To be struggling with staying strong.(26 Posts)
3 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was told that the cancer had been removed.
I was more than happy to put this time behind me and I concentrated on eating well and exercising and I felt fit and healthy. I was so sure that cancer was 100 per cent out of my life that when earlier this year I started feeling pains around my mastectomy scar I assumed that it was something to do with the nerve damage that had occurred during my operation.
In February I mentioned the pain to my surgeon, he had a feel around assured me everything felt fine and advised me to use ibuprofen gel. In October I went to my gp because the pain was unbearable and she referred me back to my surgeon who did exactly the same as he had in February. I told him ibuprofen gel wasn’t doing anything so he referred me for a chest X-ray ( I think he did this to shut me up).
When the X-ray came back clear I phoned the breast care nurses and asked if they could give me any idea what the pain might be and who I could speak to, I genuinely thought that pain management was all I needed.
Last month I had a ct scan which showed a tumour under my ribs and pushing against my lungs, it’s inoperable and I have a life expectancy of anywhere between 6 months and (very optimistically) 5 years. I start chemotherapy in a fortnight.
If you’ve stuck with me, thank you, here’s my aibu- my dh, dm and df are understandably devastated as is my 12 year old ds who caught my husband at a bad time and realised how serious things are. I also have two dds aged 10 and 5 who I need to tell at some point, they know I’m ill but think it will be like last time. At work and at home I feel that I have to be strong for everyone else. Apart from a day I spent shopping,eating and crying with a close friend I have felt that I have to hold things together. I’m trying to be optimistic but I’m worried that this isn’t good for me and that I’m going to end up breaking down at the worst possible time. Am I being unreasonable to want to come to terms with this without feeling so responsible for everyone else’s grief?
YA definitely NBU. I don't know really what to say but I didn't want to read and run. I know it's hard, but I can't imagine how horrible it must be.
I'm so so sorry .
Are there any counselling services available to you to help you deal with your grief and with the grief your family are feeling? Macmillan? It must be terribly difficult for you all. You are no unreasonable at all to not want to shoulder everyone's feelings.
Firstly I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, it is a huge shock and you are absolutely allowed to be devastated and do not have to be strong all the time. There are charities who support in advice for sharing this kind of news with your children, also MacMillan may be helpful. Make time to be on your own too. Sorry I don't have more specific advice but it sounds like you are very strong as a family. Hoping your chemo goes well and gives you some relief.
Jesus Mary and Joseph YANBU in he slightest.
I am so sorry 😞 Goodness me if i could hug you tight right now I would xxxx
My dh uses Macmillan for support but I find talking to strangers really hard and I loathe telephones so I’d find it impossible to call a helpline. I don’t think there are really any answers, I’ve got a fantastic family and the fact that I’m causing them pain is one of the hardest parts of this situation. I have been lurking on munsnet for years and I know that people on here can be amazingly supportive. Being able to post about this anonymously might be a good way for me to work out some of my feelings.
YADNBU I have no advice other than be honest with your DH. He needs to support you as much as he will need support.
If posting here helps then post as much as you like. I know MN can get a pasting in the press sometimes, but it can be the most fabulous place for advice and support. You do whatever makes things easier for you.
You are not responsible for causing pain to anyone, so please don't beat yourself with that. It isn't your fault in any way at all
You may not want to think of this but those close to me have also had lots of support from hospices (counselling etc) once they were diagnosed as terminal.
You have to find your outlet for this. It's not your job to stay strong we will be here for you if you want this to be your outlet. Or I think there is a life limiting illness section (I'm sorry, I realise even reading that might hurt)
Sending love to you
newshmoo, I am a palliative volunteer in my other life. You're not at that stage yet, but one of my roles is to listen to people who are going through the dying process. What you are feeling (feeling like you have to be strong for everyone else etc) is not unusual, and one of the reasons I do what I do is so people have someone to talk to about those feelings without guilt. YANBU at all. Please reach out to someone with experience - maybe a counsellor who will give you space to talk about your perfectly understandable feelings. Much love to you. xx
the fact that I’m causing them pain is one of the hardest parts of this situation
OP YOU are not causing them pain. You didn't do this, you didn't choose it, and there is nothing you can do. Please don't take this burden of blame on yourself. It's just an awful, heartbreaking situation. And you are allowed to feel what you feel.
No you are not BU. I am in your position having been diagnosed with incurable bone mets a year ago after 8 years 'clear' of breast cancer. I thought I was home & dry, then a back problem I'd been repeatedly reassured about turned out to be disaster.
We have kept things upbeat and focussed on the 'treatable' aspect with the kids (they are teenagers) and with everyone else really. I was very clear that I didn't want doom & gloom and I refuse to deal with or be responsible for anyone else's grief except for kids/DH. My children are my chief concern and I intend to protect them as much as I can. My own grief, fear & anger are hard enough to deal with, I won't have other family members (DH & kids aside) or friends leaning on me or telling me how hard it is for them.
Do you have a local hospice? Ours has a counselling service which I have been referred to but am not ready to engage with yet. You don't have to be actively on your way out to access the services.
The Breast Cancer Care website has an excellent forum with a section for secondary sufferers which might be useful to you and is more private than here.
I hesitated over whether to respond to you as this is such personal information and I know how infested with trolls and lazy journalists this place is that talking about this in so public a place is a risk. However, I couldn't sit here & see someone else suffering such pain and not stand up to tell you that you aren't alone.
I hope your treatment is kind to you and gives you many many more years xx
Newshmoo, I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine. The answer to your question is no YA absolutely NBU. I think concern about your family's distress is very natural, and wanting to make it less painful for them, but then again nobody will benefit from you falling apart.
Would it help to trot out the old thing about oxygen masks in aeroplanes? You fit your own mask before you sort out anyone else, even dependent children, ie look after yourself or you're not going to be able to look after anyone else.
It sounds like the time with your friend was a good release. Could you build in a bit more of that? Personally (and in wildly different, much easier circumstances) I have found face to face counselling sessions really helpful. You can rant, rave, scream, cry (or whatever you feel unable to do with your loved ones) and it doesn't matter because their job is to listen and to wait and then to help you make sense of it. You don't have to care about their feelings!
Is this something you could talk to one of your healthcare providers about, do you think, just to find out what might be available to you?
Once again, I'm so sorry. What a shitty hand you've been dealt.
I'm really sorry you're going through this.
The surgeons attitude is infuriating. Would it have helped if they did the scan in February?
Stay strong xx
So sorry for you, stay strong lovely lady 💐💕 xXx
I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I was given the all clear from cancer a few months ago and I live with the fear of it returning and for your Doctor to have been so lax is really, really awful. People want you to be brave and positive for them but they don't know how you feel, you're frightened and upset and you have EVERY right to feel that way. Don't try and be brave for everyone, cry if you need to, and lean on your family for strength. I really hope that you make those five years and many more
Thank you everyone for your lovely responses. We do have a wonderful hospice locally which I have some knowledge of because I am involved in the care industry. Storminateapot, thank you so much, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ve always coped with situations by trying not to think too much and I think I need to learn to let go.
So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Yanbu at all. What time you have is most definitely your own, to do what you need to do.
Any cancer diagnosis is a tough one and of course yours is one of the toughest. Managing other people's expectations, their pity, empathy, anger and even stupidity can be draining too. This is a time to be a little selfish, to make your life your own and assert yourself. Sending love as a fellow cancer patient (lymphoma).
I'm so sorry news I really really hope you can stay strong and your loved ones manage to come to terms with this devastating diagnosis.
Of course YANBU AT ALL. I can't begin to imagine the levels of fear, anger, grief and extreme worry you all must be feeling right now. But one thing you should absolutely not feel is guilt. You had no say in this, bast*rd cancer can strike anywhere upon anyone. It's not your fault and no, you should not be burdened with everybody else's grief. I think it is time to be honest with them, that you cannot deal with their pain as well as your own. You need support, optimism and normality as much as possible. It's not selfish to ask of this, I would want to treasure the time left and spend it happily creating lasting memories for the DC.
I am so so sorry Maybe support as a family is the way to go? I know hospices (much less scary than they seem) provide support for all ages and can cater for your individual needs. You are very brave
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