I'm so sorry for your losses. For me, the emotional anxiety was much greater when I was first diagnosed and going through all kinds of tests and scans. I've been in chemo for about 4 months now. It takes too much physical and organizational energy to dwell on emotional issues.
Breast Cancer Questions
Wondering about my emotional state during chemo. in a couple of weeks. I've had a bi mast.
Asked by nantse1 on Sunday, March 11, 2012
Wondering about my emotional state during chemo. in a couple of weeks. I've had a bi mast.
I've lost my dad 18 mos. ago and my husband suddenly at 55 6 mos. ago.
10 Answers from the Community
Taking steps toward recovery during treatment gave me focus that I lacked the first three weeks after diagnosis. After chemo and a double mastectomy, and during radiation, I did see a counselor. You've had to deal with so much already. Do you have other family members around you to help absorb the impact of treatment?
I too know the heartache and mental drain this can have on you. I was diagnosed for the third time a few years back, I had a hard time dealing with this one, was diagnosed at Christmas time and went through the Why Me, syndrome. Then shortly after lost Dad to Cancer, 10 months later lost Mom to lung cancer. I just wrapped myself up in the Fight Back mode. Joined Relay For Life and have been doing everything I can to help find a cure. Gives me something to do and keep my mind off the other aspects of cancer and me. Good luck in your recovery!!
I am so sorry- you must be feeling overwhelmed. I am facing what my surgeon says will be agressive chemo and am very anxious about it - I keep hearing that a positive attitude is necessary for this but at this point I feel there is too much uncertainty. I see my oncologist on Wed.- tonight I plan to attend a support group sponsored by our local Breast Cancer Awareness group - I urge you to check into resources in your area as you must have some emotional support to help you face it. I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 days after her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died almost a year ago and she is still having medical and emotional issues- she is planning to see a counselor at Hospice, so please reach out for help... it is there.
I can understand your worry as I suffer from severe depression and when I heard I had cancer, I worried what effect it would all have on my emotional state. You are dealing with so much, why wouldn't you be worried about your own emotional state. Please don't ignore how you are feeling. There is lots of help out there that can assist you to avoid further emotional difficulty...a well-trained counselor or support group can be a tremendous help.
I make sure I spend lots of time with those who understand how I am feeling and stay away from those who want to deny my emotional pain. That seems to add to my down mood. But don't isolate and take time to replenish your energy and your spirit. Taking time to be with nature, a pet or your spiritual practice, if you have one, is very important, I find. My worst enemy when I am down are my own thoughts. Usually, they are very negative and hopeless and make me feel even worse about what will happen to me. So, resist dwelling on the negative self- talk that brings you down. Use repetitive phrases, like "this too shall pass" when you get into a panicky state.
These are a few tips I find helpful, especially at the beginning of my down mood. Nipping it in the bud helps a lot. I hope I haven't stepped on your toes by offering these thoughts. Take good care and know you are in my prayers.
Thank you everyone for your input. Mine and my husbands family have been there for me throughout everything so far. My mom is definitely not there for me emotionally. She has this random short term memory loss that seems to peek when she's stressed. It started when my dad was diagnosed with the first cancer and has gotten progressively worse. I thank God for my sis-in-laws. Without my husband, this seems almost impossible. He was my biggest fan! I start chemo. Friday and I'm mostly afraid of losing my hair. I know this sounds very vain but I have had so much loss between my dad, husband and breasts this is what is so very difficult for me to think about.I have had my hair styled like a wig I picked out. I don't think there is any preparation for this. Maybe it won't effect me as much as I think. I thought I'd never leave the house with no breasts but I do! It's not easy without a coat to cover up but I think I'll manage. Also, I very much want to go back to work. It has been therapy for me with my husbands passing. I work in a factory and it is very physical..lifting, pushing, pulling etc. large bags and rolls of insulation. My treatments are once every 3 weeks for 12 weeks. Can anyone give me input on working through this? I will be receiving TC. I have too much time on my hands being on disability and it's hard not to think about it all the time. Thanks for any info.
Everyone is different of course, but for me, after about my 4th chemo treatment (I also am on TC), the fatigue, achiness, and weakness really kicked in. I work 3 days/week and it has a fair amount of walking involved but not really much heavy lifting (no more than 20 lbs or so occasionally). I'm exhausted on the days that I work. And I don't work at all for one week out of every three because of other side effects from each treatment.
Thank you. I appreciate hearing about your experience. I've heard it's different for everyone. I guess I'll have to take one day at a time and hope it doesn't kick my butt too much. Are you able to exercise everyday. I'm hoping to at least do regular walking and I'm going to go to exercise classes at the Hope Club.
Also, I had a dbl mast. and when I wear prosthesis for more then a couple hours I get phantom pain. Does anyone else experience this. When I just sit around I'm ok, but when I'm at the mall or walking for a period of time I get pain. I feel like the walking jars my whole chest cavity. It's almost 6 weeks since my surgery and I didn't know if this is normal.
I was able to exercise during 95% of the chemo treatment. It definitely helped my mental state, and it helped me feel better. The research consistently shows that exercise makes for fewer and less severe side effects! Both of my oncologists said exercise exercise exercise! So, keep walking as much as possible.
With the prostheses... I wonder if you might be able to take them out for exercise... then put them back? What kind are you using? For me, with just a very light weight bra (microfiber style) covering my scars, I find I am barely noticing my scars / chest any more. I am six weeks out from the bilateral mastectomy. During the first few weeks, I definitely had phantom nipple sensations and other sensations. But, I am now "normalizing"... which is awesome. If you are walking at the mall 0- maybe you can wear two layers to help you not feel self conscious? I find that it's not really all that obvious that I've had a bilateral mastectomy... Or maybe people are just kind and say nothing.
If you're using silicone style forms... another possibility is to get the super light weight foam style forms. These weigh very little... and you could get a smaller size... which might make it tons easier during exercise...
Do a google search for: Micro-Bead and Foam Breast Forms
I have kind of fallen in love with being flat. I love not having anything in the way... I love being able to just wear a little shirt - no need for support... I don't love my scars, but I am applying scar guard in hopes of speeding the fading step.... I had always wanted to be smaller in the boobs... so I don't really miss having breasts. Everyone's different...
I am considering getting some of those super light weight breast forms... in a size smaller than my original breast size...
GOOD LUCK! And keep walking!!!
I do not have breast cancer, I have leukemia (AML), however my mother had breast cancer and passed away in 1996, my sister passed Feb 4,2005, I was in nursing school and cared for her myself and called her death because hospice would not come. I had a stem cell transplant in July2011 as my brother was match, however the chemo and my nerves were crazy. I am an RN, I have cared for many patients, and when diagnosed was a nurse supervisor at a nursing home. I love my residents so much! From day 2 of chemo I cried daily, as a nurse I had nerves of Steele! I cried happy tears, sad tears, why me tears, missing family ( I was 3 hours from home for over 40days). I was an emotional basket case. When I came home it was the same until my husband told me we were putting aside 2hours a day for me to talk, I told him anything that was on my mind, even about him. He also bought me a journal, that's when I realized that sometimes you just need to get things out of your head, go into the woods and scream at the top of your lungs, write in a journal, talk to a trustworthy person, tell people how you feel about them. I do it daily and it helps so much. My husband wants me to write a book on my life story. I married him when our son was 9 days old, I was 14 and he was 17.... We have been married over 30 years and still love each other deeply. The things he did for me and cleaned off me in the hospital is testament to his love, I also have a bachelors degree in nursing, 2 grown sons, 1 daughter living in Brazil. I may write that book, needs a title though. I hope you are doing well, the advances in the treatment of breast cancer are wonderful and I pray there is a cure soon. Me? Leukemia is cancer of the blood, it has hit every organ I have but with the transplant I do have an excellent chance Of survival if I don't get sick with flu or anything. Praying for all of you lovely ladies! And just let your feelings out, you will feel better.