Coping with Breast cancer
Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:56 pm
Hi MariaI was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer on 14 Feb and have since had surgery to remove two large tumours. For me that was the easy part, despite all the worries, trauma and upset being diagnosed entails. For me the worst is to come - 6 months of chemo followed by 6 weeks of daily radiotherapy (bar weekends). I count myself lucky that the cancer has not spread but I am terrified of what the treatment will do to me mentally as well as physically. Since being diagnosed I've not looked ill and nobody would know to look at me that I am a cancer sufferer. All that is about to change big time. Any help or advice from a fellow sufferer would be much appreciated.
I have taken your post (above) and put it here where I hope it will get more exposure, so to speak!
There are quite a lot of people on the Forum who have BC or are in remission, if you haven't poked around on the site then do have a look. There are also some posts with tips on coping with chemo etc.
What follows is my experience, I can't say that yours will be similar as we are all different, but I do hope it helps, sorry it is long.............;
I was diagnosed with BC, had a mastectomy and then 7 sessions of chemo followed by 5 weeks radiotherapy. Then I had 5 years on tablets as my BC was hormone receptive. That was in 2006/2007 and I can happily say that I was discharged from the hospital in February this year - yippee!!!!!!!
Looking back, I can well remember the fear of the first chemo session. I had few problems with the op itself, I recovered well and, apart from a being a bit lopsided, I looked fine. My huge fear was losing my hair which, in the event, was no big deal. I knew that to carry on a normal life I would have to have a wig, possibly like you, I had a horror of people looking at me and thinking "cancer patient". The wig was sorted well in advance, and I can honestly say that people who didn't know me well, simply thought I had had a new hairdo.
I was lucky, I coped well with the chemo and after the first session I found that it followed a pattern. We lived our life to the pattern.........chemo Monday, OK Tuesday, awful Wednesday, better Thursday, OUT on Friday. All our close friends knew of the cancer so that they weren't phased when I was unavailable, but we didn't tell anyone else. No-one knew that I was sick, I looked pretty much OK, I did most things as usual (bar the down days). In fact, we took the chance to explore our bit of France as when I was "up" I wanted to be out and about.
I am not saying that I felt fine, I didn't. I had all the usual side effects, but it was copable with. I had my off days when I was depressed and didn't want to moan to my husband as I seemed to be in constant moan mode. The dog had a bit of an ear bashing!
Radiotherapy......................... five weeks (for me) of traipsing to hospital for a couple of minutes blast which leads to severe sunburn. It was VERY tiring, mainly because of the constant travel. Otherwise, not too painful. Having had a mastectomy it was my chest that was zapped, if you had a lumpectomy then presumably it will be your breast. That could be much sorer. After the first session, I drove myself to the appointments. I felt OK afterwards and did the shopping on the way home. That would not suit everyone, and many people took a taxi. I was fortunate in that the appointments ran very much on time, so there was no hanging about, (I was in and out within 30 mins maximum) lots of waiting might produce extra stress.
Don't hesitate to send me a PM if you would like any other information. Believe me, I and many others on here, will be feeling for you at the moment.