1st me, now my Mam

I just need a rant, and I know this is the place to do it. Just over 2 years ago I was dx with bc I was 40 when I was dx.- I was one of the luckier ones with grade 1, required WLE and rads and tamoxifen but thankfully no chemo … have just had my 2 year check-up and all is going accoridng to plan … tamoxifen even has been fairly kind to me, no mood swings, no weight gain, not even any hot flushes or night sweats … all in all I’ve been, as I say, one of the luckier ones.

Now, my Mam has been dx, we haven’t got all her facts and figures as yet, but we know her tumour is 9mm (about half the size mine was) and it is very early stages so they are saying grade 1. She has to meet with the surgeon this week to arrange a surgery date - BCN says the game plan is most likely WLE (possibly node sampling but may not be necessary) followed by rads but she would be highly surprise if they even mention chemo … at this stage they cannot say one way or the other whether she will need hormone treatment. My Mam will be 65 on Wednesday and they say her age goes in her favour as ‘older ladies’ tend to have less aggressive cancers.

I live 200 miles away from my parents and I feel like I am at the other end of the world, I just want to be there and make it all better, but with one thing and another it’s not as simple as that.

I know all the facts and the figures and how good the chances are given the time of dx and all the other factors that come in to it … but she’s my Mam and I hate the idea of her having to go through what I went through. I take some comfort from the fact that I can talk her through it, I can answer all the silly little questions that you don’t want to speak to the BCN about, I can give her the real life tips on what to do for what, but at the same time I know the pain and the suffering she is going to have to go through and I can’t do anything about it.

As for me, 2 years ago this was our 1st real encounter with cancer (my Mam’s Mam had bc many years back but my Mam was a kid and it was in the times where cancer was not discussed and only mentioned in that sort of Les Dawson over teh garden fence kind of whisper) … when I was dx everyone was so shocked and scared and I was the one who was being strong and practical and logical … now with Mam’s dx I am the one who everyone is looking to for guidance and reassurance and although I am quite capable of speaking to them all on the phone and emphasising the positive when I am alone and awake at 3am in the morning and the whole world is snoring (tamoxifen may be fairly kind to me but it has knackered my sleeping) I find myself getting really down, I am thinking stupid things and looking years down the line, asking myself what does this mean for my grand-daughter … hell she is 9 months old and I am imagining her with a double mastectomy at the age of 30, stupid I know but you know how the mind runs away with itself.

On the up side, I’ve gone in to frenzied mode and my kitchen cupboards are shining and organised, the carpets have been hoovered to within an inch of their life and you won’t find a cleaner bath than my one!

Feel much better now that I have bashed it all out on the keyboard, the great thing about this site is you can just spill your guts and not have to worry about upsetting your nearest and dearest.

Hi Lilacblushes

Sorry about Mums DX and you rant as much as you like.
I am 60 and was dx last January much the same as you but 2 ops and rads no chemo. On Tamox and my flushes are terrible but having said that they were very bad before dx and I have been suffering for 11 yrs (in change) now!!

Your Mum is so lucky to have you even if you are on the end of the phone and I am sure she will be glad to talk, cry whatever with you.
My friends were great but my Mum now 83, never once came and saw me or discussed what was happening to me. She lives about 500yards from me but does not come past my home. I think its probably because of her age that she does not talk about it but I really needed someone close last year.
This site is just the best even if you dont write much on it.
it just helps to read about others in the same and even worse situations.

Well one yr down the line for me and looking forward (funny to say that) to my 1st check up to be reasurred that alls well. Bit nervous really.

I think its always on our minds awake or asleep.
Hang on in there girl and if you need any more cupboards to clean mine are filthy LOL
Wendy xx

Thanks for your reply Wendy, I’m sorry to hear that you had so little support from your Mum, mine was here for me all the way through and now it’s my turn to repay her. Ironic that throughout my life I’ve been admitted to hospital many times and Mam has always been there doing the necessary and taking care of me … she was fit and healthy up until just under 2 years back when she had her hip replaced, after her coming here and playing at being nurse nancy and chief housekeeper following my surgery I was prevented from going up to help her due to the fact that I was in the middle of rads treatment. Another cruel twist of timing that this time I may not get up due to starting work … she is adamant that I must think of work and not risk any job offer due to her situation, Dad is there to look after her and I know he will do it as well as he can, but I doubt much ironing will get done… not that that is a major issue of course, what’s a crumpled pair of trousers compared to a tumour!

I know my Mam will get through this, and the fact that it has been caught so early and it is not an aggressive tumour goes in her favour, but as I said previously she’s my Mam and it’s horrible to think of what she is facing … she is syaing all the same things as I said 2 years back, the ‘what will be will be’ and ‘this is not going to take over my life, it’s going to be an inconvenience for a few months but it will get sorted’ … I’m being positive yet realistic and telling it how it is, she doesn’t want any of that ‘oh it will be fine, nothing to worry about’ flannel from me … if I started being all dismissive about rads burns and hormone tablets she would know I was lying through my teeth and she would kick me ass!

I’m sure that when you were diagnosed your Mum wished she could take your pain and suffering, like most Mum’s would and now your feeling what she would have felt. Nothing can make it go away, not for your Mum, us, anyone, all we can do is to be “there”, that doesn’t just mean physically, you can be just as much help at the end of the phone, and I’m sure when you get the chance a weekend at home can be fitted in. Sending you and Mum hugs…

Hi Lilac blushes: I have some features in common with you. My younger daughter was first diagnosed with a grade 3 BC when she was 32. After extensive treatment she seemed OK and even managed to have a precious 2nd child after a 4 year gap. Then she found she had a 2nd primary in her other breast- so more surgery, chemotherapy and rads.
2 years later I was picked up at 65 on a routine mammo with a grade 3 BC and have since had the ‘full works’
My daughter and I live over 3 hours drive apart but she has been a great support and comfort to me- moreso than I was to her I fear, as I had no true grasp of the real implications of BC treatment and its long term side effects, the unreliability of prognosis etc etc until I was diagnosed myself. Both of us are now ‘just’ on hormone therapy and seem to be OK though my daughter, now 39, is waiting to have her ovaries removed.
Though widely dispersed, we are a close family ( with NO previous history of cancer )- I have 3 other grown-up children and many supportive friends and other relations. It’s tough,some of the treatment is barbaric - but we all have to get thro’ these things as best we can; even those folk who seem to sail thro life on ‘golden wings’ probably have troubles that we don’t know about. As MY mother used to say…‘.into each life some rain must fall…’

Thanks ladies for your comments, I knew from last time how much support can be gained from this site, and it has helped me immensely just being able to get it off my chest (pardon the pun please).

Realistically I know my Mam will be fine, her case is almost the same as mine, and she is strong willed … not quite as stubbourn as me but strong enough to get her through this.

As for the genetic side of things I think I just need to adopt my Mam’s way of thinking and not worry about what may or may not happen in 20 or 30 years time. I have a beautiful baby grand-daughter who has a whole life ahead of her, and I want to watch her do that with joy and happiness rather than worrying all the time if I have passed on some mutant gene that could bring her the same misery decades down the line.

Once again, thanks for the lovely replies. I wish you all well

Mam is going into hospital today, she will have guide wire inserted this afternoon and surgery tomorrow, and all being well she will get home on Wednesday. Still haven’t managed to get up north to see her, due to a mixture of bad weather and job interviews. We are hoping she will be able to come to me in a few weeks before her rads start, she usually comes to me early March for an annual exhibition in Glasgow but her admission date has put paid to that this year and she’s determined to get her long weekend down here.

thinking of you and Mum today. As she is having a guide wire it is like me and that means te tumour is small, so sounds good so far. Fingers crossed for you both. I am off to oncology today for 6 month check-up.xx

Thanks Wendle, the tumour was measured on ultrasound as 9mm, so yes, it’s small. Have spoken to the ward sister, op went well, they took the tumour, margins and some nodes. Mam came through the anesthetic with no problem … she is 65 and this is her 1st ever general so I was worried she would be sick afterwards, but apparently when I phoned it was visiting time and she was sitting up speaking to my Dad and asking when the dinner was arriving.

Hope your 6 month check-up went ok, I find I get myself a little rattled when I have to go for mine, but I think most of us do.

Glad mums op went ok hopefully she is home now. I am 60 so same age group as her, my tumour was 11mm and they took 16 nodes. My check-up was ok yes I was nervous but oncology have discharged me now so just got a chek-up next month with the surgeon which will include a mammo! thats the really scary one.
Your mum is lucky to have you to explain everything because nI think none of us really remember what the doctors say and we think that we are bothering them when we have worries.
give mum my love Wendy x

Glad to hear that your check-up went well, my lot share me between surgeoon and oncology and I get seen every 6 months. The 1st mammo after surgery is indeed a bit of a scary thought, we all get ourselves worked up despite the fact that we are showing no symptoms. I remember feeling quite safe whilst having my treamtent and looking forward to the end of rads, but when the final rads day came I had mixed feelings, glad not to have to do the journey every day but a bit unsettled at the fact that I was not ‘in treatment’ any more. I think subconciously I felt quite safe whislt I was going to hospital every day and we were ‘fighting’ the cancer … once I was left to my own devices I was convinced it was going to come and get me … cos of course we all know it hides behind the loaves of bread in Asda and jumps out and invades you whilst you are doing the weekly shopping!!

Mam had a 9mm tumour and they took 3 nodes but say it’s highly unlikely it will have spread - I will be a bit happier when she gets her path report and has this confirmed.

I think the advantage of knowing someone who’s been through the same thing is they know what questions to ask… when I was dx I went into it blind and didn’t have a clue what questions I was supposed to ask, I was naive and was under the impression that cancer was cancer and chemo was chemo etc … never knew there was such a variety of choices, I soon learned it’s sort of like the pix & mix counter at Woolies, hopefully soome day soon it will become extinct just like Wollies did… hey, if that happens can we request redundancy pay???


Yes I would go for the redundancy option every time!!