A question for the Breast Cancer Community

Please describe how your or your loved one’s condition impacts your day-to-day life. What frustrations or challenges do you experience? And what have you done to adjust to these challenges?

Answers from the Community

My breast cancer has minimal impact on me at this time. My frustration is only that because of the partial mastectomy, getting a broader fit is difficult and it’s a case of my shirts don’t always fit well.

So I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’m fairly young. So I would say the biggest way that it has changed my life is even just what I have to think about. My cancer was estrogen-positive. So I had completely cut out soy from my diet because that can make it worse, or so I’ve been told by my cancer-provided dietician. I have a lot more joint pain from the medication that I’m on. My hair is now short when it used to be long. I mean there’s so many ways that things have changed, but primarily just even thought patterns and taking time off work, all sorts of things like that. But joint pain is the biggest ongoing thing that has changed my life. I’m not able to do all of the normal exercising that I like to do. And so, I have to figure out different things to do, different types of exercising.

My day to day struggle is, it’s every single day. I am in a lot of pain due to the cancer spreading to my bones. I cannot think clearly anymore. Medication schedules are just such a challenge. And frustrations, asking for help, not being able to do what I want to do, dealing with the pain, trying to move around. Let’s see, challenges are walking, sitting for a long period of time, and I need to have my husband’s help to get out of bed, help me out of the chair. He cooks the dinners. He basically does what I used to do. Washing clothes, grocery shopping. He does it all because I’m unable to do that now. Yeah. That’s a lot of frustration every day.

Overall, I would say that on a day-to-day, there is no effect on my day-to-day life. I’ve accepted what happened and about the only thing that’s changed is that I have to take medication every day for this particular issue. And it does have side effects that I am probably feeling right now. As far as that is concerned, I’ve made it a priority to exercise and to watch my weight, because I think part of this side effects has to do with pain and things like that and also the fact that I do a lot of walking and weight bearing exercises to keep myself healthy. But aside from that, I can’t say that anything much has changed. I haven’t had to buy equipment or have a special bed or anything like that.

Well, I have stage IV metastatic breast cancer. The frustrations and challenges are that I am on treatment and there is no cure, so I will have to do treatment for the rest of my life, and the treatments that they give you for cancer are very … There’s a lot of side effects, and they make you very fatigued, and there’s a lot of pain involved. It’s spread to my bones. I have a lot of issues with that. To adjust to these challenges, I’ve really worked with my doctor to find the best treatment methods that had the least side effects so that I could have a good quality of life, and I work with my doctor. Everything that he suggests, we have a conversation about, and I find that’s the best way. He’s very open to me asking questions. I’m very open to him making suggestions, and we hash out everything.

The challenges I have with my breast cancer is being extremely tired all the time, and not being able to do all I want to do. I’m 69 years old and live alone, so I have to do depend on my son, who is a good half hour away to assist me, and I feel like I’ve been a burden to him.

My day-to-day life is affected because I have a lot of doctors appointments, and also I suffer from depression as a result of my metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. I’m trying to use exercise and even a little bit of meditation to combat that.

I think the hardest part is the fatigue and the new normal. So just adjusting to a new way of life and constant doctor’s appointments. And I guess we have just rearranged our schedule and how we do our daily routine.

I would say that having metastatic cancer has impacted my day-to-day life in that I am in constant chemo. There’s frustrations and challenges, the weakness. For example, right now, I’m in a particularly aggressive chemo treatment, and it has left me very weak. That has been very frustrating. To adjust, I just rest as possible. I’m fortunate that I have worked from home even before COVID and so I’m able to manage working full-time and cancer treatment.

Well, impacting my daily activities. I experience a lot of bone pain, and that is probably the worst part of dealing with stage four breast cancer is the amount of bone pain. It keeps me from doing a lot of activities, whether it’s with my children or my husband, or just taking care of the house. It’s been kind of a nightmare in that sense. I’m frustrated a lot of the times with dealing with the hot flashes and night sweats. Those have been something else that I have had to try and overcome a lot of the times. Recently, it’s been pretty good with medications. It’s helped me maintain balance when it comes to dealing with the side effects of the medications that I’m currently on. How do I adjust to these challenges? A lot of times it’s communication with my doctor and trial and error with medications to see what works and what doesn’t. Currently, I have found a combination that are keeping things pretty stable.

The breast cancer doesn’t impact my life much, but the cure certainly does. I’m on my third regimen change, and this one has its different side effects. I go every three weeks for infusions, so it disrupts our life sometimes, although we mostly think of it as a getaway for me and my husband. On a day-to-day basis, it’s the side effects that cause discomfort and remind me as I’m going about my day that I’m not so normal anymore. My fingertips are numb and it makes my crafting more interesting, shall we say. The chemo over the course of three years has had an effect on my other conditions I’ve lived with, but didn’t know I had. I knew only that I was a bit bothered by hot feet and restless legs. I finally got a diagnosis of erythromelalgia and of course, restless leg syndrome. I have some medications that keep them bearable now, but the chemo made both conditions flare very, very badly until I found something to control them. The latest chemo also makes it bad on the muscles, bones, joints, so the osteoarthritis I have is about to make me into a cripple.

The condition that I have impacts my life. I get tired, my body aches, but I just move when I can and rest when I have to. And I go to bed early, eat the right foods, and I keep moving, and I take my medicine.

So my condition affects me from day-to-day that I’m still dealing with residual pain. My range of motion is limited, my energy is limited, my clothes don’t necessarily fit. So those are the immediate day-to-day challenges that I face. All of that is super frustrating. Additionally, severe depression. That’s been paralyzing. That has also been extremely challenging as well as frustrating because my doctors don’t seem to know like what to do with me or what the next step is for me, and I don’t know either. To adjust for these challenges, I’ve had to cut back working from full time to part time. I see a psychiatrist regularly. I see a therapist regularly. I’ve been making some medication changes, and it’s all been challenging. It’s all been really hard. I never thought that cancer would be this hard. That’s for sure. I think that’s about it.

My condition impacts my day-to-day life tremendously. I am unable to fulfill daily activities, such as housekeeping, cooking, etc. I’m also unable to drive. I must rely on family members for these daily activities, including all transportation.

I really have a lot of day-to-day, maybe, frustrations due to muscle pain, fatigue, irritability.

For me, the frustrations and challenges that I have on a daily basis are the side effects from chemo, my inability to work and other challenges around the home. My inability to completely do chores as I need to et cetera, et cetera. Some of the things that I’ve done to adjust to these changes is just sat back and accepted the fact that I will get my chores done as quickly as I can, whether it be taking all day, asking somebody for assistance or going onto a second day or a third day. I have not had a lot of family support during this time so sometimes I have to rely on some friends and some neighbors. But yeah, they’re daily challenges, and they continue every day.