Topic: How do you get through the loneliness

Forum: Singles With Breast Cancer — Singles with breast cancer who want to connect.

Posted on: Jun 17, 2019 01:21PM - edited Jun 17, 2019 01:23PM by Fairydragonfly

Posted on: Jun 17, 2019 01:21PM - edited Jun 17, 2019 01:23PM by Fairydragonfly

Fairydragonfly wrote:

I don't know who else to reach out to. I'm single, living alone with two cats. Love them, but they aren't what would be called cuddly or affectionate (unless your looking for new claw marks). I have been single for a long time, and never considered myself to be lonely. I was happy with my life the way it was.

I have no family near me, and at 43 I am the matriarch. My sister and nephew live in another province. I have a wonderful group of friends and colleagues that have rallied around me.

But today I woke up lonely. I am stuck in this debilitating state where I feel like I will never get what I need. If my mom or dad were still alive, I know I could curl up beside them and feel the warmth of their arm wrapped protectively around me. Rubbing my back and holding me if I cry.

I recognize this is partly me working through the grief of losing my parents (mom passed January 2018 from pancreatic cancer and dad passed August 2018 from lung cancer). What got me through those tough times, was my cat Kiwi who had no concept of personal space. But I lost her in January 2019. Love my two kittens (adopted in February), but they are not lap cats, - they are across the room (or in a different room altogether) cats.

My friends are wonderful, but they're at work and living their own lives. I don't even know how to ask for what I need right now. I don't know they can even provide it.

How do you survive this alone, when the emotions bubble up and you feel like you will never see the light at the end of the tunnel? How do you find hope when you're wrapped in despair? Who do you reach out to when there is no one?

DX at age 43. Weak staining ER, Oncotype score 50, BRCA1 mutation. Lost both parents to cancer in 2018. Dx 4/17/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-, Surgery 5/1/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 7/5/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 1/20/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal
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Jun 17, 2019 02:13PM scrafgal wrote:

I am 53 and a lifelong single...,I have moved around a lot. So my friends and family are scattered across the country. They are busy with their own lives but care about me. The same is true for you, I am sure. I started a Caringbridge blog where I posted updates. When friends and family had time at night or at a lunch break, they would check the site and leave encouraging messages. It beats trying to constantly call or text, which nobody has time or energy to do. I was tired during treatment so this blog was the perfect solution.

Dx 12/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/6/2017 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Right): Silicone implant, Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 3/22/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 6/15/2017 FAC Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 10/13/2017 Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 5/9/2018 Reconstruction (Left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Surgery 10/16/2018 Reconstruction (Right): Nipple tattoo Surgery 5/9/2019 Reconstruction (Left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (Right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 7/23/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 9/6/2019 Reconstruction (Right): Nipple tattoo
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Jun 17, 2019 02:27PM - edited Jun 17, 2019 02:33PM by Spoonie77

HI FairyDragonFly - First off, I am so sorry you are here, am beyond sad and sending my deepest condolences on the loss of both your parents last year AND your beloved Kiwi. :( On top of all of those heartbreaking losses, ending up with a IDC dx to boot. Ugggh, life never promised to be fair, did it? Oh the humanity. Sending you tons of virtual hugs.

I can relate to so much about losing your Kiwi. I've been a Spoonie and life has been challening. I'm also single. However, for 14 years my Onyx got me through so many rough patches, letting me hold him like a baby, snuggle with him, cry into his fur.....all of which I'm sure your Kiwi likely did for you. I lost him in 2014. Like you, I also adopted another kitten, Ariana. She is her own self and not a lap cat, not even 4 years later. However, she has become much more affectionate in her own way. I also adopted a resuce pup, which unfortunately turned out not to be much of a snuggle bug either. So like you, I've lost my at home sympathy and love giver. I will say that over time both of them have added so much joy to my life, in their special unique ways. They will never be my Onyx, just like your new balls of fur will never be your Kiwi. Don't give up hope on your furballs though, in a few years they may surprise you and change their ways as they age, or you will all come to appreciate each other more for different reasons along the way. My sisters cat Booboo wouldn't sit near her for the first 3 years but would follow her like a puppy. Now after 5 years together, he curls up on her lap and sleep next to her. So who knows what your 2 kitties will be like in a year or 3. :)

I don't really have much advice on how to cope with the darkness and searching for the light. I've battled my chronic illnesses/pain for most of my 42 years on this earth. Done most of it alone, as friends family don't really understand unfortunately, although some really did/do try. I always thought, in my mind that "if it was Cancer, they would and they wouldn't abandon me or forget". Ha, life is ironic isn't it?! Unfortunately, seems like even with Cancer on board, I just have a group of friends in general with busy lives (like most people) and/or ones just unable to be solid friends in the face of chronic illness. Not everyone can walk the spoonie/cancer life alongside of us, sadly.

Like you I"m happy alone or in a social setting, but it gets tough some days to keep walking onwards. For me, I've been disabled since 2007 and will never be able to have children, nor work again, so it's hard to find positives to set goals for or towards. I guess I've kind of focused on finding ways to help others over the years and find a feeling of productiveness/purpose in those small ways.

All I can really say, is there is no right answer to how we cope. I do think it takes time to learn or adapt to what works best for us each on our own. I've been doing this Spoonie dance for 29 years now and I think I'm just figuring it all out in the past few years.

Here's what works for me

---- Mindfulness & Meditation (living in the moment, not obsessing/worrying about the past or the future)

---- With BC now, I have a FireFly sister I reach out to. I was paired with her, sort of like a Big Brothers/Big Sisters for Breast Cancer. She has been a GODSEND! She gets it. She has a very similar dx, treatment plan, lifestyle, etc. Her and I are now good friends

--- Journaling and in particular writing, in 5 mins or less, in my daily planner ONE positive FEELING, ONE positive experience, and ONE thing I was GRATEFUL for that day. (Example: F: Excited to see Elisabeth (my PT) today P: PT helped tremendously with my LE/Fibrosis Pain today G: that I was able to take Gypsy on a beautiful walk this afternoon. ) This helps me see that even on bad days, or after a month of seemingly no positives, I can look back and see that I do indeed have good things going on. Helps me stay grounded in reality vs what depression wants to fool me into believing.

--- Spending time outside by water. For me, something about water is healing/calming/just the best. Luckily, the place in moved into right after being dx with BC has a lovely pond with tons of wildlife right outside my door. It's been amazing. Find your thing and when you are having a bad moment/day do that ONE thing that makes you feel the best.


Ok, I think I've blathered on and on enough. Hopefully something here is helpful to you and to others. Everyone's journey is so different but we all need love and to feel not alone. I love this board because no matter what time of day it is, there is always someone here to listen. Hopefully others will stop by soon and offer their thoughts and suggestions. Glad you posted. This will be a good thread I think, one I'll be following and growing from.

Hugs and healing....

"Spoonie" who entered BC World @ 41. DXd w/MS & Thyroid Cancer @42. Treatment: LX/SLNB/RADs. Plan A: 5mg Tamox = 0 QOL. Plan B: OS/AI = Rare allergy to OS meds. Plan C: Only option left,  Diet & Exercise. PS: Not a dr, just a Googler. Dx 7/20/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Dx 8/30/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 8/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/1/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/30/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 7/2/2019 Zoladex (goserelin)
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Jun 17, 2019 07:19PM Fairydragonfly wrote:

Thank you both for your replies.

Scrafgal - I did set-up a CaringBridge website for the exact reasons you mentioned. It was so difficult and exhausting trying to keep track who I told what to. I find the website easier to keep everyone updated and to let know what/if I need help.

Spoonie77 - I really thought 2019 would be when things turned around for me. I thought I would have time to grieve and heal but instead I was thrown into yet another crisis. But this is one that I can't control. Thank you for the tips. I occasionally journal, lately I have been writing letters to my parents of things I wish I could talk to them about. I will try to implement the mindfulness and gratitude tips.

I think today is one of those days when the emotions just need to come out. I needed a safe place to express my feelings and am glad this forum exists for that purpose.

DX at age 43. Weak staining ER, Oncotype score 50, BRCA1 mutation. Lost both parents to cancer in 2018. Dx 4/17/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-, Surgery 5/1/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 7/5/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 1/20/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal
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Jul 4, 2019 11:18AM kkma wrote:

I thought I was done with breast cancer and the roller coaster effect being a 10 yr survivor but finding myself divorced by choice and now that the newness has worn off I'm lonely and scared. A lot of feeling have come up that no one understands. My kids are grown and have moved on with their lives and I don't want to share with them. I have reached the point where I go to work have am one person for 12 hours a day and then come home and am someone else. I have tried online dating multiple times and it has never worked so I've given up. I have preached to my kids there is a world of people to meet and don't settle...and here I am in my little cocoon. Not sure how to break free anymore....

Dx 6/2/2008, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, Grade 3, 4/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, Targeted Therapy 6/24/2008 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/24/2008 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Navelbine (vinorelbine) Surgery 12/17/2008 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement
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Jul 4, 2019 11:32AM Spoonie77 wrote:

I wish I knew the secret too KKma. It's a tough road. Loneliness is hard. Maybe it might be different for me if I didn't have other co-dxs that limit so much of my life, but I'll never know. Last night I sat in bed, wanting to cry, because I thought it would make me feel better. I just can't. Tears don't help anymore so I just sat there....numb and lonely. Like I said, I don't have answers, but I feel your pain. Sending hugs.

"Spoonie" who entered BC World @ 41. DXd w/MS & Thyroid Cancer @42. Treatment: LX/SLNB/RADs. Plan A: 5mg Tamox = 0 QOL. Plan B: OS/AI = Rare allergy to OS meds. Plan C: Only option left,  Diet & Exercise. PS: Not a dr, just a Googler. Dx 7/20/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Dx 8/30/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 8/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/1/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/30/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 7/2/2019 Zoladex (goserelin)
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Jul 4, 2019 11:41AM kkma wrote:

So I was DX’s with MS 2.5 years after BC. It is under control but still there in the back of my head the it is just ONE more thing I have to tell someone I have to deal with and they may have to deal with if they want to be in my life. Even just having friends is hard. Where do you meet people. Yoga is a solo activity as is walking and the gym. So if I do get out to exercise it’s alone...

Dx 6/2/2008, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, Grade 3, 4/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, Targeted Therapy 6/24/2008 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/24/2008 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel), Navelbine (vinorelbine) Surgery 12/17/2008 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement
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Jul 4, 2019 11:49AM Spoonie77 wrote:

That is the question of the year Kkma....where to meet friends???

Right before as I was being dxd I was moving from WI (where I'd lived for 18 years) back to MN to be closer to family. SO I had a couple double whammies in 2018....devastating breakup after 4 years together, a huge move, and breast cancer. Here in MN I have 0 friends as of yet, just family. This year hasn't been real opportune for getting out and getting social, who would guess? <eye roll> I've been to a few support groups for my other chronic dxs plus for BC but unfortunately, most are older ladies that I cannot relate to really on a friend/hanging out level, and my symptoms just limit my ability to get out and meet people even at groups. So I'm at a loss too. Certainly not going to go hang out at the local bar and hope to meet a quality friend. LOL.

"Spoonie" who entered BC World @ 41. DXd w/MS & Thyroid Cancer @42. Treatment: LX/SLNB/RADs. Plan A: 5mg Tamox = 0 QOL. Plan B: OS/AI = Rare allergy to OS meds. Plan C: Only option left,  Diet & Exercise. PS: Not a dr, just a Googler. Dx 7/20/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Dx 8/30/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 8/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/1/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/30/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 7/2/2019 Zoladex (goserelin)
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Jul 4, 2019 03:16PM Fairydragonfly wrote:

It's definitely difficult to meet new people. Whether as friends or something more. Pretty much all my friends here are colleagues. My only family is my younger sister and nephew in a different province. I'm extremely grateful for my friends, along with the wonderful fighters I've met through this forum and my local support group (that ended last week 😭). But when I am alone and feeling blue, I don't think of calling those friends because I don't want to bother them when I am already relying on them for so much practical stuff.

I don't know that I want someone invading my space, but man it would be nice to have someone just snuggle or hug/hold me.

DX at age 43. Weak staining ER, Oncotype score 50, BRCA1 mutation. Lost both parents to cancer in 2018. Dx 4/17/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-, Surgery 5/1/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 7/5/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 1/20/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal

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