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Feeling like a fraud!

66 REPLIES
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Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Vonne I have received you PM and replied with a quick response this morning, as I was on my way to rads.
Thank you so much for the information, I will PM you again later with some thoughts xx
Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Andi, 

I’ve finally sent you a PM, I hope it helps! 

Butterflyflyfree, you’ve really had it tough, I’m glad you’re coming out of rads but take it easy for a while, won’t you?! If you try and do that then it gives permission to us to do the same! 

 

I’m feeling steadier again...ridiculous that a sane person like me should get emotional but listening to others I guess it’s pretty normal. I spoke with a BC nurse the other day who said to make myself a priority and although that’s really alien to me, and to most of us I’m sure, it rang true! I totally agree with her! I think that when we can love ourselves despite all our faults and failings and wonky, weird looking, blue, swollen, flat, or bulbous scarred breasts and axiilla then we can develop the inner self esteem and self confidence which we need in order to make time for ourselves without feeling guilty. 

 

Im sure I’ll still have wobble moments, but I am really grateful to have the ‘sisterhood’ of good caring advice around me from all of you!

 

Now...I’m still waiting for rads which start on 7th...I can’t wait for the ‘fun’ of driving for an hour or more to get there for the 10 minutes needed, and lying half naked on a hard board with a machine above me!

Onward to victory!  🙄🙄🙄🤪🤪🤪🤪

xxx

 

 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Butterflyflyfree,

Hope your treatment goes well, thank you for the kind words. 

Love to all on this journey xxx

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne

Just reading your post and the contributions on the thread from other ladies and wanted to say how much I identify with your comments.
I've also had an early stage small tumour, wle and just started rads
All your reactions and feelings are just normal.
Like Helena I was waiting 9 weeks from surgery to starting rads and just wanted to get it done so I could get on with my life.
I too had a massive weepy session on my first rads appointment. The journey to the hospital took an hour which was stressful in itself and as we pulled in to the hospital car park I just broke down.
I couldn't process that I was there for cancer treatment but all the hospital signs made me very aware of that fact.
Often when it is several weeks since surgery we forget about hospitals, scans and appointments but now I've completed the first 5 of 15 sessions and things are moving along.
I was interested in your comment that you are not taking the hormone blocker meds and that your onc was OK with this.
Can you let me know your reasons? I certainly wasn't given an option on this -I'm on Letrozole-and am concerned about potential joint issues as I have osteoarthritis.
I would really value your opinions and why you made that decision if you are happy to share, but send me a pm me if you wish
Hope you are feeling a little more relaxed and enjoying the lovely sunshine xx
Community Champion

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Vonne

 

Oh for goodness sake, I do wish sometimes these people would stop and think about what they are saying and the affect it will have the person, he probably thought he was being reassuring in his own way.

 

I was nine weeks past surgery before I started my rads and remembering feeling so frustrated as I just wanted to get on with it so totally understand the way you are feeling, but you will get there mate.

 

It is absolutely not ridiculous to feel sory for yourself, we all feel that way from time to time and this is why it is lovely having this forum because there is always someone there who understands what we are going through.

 

When I had my planning apt I was expecting to get all my dates but was only given the first day, then at that I was given for the rest of the week and then told I would be given the following weeks date on the friday.  This is the part that I found so frustrating because my life was ruled by this one lappointment every day, I remember the lovely nurse asking me how I was and I just burst into tears, saying I had had enough and didnt want to do it anymore as I wanted my life back.  Loads of tissues and a lovely hug and I was having my session and on my way home.  Once you get started it will go quickly.

 

I remember when I told the ladies at work about the blue dye and the effect it would have on my breast, they nicknamed me "bluetit" caused a load of hilarity

 

Honestly your inner strength and spirit are still there, they are just hiding at the moment.

 

Sending you loads of hugs

 

Helena xxx

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne and Jo, it’s taken me months to realise that this is all happening to me, and still think I’m not quite there yet. Am hoping some psychological support might help me. I have found it’s the simple things that upset me the most..the smell when I lost my hair, not being able to taste properly, not being able to have a pedicure and paint my toes this summer, and what to wear that doesn’t make me feel like a patient when attending hospital for appointments and needing to keep getting undressed! I too took photos after my op for reassurance, a bit embarrassing when you’re trying to find a random photo amongst the many boobs to show someone! 

 

It all happened so quick for me too, from diagnosis to treatment was 10days with appointments for scans in between. But after 8 rounds of chemo and mx, I have 4 radiotherapy sessions left and then continue with 3 weekly Herceptin and Pertuzumab until October when I’ll have another scan. Apparently I’ve lost the “ill” look in my face, and have ditched the hat this week so sporting a very short and very grey crop. But as I say it still feels surreal. This forum has been such a comfort knowing there are other ladies who are going through treatment at the same time, I am so grateful for all the support.

 

Good luck for your rads ladies, you’ll soon be out the other side. Hugs to everyone. Xx

 

 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne,

Good to see you. Just wanted to say, I too am a very positive person, interestingly enough I would say I feel a different person since my diagnosis. Couldn’t tell you why but just feel different. Not in a negative way but just different. 

So these experiences in our lives affect us in different ways. I was being so matter of fact about it and because I was diagnosed on the Thursday and had my surgery the following Tuesday, I didn’t have much time to think about it. It wasn’t until a good 3 weeks later It dawned on me that this was quite a major thing! 

You are not a fraud!

I start my rads next Thursday, so pleased to have a date, it is frustrating not being given definite dates.

We are all here for you 😀

Jo

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Seabreeze, it’s so kind of you for asking!

 

I’m getting exhausted by the travelling and lack of hospital parking and I’ve not even started radiotherapy yet! 

 

I had another appointment yesterday, it was one of these ‘chat’ type appointments about what the CT scan is going to be like. The doctor was nice, but quite dismissive  and he said it WASN’T.....  “A SERIOUS CANCER”!

Now, for someone like me to hear that it is absolutely guaranteed to cause me to be back to feeling like a FRAUD  again! (I guess next time I’ll not bother with screening and wait until it’s spread throughout my body so that I’m told it’s a proper cancer! As you can tell I’m a little disappointed by his thought process!) I guess some consultants are just better with words than others! 

 

Sometimes I feel that my inner strength and fighting spirit have sapped away! My usual self confidence has left me. Yes...I’m feeling sorry for myself! Ridiculous!

I really feel that there should be a plan presented to us up front telling us of an approximate timeline to all of this, there have been so many things I’ve had to cancel, places I should have been, and some at the last minute! Plus I’ve not seen my grandkids since the diagnosis because of sudden appts (they live at great distances so planning ahead is a must).

 

There are times I find myself with tears streaming down my face for what feels like no reason, but doing that in the middle of paying for a bra in M&S, or simply walking along the street can be rather embarrassing! The upside is that I now know every toilet and changing room in town where I can hide in until my red eyes become clear again!! 

 

Perhaps we should start a new thread about....’Suggestions for which places to hide in times of emotional breakdowns! ‘

 

The scars are not as vicious, everyone here was so right, of course, and I started taking photos for reassurance. That was good advice! The blue dye is lingering but on the plus side I now have different coloured boobs...who wants matching colours of breasts anyway! 

 

For many reasons I’ve made the decision to stop taking tamoxifen, Hormone Therapy is not right for me personally. The two oncologists I’ve seen both agree with this. However, I mentioned it to both my oldest son and husband who are far more knowledgable than the oncologists are (obvious sarcasm here) and they both flipped, so I think I’m just going to have to take it for a while until they forget about it and I can stop! 

 

So Seabreeze, you can tell you asked me this simple question at a time I had no one to talk to about this! Thanks for asking me, and I apologise about the long protracted answer! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne,

Wondering how are you getting on recovering from the op and the rest of it!

Seabreeze

X

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

So glad you are feeling better, let’s keep in touch to compare notes 😀 we are all in this together!

Fancy seeing that fundraiser! See it as a sign of support from where you least expect it!

Shame about the gloomy weather today, was enjoying the sunshine! 

I am going shopping with my Mum to buy a couple of crop tops and creams for rads, so I am prepared. Still waiting for a date for planning session.

Have a good day!

Jo x

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Thanks Jo, global warming has nothing on all our meltdowns!!!

I’m nearly back to my proper self again and my positivity is nearly back up there!

 

On Saturday I had my first proper journey out shopping, and inside the shop door was an exercise bike with riders raising funds for Breast Cancer Care! I donated money then spent the most of my time in store pretending to gaze into the freezer section so that people couldn’t see the tears dripping down my face! Of all charities to see on my first outing!!! 

 

I’m glad you said three weeks, I’m still pushing myself really hard but keep falling asleep, I think that as women we are too experienced at pushing ourselves so find it hard to stop!
My scars are not as bulbous as even a few days ago, I wish I’d taken photos like you have in order to compare it. I’m looking forward to the pain easing!

 

Thanks Jo, all the best with your recovery too. X

 

 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne

 

Just wanted to send you a hug. I had surgery on 27th Feb, WLE and SLNB, so a little ahead of you time wise. I was also very surprised at the size of the incision, but just as all the other wonderful ladies on here have said, they do fade. I took photos of mine as a record and especially the last couple of weeks, it has really looked ok! You are bound to be swollen for a while.

 

I felt really tired for a good 3 weeks.

 

I was fine for the weeks after surgery but then had a meltdown last week, you are not alone in this.

 

Hope you are feeling better today, try and get outside and enjoy the fresh air, feel the sun on your face and know we are all here for you!

 

Lots of love 💕 

Jo xx

 

 

 

 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Jangar50,

 

Ive just read your message, you were obviously as shocked as I was, I wish we had been better prepared for the end result! However, like I suppose you’re saying, my end result has not yet happened, and one day if I can have a check up and the scars have faded so much, then the end result of having scarring will be ok. In comparison to what could have happened if I’d (we’d) not had scanning then that end result would have been far worse! 

Xxx

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Thanks!


I felt stupid after my meltdown, I think I was totally exhausted, I never ask anyone for help and am the one that usually gives strength to other people. You were all so lovely and really gave me more advice and comfort than you could realise.

 

When you all said about scars fading, I remembered that in previous operations I’d had they had faded and become more natural looking, but I think the reason I’d not thought about that was because a Breast is more visual than the places my other scars are, and the core biopsy mark was still as bold as it was when it was done. These wounds are far more lumpy, I had just thought they would be smoother!


Seabreeze you’re right, the twists must have been the way I was lying, they also follow the natural fold lines there, so in hindsight i suppose I’m impressed at how the surgeon did this!


Juliwulie, like you said, I think a pre warning of what it might look like and how big the scar could be would have been good idea! I was given a good explanation of how big the lump was but I’d just presumed the scar would be about the same size (sometimes our minds don’t want to think of these things)!


Optimissy64, the chemist gave me Savlon this morning, and I’ll definitely get Bio oil ready for when the wound has settled. Thanks!


Helena, I hadn’t even thought about them being checked by the oncologist to see if they’re ok before radiotherapy, that’s good to know!

 

I’m grateful to you all for replying and not judging, and also for telling it like it is. It’s good to have somewhere like this to turn to for advice, and with all of you who have been through it!

 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

I felt exactly like you!  I was so relieved at the cancer being removed I never thought much about how I would look after. BUT...I am now threee years post surgery, rads etc, and the scars are just thin silver lines.  I promise you, they will get much much better.  My chest was horrific, blue, green, brown,bruising scabs, raw looking, it was truly horrible.  It will get better, I actually took a photo every second day, and looing back you can see the bruising and swelling going down week by week.  You are only just over the surgery, and this is the worst it will be.  It will only get better.  I've just had my 3rd year mammogram and each time I go, the nurses always comment about the neat scarring.  I so feel for you, because I remember looking at my chest when I first had to change the dressings and almost fainting!  Take care of yourself, you've been through a lot, but it does get better. xx. 

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne,

 

Bags I'm Tigger in Helena's group hug pic!

 

It is bit of a rollercoaster going through treatment, so quite natural to feel as you do at times. We've all been there.

 

The scars will fade, as others have said here. Even the medics have to take a second look to see my lumpectomy scar. I had 3 nodes removed and did have a bit of the twisty effect there (I think it must be due to the angle they have your arm at when they remove the nodes) and that has also faded and reduced over time.

 

Because I waited quite a long time before having surgery for rather significant asymmetry, I now have a third op area, but again it is fading and the slight puckering reducing (that was mid Dec). I should add because the first scars healed so well I have every confidence the latest will continue doing so.

 

It's always harder to see when the temporary scabs are along the op line. Let the scabs over the healing scar gradually clear away in their own time (which will happen soon), the scars will then be a deep pink and gradually fade. Once the swelling goes down (which again can be a slow gradual process) the shape of your breast near the scars will have a chance to readjust. Plus it takes about 6 weeks for any internal stitches to dissolve so bear with it, it will get much better. The pain will reduce and go too. Keep taking the painkillers. And do the exercises on the post op sheet.

 

I should add, I also totally understand the feeling that it's nothing as compared to something else that is going on. I felt that way due to my partners sister having been diagnosed with lung cancer at a late stage, not that long before I was diagnosed. I felt like I couldn't complain because she, poor thing, didn't have a chance, whereas I did. However, whatever we as individuals see as being more significant, it doesn't alter the fact we have been diagnosed with breast cancer...so it okay to feel a bit low at times, particularly when you are in such early stages of it all. 

 

Have you asked your partner directly for a hug when you feel like a hug is what you need? He's probably just trying to be positive (and wondering what else he can do), so just tell him that's how you feel (and it's hard to explain to him how you feel).

 

One day at a time. Listen to the birds sing, catch a ray of sun (if you are lucky enough to have any fleeting rays today) and be kind and compassionate to yourself.

 

Sending big virtual hugs,

Seabreeze, aka Ms Clingfilm, aka Tigger.....

XXX   

 

 

 

 

Community Champion

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Vonne

 

Oh my darling if I was with you now I would give you the biggest hug ever, but this will have to do from us all.

 

group hug.jpg

 

Keep in mind that it is still very early days yet, you are only 9 day post surgery and the aneasthetic will still be playing havoc with your system.  You have had major surgery, it is not a little op so never ever feel a fraud.

 

Never forget that this is exactly the place to come to when you are feeling like that because we totally understand you and what you are going through, we will support you through all of this. And you do not have to apologise for anything mate.

 

I wish I could show you my scars, they are both probably about the same size as yours, one under the arm and the other at the top of the breast where the tumour was.  In the early weeks they were very red and swollen, but honestly they look like normal creases now and in fact I completely forget that I have them now.  If you have not had surgery before it is a big shock but I promise you they will settle down.

 

By the time you have your rads it will have settled down and your oncologist will check your breast when you go to see them prior to your planning appointment to make sure that they have settled down enough for rads.

 

This is a little hiccup and it always seems to get us in the early hours of the morning when it is quiet and we have nothing to distract us.

 

I know I have said it already but honestly, and you can see that Optimissy has said the same thing, in a few months time you will not even notice them.

 

Sending you loads of squidgy Helena huggles.

 

xxxxx

Community Champion

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Hi Vonne

how you are feeling is understandable so no worries about having a meltdown. But - be reassured the scars do improve - tremendously. I remember my scar for the SNB was much worse in appearance than the WLE one - sort of puckered and red. Now I can hardly see it. Ditto the WLE one - about what I thought was 3 -4 inches long after surgery; now - well, probably about 2 inches or so, and so faint you have to look hard to see it. If i had ever been someone who goes topless on the beach (I'm not!) I would have no hesitation in doing so now. There is a slight difference in size/shape of my boobs but nothing much worse than many women have - few of us are completely symetrical even without having surgery. Your boob is probably still bruised.

 

Once  rads are over you could ask your nurse when you can start using Bio oil - it is really good for both old and new scars and I used it to good effect. Paradoxically, I thought the scars healed a lot better after the radiotherapy, as though the radiation was having a healing effect, but that might just be my imagination and they were healing anyway.

 

All will be well - take care. xxxxxx

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Vonne there is no need to apologise. I felt exactly the same. I was so surprised the size of my scar and how awful it looked in my eyes. I wish I'd been warned then it wouldn't have come as such a shock. I thought I would never get over it as I couldn't even look at my scars. It does get easier honest. My advice to you is keep putting loads of cream on. I finshed my rads weeks ago and yes I still put my cream on twice a day and plenty of it. Don't worry about having rads either-I was ok.

I too have other things going on so I know it's not easy.

Hear to talk or listen anytime.

Julie x

Member

Re: Feeling like a fraud!

Oh my goodness, I am sooooo sorry for my meltdown, I broke my unwritten rule of never  writing anything when being overtired and emotional! I’ve tried to edit this but can’t seem to, so pleeeease forgive a time of emotional and ohysical weakness!