Life after cancer

This group is for cancer survivors and people who have finished treatment. It is a space to discuss things like the physical and emotional after effects of cancer, returning to work, or trying to move on with your life.

2 years since diagnosis finished chemo a year and a half ago. Friends have nearly all disappeared. My repationship with my partner is at breaking point. Is it me.

Shellian
Posted by

Hi everyone im struggling to get my life back i have surgery in february i call it my putting myself back together surgery.it may help 8 dont know anymore. Im just not the same person and im very afraid for the future. My confidence is rock bottom i dont recognise myself anymore. My partner gets frustrated with me i am walking on eggshells at home. I feel sadness every single day. I used to be happy go lucky have lots of friends and a great relationship. Any advise anyone or anyone else feel like this. 

Shellian
Posted by

I really should have checked the spelling. Apologies.

GBear
Posted by

Good morning Shellian,

Dont worry about spelling, I am terrible!

I very much can relate to what your saying I do believe cancer changes us. Confidence does get really effected I often hear others and myself actually comment on our confidence issues, some are afraid to leave the house or be alone. As much as I can’t understand why? It’s frustrating too. I think also it’s the ones around us who don’t know what to say or do to make us happy and yes frustrating situations come up. I was afraid to leave the house which is my comfort zone but my parents did everything to make me go out, even if it was to take me to the shop, I found the more I did it the easiler it was, I still feel afraid but less alone. I try distraction all the time. I have a number of on going health issues which I can’t understand why I do, I was low stage womb cancer and only needed a hysterectomy I feel weak compared to others. Of course I get the don’t compère yourself to others, but we do.

Shellian
Posted by

Thanks so much for you're reply.  My partner is so stressed he keeps screaming and shouting and its affecting my recovery. I have surgery next month i just dont know what to do. 

oliviaruby
Posted by

Hi Shellian,

Do you have a Maggies centre near you? They have really helped me through some tough times and lifted me up when I have felt very low. They run courses to help deal with moving forward after a diagnosis.

Sometimes I would go and speak to the lovely staff (who are trained) and simply off-load, I would get things off my chest which I didn't feel like I could talk to my friends or family about, and boy did it make me feel better! 

Stay strong, you can do this :) 

Shellian
Posted by

Hi oliviaruby thanks so much for you're reply. I dont have a maggies near me. Ive joined online though. I think im more worried about my partner than myself at the minute. His anger is scaring me.

Fairycake
Posted by

Hi Shellian

I'm so sorry to read how difficult things are for you at the moment. It sounds like you and your husband need to talk to someone, either individually or together, about how you're both feeling. I wonder if it would help you to access some counselling at your local Macmillan centre? It can help to chat with someone who isn't directly involved with the situation you find yourself in. You can also ring the helpline - number below- thevstaff are very good listeners and will be able to pint you to services available in your area. 

Did you ever do the HOPE course? It's a short course designed to help with confidence issues etc after cancer. Again this should be available through your local Macmillan  centre. They may also run support groups that you can join - these can be a good way of meeting people and making new friends. Sometimes the centres run social groups too e.g. My local centre runs a "knit and natter" group monthly which revolves around tea, cake and some knitting! 

You don't say if you work or not. It may not be right for you now, but when you feel a bit stronger it might help to look into doing some voluntary work. Again it's a great way of meeting people and can offer opportunities to learn new skills. Your local library should be able to give you details of local groups. You might also consider volunteering with Macmillan - use the "get involved" tab and follow the links to find out what might be needed in your area. 

You've taken a big step forward just by acknowledging here how you feel. Cancer definitely changes things. It can sap our confidence, alter what we're able to do ohysically, it batters our emotions. By acknowledging how things are you're saying you want things to change and with help you can do it. I'm sure lots of people on here understand how you feel - you're not alone. A friend of mine once said I had a choice - I could choose to remain in the shadows or I could turn to the sun and let the shadows fall behind me. I sense that's what you'd like to be able to do and there are people out there who can help you do that. 

I hope you will get the support you need. Sending you a gentle hug and hoping that things look brighter soon.

Shellian
Posted by

Hi fairycake thankyou so much for the lovely message. Im just so lost at the moment. I see my counselor on monday im hoping she can help. Xx

horrocks
Posted by

Hi Shellian

I’ve been in your situation following breast cancer. Ive just had my 5 year check and am building a new life recognising that I have changed. My husband of 20 plus years supported me during treatment but his attitude to me changed from diagnosis. I lost two cup sizes RHS and my nipple; he wanted to rebuild me including improving the healthy breast. He was angry as saw me “as broken” his words, he used to say he was fine when friends and family asked how he was coping. He  couldn’t deal with how I’d changed and ultimately the treatment and experience legacy meant I had to accept change. I tried hard to “bounce back” I found though at the two year point that depression & fatigue were due to an underactive thyroid. I am cancer free at 5 years. My husband 50 had an affair with a 27 year old woman he met at Work late 2016, I spotted it quickly and it was a cruel situation to hear she reminded him of younger me. His behaviour was intolerable to me and daughter 16, sons 23 and 27....! We are divorcing. I had some useful support from Macmillan and have spent a year in private counselling. The good news is in that process I decided to take life on my terms. Jan 16 I got a puppy so I walk daily, he’s brought fun in to my life,  in March 16 almost on a whim I decided to start internet dating. I’ve met a man close to my age who values me for who I am now, we share a lot...Yhe friends who stayed with me, and I lost some who couldn’t cope and I do everything we can to have new experiences. Sometimes that’s really simple stuff. I have found that while my husbands anger and affair was incredibly painful it's been enabling...I but a lot of energy over 4 years in to trying to work things through with him. I’m not saying give up with yours but had I insisted we went to couples counselling we might have less pain in the long run. He didn’t find me attractive any more I was a size 10 at 47 and a 14 post treatment. He wanted healthy slim me! I’ve now got a friends who I love and am sure of, Ive reached a healthy 12 through daily dog walks and a clear 5 year mammogram. I have bad days round ongoing thyroid and zoladex treatment but I am accepting what’s changed and know there are good times. You will find your way and might make new friends for this time in your life, good luck and hugs

Shellian
Posted by

Hi horrocks thankyou so much for taking the time to reply. Bless you having to go through all that. So pleased things are going well for you now. Life can be cruel at times. I try every single day to make things better. I love my partner I really do we'e had a long talk I think it' mainly his work but obviously worried about me too. I have surgery in 3 weeks. He knows his anger gets the better of him at times but he seems to be trying harder at the moment. He' a good man we'e just had so much bad luck. We have lots of outside pressures too. His family mine we both feel very let down. I just pray things get better this year. Thankyou for all you'e kind words it really means a lot.  Sending love and hugs to you too. I wish you all the luck in the world. 

Gracefull2
Posted by

Hi Horrocks,

I read your post - reply to Shellian - and I couldn't believe how similar your story and cancer "journey" is to mine, even down to the way you're to rebuilding your life!


Most of all though, I want to say well done - for everything, for living life on your own terms.


Like you I'm past the 5 year stage - after a 40% survival prognosis - although unfortunately I've been diagnosed as having the BRCA1 gene and I'm waiting for a couple of risk reducing surgeries and may end up having another mastectomy. I am truly thankful for surviving everything.


In my case I ended my relationship soon after diagnosis (before the mastectomy) because I couldn't deal with his weakness and constantly feeling sorry for himself instead of supporting me! So actually it was a long term friend of mine who supported me through all my treatments and was just there for me without judgment.


I've been quite fine with just having a few true friends and this same male friend who takes me out, is there for me without the added pressure of a selfish husband who's wondering who will cook his meals and finding my weight gain (from size 12 -size 16) unattractive!


Anyway I might take your lead and go the online dating route, who knows, I might even find my soul mate again .


Just to say thank you, to let you know that your post gave me a lift, some hope and reassurance too. After reading what you went through (like me) I say well done, stay strong, you are a warrior and a survivor.


Warm hugs and regards,

Mary.

Gracefull2
Posted by

Hi Shellian,

Just to add to all the good wishes you've had and will have coming your way, stay strong, keep focused on your treatment and surgeries. Family members should be there for us and not hinder our recovery. I know it's easier said than done, but don't let outside pressures dictate your life. So concentrate on 'your' family and those who bring positively to your life.


Having gone through aggressive triple negative breast cancer and all the treatments, had problems with my partner and broken up with him as a result of my diagnosis, I've been in a similar situation and have an idea what you're going through.


Stay strong, you will find the best way forward.


Hugs and regards,

Mary.

Findom
Posted by

Maybe it's just as well that we don't know about all the emotional fall out we can expect after the cancer treatment has ended. It comes as a time when everyone thinks you are cured and all the professionals who have supported you are now helping others. 

If nothing else we can share and support each other on this forum and sharing information makes you feel less alone like you are the only one going through this. I've found counselling helpful and got mine by being referred by my Macmillan nurse. It would be an idea to find a local cancer support group in your area for the same reasons. Sometimes people who love us are frightened of the cancer and say the wrong things or don't really understand why we are not 'over' it. Sometimes an honest conversation helps but I now know who my real friends are and I'm sure others have found this too.

I won't say be strong because that implies that if you don't then you have failed in some way. Instead be kind to yourself, take one day at a time & find a sympathetic ear. X

KiwiWolf
Posted by

Wise words, Findom. This is the strangest part of the whole process so far. I’m just about to go back to work and suddenly it feels like it should all be behind me and things are now “normal.” I still have my first post chemo scan coming up which will tell me if I’m now cancer free or not plus various check ups so it’s still a big part of my life. As I had pancreatic cancer and am still alive, I’m a rarity. I’d love to be “over it” but I have a way to go yet.