This is where I repeat myself again, but remind myself too that I write posts first for my own sanity/therapy, and only then for my readership.

A bit a meltdown today which I didn’t see coming, although I have been aware of feeling a bit low for a few days. I started crying whilst driving over to my piano lesson, and my lovely friend/piano teacher (FPT) offered me tea and a listening ear  – and then taught me piano once I had pulled myself together. Bless her, just what I needed.

Pull yourself together. I always read the blog posts from She has a lot more to contend with than I do, and she is pulling herself together. She is determined not to be defined by her cancer. She is keeping it just on her blog. I feel she is doing better than me (though how would I know, really).

I am perfectly well. Side-effects of medication = minimal (except, possibly, for this emotional lability). Medical prognosis = excellent. Weight gain = zero, and looking good. I also now have a permanent, well-fitting and surprisingly comfortable prosthesis, so “no one would know”.

No one would know? That phrase in itself provokes contradictory responses in me. Not everyone needs to know; but hence I can’t answer the casual question, “How are you?” when it’s asked by those who don’t (I avoided an ex-colleague in the supermarket recently). And I looked at familiar people in a meeting at school last night, and thought, “But they don’t know”.

So I haven’t pulled myself together. There’s my perfectly-well, coping, get-on-with-it, this-is-not-a-big-deal thread. But there’s the thread of shock, trauma, loss and uncertainty which caused me to unravel a bit today. These two co-exist, though the latter is not always to the front. While crying on my FPT’s shoulder, we agreed that the world is still the same, and yet at the same time, my perception of it has shifted. We also talked about my low confidence – particularly professionally – which makes it really hard for me to screw myself up to ask for something  – to ask someone to accommodate me. FPT suggested that I might be feeling an additional need to protect myself following the assaults of the summer, so that it’s harder for me to take risks. Maybe that’s right. Yesterday, I couldn’t even bring myself to phone up a tradesman we want to consult about fitting some blinds (but I have managed it today – small success!).

I am also suspicious of myself. Am I a sympathy-junkie (see “No Camellias Please” on the positive3negative blog)? Am I not letting go of the trauma thread? Will I be able to move on from here? Will I still need to write posts about cancer in a year’s time?



  1. I think this is all pretty healthy stuff, Elizabeth. Certainly I don’t think you are holding on to trauma unnecessarily … Just processing what has happened to you in an entirely therapeutic and self-aware way. You are bound to have emotional ups and downs – and lapses of self confidence – now and again; you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. It’s just all part of the process, I am sure. Part of getting better.

    • Thank you. Just found an article which I might put up which researched the experience of long-term survivors of breast cancer (I’m rather assuming I’m going to be one of those,as the alternative is certainly worse!) It all felt familiar, and I’m only a few months in, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that it feels so tough on some days.

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