Posted by BonnieC on Dec 7, 2019 2:26 pm
thanks for the great info. It sounds like you didn’t work during radiation. I have tentatively planned to continue working.l during my radiation treatments. My surgeon said that it’s up to me but some women do. Am I being realistic? I’m a supervisor and I can do some work from home. Unfortunately- We don’t have any benefits/short term leaves at my work as we are a small non-profit. But I can apply for a sick leave through EI and receive partial pay. If I need chemo I was planning to use that but wasn’t sure about radiation. I do get 5 weeks vacation and I have some sick time so I was going to try and manage working with some time off.
Your other suggestions are all good about cleaning, cooking etc however my children are 22&24 so they can look after me!! ;) I was researching ointments and cream for possible radiation burns. So far I have heard fresh aloe and eucerin or glaxo cream and to start before radiation even starts. Any other suggestions to prepare??
Posted by Essjay on Dec 7, 2019 3:46 pm
I too am a supervisor, I'm an executive in our department. I do strategic planning, budget management, contracts, HR stuff, partnership building, communications, project management etc. I found my concentration when I came back to be truly awful, and I was afraid of making mistakes. I struggled to remember names, and my own notes seemed alien to me and I had no recall of meetings is been present at. This was the fatigue from both chemo and radiation. Now 6 months after completing treatment I was just thinking this week that I finally feel like I am back on form. I still get walloped by fatigue from time to time and still have to pace myself. I am currently working 1 day a week at work which means I don't have to drive that day and can focus on things that I get distracted over at the office - I also use that day for a long run at lunchtime, which I'm really enjoying.
Lotion-wise I used an aqueous cream by CeraVe, I bought so much, I'm still using it. Use liberally before and after treatment... Your clinic will give you some option and just see what is available. For radiation, you need to have good range of motion, so if this needs some work or the scar is rather tight, now is the time to focus on those stretches and some self-massage. I found radiation made everything tighten up again, and the scar tissue got firmer (I'm still working on it), and I've recently developed web auxiliary syndrome down across my ribs (I'm stretching and massaging to break that down). I didn't suffer too much burning or soreness with radiation. I’m small, and I've heard that's a benefit (there have to be some eh)...
Posted by mc2 on Dec 7, 2019 7:44 pm
And as far as cream and skin goes, i haven't needed it. No rash yet. Radio-oncologist said my skin is taking it well because it is high in melatonin. Of course it may redden in the next week... we'll see!
Posted by Charper on Dec 7, 2019 7:52 pm
Posted by Essjay on Dec 7, 2019 8:49 pm
I really didn't find it that bad. The daily appointments were a pain but I wasn't at the hospital long and they had a pretty efficient system. I have a couple of tiny tattoos and a brown breast to remember that time...😉
Posted by Runner Girl on Dec 8, 2019 9:16 am
I glad you spoke with your doctor and that you're getting out and doing the "normal" life stuff like Christmas shopping. A little distraction from all of this is a good thing.
When I met with my surgeon I was advised that I'd be having radiation regardless of my surgical choice, either lumpectomy or mastectomy. I chose lumpectomy as it was less invasive. Like Essjay , I didn't find radiation to be that bad and I too am left with a brown breast and 4 little tattoo dots that allowed me to become one with the radiation machine. I was able to schedule my radiation appointments early in the morning and went to work afterward.
Posted by Charper on Dec 8, 2019 11:47 am
I also help a guy out once a week with his payroll and paperwork, I have known him for years and I am not sure if I want to tell him? I just do not want to have a melt down.
Posted by Essjay on Dec 8, 2019 12:11 pm
What you tell them is up to you, if your sisters know, and they may say something. Personally I'd rather people hear from me. I was very open about what was going on. I spoke and messaged with my immediate family, aunts, uncle, cousins in-laws and close friends, and then I shared status reports through different stages of treatment on social media. People wanted to know how I was doing, and they tell me they found my posts demystified cancer treatment a little bit ( a friend who went through breast cancer told me after seeing my posts she regretted not being more open, although she was a great help to me privately). In a similar way, my sister who lives with MS posts a picture of her dog on their morning walk every day to say ’I'm ok folks’...
If people know something of what is going on, then they can make allowances when you are having a bad day with anxiety or pain. They don't have to know all the details.
Take it easy 💕 Essjay
Posted by BonnieC on Dec 8, 2019 12:18 pm
My motto so far is ... I tell who I want to tell. People will find out what’s going on with me from other people but I am in control of the people that I wish to share this with directly. It’s been very empowering for me to know that it’s up to me.
As for your family event ... again I say that’s totally up to you. I would say that if your sisters know your situation - then they would understand if you chose not to go. If I’m not mistaken that’s pretty close to your surgery date and at that point of your recovery. You might not be up to a lot of visiting yet outside your home. I was still in pj mode on day 4.
But again my advice - do what YOU want to. Be a little selfish and put yourself first.
Posted by ashcon on Dec 8, 2019 3:33 pm
Cancer is hard enough to deal with and one shouldn't have to manage strained family relationships or uncomfortable moments on top of it too!
I would totally agree with the wisdom from BonnieC and Essjay ,including the bit about you still being in recovery mode after your surgery. No, you should not be out in such a social setting so soon. You will be very weary, possibly in a fair amount of pain, and (let's not forget) you should not be exposing yourself to potential germs and infections. It's not worth the risk.
So, is it a situation where if you don't go, people will ask why you're not there, and then your sisters will have to explain why? And then that leaves people feeling unsure about whether or not they should reach out to you, because they didn't hear it directly from you.
I agree that eventually these people will find out. Maybe you can hide it from the guy you help out with paperwork and payroll for a little while...
It comes down to asking yourself why you do not want people to know?
For me, I felt like I did not want to deal with their responses. Or what I called their "puppy dog eyes" when told the news. When I did start to tell people, there were some insensitive responses, but the majority of the people were overwhelmingly supportive and caring beyond my wildest dreams.
This article on how to tell someone you have cancer may offer some helpful tips that may work for you. https://www.cancerhealth.com/article/tell-someone-cancer
One person who wasn't nice was my twin sister. I learned that she actually told our mother, our other sister, and other people, that she thought I was lying about my cancer.
Needles to say, she and I don't speak anymore.
So, I get it about the strain of bad sibling relationships. Having cancer can, but usually does not, repair previously damaged relationships. And right now, you need to focus on you.
If you don't go to this Christmas gathering, do you have alternate people you can be with?
Posted by Runner Girl on Dec 8, 2019 6:58 pm
Some great responses already. I'd like to add my 2 cents worth. When I was diagnosed I told everyone. I wanted them to hear it from me and get the details from me. That way there was no misinformation, no one blindsided me and I was in control over what was being said. At the time this was very important to me. I also encouraged the women I know to go get their mammograms, to eat better and take better care of themselves, because you never know.
I am doubtful that you'll feel like a gathering 4 days after surgery. Please don't push yourself, if you feel lousy decline and give yourself the time to heal. Your recovery is the most important thing here.
Posted by Charper on Dec 9, 2019 12:38 pm
Does anyone have any suggestions on any exercises I could do now...before surgery, that could help me along? Also, any suggestions on boosting your immune system I read that this could help with recovery?
Sending hugs to all.