I was diagnosed in April last year with grade 3, stage 4 breast cancer. At first we thought it was only a simple lump and all I would need was a lumpectomy and a little radiation, but after the surgery they found that it was a large lump and 17 lymph nodes were involved. I had a second surgery three weeks after the lumpectomy for a right mastectomy. Then I did six months of intensive chemo and then six weeks of radiation. I finally finished all this two weeks ago. At the time of diagnosis my work was supportive and told me to take whatever time I needed to get well. However two months into my treatment the company started making staffing changes and my boss was let go. Then three months after, I was fired, and my position was changed to part time. I am feeling very lost and scared of what the future holds. I mean who will want to hire me at my age with continuing medical appointments, more surgery next year, and my mind is no where near as sharp as it was. Also I am still suffering from the side effects of the chemo. Numbness and tingling in hands and feet, extreme tiredness and nausia. Also, for the first time in my journey I have had time to stop and think the last few weeks and I think the stress of everything is finally starting to tell on me. I am finding I get panic attacks at the thought of going out anywhere, even just to the letter box. I don't want to talk to anyone, even my grand kids. Even the effort of cuddling my dog seems too much. I saw my family doctor today and her solution was to put me on double strength anti depressants, give me 100 sleeping tablets and tell me to pull my self together and go get a new job? Where do you go from here? I feel like I have been strong and doing everything yo beet this for everyone else, but for me, I don't care anymore. Is this normal to feel so down at this stage?
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Dear Ruth, I feel sad that you are having to go through all this. I am sure that you have been there for everyone else in your family when they needed you. Now it is time for you to focus on yourself. If you can give the whole 'work' thing a miss, and just take time for yourself. What you have been through and are going through , is huge. You need to rest, and not do anything. just be.. Regards Mignon
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Dear Ruth Mignon has said everything that I could say. I have found the 'after treatment' stage really hard. I was very depressed for a long time, I didn't want to go out and was extremely tired. I found counseling and anti-depressants a great help. I finished active treatment 16 months ago and am finally accepting that I will not be the same as I was. I ache in my joints from the tablets I have to take for the next 4 years and they do limit my ability for physical activity quite a bit. It is only in the last few weeks that I am energetic and positive enough to feel that I am engaging in life again. All I can say is that it takes a long time, much longer than I though it would. Regards Nanna
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