Managing Anger

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Dear Breast Cancer Forum,

I'm new here and wanted to say hi and reach out for support. I have been diagnosed with stage 2 Her2+ breast cancer in Nov 2023. I have managed to get through 7 rounds of chemo and am now waiting for my lumpectomy on the 10th July. 

The MRI results were really positive and I have been so amazed at the fabulous support from friends, work colleagues and my husband and his family. 

However, despite all the 'good news' I've recently been experiencing really intense periods of low mood and anger. It's really intense and hard to navigate. It's hit me by surprise. 

My daughter is 13 and she's been struggling with some anxiety so we had accessed her a counsellor before who was lovely and helpful. My daughter is struggling with high school, and at one point really stared to get so anxious she was struggling with eating. So because of this and also my breast cancer diagnosis it felt like a good idea to find another counsellor to support her just for 30 min sessions once a week. My daughter thought it was helpful and liked the sessions. 

When I asked for feedback from the counsellor he sent an email intended to be helpful but it was really difficult to read. I know he didn't intend it to be unhelpful but it triggered a lot for me. Especially the impact of my cancer and I ended up feeling both judged and blamed. Since this I have woken up with so much anger and not known what to do with myself. 

I also think it's not helped by the fact that I have started a new medication Ramipril which can cause insomnia. I think the return of the insomnia and menopause symptoms is not helping but here we are. 

I read the article about toxic positivity and I can relate to that too. I am doing all I can to manage my self. Exercise, eat well, and help myself but it almost feels as though due to the good MRI results my friends have all gone quiet. It almost feels they were more supportive when I was more unwell 

But the emotional fallout feels much more now. So wondering how others cope? I am attending my daughter's drama play tonight and dreading the 'how are you questions' maybe a printed t-shirt with - 'I'm fine, (not fine feel a bit stressed out and likely to cry if you are nice to me) can we please move on and please talk to me like before so I don't feel the only news is bloody boob cancer' Signing off stressed and addled but fine 

  • Hi Rororumba,

    Im so sorry to learn that you are going through so much at the moment, I had a lumpectomy and lymph nodes removed nearly three months ago and now await radiotherapy. I know that the medication we have to take for cancer over a period of time, can cause some depression and mood swings. It may help to talk to your Breast Cancer Nurse, who does know people that can help.

    You have made the first big step by finding the Macmillan site, also do visit your nearest Macmillan centre, a list is on here, or ring them on 0808 808 0000, they are superbly helpful and give you lots of great info, do walks, talks, help with money, bills and lots more. I also go for a short walk every day (British weather permitting) some with the Macmillan group and some on my own, do a sitting down exercise class at the centre once a week and do a daily diary, this is mega helpful, as it gets everything off your chest and out of your system. It is important during the day to keep yourself occupied, hobbies, interests etc., it stops you from dwelling on what is going on. You may also find it beneficial to listen to a meditation podcast, they really help you to relax especially when you are trying to get to sleep. I use one called ‘Go Gently’ by Christine Elizabeth Smith, it does a lot for me.

    I know it’s hard sometimes, but try and keep as positive as you possibly can, have positive people around you and dump the negativity, above all, be kind to yourself, our bodies have been through a lot - I promise you, you will get through this. You are never alone and can always come and chat to us shower in here.

    Take care and big hugs.xxx

  • Dear Bobybabe2

    Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and kind words of support and encouragement. I will take your advice and will check out the support groups and activities in my area. 

    I really like your moto for life on your page. I definitely need to focus on the front garden that made me smile and is very helpful. 

    I appreciate being able to reach out on here and know people get it and are going through their own battles too. 

    It's great to hear you are 3 months post op. I hope the rest of your treatment continues to go well. 

  • Hi Rororuma,

    No problem, you are more than welcome, we are all in this together.

    I’ve just been informed that I am clear from cancer, I’m ecstatic. However, still here to help my friends at anytime.

    loads of love and best wishes.xxx

  • Hi Boobybabe 2,

    That's brilliant news, gives hope and reassurance to all of us still on this journey that  we can beat this.

    Enjoy xx

  • Hi Rororumba,

    Welcome to the forum.

    This journey is certainly an emotional roller coaster. I can empathise with that. You feel out of control of your life plans and everyone tip toeing around you at times making decisions for you. I get really annoyed, however, I'm trying to turn it to a positive, and tell myself  that they only do it because they care (family I mean) as for acquaintances I feel at time they are being nosey so avoid them and if they ask I just say fine. It's exhausting repeating yourself when they have no intentions to do anything with the info.

    I am trying to take each day as it comes. Each step of treatment. I have had my lumpectomy and sentinels removed. I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss chemo regime so nervous about that but feel it needs to commence soon to ensure I'm fighting this.

    Spend your time with the people who care. I am getting better at being kind to myself and taking care of my needs. 

    The forums are good for support and for some objective advice on situations.

    I hope all goes well with your daughters anxiety and enjoy her school play. Xx

  • Hi Rororumba

    Welcome to the forum and I'm sorry to hear that you were diagnosed with breast cancer.  What you are feeling is perfectly natural, you've been through an ordeal.

    I cope by doing the things I love to do like reading and going for walks with my dog.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your operation.

    Best wishes

    Daisy53

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  • That's great news Boobybabe2.  I'm thrilled for you. xxx

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  • This is such awesome news I'm made up for you. Much love to you xx

  • Dear Rororumba, 

    I think you'll now be recovering from your lumpectomy, i hope you're able to rest and recover. I don't have personal experience of that, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in Feb 2023 aged 44, v unusual in adults, and admitted straight to ICU and then chemo etc, I was lucky and they saved my life. I'm in remission after a stem cell transplant but also in menopause now. I haven't been able to work because i was in and out of hospital most of 2023 and still recovering - getting stronger every day. 

    Your message really resonated with me. I wish I had that t-shirt too! I found it much easier to be emotionally level while I was more unwell too. I have a 14 year old daughter,and a 16 year old son and really feel for you that your family is going through this. It affects everyone in the family, but you have the physical effects to manage as well as the emotional ones. 

    I am really struggling with emotional ups and downs, a lot of anger and resentment, it says in lots of cancel related info that these are common emotions. Your question was how do others cope. I am trying to cope by having help from Maggie's - i have some sessions with the psychologist at my local Maggie's. I try to accept whatever i'm feeling and that its a normal reaction. And to remember that the emotion always passes. I have to do a lot of counting to 10 (or 1000!), or take myself away from situations if i'm being more reactive. 

    I've realised that I have to be a bit more proactive with my emotion regulation and do some breathing etc so that my baseline is less stressed. I find playing board games with my kids is really good to boost my mood and connect with them, and it gets them off their screens! If I can reach out and say 'please can i spend some time with you ' to my friends then that helps too. Thinking about one nice thing to do each day has helped. I can;t always meditate because sometimes i feel too anxious, and thats when walking or now i can swim, helps. 

    Thank you so much for your message, I think its really brave of you to be so honest. I really wish you the best with it all, its very hard and its rubbish that we all have to go through it, but like the others who have replied I'm glad that we can comfort each other, you're not alone in this. 

    All the best, RPr

  • Brilliant news wishing you well Grinningxx