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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) Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Surgery 5/6/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/3/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/23/2019 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:

YogaJunkie:

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.

But...

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 5/31/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/14/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) 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.

Diane

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

YogaJunkie,

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 🙂

Heart

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 Radiation Therapy 12/4/2020 External: Brain 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.

Diane

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Oct 3, 2021 10:21PM vidal1993 wrote:

Hi YogaJunkie:

I'm so sorry to hear about what you've gone through. I don't think family problems are at all uncommon after a breast cancer diagnosis.

My wife was diagnosed with Stage IIA breast cancer AND thyroid cancer in June 2019, and has gone through 2 surgeries, chemotherapy and now hormone therapy. She has been taking Tamoxifen and a host of other medications as she is Type II diabetic.

My wife's mother died of this cancer 13 years ago, and after my wife was diagnosed her sister stopped talking to her as it brought back painful memories.

We have 2 young daughters. At times, the level of tension in our house has been off the chart, especially during COVID-19 which makes everything worse.

I too am a practicing lawyer working from home during COVID so I never get a break. Some of my family questions whether she really is in so much pain because she often looks fine. Her family thinks I am not doing enough to help.

I have drawn on my Christian faith during this time and we are still together. But sometimes she has been very mean to me and although we have made up its sometimes hard to forget what was said.

I have not always been up to the task of caring for her enough. I tend to bury myself in work because I'm the breadwinner thinking that's how I can contribute. My wife wants me to push back at work and spend more time with her.

Just want you to know you are not alone.

Going through a scare now as my wife will be going in for more tests. They found a nodule in her lung. Hope its not starting over again.


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Oct 3, 2021 10:25PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Vidal,

Yoga junkie has not signed on to bco for more than two years and this thread has been inactive for over two years as well. Take care

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Oct 3, 2021 11:24PM - edited Oct 3, 2021 11:25PM by SeeQ

Vidal, you might try looking the Caring for Someone with Breast Cancer Forum (under Community Connections on the All Topics page) You're more likely to find someone who is going or has gone through what you're experiencing.

Diagnosed de novo Stage IV; numerous liver mets; single small breast tumor identified 4 weeks later Dx 6/2/2020, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 7/3/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 7/10/2020 Verzenio
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Oct 4, 2021 04:34PM Salamandra wrote:

Hey Vidal,

I hope you are getting some kind of therapeutic support - therapy, support group, social worker, etc, just for you.

Here is a study that was very validating for me: https://presse.inserm.fr/en/hormone-therapy-has-a-...

Excerpt: Analysis of the CANTO cohort published in the journal Annals of Oncology will upset received wisdom on the effects that hormone therapy and chemotherapy have on the quality of life in women with breast cancer. Contrary to the commonly held view, 2 years after diagnosis, hormone therapy, a highly effective breast cancer treatment worsens quality of life to a greater extent and for a longer time...

It might be meaningful for your wife, yourself, and directly or indirectly for your family.

I would also say that many women have found alleviation from the side effects of tamoxifen by changing brands, changing timing of doses or doses, or changing drugs to an alternative SERM like toremifene or to OS/AI. If this is something your wife is interested in, she can find a lot of our experiences throughout the boards.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/2/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2019 Fareston (toremifene)
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Oct 5, 2021 05:54AM Rah2464 wrote:

Thanks for the link, Salamandra. While I didn't do chemo, am certainly feeling the effects of three years in on the anti-hormonals. Its a love/hate relationship ha

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Oct 5, 2021 08:45PM vidal1993 wrote:

Thanks. I saw that, but only after I posted.

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Oct 7, 2021 10:32PM vidal1993 wrote:

Thank you Salamandra.

I will take a look at this study.

I have not got therapy yet, but may consider it. The cancer experience for a caregiver is far harder than I ever imagined it would be when we started this journey more than 2 years ago.

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Oct 25, 2021 06:50AM Joseph_34 wrote:

Thanks for sharing! Let me take a look at this study!

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