Help finding a positive attitude

Posted by emmae @emmae, Thu, Feb 7 6:32am

Hi all
I am new to this site and this is my first post. I am having A/C chemo for Triple Negative breast cancer, stage 3. I just finished 4 rounds and am due to start a different chemo drug next week.
I am really struggling with finding a positive attitude. I seemed to have slipped into a dark place that I having trouble getting out of. I know that a positive frame of mind is a huge part of the battle and I want to be able to have that but for whatever reason this feeling of depression is completely overwhelming me. I would be so grateful for thoughts on how to tackle this from anyone else who has experienced it. It seems like cancer is robbing me of who I am, what I look like and taking my personality.
I am hoping when I move o to my new chemo drug next week this may improve but 12 more sessions of chemo, then surgery and radiation feels daunting to say the least. I have a supportive family and I the hear the positive messages they are giving me, however I am having trouble believing them.
Any ideas on how to push past this would be gratefully received. Emma

@emmae

Good morning and thank you for your reply. I am a woman of faith and that does help me although it brings its own challenges too. I have taken a lot of comfort in God’s word, at times I have felt his presence strongly and at other times feel quite alone. I too force myself to walk in my neighborhood and try to appreciate each moment. It is scary for me that these negative feelings can get such a hold as I do consider myself to be a strong person with a positive attitude. I am hoping a lot of it is a side effect of the chemo. I will continue to pray for courage and strength for myself and others going through this horrible journey.

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Hi Emmae again, I just reached out to someone I worked with 8 years ago. She is a BC survivor of 8 years! Hers was an aggressive type too, HER2 neu. I’m glad I reached out to her and she is doing very well. What I would like to tell you is that she said that a positive attitude is very important. If you’re feeling down, it affects the immune system. I know it’s easier said than done, but we must be positive. Have a nice day.

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I understand this dark place, and started a restorative yoga class for women on this journey.
I just felt no one was helping me with what was happening to my body and wanted to do something.
To my surprise, the greatest benefit I have seen is for my mind… as the class is so calming and supportive and really brings you to a place where you can quiet your mind ( does not happen in your first class)
Well worth it, if any of you are in Rochester or the surrounding area
Free
http://www.climbroca.com/phoenix-yoga-program
Hugs–

Liked by cindylb, oilermama

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@cindylb

Being diagnosed with and treated for cancer is very hard. I have worked through pretty much every emotion I can imagine. I've felt complete and consuming fear, depression, anger and resentment. I think it's completely normal to have to face all of these emotions and everyone is different in how they cope. Depending on your cancer diagnosis and circumstance it can feel really isolating and overwhelming. Of course you want and think you should have the energy to 'fight' but sometimes it's hard to work up that extra energy, especially when you're going through treatments and need all your strength to just get up everyday.
Unfortunately, there wasn't any kind of counseling or support group available to me that didn't require a great deal of planning and effort on my part. Neither my doctors, insurance or hospital had any kind of support group (pretty pitiful isn't it?) so I found this Mayo site and it's been a lifesaver for me.
I think we all have to find a way to work through this. Some people join groups, some turn to their faith or churches, some get out and march…some (like me) get through it hoping for the least damage possible and hoping maybe they can be a support to the next person who comes along and might need a shoulder to cry on….and it's ok to cry. We don't all have to dress in full pink outfits and act as if this isn't possible the hardest thing we'll ever do or face….because it's truly difficult.
My challenge is getting up everyday and being grateful for just this one day and making the most of it – in whatever form it takes.

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There is a wonderful book I was given when first diagnosed. Today was my LAST radiation day and I am still not through it. It has given me hope, loads of love, and encouragement by other cancer patients. "Dear Friend, Letters of Encouragement, Humor, and Love for Women with Breast Cancer" and put together by Gina L. Mulligan.

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Oh how wonderful for you! Yay no more radiation! I have 14 to go.

Liked by oilermama

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It will go faster than you think. I had 33 treatments after being diagnosed with stage1A bc after my lumpectomy. I was lucky to have no real side effects. Hope you sail through the last half of your radiation treatments!

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Thank you I hope so too. And so happy you did so well.

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@tessfair1

Some of that positive attitude stuff we hear as cancer patients really pisses me off. Many people use the belief that a “positive attitude makes all the difference in the world” to stifle some really dark horrible terrifying feelings. I think we need the space to feel whatever we feel and to express those feelings and to be heard by friends and family as scary as that may be for them. Here is a post I just shared on Facebook with my friends and family. I have been very open and honest about my personal experience in the hopes that I can educate others about what it means to really be there for us as we go through this. Perhaps you might find some hope in these words. I, too, went to a very dark place during my first chemo drug. It really changed my brain chemistry.

Almost one year to the day of my surgery I have finally experienced a few moments of genuine happiness. A few moments of not being terrified for my life and my kids in every waking moment. A few nights of only waking once or twice in full on panic. A few moments of not being consumed by fear of hidden cancer cells and recurrence and a shortened life of pain and suffering.

To all those in the “club” who assured me that it would get a little easier with each passing year, I thank you! I have held onto that hope so tightly to get me here. Although my treatment will continue for many more years, I am hopeful that the worst of it is behind me.

To others who are just starting on this horrible, terrifying, painful journey I offer you this post as hope that the fear that may now consume your every moment will ease-no matter how impossible that feels right now. The journey, whatever path you choose, will be worth it. You are worth it. I am worth it. Our surgical scars, our chemo wrinkles, our radiation tattoos and discoloration map our journey and showcase our strength.

Perhaps in our lifetime there will be a cure or a full understanding of what causes this disease and a global commitment to eradicate the causes. Until then we make the choices that are best for us and count on love and support to buoy us up through the real shit parts. Thanks to everyone who has offered me support this past year. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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Yes, that positive attitude is sometimes very hard to find. Even though you know it’s a good attitude that is going to carry you through the worst of cancer treatment. I found the following post on a Facebook page, and copied it for my own reference. I’m sharing it here, hoping it can help each of us who just wants understanding from those around us.. I think it says a lot about the need for the emotional side and fear going through this dreaded disease. I like the comment that there needs to be a time to “grieve”.

“I was very fortunate to have been diagnosed early. But still, it is challenging to feel ‘whole’ again. What many people overlook is the emotional trauma that goes along with diagnosis. I was lucky to have the support at the Huntsman Institute for the emotional side of cancer also. My body has now been declared ’cancer free’ following treatment, but my emotions are still sometimes very raw.

It has been reported that after a chemo treatment, it can take years until you feel alive again … with the side effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation you will never be 100% because your immune system has been weakened.

Certainly, in the most difficult moment of life you realize who your real family and friends are, or the people who truly appreciate and love you. They allow you the time and space to ‘grieve’ the health, happiness, and security, you once had-and likely will never have again. These are the people who do not take you for granted, or make light of the emotional trauma you experience by their self centered demands of you. As a cancer patient you know they don’t mean to be selfish, their behaviors and demands are your clue that they just do not understand-even those they truly believe they do.

Cancer is a very aggressive and destructive enemy of our bodies. Even after cessation of treatment, the body remains broken, even in an attempt to repair the damage caused by the treatment to combat the disease. It is a very long process.

Don’t overlook the trauma of the emotions cancer patients go through during their long journey, and the likelyhood that life changed drastically for them with no ability to go back to the security they once felt.”

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@karendb

Good morning to you all. I too have been fighting depression and fear. Sometimes you feel so alone. I'm so glad I found this forum. I live in a very isolated area of our province so haven't access to groups or councillors si it helps to read that others feel the fear same as me. I'm trying so hard to be positive but it's so so hard. Hang in there everyone. I will try to practice what I preach.

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It is an isolating feeling, this site is a great way to help combat that 💜

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I had triple negative stage 2 in the left breast and ER positive in the right breast. The ER positive did not show in a mammogram, but was detected when they did an MRI before surgery. I had 4 rounds of AC as well, followed by 12 weeks of taxol. The taxol was not as difficult as the AC. Since I showed positive for BRCA 1 and 2, I had bilateral mastectomy, as well as a hysterectomy. I am now on anastrozole (lovely side effects). I’m a little perplexed as to why I did not have radiation or any scans (another question for my oncologist I guess)….anyhow, in October, it will be 5 years since I was declared cancer-free! Woohoo!! Each time I had treatment, I kept telling myself that this is just an “interruption” in life and i’m one step closer to finishing treatment. Praying for all who travel this road!

Liked by trixie1313

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@patsydanley

I had triple negative stage 2 in the left breast and ER positive in the right breast. The ER positive did not show in a mammogram, but was detected when they did an MRI before surgery. I had 4 rounds of AC as well, followed by 12 weeks of taxol. The taxol was not as difficult as the AC. Since I showed positive for BRCA 1 and 2, I had bilateral mastectomy, as well as a hysterectomy. I am now on anastrozole (lovely side effects). I’m a little perplexed as to why I did not have radiation or any scans (another question for my oncologist I guess)….anyhow, in October, it will be 5 years since I was declared cancer-free! Woohoo!! Each time I had treatment, I kept telling myself that this is just an “interruption” in life and i’m one step closer to finishing treatment. Praying for all who travel this road!

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Excellent.

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I completed 15 radiation treatments about a month ago. I was staying in a Hope Lodge during these treatments. I would post to FB each day to reassure my friends back home that I was tolerating the radiation well. I referred to it a my " Beauty Treatment" . My friends enjoyed my sense of humor and were comforted that I was really ok.

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@karendb

Thank you I hope so too. And so happy you did so well.

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@isman1408

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