Moving On - ok?

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I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer following a routing mammogram in July this year, I had surgery (twice) and my lymph nodes were clear and I did not need chemotherapy, I had 5 sessions of Radiotherapy and the thing is I have not been ill but people seem to think I should be, they ask me how I am and how I am 'in myself' - I am fine! Honestly! Why do they expect me to be a gibbering wreck in the corner? Thats not me! My outlook is that the cancer was found, its been removed and treatment to prevent recurrence done with ongoing medication to reduce the risk further. I have recovered well from the surgery, I am so grateful it was found and treated, I have been a bit emotional as thats only natural but I am not in bits. All I want now is to get back to my normal life doing all that makes me happy in my retirement and put all this behind me, I do not want pitying or wrapping in cotton wool. I have been very lucky and I cannot praise the Breast Clinic and all those involved enough but I am still me, I am not crushed by this - so does that make me abnormal? Am i missing something? Will it all hit me later perhaps? Of course I am worried that it may come back but I am not going to obsess about it. I have many interests and activities and more than anything its annoyed me that some of them have had to stop for a while - like swimming and volunteering - but I look forwards to getting back to doing it all. Another thing that gets on my nerves is being told by some people how lucky I am not to have needed a mastectomy - is that the measure of breast cancer then? I have an altered breast shape and scars and its still cancer and all that goes with that, its just the treatment that varies and I know that I am lucky and I am so grateful it was found but don't demean my journey by saying I am lucky.  I love life, I am very happy in my pursuits in my retirement and intend to continue for as long as I can.  I am happy to be where I am and I just want to move on now. Rant over! :) 

  • Hi  and welcome to our little corner of the community.

    You have explained the mindset you have in place for you to move on with life….. sounds good to me.

    Well meaning people will say the most stupid things, often not based on having walked the walk.

    I have lived with and been treated for a rare incurable Lymphoma  for over 24 years. Most people don't understand blood cancers and do tend to say stupid things like “but why did they not cut it out?”

    The most important thing for moving on with life…… even me with an incurable cancer that could kick off at any time is to not let our cancer journey and the stuff that is thrown at us to define how we live….. we define how we live.

    Yes there may be triggers come along that may trip you up but I see these as steppingstone for moving forward as we learn from these experiences.

    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 highlights the post treatment milestones.

    Do get back to me as I am always around to chat.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi Mike, thank you so much for the reply, I have just read the article and it was an epiphany moment - I do feel its a bit of an anti-climax, a 'what was all the fuss about' sort of thing, I just want to put it all behind me and move on but I also accept that the spectre of cancer will always be there whether I like it or not.

    I also realised after my rant that I am angry with people who demean my cancer and compare me to others who were 'much more poorly than you' as if its some kind of competition of who was the most ill and survived - even other women who have had breast cancer do it, on the lines of 'oh, yours was just a lumpectomy was it? I had a mastectomy' - like thats more points scored! I get it, I know that was worse and I am so thankful I didnt need it but we are together in this journey, its not one-upman(woman)ship surely?  

    I have planned my recovery and return to my usual routine - with adjustments if needed and I have had some Counselling support which really helped. I now have been invited to a Moving On assessment but must admit i have thought I dont need it as my life is sorted and moving on thank you very much, but I will give it a go

    I am very active and organised person and everyone says that they knew I would be fine and beat the cancer because I am so strong - does my head in! Anyway, I realise its a roller coaster and using that analogy I am in a dip at the moment but am climbing up to the next part and then away I will go!  Thanks again Sue     

  • As a family we became Teflon coated to all the noise that would come our way and developed the ability to challenge misconceptions face in - people don’t like being challenged when they are wrong but it was our way of navigating the very challenging journey we were all n - you can see my story through the link below.

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi Sue

    It sounds as though you have made a wonderful recovery after your op and radiotherapy. You have such a good attitude and it's so great that you are now moving on with your life. The people who are inquiring about your health are trying to show their concern for you but I do understand that you just want to put it behind you and get on with your life. Things will move on naturally after a while and things will settle down for you. There are always those who manage to make their experience worse than yours. I had jaw cancer and over time had my upper jaw removed and part of my lower jaw. I have since had an upper jaw reconstruction.My immediate family have been very supportive but It is amazing that some more distant family members have told me about how they have lost teeth too and how it has affected their eating. They obviously have no idea what my ops have actually entailed but I guess they are trying to show empathy although rather misplaced. I don't discuss it  anymore and things have just moved on and now it is hardly brought up. Like you I just want to get on with my life and continue to do the things I enjoy such as volunteering, gardening and helping out with the grandkids. I am very fortunate as I am currently cancer free so am in a very happy place in my life. I too enjoy everyday for what it brings and don't want to spend too much time dwelling on negativity.

    Keep doing what you are doing as it sounds great.



  • Hi Sophie

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, your words have really lifted my spirits,. Sounds like you are a super lady who is getting on with life and living it to the full - good for you and long may that last! 

  • Hi Sue, great news you are feeling very positive, I would also consider myself, up until now, a very strong woman with positive outlook, but recently this has all taken a knock, since my lung cancer operation. Even before it and straight after I was still very positive, but since having to return to hospital it all took a nose-dive, something knocked me off balance and my emotions are all over the place. My positive space has been replaced by an emotional space and I am just finding it all hard to take in. My work needs concentration so I am unable to do that, so I am worried my absence will affect others (stand alone payroll ) I know I should just concentrate on getting better, and usually like yourself, I am there with my rod held high, saying ‘onwards and upwards’ but I am finding it very difficult. I would count you lucky, but only because you are able to put it at the back of your mind and carry on. All the best and keep that strong attitude