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Community Shares: What I Miss Most About Life Before Advanced Breast Cancer

Receiving an advanced breast cancer diagnosis can feel like it changes everything, especially in the beginning. It can touch every aspect of daily living – some more than others.

We wanted to spark a conversation about these changes and find out what you miss the most about your life before breast cancer. To hear more, we reached to the followers of our Facebook page and asked community members to fill in the blank: “I know I cannot go back in time before MBC entered my life, but sometimes I really miss _____?”

The question inspired answers from 80 community members. Here is what they said.

Freedom from hospitals

One of the biggest differences in life before and during advanced breast cancer is the hospital visits. Between the check-ups and the chemo or radiation appointments, many in the community are spending anywhere between 3 and 12 hours a month at the doctor or hospital. That is not even counting drive and prep time.

“I miss not having to be at the hospital most weeks. I miss not having to plan my life around going to chemo. It dominates my life and my family's life. I miss having freedom.”

“Being independent and not having my life revolve around doctor visits.”

Wearing certain clothes

It may feel like a small thing, but missing wearing particular clothes can be a big deal. For some women, certain clothes give them a sense of confidence. Not being able to wear them takes away that aspect of their lives. Plus, avoiding certain clothes comes with a constant mental reminder of the daily management of this diagnosis.

“I miss wearing V-cut shirts without exposing a scar.”

“I miss wearing some of my clothes.”

My job

For so many people, jobs provide a sense of purpose. They can help us feel fulfilled and grounded. When a diagnosis like advanced breast cancer forces someone to quit their job, it can be hard to feel useful and needed. For some, moving forward looks like giving back in other ways, or it may mean simply taking the time to heal and focus on oneself.

“I miss my job.”

“My career.”

“Being able to work.”

Having energy

Energy is a big one. Cancer leaves most people fatigued. Fatigue is mental and physical exhaustion that requires more rest and sleep to recover from. For some, eating a healthier diet, getting light exercise, and drinking plenty of water can help bring up energy levels.

“Jumping out of the bed in the morning with full energy for the day.”

“Having more energy.”

Freedom from pain

For so many, it is common not to appreciate what life was like before the daily pain of cancer. Having that pain often makes a person long for life before. That said, lots of people living with advanced breast cancer have many days free from pain. They have learned to make the most of the good days as they come.

“I miss the ability to start my day without the pains in the stomach that start when I take my medication.”

“Being pain-free.”

“My feet and hands not hurting from neuropathy.”

Thank you to everyone who shared insight for this story. We are always grateful to see how much this community supports one another through it all.

What do you miss about life before your diagnosis?

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