Anxiety after breast cancer

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Hi, 

Not sure what I'm expecting from writing from this post but I feel like I'm going crazy. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2021. Went through a year of treatment including lumpectomy,  chemotherapy,  radiation and herceptin. Got a very good result and oncologist gave me a very good prognosis.  Fast forward to now and I feel completely lost at sea. I am extremely grateful and lucky for getting such a great result from my treatment however my anxiety is crippling. I understand the fear of recurrence is something we of course think of, but it consumes me. Every ache and pain has me on edge, I'm constantly checking myself imagining all sorts. I know I need to move on with my life and make the most of every day.. does it get any easier. I feel absolutely traumatised. Thanks x 

  • Hi  and I see it’s your first post on the community so welcome.

    Most people in this group and in our Breast cancer group will identify with this. Does it get better with time?….. based on my 23+ years journey with an incredible blood cancer I will say yes…… but I most likely have had plenty time to get the space between my ears in order.

    You may find it helpful to make a cuppa and have a look at this great paper After Treatment Finishes - Then What? by Dr Peter Harvey as it very clearly highlights the post treatment milestones.

    Have a read and get back to me with your thoughts ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi Lola22 and welcome.  what you're feeling is totally normal hon and please don't expect too much of yourself so soon.  You have been through such a lot, don't underestimate its effect on you. You have lived through an extremely traumatic event for a year!  It takes the same again and more to recover.

    As the lovely Highlander has suggested have a look at Peter Harvey's article.  I reread it everytime I feel guilty or bad for not bouncing around the place or just plain exhausted and it helps me get a proper perspective back again.

    I feel that we never go back to the person we once were,  we can't.  Just getting the diagnosis is bad enough but then on top we are given toxic chemicals and radiation and surgery that can change our body image and sense of self worth and value.  We need time to heal from these things and to see who we are now.  I feel changed, priorities are different, lifestyle is different, our interactions with well meaning friends and family who expect us to bounce straight back once the treatment is over (in their minds cancer has been cut out, treatment given and all gone neatly away!).

    Relax, rest, eat well, spoil yourself, take gentle walks, stay close to home for safety.  Our worrying about recurrence is natural and to be expected, with melanoma we're taught how to do self checks for swollen lymph nodes plus have regular scans and see a dermatologist for the next 10 yeaslrs!  What follow up do you have? Any practical advice re what to look out for?  Your specialist breast cancer nurse can help with this direct questions.

    Take care hon xxx

  • At times, living the post cancer journey is like living in a parallel universe - you can see your old life but regardless what you do you can’t get back on that same path.

    Following my many years of treatment (16) and now 7+ years into my post treatment life (although so have an incurable blood cancer), a situation I was unwillingly put into. It did actually make me review life and everything that we once thought important.

    So some things from our old life are still in our lives….. I say ‘our’ as family are all part of this journey. Various aspects of our old life that were once seen as important were put in the bin and we don’t miss them.

    It’s all about look for the new growth that comes and it’s important we don’t miss the new opportunities that are out there for us ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi Lola, I noticed your post as I too have been feeling totally traumatised by the whole Cancer journey. Almost worse now than before! Like you, diagnosis in 2021 and have had surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. Having finished radiotherapy for 8 months, I thought I'd try some DIY a few weeks ago, painting, sanding, wallpapering....well, it has absolutely crippled me and my arms, back and everything is sore. My paranoid self, thinks Cancer is back and I find it difficult to get the right advice for this stage in the treatment. Feels like my GP doesn't really know what he should be recommending. Where do we get support and advice in this phase, is my question for anyone who has experienced this?

    1. Much appreciated xx

  • Hi  accessing post treatment support can be challenging but you can start by check to see if you have any Local Macmillan Support in your area, do also check for a local Maggie's Centre as these folks are amazing and up in the Highlands of Scotland it nothing for people to do a 4-5hr round trip drive to Inverness to access the amazing support available.

    You may also want to call the Macmillan Support Line open from 8am-8pm (timings may differ across services) 7 days a week on 0808 808 00 00 (allow for this time of year) where you can talk with someone about these specific challenges and they may well have some information available for you to follow up.

    ((Hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Thanks Highlander, I will contact Macmillan Support

  • Hi Lola22 I’ve just read your post and feel just the same as you, it’s scary to think about it coming back and I worry about aches and pains