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From the heart

I often feel like I must be a very negative person when I read of survivors who tell their stories after breast cancer diagnosis and mention that it has been a positive experience and the wonderful ways that they have been enlightened or motivated to be a better person.

I wonder if many people feel as I do. I feel fat (a new experience for me). I have no breasts any more – just scars. My hair is short and there’s not much of it. I don’t feel sexy or feminine and every time I try to do some exercise to lose weight, I am overcome with hot flushes, joint pain and heart palpitations that really scare me. Nothing about my experience has been positive or made me feel special or inspirational.

My journey with breast cancer (double mastectomy and chemotherapy) and then years of tamoxifen has been, quite honestly, a bloody nuisance! I read of many who have overcome so many obstacles – many more than me and with an attitude that I would embrace if I could. I definitely don’t want to depress newly diagnosed women but I wonder if there really is anyone else out there that feels like me?

I have wonderful support from my family and my partner but ultimately it’s my life that has been affected negatively.

I would love to feel like ‘celebrating’ my surviving this diagnosis but deep down I can see all the ways that it has changed my life – not for the better. I am no longer fit, healthy or attractive, and that is not making me feel empowered. I admire, however, all those wonderful women who are fighting, have survived and are making a difference in their own or in other people’s lives. I just wish it could be me.

Leanne, WA