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I DON'T FEEL LIKE I'M A SURVIVOR
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An_244985 posted:
Like many of you, I just recently went through my first bout with breast cancer - an DCIS and a Stage 1A invasive tumor on the left side. I don't know why but never once did I ever feel scared or that my life was in any type of danger. I didn't even panic when I got my first diagnosis. The only time I even cried was when I saw myself in the mirror after the lumpectomy and that was only for a few minutes until I realized I had just come out of surgery a few hours before, of course I'm gonna look "black and blue". My radiologist and surgeon both said this was caught very, very early and my chances for recovery were excellent. I opted for a lumpectomy followed by radiation. Neither procedure was what I would call extremely painful. Oh yeah, both were somewhat aggrivating - the radiation burns especially, but I healed quickly and now can't even tell anything happened (October, 2011 was diagnosis). In fact, today is my first mammo after all of this and I'm still not nervous or apprehensive about the procedure. Why can't I relate to what others have gone through when they've been through the same procedures as me. Why don't I see myself as a "survivor". I'm not in denial, I realize what has happened to me and I know the possibility exists that it can reoccur. Has anyone else ever viewed their cancer this way?
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rachael67 responded:
Each of us, like our individual cases and cancers, are unique! How we feel from diagnosis on is dependent on what we are/where we are in life. Odd how we can accept the idea that each snowflake is different from all the others, but question how we might be different from other humans in similar situations.

The snowflakes are formed by what cloud they come from, how much moisture they possess as they begin their journey to earth, and by whatever winds they encounter on the way down, right? Well, so too we are all formed and influenced on what we encounter on this journey called life!

I remember once during a discussion following a one-man concert by Josh White Jr. (based on the story of his father's life) asking him a question. "What mystical spirit did your (his) father and others like him who endured painful and challenging life experiences possess to not only let them survive, but thrive???" There was, sadly, no real answer for this tho' if it could be found, what a gift it would be to mankind!

Sometimes we weather the storms of life so bravely that we are amazed at our own totally unexpected strength! And the very next week we can be undone by the falling of a leaf (or some other simple thing!)

Your query is much like my question for Josh White...We are puzzled and sometimes in awe of how folks react to life's challenges. We learn from one another and, at times, from our own selves! It's fates way to keep the journey interesting!

Blessings.
Rachael
A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou
 
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Shell1007 responded:
Hi there,
I am 1 year ahead of you. I had my lumpectomy Oct 7, 2010. I was 51 years old.
Our stories are almost the same. Mine was caught very early also & did radiation only, after surgery.
I was told in person of my diagnosis & my response was "what is the next step ?" When I had my first mamm after, my only worry was if it was going to hurt because of the surgery.
I did the "Relay for Life" in our town last year & I had to be talked into walking the "survivor" lap, because I didn't feel like I had survived anything. I was never sick or had any bad side effects. So I know exactly how you feel. I also feel guilty because everything went fairly "easy" for me. So many women have to go through so much.
The ladies on this site are all truly amazing & are full of wisdom.
Take care
Shell
 
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brcansur responded:
Hello and welcome,
I too can relate to your story I am a 4 year survivor yes I say survivor now but I really didn't for about 2 years if not more. I had stage 3 breast cancer actually 2 different kinds of tumors in my right breast. I decided to have both breast removed before they even told I had to have that one removed. Due to early issues with my left breat in my 20's I had a few biopsy and lumpectomies and just didn't want to go through any more so off they go. I found my lump on Feb 8 mammo Feb 9 biopsy Feb 11 dx Feb 13 Bi Mast amr 31 first chemo May 7 last chemo Aug 21 2008. My reconstruction was Sept 29 2009 I gave my body a year to just recover and have nothing going on to it or going into it. I was dx triple neg so I don't take any meds for cancer now or right after chemo. But from the day I was dx I didn't really feel like it was anything to worry about it was ok lets get it out of me and go on with life. I had a few things going on since due to chemo and some issues with my implants one had to be replaced due to not matching up to the other and laying right. Then I got an infection in my other breast so that one had to be removed for a while and I had to get a new one replaced a while later. But I was was still fine with it all and didn't feel like I had anything to worry about and didn't feel like I ever had cancer or acted like everyone told me I should be. " You know the oh my god I have cancer or had cancer " I didn't ever feel that way I felt like I would if I had a bad flu or something like that or one of my other surgeries I had years before. But about 6 months ago I really started feeling it I was getting mood swings and feeling out of sorts. I talked to my breast care doctor and he said he thinks it was because finally I am doing well no health issues going on nothing to be focused on and planing to get better. So now I have time to sit and relax and think. So it is all final hitting me for the first time I had cancer I had chemo and now I am a survivor. I went to group a few days later and talked about how I was feeling but didn't tell them I had talked to the dr and they said the same thing. It was because I was getting healthy and I didn't have control over my health any more like when I was making plans for surgeries and treatment now it was just being me again at home not at the dr all the time.
So what I am saying is it is ok to feel the way you do an even normal for some of us to feel that way so enjoy it and don't feel bad for it. But also know if you start feeling differnt or getting mood swing talk to your doctor or someone that you feel comfortable talking to because you could be going through the same thing I did.
When we are first dx we go into shock and some of us just go into over drive to get it fixed and taken care of that is me I have to get it fixed and get better. Because I have so much to do and peole to take care of. Just know that your are a survivor you beat the beast and you are here to talk about it no matter what you may feel you are a strong women for doing it too !!!
Have a great day angel hugs Roberta,
Roberta
 
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Anon_235593 responded:
My first dx was 2000 ..dcis stage1 nodes clear..did lumpectomy
Recurrannce 2007 exct same dx..did mastectomy
With this cancer, it is never a guarantee that it will recurr..ever. So I understand your views, no matter how many words said, one just never knows. You are right.
 
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supergrangran responded:
it was interesting to read your story as I didn't realise that I felt the same way as you for a number of years and the crazy thing is that I am 7 years in remission and am having problems with side effects of radiation therapy - 2 cavernomas both bleeding in my brain and awaiting appointment to see neurosurgeon and one very painful rib- and it is only recently I feel like I have survived cancer now I am dealing with the crap that the treatment has left me with.

I have angry days and other days I am scared but most of all I feel lucky to have had the support of my faith and friends and family to carry me through.

I hope for you this feeling lasts a long time as I to just felt that I had a bad dose of the flu or something and I enjoyed that feeling,

Christine X
 
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kiwiallright responded:
HI and like they have said we all have our personal feelings about how the diagnosis and treatment effects us. I was like you I always felt that others made a bigger deal of it than I ever did. My first round was in 2001, I think we all carry on as if all is well but when the mammo time came around it was always stressful a day or two before, more nerves, then I would be fine. The thought of cancer returning is always in the back of our minds. I will say that they have been advertising that BC caught early is 99% curable, I always hated that, yesterday they changed some of the verbiage. BC caught early is 99% curable after five years. About time. I made it eight years before re dx, that ride was not fun and it has not gotten any better. I like you thought I got off pretty easy. Will it come back, who knows, and why are we the ones with it is beyond me, but we are the ones
We are all survivors whether it is of cancer, a heart attack or whatever life deals out to us. If you are living today it is because we survived yesterday and each day is a new day to begin over. Enjoy life because one never knows what each day will bring - - -

Love to all

Mary
 
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brcansur replied to kiwiallright's response:
Mary,
Hello, that was said so beautifully and it is so very true we are all survivors of something if we are here today it is because we survived yesterday. You gave me goosebumps on that one !! Each day is a new day I have lived that way for a very long time ever since I had my son because he was a very sick baby and I didn't know if he was going to grow up to be a man. So I lived for each day I had with him and now he is a man and has a son. But it did teach me to enjoy each day for what it brings me not what it doesn't. Enjoy the good not look at the bad see the positive in every neg. I have done that now for nearly 30 years and will keep doing that for each day I am here on this earth. I try and pass that way of feeling and thinking to others because it does bring a peace over me everyday and makes me happy just knowing there is nothing that can take my happyness away unless I let it. So smile each morning and think of one thing that makes you happy and keep that thought with you all day and you too shall be happy. May you have a great day angel hugs Roberta,
Roberta
 
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kiwiallright replied to brcansur's response:
Roberta,

Yes life is life is it not. The funny is when I see friends they all comment and say how good I look, seems like any bit of sun tans me really nice, (a chemo plus) but they have no idea of the struggle. I am glad for counselors that one can dump on so that we can survive the day and the fears, frustrations and uncertainty that cancer brings into our lives.
Have a great day and I am glad that your son is doing well.

love to all

Mary
 
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LizWisconsin responded:
Hi, I live in WI. In August it'll be 16 years since the news that I had to join this club no one wants to join. I'm doing great though. I think you'll do treat too. I was stage II (because the tumor was 2.5 cm in diameter). I had a right mastectomy. I cried the day I found out and then off and on for a few days until after my surgery. I would get anxiety going for checkups for lab work, but as time went by it got better...not so much anxiety. I still only have one breast, because I never opted to have reconstruction. It just didn't matter to me. I'm happily married ... going on 20 years in September! Yayyy (I was 4 years married when I was diagnosed). Anyway. Take care and be sure to contact me if you ever want to, I'd love to visit and share experiences.

Liz
 
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brcansur replied to kiwiallright's response:
Mary,
Oh you are so right about how friends always say how good you look but then would they really tell you that you look like crap ?! NO!! I look back now at my pic because I made a photo book from right before all of this started and all through treatment surgeries and still take pics of myself and I did not look good when everyone said I did. I also wrote everything that was going on from finding the lump to caling the doctor the test the dx all of it my feeling surgeries everything and am still writing. I am thinking about someday putting into a book all my written stuff with the picture for others to read and see that are going through the same thing. I even put all of the jokes and pranks that I pulled on the doctors and nurses during my treatments the good and the bad as they say. So there are a lot of laughs in this book and what I went through and still am. You are so right it does help to have someone to talk to a women I used to go to years ago told me about writing my thoughts and feeling down each day to help get my feelings out so I wouldn't hold them all in and make myself sick. It really does help I don't get as many headaches and it just feels good to get all of it out on paper. I still talk to someone about things going on and go to groups it helps a lot we can't do it all alone we need others for support sometimes. Someone that knows how we feel really helps that is why I love this site.
I hope you are feeling well and get to go out into your garden and enjoy life to the fullest and just love life without thinking about cancer for a day. I am thinking of you, keeping in my prayers and sending angel hugs always Roberta,
Roberta
 
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rachael67 replied to brcansur's response:
Reading some of our posts here I got to thinking ...I know! Very dangereous!!!--

Regarding appearances, I think one of the main reasons folks compliment us with how well we are looking is their attempt to try and reassure us that we are going to be okay! I for one would surely NOT want someone to say: "Poor Dear!! You look like hell!!!" Might put a bit of a dent in my day!

Also, sometimes what shows on the outside is a far cry from what is happening inside. Alas, when we look in the mirror or at pictures, we see both internal and external pics of ourselves....Much different than what we show the public... None of us would want to let many in on how very vulnerable we are at times.

And just once in a great while having someone say we look good happens on a day when we feel really ugly!! Somedays I feel like wearing a bag on my head would certainly be better! And ...once a while... it is on such a day that some sweet soul smiles and says I am looking good!...and for that instant I so want to believe them, that I DO!!! And my day is so much happier!!

Just some thoughts!

Blessings all.
Rachael
A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou
 
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jenna291 replied to rachael67's response:
All I know is that I felt sometimes people complimented me when I look horrid because they just didn't know what else to say. (I felt like a gray alient thru chemo, no skin color at all!) That is not pretty! Maybe the complimentgs are somewhat reassuring that things will be okay. I know that some days when I looked in the mirror with my bald head, gray skin and lopsided boobs, I felt and looked pretty crappy. So... the wig would come out, a bit of makeup, and of course some cool earrings. At least you got to try!
~ Jenna
 
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Serena357 replied to LizWisconsin's response:
Hi Liz, Thank you for your response, which gave me lots of hope. I am stage 1, dx in 9/2011. This is the first time i've heard that someone survives 16 years. I know people do, but never heard directly from the person herself.
 
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kiwiallright replied to LizWisconsin's response:
Liz,

Congratulations, I am coming up on a total of 11 years - this June for my first DX and May 14th will be three years for the second Dx, as I am not cancer free like you we just keep on going...

Sweet As

Mary


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