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Topic: My health destroyed my family

Forum: Family and Family Planning Matters —

A comforting place to discuss planning a family, fertility concerns, parenting children, or relationship issues with partners, siblings, or parents following a diagnosis.

Posted on: Aug 7, 2019 11:02AM

YogaJunkie wrote:

Hi there,

I’m new to this forum, and generally reaching out for help on a number of topics. I’m 1.5 years in remission, diagnosed in January of 2018 and finished treatment in May of 2018 with 10 years of Tamoxifen in my future (I’m 37). I have a high stress job (lawyer) and was threatened with a pay cut after I took TWO WEEKS off for my bilateral mastectomy. I still had my JP tubes in when I went back to work, and was told that my lack of rest probably contributed to a delayed and complicated recovery. I went back to work and did everything I could think of to take care of myself. I was working out non-stop, and taking a lot of “me time” after I finished treatment. My husband and I started fighting more than normal, and I felt like we were growing apart. It only took a few months of that for my marriage to totally fall apart. Three months after I finished treatment, we separated. Three months after that, we sold our home and moved into separate apartments. My family turned against my husband, and my husband against my family. They all feel like “the other” is not doing enough to support/love/care for me. But what has resulted is that the people closest to me have been so preoccupied with fighting that they have not noticed they are ALL making things worse for me. My husband and I are working on it, but there is still a rift between him and my family. None of them talk. Moreover, none of them realize how much I need them - I’ve developed a lot of complications after treatment and am not tolerating Tamoxifen well at all. They all assume that since I look ok on the outside, that I must be ok on the inside, when I am not. All of this is to say that I feel like BC destroyed my life. I know that is probably an inflated view, but it is how I am feeling and it is making it difficult to feel grateful for recovery. Did anyone else have family problems after BC?

Thanks for any advice.

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Aug 7, 2019 11:12AM edj3 wrote:

I am so sorry, what a wretched turn of events for you. My path hasn't been the same as yours so no real advice, only a lot of empathy (and a virtual glass of wine if you drink).

Tried the tamoxifen, no thanks. Dx 4/9/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 5/5/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Radiation Therapy 6/2/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 7, 2019 11:30AM GiddyupGirl wrote:

YogaJunkie - I am so sorry for what you are going through with your family. My family doesn't like my husband and his family doesn't like me so I simply didn't tell any of them (except for my eldest sister) about my cancer. The stress that it causes is awful and I truly feel for you. We don't have any support from our families but we also don't have any fighting about the situation so like most things it has its good and bad sides. Try repeating part of the Serenity Pray "courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference." it is quite a mantra. Best of luck.

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Aug 7, 2019 04:29PM WC3 wrote:


I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. Mine was different but I did have a difficult time with the Tamoxifen at first in that it made me depressed and quick to upset. I felt like things just weren't going my way and people were giving me a hard time every day.


I reminded myself that everyone in the world did not suddenly become jerks, things weren't as difficult as they seemed, and my perception of situations was being altered by the Tamoxifen.

I realized that I needed to give myself some space from the world until my endocrine system recalibrated and those side effects passed. So I stayed away from situations that were upsetting me or let things that irked me slide. No, I did not have to get in to it with the person who didn't say "excuse me" on the bus or take issue with a friend's tone. Those were arguments that did not have to happen so I disengaged and didn't let them happen and let things blow over instead. I admit I had a few good cries in private though.

I think if I were in your position I would let your family and husband sort their issues with each other out themselves. They are adults and you need your energy so your body can heal.

Pathologic complete response (pCR) to chemotherapy. Dx 2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 6/1/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/15/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Aug 7, 2019 05:17PM GiddyupGirl wrote:

Totally agree with WC. I let the families do their own thing and let comments slide (you really should meet my mother in law). I have no expectations of them because I have to look after me. Just like you need to look after you. My nana used to say patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace and every little virtue makes a pretty face. So every time you just let things go think about how gorgeous you will be.

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Aug 7, 2019 11:28PM edwards750 wrote:

I agree with WC too. She nailed it. Concentrate on yourself and let the chips fall where they may. I know it’s family but it’s still their problem. You have enough on your plate.


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Aug 12, 2019 02:06AM - edited Aug 12, 2019 02:06AM by macb04


I can empathize over feeling like it destroyed your family. My girls were only 7 and 9, and although I have stayed with their dad, ( he was an unsupportive jerk) it wreaked my faith in him as my partner and friend.

I now know that when the chips are down he will bail, and I can never really count on him. I have found that concentrating on the people and things that bring me joy is all I can do to hold the wolf from the door.

I have a zero tolerance policy now for faithless friends and family. If someone isn't in my corner wholeheartedly, then I just cut off contact to minimize the damage they can do to my heart.

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Aug 12, 2019 08:37AM Meow13 wrote:

You know my family sees me and they really believe I am totally cured. I look no different to them. I am torn on how I feel about that. I come to BCO to vent my fears. My husband kind of gives me a look when I say things like can you pick up that heavy object my arm bothers me. I have to remind him that the mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy and DIEP surgery left me a little impaired. It took a while for me to agree to go on long bike rides again. Also I haven't skied since. I worry a little bit about getting a hernia if I should fall.

I still swim, do the treadmill and do yoga. My plastic surgeon was really impressed I was doing yoga a month after DIEP, but you know it was doing toned down yoga.

I was 53 years old when diagnosed and had been married about 30 years so the situation is much different than yours. My children were high school and college aged. But my coworkers seemed to be the ones who distanced themselves from me. My boss pushed me into early retirement.

Sometimes I wish I kept my diagnosis private just family. People do look at you differently.

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Aug 12, 2019 10:08AM illimae wrote:

Ah tamoxifen rage, such fun for the hubs and I too. Best of luck to you 🙂


Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Surgery 1/22/2020 Radiation Therapy 2/17/2020 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 7/20/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy Tukysa (tucatinib) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 12, 2019 07:53PM edwards750 wrote:

They do Meow like you have leprosy and it’s contagious. You do find out who your friends really are.


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