There are a lot of articles written about loss of confidence with a cancer diagnosis especially around relationships and intimacy. Looking back I think my confidence took a hit quite early on, as I’ve mentioned before my relationships changed. People started to worry about me, instead of me worrying about them, so this meant I was treated differently, not saying it was a bad thing, as it wasn’t but where did I fit into this new world? My job had changed so what was my new purpose? I would see people I know in the village, in shops and I didn’t know what to say, small talk evaded me, my head was full of I have cancer can you tell by looking at me? I need to smile more I am so sad. Rationally I know people couldn’t tell and didn’t know but I felt different. And this was all before surgery or chemotherapy.
After surgery my confidence was very low, my body looked and still does look different, I have struggled and still do with the changes, although I am blessed to have 2 breasts neither look or feel like mine. (My new boob is a muscle as I can do a party trick with it, also when I lean on it, I feel it in my back – very odd sensation, but that’s the light side and does make me smile). Each day is better and I know that I will get used to my new pert breasts, but it’s been hard. My role at home changed, I wasn’t able to do the things I did before, my daughter/husband took on the role as carer, they made me drinks, carried things up and down stairs for me, I wasn’t allowed to lift anything. Emelia motivated me to do my exercises, I should be looking after her not the other way round, yes this would be temporary but that didn’t help how I was feeling. It was easy to shut the world out, but I pushed myself to have friends round and to go for a walk each day. I worry about the effect this has had and still does have on the kids, family and my very close friends, the guilt is still there.
I had started to build myself back up Confidence wise, then chemo began – feeling ill again, I shut everyone out the first week, then my hair started to come out. I pushed myself to go out, but no where to public, a walk along the river where no one knew me. Even with a wig, I don’t feel me, I think people can tell, I braved walking in the village with a scarf on, this was a big step, so I decided to go to Go Outdoors this turned out to be an excellent idea, as i bought “buff” head cover, now I have a head cover that isn’t cancer related and it’s pink, so suits my colouring. I have managed to go places in my wig but I have chosen places where I will blend in, and perhaps not be known, if I am honest I will admit I haven’t been in my village shops since losing my hair, I know it’s silly but can’t face it yet, some situations are easier to avoid/say no too. Although my confidence has taken a knock, I have achieved many positives too, but if I say no or don’t do something you feel I should, just remember it’s hard and some days are harder than others ❤. It’s hard watching everyone’s life carrying on as normal, I am pleased for my friends and I want to hear or read about their lives, i still want to be included in their worries, the best thing for my confidence is to treat me as before, tell me your worries, include me in your lives, (I have some amazing friends who do this already, I know they weren’t sure to start with but I want to help still and to feel needed). On a positive each day its getting easier, and I know by the end of the year I’ll be back….