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Struggling after surgery
Nelly18
10 Posts
I’ve been through 6 rounds of chemo. I got through a lumpectomy & a lymphnode biopsy. I was sure I was ok after that. But I had to have a lymphnode dissection. And the surgeon said she had to go very deep, she took more than she thought she would have to. I know she did it to be safe & to get any suspicious tissue out. But I’m struggling. Is there anyone who can support me by sharing there experience or how they coped with the “disfigurement.” I guess knowing I also have chemo again, radiation & hormone therapy still to come doesn’t help me feel better either. I feel like I can’t handle anymore but I have to. Before I felt like “I’ve got this” but now I’m struggling. Any advice/support would be helpful.
and also how do you politely tell friends to stop sharing how to cure cancer naturally with you???
12 Replies
Boby1511
595 Posts

@Nelly18

hi there.

im sorry to read you struggling.

I too am disfigured. I have an ostomy till death likely. You get used to it. Still hate it but have come to some peace with it.
natural cure lol. I never get these comments but then I tell my people I’m stage 4 and we’ll dying.

Another CT coming up for me. Docs are betting on this cancer hitting my lungs. Scary to think I’m going die grasping for breath. But I try not to dwell on it. I’m ok today. Still here.

Enjoy your time with strength and energy. It may come a time to rest again.

hugs.

Runner Girl
2144 Posts

@Nelly18

I wanted to share this with you.

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Runner Girl
2144 Posts

@Nelly18

You've been thru so much already and still have a ways to go. I hope you know that you are not alone, that we are with you. I'm sorry you feel disfigured from your surgery. Give it time to heal and see if it improves with time. My lumpectomy scar is one nasty piece of work, my surgeon was no artist, but I guess he didn't need to be. All he needed to do was his job and get the cancer out. Perhaps in the future you could see a plastic surgeon and perhaps they could make it more presentable. But as I said, see how it heals over time.

As for friends who are sharing “other” treatments, they mean well but are misguided. I had lots of those as well. I simply thanked them and told them I intended to follow my oncologist's direction as he is the one with the actual experience of treating cancer.

Allow yourself to feel the feelings, but be sure to keep your chin up, you can do this.

Runner Girl

Ten_minutes
88 Posts

@Nelly18

I too feel like I am disfigured. I sometimes joke that I look like Frankenstein, with all my scars. But these thoughts are really not helpful, especially when you are doing everything you can to deal with an extremely difficult situation. I called my tag name Ten_Minutes because at first that was all I could handle at a time. I broke my experiences up into segments of ten minutes. Eventually the time grew to hours of acceptance to days of acceptance. Lots of things to get used to: body changes, pain, side effects of treatment, worries of the future, extreme fatigue, and the list goes on and on. For me Days of acceptance was only possible with the help of others. It has been 2 years since my initial surgery and I am still healing with the help of others. Reaching out to others who have experienced the same, accepting help when it is offered, asking for help is a good start to address negative feelings. It is really important you give yourself a break. Cancer will be part of your story, a chapter in your life that will never leave. Self-care, mindfulness activities, talking with your cancer team (especially the cancer care social worker!) can help. You are still you no matter what physical changes have occurred. And as for all the friends and family who give advice when it is clearly not welcome… I think it is just their way of wanting to help. Maybe give them tasks to help you instead and maybe the ‘Google advice’ will diminish. It is worth a try.

Take care

Trish

Essjay
1598 Posts

@Nelly18 its early days so there’s lots of healing to happen, but I hear you…lost the bottom outside quarter of my breast and the scar in my armpit is a mess…I also have loss of sensation. These things I see and feel every day…

Have you asked about whether Plastic surgery is an option?

I encourage you to seek out the counsellor in your cancer centre. They are there to support us through our journey and likely they can help what has happened to you and to help you cope with your disfigurement. They will good to talk to when you are having a ‘can’t take any more’ day - it’s often easier to talk to someone outside our circle, especially when we know our friends and family will dismiss our worries without really hearing us.

How are you feeling today?

Best wishes Essjay

Nelly18
10 Posts

Thank you for sharing. You are such a warrior. It’s so challenging to be on this journey. And even that’s an understatement. It gets even harder when friends & family think there’s a natural cure & we are not taking it, as if we are not doing whatever we can. I don’t think they understand the gravity of your/my situation. Or they do and they’re scared and that’s how they control it in their minds. Thank you for reaching out to me. I will be thinking of you in my thoughts & prayers. ❤️

Nelly18
10 Posts

Thank you. I feel less alone when I read that you have the same response from friends & family. I feel better today because Tuesday I had the drain removed & a lot of pain went with it. I think it was in too long because of the holiday weekend. I’ve also taken the pain meds my doctor prescribed when I need relief before I just was taking Tylenol. I can. I longer see my wound because my nurse had to bandage it up again because it was coming loose & getting slightly infected. So that too has helped. You are all right, I must give it time. ❤️🙏❤️ Thank you!

Nelly18
10 Posts

Your post reminded me of my grandmother. She used to say “one day at a time.” If not, “one hour at a time.” and as you say “ten minutes at a time.” whatever it takes to get through. Lots of great advice thank you. I feel calmer!

JustJan
1033 Posts

@Nelly18 I am sorry to hear you are struggling. I think most of us have struggled at some point during our diagnosis and treatment so please know you’re not alone. A referral to a plastic surgeon down the road might be something to think about if you’re still feeling that things don’t look as good as they could once you are fully healed.

In terms of your family/friends offering advice on natural cures. If it were me, I would come up with a phrase for them. It might go something like this: “That idea sounds interesting but I have made a decision to follow conventional medicine for many reasons. I am using the doctor’s expertise and knowledge to help rid me of this terrible disease. For me, this is what I need to do make sure I have the best chance at survival. I find that all the suggestions for natural cures are just too overwhelming for me. If I decide I want to go the natural route, I will reach out to you to discuss it.”

Thank you for sharing your struggles. I hope you can find some peace.

TT53
227 Posts

@Nelly18 , so sorry to hear of your struggles. I was in the same situation as you, but for a different reason. I had two lumpectomies and finally a mastectomy. Each surgery played on my mind. I had reconstruction as well, so I don't have disfigurement as such, but all is different.

It is hard hearing friends and family giving you advice, and I found things that really mattered to me, they just brushed aside. I think it is hard for people to understand what one goes thru, unless you have experienced it. I know they want the best for you, and probably don't know who to go about it.

This is a very personal journey and everyone handles it differently. Give yourself time, little steps and it will all come together. Like many suggested, there are great plastic surgeons that are soooo helpful in making you feel whole again.

Sending hugs your way.

M

Sammyt
15 Posts

Thank you for this. I have a huge scar bc I had a lung removed and a heart bypass in Feb. I tell myself this scar is what saved me. Plus my daughter tells me it makes me look ‘badass’. Lol

linda

ItsTheMama
4 Posts

I was very fortunate in my journey “Nelly18” in that I had a lumpectomy with only one sentinel node removed & radiation. My surgeon told me I could wear a bikini if I wanted to (I was 59 at the time. LOL) I call the scar under my arm my new “smile” as that is exactly what it looks like when I raise my arm. I feel for you & all the others here that have gone through so much. I told my husband - somedays I feel like a fraud when talking about breast cancer - as I was very fortunate that the tumor was small & caught very early and treatment has been minimal. No hormone therapy or chemo required. I still have very mixed emotions about adding cancer to my list (see my intro). The sad part is no one really takes me seriously - no advice - no phone calls & no offer of help - just me & my hubby. With that being said - Very Gentle Hugs to you & everyone one this site!! And thank you all for being here & sharing your journeys - it certainly helps my own!

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