor (still am), and was healthy, ate well etc... this turns life upside down and it does make me feel cheated (of course it could be worse too). This is not easy, especially at such a young age "nobody" else is going through this. In most people's 30s accomplishments are being achieved, life is blooming, people are having their familes etc...... and for me, I get this degradation of cancer. It feels quite like doom, and paths are closed off or the liklihood of being alone forever is higher. It's bleak. It sounds like your life is pretty decent and stable though. You could spend this time researching trips you want to take. Maybe you will learn about new destinations you never thought had interested you before and you can get excited about a future "reward trip" for the trials you are currently going through. When you get down to it you really don't have THAT many restrictions. You can go on a drive/excursion, find other ways to pamper or treat yourself, use this as a chance to explore when you have the energy to. I actually found it helpful to spend time with other people and be honest about my situation with friends. I didn't broadcast to people what was going on but more than a dozen people knew and would reach out to hang out or visit or we'd go on a walk and it was quite helpful and fun. I didn't put pressure on myself to do anything but prepare for surgery and then recover from it. I did feel derailed for about a year even though "all" I had to do was mastectomy.

Dx 9/29/2017, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 12/6/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Mar 18, 2019 09:28AM TammyKh wrote:

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your replies and useful information. My apologies for my late response due to my busy week and weekend.

As of today, I haven't understood that why I got cancer and a part of my body removed. Something wrong I did? Why me?

I did research all information from the internet and found out that there could be 2 potential reasons why I got cancer. Firstly, I am a woman. Being a woman is potential to get breast cancer over the time. Secondly, I broke up with my ex and experienced depression after break-up. My depression was not serious but I had fought to beat it for more than 2 years. Although my depression was over, it took me so long to overcome it and ruined my feelings and emotions.

Every time I stand up in front of the mirror and look at my scar on my breast, I always feel down and unsecured about my future and my life. My doctors said that I have a higher chance of cancer coming back in other breast (the right one) and recommended me to take hormone therapy up to 5 years (Tamoxifen). Some of its side effects could be depression, vaginal discharge, clot blood, etc. I do concern about depression cause I used to experience it. However, I am feeling that I have no choice. My health should be prioritized at this period. I am thinking about dating again but I am so self-conscious my health, my body and my life. Whether the man who I date would run away after I tell them that I am a breast cancer patient?

I am also thinking about taking a short vacation before heading to my second surgery in June. But I don't know whether it is okay for me to fly with a tissue expander?

Dx 10/24/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/10/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 18, 2019 09:42AM TammyKh wrote:

Hi MexicoHeather,

I got admitted a master program in an university in Washington DC in 2018 but due to my financial incapability, I deferred to 2019. I don't think that I can make it this Fall, so I have to defer it again in order to focus on my treatment completed.

Dx 10/24/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/10/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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