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Topic: Feminism, time for change and cancer.

Forum: Share Your Experiences Of Life After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis —

Share your experiences of life after a breast cancer diagnosis and offer advice on how you cope with life's daily challenges, including how you develop a new daily/weekly routine while you deal with breast cancer.

Posted on: Jan 13, 2018 02:19PM - edited Jan 13, 2018 03:23PM by runor

runor wrote:

I warn you, good reader, that my thoughts on this are scattered. I am struggling with this, struggling to write it sensibly.

Okay. I have/had cancer. Never sure if it's present tense or past tense, whatever. I have been handed that gut punch that says "hey, you there, you're going to die. Maybe not today, but it's coming. So get your shit together." Now, the truth of the matter is that I was always 'going to die'. Only I didn't think about it, wasn't daily aware of it and it didn't suck all the air out of the room. Now it's ALL I think about, morning, noon and night. It has sucked out all the hope and future plans. It is a mental burden that I fail under.

This question gets asked a lot: If you have a year to live, what do you want to do? For some that answer is get on a jet, fly all over the world, eat exotic food, dance at pagan festivals and hang out with rock stars. For other's it's to batten down the hatches and spend every single second with your loved ones and not let them out of your sight, burning them into every cell of your being and soul so that you never forget them, even in death.

I do not want to jet off around the globe. I do not want to leave my loved ones or the small, humble acts and pleasures that make up my life. BUT I DON'T WANT THINGS AS THEY ARE NOW!!!

All of a sudden the little things that used to drive me nuts have become utterly intolerable. Like, rip my hair out intolerable. Now some will blame that on tamoxifen, but this was a slow building burn before I ever started tamoxifen so no, this is not related to wonky emotions due to drugs. That would be a very dismissive thing to assume.

I love my husband. I love my child. I want them in my life. I just don't think I want them in my space anymore. I don't want to be anyone's mommy anymore. (my daughter is 25). By mommy I mean the mental act of knowing everything, foreseeing everything, preventing foreseeable catastrophes because the others in the house do not, planning and executing what amounts to a military movement every day to keep the troops alive and safe from their refusal to deal with their own shit.

I am tired. I do not want to wash other people's clothes, pick up their dropped socks, pick their hair out of the bathroom drain. And yes, I have nagged, screamed, protested, freaked out, for YEARS and nothing changes. I do not want to plan the meals, buy the groceries, cook the meals and clean up behind them. I have washed a lifetime of dishes. I do not want to keep a running tally in my head of all the things that need attention. It's like I'm Google for our family. I no longer want to be.

Here's what I want. A little piece of land. most of it garden. I want to tend rows of vegetables and flowers. I want quiet. I want order. I want only what I need, a little of what I want and no more. I want a comfy bed and a stack of good books and I want time to read them, free of guilt, that I am reading a book in the middle of the day. I want time to sit, sip coffee, and stare into the distance without someone slamming around in the kitchen before yelling at me, where is the can opener? (it's where it has been for the past 30 years, thanks for paying attention).

This is where the feminism part comes into the equation. When people hear me say I want to go live by myself, they immediately tell me I am selfish for not loving my family. HOLD THE PHONE!!! Where was it written that loving my family means I have to live and die in the service of their ridiculous daily demands? Where was it written that if I DO NOT want to be mommy and chief organizer until I die, that makes me not love them? Why is love foisted on women as SERVICE? It's one thing to stay home and raise small kids - but after a certain point, when are we free and released to live a life that matters to us, on our own terms, about what WE need and not where someone left their wallet for the hundredth time (on the windowsill by the door where you stupidly put it every, single day and forget about!)

I feel this deep, burning need to retreat from this same everyday grind. And the only way I can see to do that is to physically not be here. BEcause when I am here, they act like they always have, I act like I always have and that is what it is. If I want that to change, I have to change it by taking myself out of the equation. Or learn to live in utter chaos and unhappiness that I would hear about daily. And that is what I want to escape. The chaos and neediness that shatters the very fragile peace I am trying to put back together. Because cancer took it away. Yet when I try to explain this to someone they ask, but don't you love your husband and daughter? YES I DO BUT SINCE WHEN DOES THAT MEAN I HAVE TO HATE MY DAILY LIFE SO THEY CAN LIVE, UNCHANGED !?!?! Women are beaten with the blunt instrument that is called Love is Service. Love is always putting yourself last. Love is doing stuff when everyone else has gone to bed even though you are bone tired too. Love is being the only adult in a house where everyone is over 18 but the mental tasks of carrying the weight is just easier left to wife / mom. If that is love, it looks an awful lot like abuse and slavery and pointless sacrifice and martyrdom. I do not want to accept that role any longer, not if my days on this earth are limited.

I love my family. But at this point I need something to get put back IN to me, and bless them both but they are largely very, very bad at doing that. I LOOK the same to them so life carries on, for them, unchanged. Only for me, everything has changed.

I can see myself in my little cabin, surrounded by my flowers and quiet. My door would always be open to hub and daughter. But to enter my space they would need to leave their laziness at the door. Do not drop on me the things you can do for yourself but refuse to. No. Do not come here if you are carrying that. You can come here happy, settled, mature. But do not bring me problems that you want me to deal with for you. It's one thing to need my help, it's another to expect me to step in where you need to function because it's just easier for you to leave it up to me.

I lay in bed with my husband beside me and the thought of dying and leaving him behind crushes me. I reach over and put my hand on him. He sleeps on. But then he fell asleep on the sofa while I did another 4 hours of housework before crawling into bed and I think, this is not working. This does not make me feel good. It certainly does not make me feel loved. It makes me feel used and undervalued. I do not do these things lovingly, like in years past, but with a growing sense of resentment. So, when, after a cancer diagnosis, do you get to go bonkers, buy your patch of ground, roll the RV in and plant petunias? When do I get to have a space around me, that feeds and restores my soul, without being told it's selfish and unfeeling to not stay home and wipe pee drips off the toilet and spilled juice off the floor? I worry that stepping out of the norm for a wile will be a mistake. I worry that NOT stepping out will be a mistake. I worry that I am running out of time and better do SOMETHING while I still can. I worry that doing something loving for myself is condemned and judged as being unloving to others. I resent the hell out of it.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 13, 2018 03:16PM - edited Jan 13, 2018 03:24PM by Georgia1

Runor, that is an amazing, wonderfully well written, honest, thought provoking post. I thank you for it. I had cancer (melanoma) when I was 27, and while I was too young to know it at the time, it helped shape my adult life because it made "you could die any day" very real. I took jobs I loved, one made me miss out on having children because if its intensity during a period I should have been trying to get pregnant, and as a result my husband and I never had children. So I'm guessing my thoughts won't be particularly meaningful to you.

Nonetheless, I feel compelled to say that you should go for it. Make a plan, figure out what your half of the joint savings is, figure out where you can live within your means, and tell your family you're off for a few months. Rent the cabin. Grow the vegetables. Buy the books. You deserve it, and whether it's temporary or permanent is something you can figure out later. You're amazing.

Cancer touched my breast so I kicked its ass. Dx 9/3/2017, ILC/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/9/2017 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx 10/10/2017, LCIS, Right, 0/1 nodes Radiation Therapy 11/26/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 13, 2018 03:34PM runor wrote:

Georgia, what you and every woman has to say IS meaningful to me. If I am to find anyone who comprehends this inner struggle, it's going to be on this site. We will not all agree on how best to deal with it, but I think we all know that sense of urgency. I feel very much like I need to crawl away and lick my wounds. I feel like I need someone to look after me while I quit functioning for a while. But I know that person does not exist. I am ready to step in and look after myself for a time, but it means that I cannot look after anyone else. And then the labeling, blaming, and compliance through guilt kick in. Imposed by others. Imposed by my self!

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 14, 2018 07:46AM Cpeachymom wrote:

runor- Crazy thought, but what if you let them read your post? Print it out and hang it on the fridge or something. Tell them 2018 is going to be "The Year of Runor Taking Care of Herself." I mean, what's the worst that could happen, nothing changes, and you're right where you are now? It's slightly less drastic than moving away...but that could stay on the table. We women/moms/wives place a lot of guilt and burden on ourselves because we either are conditioned that way or believe that's the way everyone "thinks" we should be, when maybe it's just internal to ourselves. If my unfortunate path through BC has helped me realize anything, it's that some things have to be let go. Pride...probably the biggest. As a single, working full time, mom of two now grown children, a student, a homeowner...I literally did everything for many years, and was proud that I could. Now remarried and a stay-at-home mom with a toddler, now with cancer...it's a whole different ballgame. I have been very blessed this year with family who have shown up and helped in ways I would NEVER have asked or allowed before!

What's going to happen if you decide to read a book for the afternoon? Sandwiches for dinner, okay. If I remember correctly, you put your foot down about not having Christmas Dinner at your house because you weren't up for it, right? Did that turn out alright? Take a nap if you're tired, no explanation given, the chores will wait. Even better, assign it to one of them. I know that is often more work than doing it yourself, and it won't be done "your way"...I know, because I live with that everyday. I know we shouldn't "have" to assign it to anyone, because we're all adults here and we can ALL see what needs to be done, but I try, and it mostly helps me stay sane. Because I'll be damned if I'm going to do everything for a bunch of grown people! (My older two are 18 and 20, so I hesitate to use the term "Adults") My husband is a saint, and will pretty much do anything I ask around the house, and actually asked me to assign him chores so I wasn't doing everything. But I had to explain that I don't WANT to have to "assign" you chores! I'm not your mother! You can see just as well as I can if the trash needs to go out or the dishwasher needs emptying or the floor needs sweeping or the laundry needs to be brought down to the laundry room. And that mostly worked.

It is entirely possible that your husband and daughter let you handle everything for them not only because it is easier, but because they think you enjoy running the household, and you enjoy staying busy, because that is how they've always known you. My sister, who is 12 years older than me and is married with 3 grown children, 2 still living at home, couldn't function if she wasn't on the go and juggling too many priorities. She still gets up at the crack of dawn to get her husband and 25 year old up and off to work, even packing their lunches! I think she's nuts, and tell her so regularly, but that's her way. She believes no one could function without her, but she's happy thinking that.

Don't feel guilty, I doubt many here who have been where we've been will find you selfish. Good luck to you.

39 at Dx. Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.' The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.' Dx 6/21/2017, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/5/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 9/11/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 9/18/2017 Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/10/2018 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Jan 14, 2018 07:50AM Meow13 wrote:

Someday I am going to drive to the airport buy a ticket to somewhere warm and beautiful. I'll buy whatever I need when I get there. I will post a picture on facebook when I get there.

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Jan 14, 2018 08:34AM keepthefaith wrote:

runor, wow, what a compelling post! Thanks for sharing. It resonated with me in so many ways I think the worst thing you can do is have regrets when it's your time to go. Do what you need to do to keep that from happening. I was guilty of the many things you describe when I was married and raising my now grown children. I was an enabler. I think I still am...but I'm working on it. It is a relief to let that go and give the burdens to someone else.The world will not stop, life will go on. I divorced after 28 yrs of marriage. (We had many other issues) I regret that I enabled, I regret that I didn't divorce sooner, but I can say now, that I am happier than I have ever been. .I see my children and grand-children often and am still learning to say "no" when I need to. I am not sure what a good solution for you would be, whether it's time away, a retreat, or a 'come to Jesus meeting' with the family. Speaking of retreats, depending on where you are, you may want to check out the "Casting for Recovery'" retreat for BC ladies. I like the idea of printing your post for the family. Whatever it is, I say go for it. You deserve it and your family will hopefully come to realize that you are much happier for it. Sometimes it's just finding the right balance. Get a massage, garden, read, do things you love, purposefully and without guilt. Like you said, Love should not equate servitude. I truly believe God gives us burdens to teach us something....Best wishes.

Dx 9/17/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 1/15/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 2/10/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/31/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/22/2014
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Jan 14, 2018 06:39PM Meow13 wrote:

runor, you could come join me.

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Jan 14, 2018 06:59PM runor wrote:

Meow, that is a tempting offer. Can I bring my dahlia tubers? I want to watch them bloom and have time to walk among them every day. I want to gather bouquets and put them on the table. Gardening where I live is very difficult. We live on a steep, bedrock slope covered in forest. There is no soil, no sun that isn't blocked by a pine or fir tree, birch or poplar or monster cedar. The wild shrubbery sends roots over great distances to come up in my raised beds and choke out the water and nutrients of the vegetables and flowers I hopefully but hopelessly plant year after year. What does grow has to be swaddled in wire like an ugly prison because deer wander through and mow things. So do moose. If not moose or deer, then bears. Bears are extremely destructive! I'm like a kamakazi gardener, hacking my way through the wilds of a Canadian mountainside trying to grow things where only wild roses, thimbleberry and Oregon grape survive. Sheesh. I WANT A GARDEN THAT WORKS! I want to dig a hole with a shovel instead of smashing a hole with a 6 foot steel bar and removing 10 gallons of shattered rock before I can plant something - that always dies. Damn, I REALLY want a garden! But HUb likes this spot.....

CPeachymom ... I have issues with that 'tell me what to do' line too. No. Your mom told you what to do. If you have not yet got past that stage of life, go back to your mom, we know where she lives. Ugh.

Keep the faith, I would be very interested to hear more that you have to say. Enabling. How do you tell the difference between enabling and helping? I want to be helpful, I want to improve life for my loved people. But I no longer want to feel like the family donkey staggering under burdens that really should not be foisted onto anyone. Maybe I used to be a stronger donkey. Now I'm a donkey on tamoxifen with lymphedema and fear of the future. Can someone lift their own crap off my back, please? (oh my god I am really having a pity party here! Does anyone have balloons!?) But seriously, how does one tell the difference?

Existential sigh.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 14, 2018 10:20PM Meow13 wrote:

Runor, we did our jobs and we should retire. Anytime I feel stressed I think of running away and indulging myself courtesy of American Express. I just told my oldest son I will show him how to clean his bathrooms on Wednesday. He was such a needy child and I was always there. So proud that at 25 he is saving toward his retirement and living on his own, kind of. He has a good job and is living in his means. My husband and I bought him a condo and he is covering all of the monthly cost. He is still on our cell phone verison plan but everything else he covers.

What a job we have, I have one more son last year in college. I told my husband I am toast, I am done and am going to delete the stress and responsibility from my life. My husband doesn't have a clue what a breast cancer patient deals with.

At this point, we need to live free of stress, anytime you want to meet on a Caribbean Island let me know.

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Jan 15, 2018 01:09AM chronicpain wrote:

Runor, I am fairly new to this forum, and have not seen posts you wrote right after you joined, so I probably missed key information about you that you provided early on. But to best respond to your heartfelt post, I have questions:

  1. Before your BC, did you work outside the home, and/or do you still work now despite feeling ill, on top of doing what sounds like all the housework and laundry etc. for your husband?
  2. Do you also do laundry etc for your adult daughter? Does your adult daughter age 25 still live with you, or are you just doing stuff for her when she visits?
  3. Are DH and DD both physically and mentally healthy? If DD, an adult, is strong and healthy, is there a reason she cannot do her own laundry?
  4. Can you afford to hire someone to help a little with household chores, say once every two weeks?

From my perspective, now at age 64, though I have been a very busy full-time career woman all my life without kids, I still think I should try and approach assignment of boring household duties in an equitable manner. DH works longer hours than I do and has skills to fix everything that breaks around the house, which takes a lot of his time. So before the BC, even though I had daily pain, often severe, from my autoimmune problems, I felt it was only fair that I either do the bulk of household chores, or hire someone to help me do basics like floor mopping and bathroom cleaning. Dinners are mostly microwave heatups, store-bought premade salads, and/or boiled noodles with pasta sauce, all very easy.

While recovering from BC surgery, and getting used to living without estrogen after being on it since menopause 17 years ago, ( a major energy, mood, and life change) I was not fit to do anything at all physically strenuous, so he did the chores. I go back to work this week to see if it will give me a sense of normality, and depending on how much energy I have left at the end of the day, I will try to do the household tasks that cannot be delegated to strangers if I can, because DH continues to work more and earn more than me and I would like to go back to doing my part to contribute to our household even though I have BC. "We two form a multitude."

If I had higher grade or more advanced BC, it would be different. I would quit my job and travel more if I could ( might even run away for a long time, like on a solo world cruise), even without DH if he would not or could not go, as he works 50-60 hours/week to keep us funded, and we have never lived joined at the hip lives. When home, I probably would help as much as I could around the house, to do something to help make his work life easier, and perhaps also so he would not remember me after my death as having been a burden.

However, if I had a strong as a female ox 25-year-old daughter, I definitely would tell her to take care of her own laundry, and contribute rent or other work around the house to earn her keep and to grow up.

After a decade of autoimmune problems, Dx 10/2017 at age 63, IDC, Left, 9mm, Oncotype 13, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, 11/22/2017 Lumpectomy, Arimidex. Declined radiation.
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Jan 15, 2018 02:51PM keepthefaith wrote:

runor, I got married at 25; thought I was being a "good wife' by doing everything imaginable that a good "housewife" does to keep the house running smoothly. I have to say, I was very good at it. I married the wrong person and he took advantage of that. By the time my kids got older, I was sick and tired of it, plus working outside of the home. Resentment built and other things happened. I think helping someone is when you know that they cannot complete something without assistance...enabling comes easy when you would rather just do it yourself than listen to the complaining, having to ask for help and/or being too particular about how something is done by another person. You think you are doing them a favor, when in reality, you are keeping them from helping themselves be a better person. I am the kind of person that loves to help and sometimes it becomes martyrdom...ech. I hate to admit it. I am having some self-revelations through my DX and divorce...nothing like BC to make you go there. I think you may have to take some baby steps to get the family on board, but I know it can be done. You seem like a very self-reliant, independent person and if you set your mind to it, you will over-come! I think it's good that you are looking into making changes; for your health, well-being and happiness. We teach others how to treat us. Teach them that you deserve appreciation and respect, just because they love you, not because of what you can do for them. Wishing you the best!

Dx 9/17/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 1/15/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 2/10/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/31/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/22/2014
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Jan 15, 2018 03:33PM runor wrote:

Keep the faith, I applaud you for your honesty! Sometimes self truths are like looking at yourself naked in the mirror. I don't know about you but I AVOID eye contact with my naked self. Yuck. So finding unflattering things about myself, about my habits and belief system that sets me up to be my own worst enemy, that is hard and takes guts. Hats off to you.

In many ways yes I do step in because it's easier than the fight.

Recently Hub told me I was not as loving as I used to be. I was shocked. I was horrified. I spent some time really thinking about his words. Critically examining what I have said or done to make him think I love him less. While I am super frustrated with the situation of my life, I am very much in love with him. Just not with being a wife / mother anymore as it currently looks. So I pondered his statement. Then it hit me. I have quit over-functioning for him in some areas. Before when he could not find (everything, the man is a total organizational train wreck) and he'd be tearing around the house angrily searching for the lost item, I'd drop what I was doing and find it. Because, for some reason, I KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS. Now, I do not drop what I'm doing. He can bloody well learn to keep track of his own shit. It is pure laziness that has allowed him, all these years, to NOT discipline himself to take better care and pay more attention. But he translates me not running in to solve his problems as not loving him. He isn't expecting my help, he's expecting me to entirely solve the problem. And 90% of the time, I do. But I can't anymore. I'm tired. And yes, he tells me I am less loving. And that hurt me.

Chronic, you asked if I work outside the home. No. However, we live a rural life, have livestock, and what I do here in a day is so beyond interior housework, although that is an unending chore. We heat our house with a wood furnace. Not a stove, a furnace. If I didn't put wood in 5 times a day, the house would be cold. The wood is in the basement but it's in huge pieces. I use a 5 pound maul to split firewood, every day. To heat our home. All winter. I dig out snowed in vehicles, repair fences torn down by falling trees, smash frozen water and carry out fresh. This is not life on a city lot. In summer I do all outside mowing, trimming, watering, weeding and fertilizing. I pile and burn, for weeks, downed limbs and trees every spring. I lay under trucks with Hub and work hoists or pull wrenches (as assistant, I'm no mechanic!). Hub is gone 12 - 13 hours a day so whatever needs doing here, I'm it. I do it. If I can't do it, I find someone who can. If septic needs pumping, I hire the people to do it and I fill in the hole after we've dug it up. If the manure pile needs moving I hire the heavy equipment to do it, open gates, direct operations. My point is that I have single friends who live in apartments with nothing to maintain and no family to look after and they ask me, what do you do staying home all day? Good god! I could have a 28 hour day and still need more time! No, I do not have an outside job.

Daughter could do her own laundry but I do not like how she abuses my machine, jamming it to the brim and not changing the water level to suit load. Nope. Step away from the machine slowly with your hands in the air and no one gets hurt.

Daughter had moved away for a few years but moved back. She wants to move out but rental here is zero and grossly expensive when you do find it. Real estate is out of reach of most working young people in this area. They will never be able to afford a home here. I remember listening to a radio show from somewhere in the US and a financial guy was giving advice to a newly married couple who had student loans. They wanted to buy a house but he said no, pay off other debts first. But the house they wanted to buy was $60,000. SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS! Here you cannot buy a 1972 12 wide mobile home in a park for $60,000!! Young people here would KILL for the chance at a $60,000 house! Here a city lot to build a house on starts at $150,000. A shitbox 1920 starter home with a rotten roof and no insulation can be had for about $250,000. And the wages for local young people ...dismally low. So daughter is here and I realize her life is tough, but she is NOT being an adult and that is a whole other topic for a different day.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 15, 2018 05:31PM keepthefaith wrote:

runor, Holy Moly! You wore me out just reading your every day list of chores. LOL. I think we all need to feel appreciated, especially by those we love. I hate that your hubby feels that you are less loving...maybe you should verbalize what YOU feel, to him, once the shock wears off! Sometimes a major life event can cause us to make some big changes. I hope you can find a solution soon!

Dx 9/17/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 1/15/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 2/10/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/31/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/22/2014
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Jan 15, 2018 06:21PM runor wrote:

Sorry, Keep the Faith. Sometimes in a day I can't believe the stuff I need to do. Not every day is like that though.

I think you are right. Hub is a dear, sweet man. But he hates change. HIs way of preventing anything from changing is to deny that change needs to happen. By him carrying on as before, it leaves me to carry on as before and thus his world is neatly safe and happy, wife is doing everything she always did. She's not sick. There's no problem. We have all the time in the world. He'll adjust himself later.

No he won't. And no we do not have all the time in the world.

Believe me, I am no shrinking violet and there have been unhappy moments with me saying (okay, yelling) that THINGS NEED TO CHANGE and him (not yelling) not responding at all. Just ...carrying on as always. I might have to do something crazy - or something to save myself. Because I love him and love my kid but they are both not getting it. Whatever 'it' is?

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 15, 2018 08:53PM Sara536 wrote:

runor, You are such a fantastic writer and I eagerly look forward to your posts like they are a regular newspaper column. (That dates me...would that be called a blog nowadays?) I think a lot of women who are “following” you are finding that you understand and are describing various aspects of their lives too. A lot of insight into universal truths here... I think you could easily support yourself writing if you were to make the change to a lifestyle that did not require so much heavy labor.

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Jan 16, 2018 12:13AM runor wrote:

Sara536, well you flatter me and scare the hell out of me! I hope to god no one is following me! I sound like a crazy woman. One minute up, next minute down. Wait...mostly down, this is a cancer site, after all.

Because I am anonymous here I will confess something to you. I had a blog. I wrote. But something about it felt wrong to me. It took me a while to realize there was no audience. I was writing to the nameless, faceless void of cyberspace, and it was not working for me. Sometimes I would rant about my family because they are the biggest thing in my life, hell my WHOLE life, and sometimes they drive me nuts. And I would let it all out on the blog, or in my journals. Then I thought ,what if I die and someday my family finds this blog and reads it and they're hurt by it? Take it out of context? Feel betrayed by me after I'm not here to explain that it was one bad day out of many good days. The thought that I might hurt someone who misread something after I was gone was not something I could live with. So I deleted my blog. I burned my journals in that furnace that I fill every day. Not everything was a rant about family frustrations. Lots of it was about other life events. Either way, it's all gone now.

I have been told that I could make a living writing, but I don't really believe it. I don't know who would pay for my blathering on. I would love to be paid for my opinion, oh my god my head would explode and I'd get so conceited no one could stand me! But I think the age of the printed page ( I date myself to say I know what columns are!) is fading fast.

I enjoy writing, do not consider myself good at it. But I can only write in the context of a framework, a topic, a subject with a receptive audience who could be interested in what I might say because it pertains to their life too. That, for me, does not happen blasting my words out in the randomness of the internet. It was too .... eternally huge and impersonal. I admire those people with amazing blogs. It's a huge commitment! But I don't think it's for me. I am much more comfortable writing here in what I see as a big living room. We have all arrived with messy hair, or no hair. Some of us missing a breast, some with swollen arms, some of us so tired we can hardly keep ours eyes open. But we all arrive and let out a sigh of relief because here we can just be who we are with how we feel at that particular moment. We are with other women who have laid on that table in the operating room with a needle in their vein and the sound of their own heartbeat in their ears. Here we have women who are just starting the rest of their lives with this disease and some who are leaving this life and we can lay our hands upon them and weep with them because that is all we can do. Touch them, see them, hear them and cry with them.

I have a reason to be here. I see those who struggle on the path with me. I have a reason to write, although nothing new to say that hasn't been said by countless women before me. Thank you Sara536, but I hope I do not have followers. That is an unsettling idea!

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 16, 2018 01:50AM - edited Jan 16, 2018 01:52AM by Sara536

I guess you're right, the idea of having “followers" can be seen as a bit creepy. I probably shouldn't have tried using that word since I’m not even in the world of blogging and it seems to carry a lot of meaning beyond what I was aware of or intended. I certainly didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable.


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Jan 16, 2018 10:53AM keepthefaith wrote:

I agree, runor, your words seem to come together effortlessly. BC brings an internal turmoil that others cannot see and cannot, and sometimes, do not want, to understand. Regardless of outward appearances, it is real and almost impossible to convey to others. I feel for those of you that are struggling with this. As alone as I felt when DX'd, I also felt a sense of relief that I did not have to deal with a significant others' issues, with my DX , also. Sounds selfish, but it's true...what can I say? Inner peace is priceless. I journal ed also-it helped me immensely. Maybe counseling is the answer....? ((HUGS))

Dx 9/17/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 1/15/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 2/10/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/31/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/22/2014
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Jan 16, 2018 12:02PM runor wrote:

Sara536, no, no! Not creepy. I wasn't creeped out at all. Just an overwhelming feeling of stage fright, like I have 1000 eyes looking at me and I stutter and stammer, forgetting my lines. Like the brain goes dead. I was not at all insulted by what you said. Very flattered, but totally not up to the task!

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 16, 2018 12:18PM Sara536 wrote:

😊

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Jan 16, 2018 12:23PM runor wrote:

I love what you said, Keepingthefaith.

My life LOOKS the same from everyone else's perspective because they cannot SEE what goes on in my head. If I try to tell them that I am haunted by the grim reaper who floats over my shoulder, they tell me I have to be more positive. I am getting so I want to punch people who say that. Because the people who say it rarely are the ones who have had to deal with this mental mess.

It is easy for me to get mad at Hub (he is closest and gets the brunt of everything) for not 'getting' it. But I have to tell myself that there's no way he possibly could get it. Before it happened to me, I couldn't get it either. I lived a charmed life (from a health perspective). The terrible truth is that I don't think anyone can help me. I could go for therapy and I would be told that I have to make friends with death and learn to carry him over my left shoulder, comfortable with his constant presence in my life. Yes, I've done time in the therapist's office over the years. Knowing what I need to do and knowing HOW to do it are two different things.

But I still think that my role here as dish washer, wood chopper, fence fixer, lawn mower (blah, blah, blah) is not working anymore. I feel this gnawing, urgent, frantic scream rising up in my chest. I need something to change!! In me? Around me? I don't know! I just know that when I think of changing I feel like a horribly selfish, unloving person who is shirking my duties. And I hate the hell out of that. I have never been very good at indulging myself and seem to be surrounded by people who think putting yourself first is the same as not caring about anyone else.

As I type this, it's cold in the house. Guess what I have to do? I think it's time for me to start reading my books on Buddhism and see if I can't Zen my way into a better frame of mind. As I said in another post, embrace the mundane and make it holy. Blah.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 16, 2018 12:24PM marijen wrote:

runor, two eyes here. This is the most interesting topic. I can relate on being the pick-up, clean-up person for decades. I’m wondering if you have ideas on how to get your two people in line? And do you really need to live out where you are? Where it’s impossible to dig a decent hole? Is it because it’s close to DH’s work

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Jan 16, 2018 12:57PM xxyzed wrote:

Im a single mother to two boys who were 9 and 11 when I was diagnosed. I was simply too sick to do anything other than survive. My boys had to learn how to shop for themselves, feed themselves, do their own laundry and clean up after themselves. If they couldn’t find something it wasn’t found. If something broke it stayed broken.

If you don’t want to live the life you have always lived then change how you respond to your family. Your time and desires are important too. Make them a priority.

Your daughter and husband can definitely do their own laundry. Teach them how to use the machine and if they continue to mishandle it tell them to take their laundry elsewhere. Offer suggestions such as using a friends machine, the local laundromat or using a laundry service. You doing it is not the only solution here.

Same with finding things. Respond with I’m not sure. I think I last saw it at “wherever it normally lives”. If they can’t find it let them know you will be happy to have a look at a time convenient for you, like the end of your chapter or when you’ve finished gardening. If that isn’t convenient for them well they can look harder themselves or go without the item. Stop making yourself the saviour and foster independence.

You decide how you want to spend your life and do it. If you weren’t there doing these things what would happen? Let it happen. Life goes on.
Dx 5/17/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 3, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 5/31/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Dx 6/9/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 20/20 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (DUAL) Chemotherapy 7/7/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/20/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 9/26/2017 Targeted Therapy Nerlynx Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Jan 16, 2018 01:11PM runor wrote:

XXYZED!  YES! YES! Again I say YES!

Someday your boys will marry and they will have partners who bless and thank you for turning them into adults! You are a rare mother indeed. Many of us, MANY, fail to send out people who will carry their own in a partnership. I see it in my husband when he tells me that it doesn't matter that he only does half the dishes, leaves all the food on the counter and doesn't wipe anything, but that I should just be grateful that he tried. TRIED ?!?! But I have heard those exact words come out of his mother's mouth! That she never corrected her boys or asked for a better effort, anything they did was praised mightily and the bar was never raised. Well thank you for that - NOT! (he has gotten somewhat better over the years, no thanks to his mother)

Marijen, yes, where we live is super close to where Hub works. He is married to his job. I could write a book about that, a sad book with a crappy ending.  

I wonder, and I'm sure it has been written about on this forum before, how many marriages fail after a cancer diagnosis?  Either the healthy partner decides they can't deal and bail. Or the sick partner decides that this marriage was in bad shape prior to the diagnosis and with limited time left there are better things to do  than try and bail out a sinking ship? I think I"m going to go check out that forum now....not sure what it's called but I'll find it in the list. 

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 16, 2018 03:41PM marijen wrote:

runor, what about taking a week’s vacation by yourself? Leave them to deal with everything that needs to be done. Don’t do extra work before you go. Leave the marketing, the laudry, the repairs and no wood chopped for them? No dinners frozen etc? And how about they aren’t allowed back in the kichen if they leave things half done. You cannot do this forever, might as well do it now. Where would you go? A viking cruise? A week in Hawaii? A rented cabin. A visit to a relative? A spa? Do you have a passport?


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Jan 16, 2018 06:58PM runor wrote:

Marijen, you make me laugh! No, I do not have a passport. Have you seen the ghastly photos they take? God! They don't give you time to get your double chin straightened out before CLICK!

I think it's not so much that I need to teach Hub and Daughter a lesson, although it would't hurt for them to learn a thing or two. It's more that life as I know it has been blown out of the water. It's time for me to make some changes to accommodate the changes that were shoved down my throat against my will. My life is not the same. I do not feel the same. I do not see things the same. How on earth can I continue to get up and live a life that now feels false, like a charade, like some big act I'm putting on to keep everyone from knowing how utterly bereft, terrified and lost I am.  Just roll up your sleeves, put on your big girl panties, get back in the saddle, chin up, positive attitude, carry on then shall we? NNOOOOOO! No! No I won't. No I don't want to! No you can't make me! You're not the boss of me!

I'm pretty sure I am not the only one who looks around at the same 4 walls and thinks, I LOVE these people, I LOVE my home, I LOVE my life and yet, yet....something's gotta give. I cannot name it.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 16, 2018 08:22PM - edited Jan 16, 2018 08:23PM by mustlovepoodles

runor, I have not been able to express myself as eloquently as you, but I have felt all those same feelings. Can I tell you a secret? I convinced my DH to sell our house MAINLY to get my 31yo son to leave home. Not only that, but I told the kids they would have to pay their own insurance, doctor bills, car notes, cell phones, etc. I know most of you are saying, "Well, duh!" But you have to understand that I had been carrying the entire family on my back like a bunch of baby possums. Breast cancer was bad, but it was just one of a long line of bad things I was managing. So, I told DH I wanted to sell the house...and quit my job! And get rid of 75% of our possessions! And move into our RV! 450 miles away from the kids!

So, here we are freezing our asses off in an RV park in Florida, but I feel like I have unloaded the weight of the world from my shoulders. DH is more self-sufficient. The kids are finding their way. And I am walking the dog, reading my books, sleeping in, cooking meals I want to eat, and enjoying NOT having all the former demands of my previous life. I have run away from home, literally, and it feels AWESOME!



Oncotype 23. Positive for PALB2 & Chek2 gene mutations. My breasts are trying to kill me! Dx 7/20/2015, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/19/2015 Lumpectomy Surgery 9/2/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 10/19/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/3/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 10/18/2016 Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Surgery
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Jan 17, 2018 12:18AM runor wrote:

Mustlovepoodles, oh you made me laugh! But something confuses me. You are in Florida. Freezing. Freezing in Florida. Is that even possible? 

This photo was taken by Hub out with a few buddies. Where I live, this is what freezing looks like.   In  case you are wondering, that machine you see is a dirt bike with the tires removed and replaced with a track. A fabulous way to hit a tree at 50  miles an hour. 

You know, you actually did a very loving thing for your family. You said, essentially, that you trusted them to make it on their own and you had the grace and wisdom to get out of their way and let them do it. Keepthefaith said there is a difference between helping and enabling and boy was she on the money about that!  I need to keep her words in my mind. Our job in our kid's life is to make it so they CAN survive without us, and that takes a bit of a push, or running away in an RV, to accomplish sometimes.

I have fantasized about doing just that, running away in an RV. But winter, in Canada, in an RV.... uh, no thanks.  Brrr. I would rather be freezing in Florida, thank you.

Dx 3/23/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 7/4/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 17, 2018 12:58AM jo6359 wrote:

I believe enabling others create anger and resentment in our hearts. Being helpful means sharing and teaching others to do for themselves. It can be a slippery slope. I dont have kids. Even though I enjoy my friends and family, I truly enjoy my time playing with my 7 dogs and 3 cats, touching and smelling my beautiful orchids and weeding my flower garden. Running the causeway while looking at the bay and blue sky makes me stop and give thanks to the beauty around me. All these things make me feel alive. Since my diagnosis I have felt very much alone late at night. I live alone.

There are times when it would be nice to have a person around to talk to when the crazy thoughts enter your head. Another reason I love BCO. The support from this forum has been great. I hope you find your patch of earth and peace.


Dx 1/29/2018, DCIS, Right, Stage 0 Dx 1/29/2018, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 2/16/2018 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 2/16/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/16/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jan 17, 2018 01:04AM jo6359 wrote:

I live in south Florida. The past weekend the temps hit low 40s and north florida the 20s. That is cold for us. Love the pic of the snow. Nice to look at but way too cold.

Dx 1/29/2018, DCIS, Right, Stage 0 Dx 1/29/2018, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Targeted Therapy 2/16/2018 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 2/16/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/16/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jan 17, 2018 02:43AM - edited Jan 17, 2018 05:02AM by Traveltext


Great writing runor, very evocative and descriptive, and you well capture the dilemma of many here who try to balance a scary disease with home life following treatment. As we all know, it's only those with bc who really "get it." Keep in mind, though, that you have an excellent prognosis and your lighter treatment is in contrast to many on the threads I post on here. So, when you do make your break from hubs and daughter, rest assured that you very likely have many years aead of you and I hope you can find the peace that you crave.



NED breast and prostate cancer. More on Male BC

Dx 03/14, IBC, Lgth. 2cm, Stge IIIB, Gde 2B, ER+/PR+, HER2- ; FEC x3, Taxol x3; Mx & 2/23 nodes; Rads x 33; now on tamoxofin.

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