Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Highlighted
New Contributor

Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Hello, I'm 31, a mother of two and married. I'm not sure what I want to write/ask but found myself here after having a meltdown in front of my 12 year old daughter tonight. Everything just got a bit much and broke down in front of her. Guess I'll tell my story which will hopefully help me vent and feel better.

 

I finished my treatment at RBWH (1000km from home) Dec 2018. I don't have family in AU so my husband had to continue working while I had treatment in Brisbane. We flew my mother over to help look after the kids for a few months while I was away as my husband works away week on week off. This also meant we inherited her bills but we had no other option so were happy to do it. I was okay having my treatment alone as im generally a strong person. My husband came to visit a couple of times when he could on days off as well as friends occasionally. Treatment ended a couple of days before Christmas which was great as i made it home just in time to be with my family for Christmas.

 

About a week after I got home my employer asked when I'd be returning to work (they'd been left in the deep end with my sudden sick leave). Almost at the same time my husband was made redundant meaning we no longer had any income for our household and because we're kiwi's we weren't entitled to help from centrelink. So i did what any other wife/mother would do. I returned to work one week later. I told everyone I was fine and went back full time as if nothing had happened. I'm a positive person and not one to dwell on things or express my emotions much. In fact I don't even admit to myself most of the time when I'm not okay. I'm guilty of "brushing things off" I guess. I returned to work to a complete mess. It was no one's fault, but it meant I walked back into a stressful work load. I did my best to work through the back log. I was juggling work/home/family life relatively fine but did have a "crazy Mandy" day where I had a meltdown at work roughly 3 months in and had to go home for the day as couldn't pull myself together again. To this day I don't specifically know what set me off. We're a small team of 5 in my work place and all males except me. They were a bit shocked and didn't know how to address my moment of madness. I went back to work the next day and pretended that nothing had happened.

 

Since then I've done my best to juggle everything in between medical appointments/procedures, work, home life, kids sport, social engagements etc. I've had a couple of close friends go thorough marriage break ups so I've done my best to be there for them too. Not often do I talk about my own issues. Not because no one asks, but because I don't open up much when it comes to myself. I normally just say I'm doing fine etc. I often get comments on how well I'm doing but deep down I think I've been in denial and putting on a front. But I have noticed I'm not coping as well as I used to. When life/Work gets hectic I often feel like I'm about to explode and cry. And I'm not an emotional person so that upsets me even more as i feel silly. My hubby is lucky to see me cry once a year. I only cried once in front of him during my diagnosis and treatment because i didnt want to worry him.

 

But if I'm completely honest I don't think I'm coping. Im just so exhausted all the time and stressed. No one sees the cracks but i can feel them and they're getting worse. Ive been hanging in at work as I'm entitled to long service leave in Oct but I honestly don't know if I can hang in that long. I need a break and I feel selfish to admit that to anyone because I'm 12 months post treatment NED. I feel like I got sick, went away, had treatment and then jumped straight back into a hectic life. I'm only young so probably being silly, but I just don't know what's going on with me. I feel like I just need a month to reset. Im unhappy in my job and feel like im not being the best mother because I have no energy these days. Its difficult to cope on the weeks my husband is away (he got another job 7/7) and i dont know how to admit this to him or my friends/family as dont want people fussing if they know im struggling. I think everything is just catching up with me. I haven't even mentioned my health worries, but I'm sure you all know how I'm feeling in that area...

 

Sorry about the long post, just realised how long it is.

 

Is there anyone else who has been feeling this way? I still don't even know what my problem is but here I am...

 

6 REPLIES 6
Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Oh Mandy,

I'm glad you've reached out. Everyone has their breaking point & you've reached yours by the sounds of it. I think you really need to download to someone who can offer you suggestions as to where you can access some help in your region. Maybe get some help to do some housework for you, or some other way to free up your time. That way, you can have time to spend either with your family without having any stress; or time for yourself to do whatever you want, get some pampering, or take time to soak in a hot bath; have a mani/pedicure; have your hair done, etc.

You have done a marvellous job of holding yourself up, but now it's time you had someone to lean on. This site has links to people you can talk to, or you can go through your GP to get a referral to a community health social worker, or call lifeline. There are plenty of options of people to choose from, but you definitely need to seek some help. You've carried alot on your shoulders for long enough. Help is not a dirty word & you're not weak if you need it or ask for it.
Take care of yourself 🙂

Budgie

Highlighted
New Contributor

Re: Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Thanks Budgie. I'm feeling much better after having a vent but I agree with you about needing to talk with someone. It's something I struggle with face to face or on the phone. I had a lovely social worker who would check in on me during my treatment in Brisbane but I never really opened up much. And i often don't know what to say when I see my doctors/oncologists. They ask how I've been going and I normally only tell them about physical body changes, reactions to treatment etc. I think I might start writing a list when I think of something I need to talk about. I guess I just never know how to bring up what I'm really feeling when asked.

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond 🙂

Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Great idea about writing things down to take with you.  When the doc asks you next time how you are, just bite the bullet & be honest with them & yourself - it certainly can't hurt you.  Actually, most of us lie when we're asked how we're feeling.  We usually say that we're fine, when in reality, we're not.  😉

   
Good luck 🙂

Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Cancer Council Team

Re: Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Hi @Mandylou - how are you doing this week?

 

I am not sure if you have seen our new program that we have been working on Re-claim Life: call out for young adult survivors ?

 

If you would be interested, I recommend you give the team a call on 1800 734 398. I think it would be ideal for you to look at ❤️

Highlighted
New Contributor

Re: Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Hi Katecat. 

 

Thank you, my week has been busy. Trying to work on my stress levels a bit better. Just finished work for the week so looking forward to relaxing tonight.

 

I had a look at that new program. It does sound good, I'm just not sure if I'm ready for video conferencing. It may make it harder for me to talk openly that's all 🙂

Highlighted
Contributor

Re: Feeling lost/alone/stressed 12 months post chemo & radiation

Mandy I really know how you feel, and people who never had cancer dont really understand.  You are strong and feel you have to be able to cope but you are not having an easy ride.  I was thinking when I was reading your post about you being able to get some help thru your family doctor, e.g. being referred to a conscellor that deal with cancer.    If you could possibly be able to offload everything onto someone else it would be so helpful to you.   Just because you are strong doesnt mean you dont need help, it is not a sign of weakness or not being able to cope it is just that having cancer is such a hard road to travel and very emotional I know because I have travelled this road myself.    I received my pet scan results before Christmas which showed all clear, but it is trying to rearrange your life a different way.  

 

Ask at the hospital if they have anyone to help you or as I said before go your doctor and seek help., dont be put off.  All these worrying and stressful situations dont help you at all with your health.   Please get back to us to let us know how you went.

 

 

Reply
0 Kudos
Post new topic
Talk to a health professional
Cancer Council support and information 13 11 20Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.