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Hi everyone, new post

Hi I'm new and not quite sure if and where to post. I've been "surviving" or rather crawling my way through the seasons since finishing treatment in 2007 for breast cancer. I dont seem to find it gets that much easier in a way, but it seems to be valleys and then good seasons and on it goes. I hope everyone is doing ok. Would like to know how people are getting on further down the track.
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Re: Hi everyone, new post

Hi Jenna, Yes, I can understand your meaning - of course it gets better right, that's because things aren't shockingly and frighteningly terrible anymore. But things are not necessarily great or good. We wonder about the chances of ever return to who and how we were prior, and obviously this is a huge confrontation when there are physical changes to adjust to from - say - surgery, which of course you can appreciate. My thoughts are that you don't ever get your other self back though, when I think about it, the sarah that was there before this experience is not here now, but, there is another one, and probaably a more authentic one. Perhaps grieving for the loss of the old self is useful? Maybe also though, for the lost years, and lost future that those years might've brought too - eg, if you were young you may have been at uni, or had a family etc that you may be enjoying now, or life may not be a continual difficulty, again - say for example, because you would now be better off financially due to higher qualifications. There are so many factors, and many potential losses - family, jobs, friends.. travel, fun.. so much. I believe that my mind will never be the same, that my mind was lost. There is some discussion around about chemo-brain. While the chemicals for therapy that are used are super strong, and undoubtably damage brain-cells (imo), I also believe that the trauma of the event brings irrepairable damage to the brain. Such is the nature of trauma. What the ratio is between the damage of the trauma and the chemical effects cannot be speculated on, but it is my opinion that both elements leave their mark. I hope you find others here to explore and heal with. It seems you're reaching out now to grow and heal again (from what little I can tell by your post). That's a good and strong step in itself. It's late here, I hope my post helps a bit, if only to encourage you to keep on keeping on! There are silver linings if you squint ;) Good night. Sarah.
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Hi Sarah thank you for your message and your honesty, you have good perceptions and thoughts about everything, I agree. Its refreshing to hear from people who can let you just sit with it all sometimes, and not try to find positives in everything for the sake of trying to move on. Financially it has rather devastated us and its only now that I can see that. Mentally I think Im definitely more fragile. I would be interested in the chemo brain threads actually. I will try to find them but if you get a minute perhaps you can point me in the right direction. I dont get long on the computer so its all a bit rushed some days. Im seeing my oncologist next week and I'd like to have a chat with him about my brain! He never really acknowledged that the chemo caused any side effects at the time, such as numbness in the hands and feet and in the end we agreed to disagree ( they mustve just decided to go numb for months all of their own accord, not!). But hopefully as time has passed he has come across many patients' feedback and can openly discuss some things. I think grieving has definitely played a part sometimes, even if I haven't properly been aware myself. But lately I havent wanted to go there, although now would be a good time to perhaps explore that some more. There was a support group that had a topic on fear of recurrence and anxiety which wouldve been perfect for me to go to just for once, not far from home. But it made me feel anxious (kinda the point of going) and I was having such a great day I just didnt want to ruin it. Maybe next time, although I like the online groups better I think. I like the fact that i can take my time and read and have a think at my own pace. Thanks again and have a good weekend, Jenna
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Hey again Jenna, glad my response gave you something. The chemo-brain debate rages on (I think the thread on this site is probably called chemo brain if you do a search). I suspect there is reluctance from the medical industry to acknowledge its existence as per maybe under instruction from the (big)pharma companies. Maybe if the cat was out of the bag on the true side effects (big questions around that too) there'd be anarchy and law suits. It's just so suspect the manner it which it is so vehemently denied. Thanks for saying my post was refreshing, I made a correction here and there, for fear of being shot down somewhere by someone for being "negative", even though I don't see it as so, but rather simply the reality. Again, glad it helped. I don't blame you for not wanting to go to group, it was years and years before I thought I could face such a situation. Until then, attempts made filled me with fury and my body would shake and my mind would just shut-down. Even just passing the hospital some years later would give me the creeps. I do believe there are some new and improved efforts and resources being made available at the Peter Mac centre, Bentleigh (at Monash) and East Melb. I understand there is a focus on post treatment support services, if you're interested (maybe their website?). Otherwise, continue to stay in touch here and explore over time from the safety of your pc :) Regards, Sarah.
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Hi Jenna My name is Barb (lady koala), read your story, and I too have had breast cancer removal October 2012, have 2 more treatments to go, and then am on my own, am feeling lonely about the prospect, but I know I must move on with my new life, am recently new to the Cancer Connections and in need of friends here. Am hoping you will add me I am a good listener as well as needing people to talk too. Hope to hear from you Jenna. Cheers Barb (Lady koala) 🙂
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Hi Barb, good to hear from you. I am here if you want to talk, there isn't heaps of people on the forum from what I can see, but sometimes just a few contacts is enough to help you with what you need at times. I found it quite difficult when treatment finished as I still felt exhausted and had no clue as to where to go from there. But one day at a time hey. I found that people thought I should be feeling happy that it was all over and thought I'd be excited to get back to "normal", but there's no such thing as normal with the old cancer experiences are there! Hope the rest of your treatment goes well and that you are starting to feel a bit better in every way possible, Jenna
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Re: Hi everyone, new post

Hi Jenna Just thought I would pop in to say hi and how are you today, well I hope. Have been making Christmas cards to fill in my time. The last couple of days here have been really nice and mild to warm, a relief from the hot days we had. What are you doing with your self of late? Hope your weekend is good, hope to hear from you. Hugs and cheers Barb (lady koala)
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Re: Hi everyone, new post

Hi Jenna Just thought I would pop in to say hi and how are you today, well I hope. Have been making Christmas cards to fill in my time. The last couple of days here have been really nice and mild to warm, a relief from the hot days we had. What are you doing with your self of late? Hope your weekend is good, hope to hear from you. Hugs and cheers Barb (lady koala)
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hi Barb, I just posted re your retreat post as well. Sounds lovely! Yes the weather is a bit up and down here and knocks me around a bit sometimes. I've got a check up in about 4 weeks so am mentally preparing for that. I've also been trying to do some spring cleaning and throw some stuff out that's been cluttering up the place forever. I got invited to a writers group by a new friend I made and it was quite good. I was writing a sort of journal just for myself really. But I had also started to write a fiction fantasy novel a long time ago and have been thinking about that just for fun. I like to spice things up a bit when things start to get a bit mundane, so the writing could be the go. Finding the time is the tricky part, hope you're having a good weekend, Jenna
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