32 and can't deal with the guilt

I found out I have breast cancer on Monday after having a biopsy on a lump I found a week before. I know I’m still in shock but one emotion I can’t shake is the guilt.

My mum only finished her treatment 20 months ago for an extremely aggressive form. The worse moment of my life and one I’ll never forget as long as I live was telling my parents and sisters that I am about to put them through hell all over again.

I know it is not my fault, and I know that every type is different so there is no saying until I’ve had my op and tests that my cancer is as bad but I’ve never felt so hopeless. My son also turned 2 on Friday and everytime I look at him I feel so bad I can’t cope. He should be my main focus yet he just reminds me of how much pain I’m causing everyone I love.

If anyone has any tips of how I can process this guilt so I can move forward I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance


Hi NattyL

I’m sorry to hear that you are having a pretty tough time at the moment. I’m sure the some of the other users will be along soon to offer you their experiences and advice.

In the meantime it might help to through how you are feeling with a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Everyone feels guilty. It is one of the miriad of emotions that a BC diagnosis gives us. Ditch that guilt - it is not helpful. There is a whole thread about this it’s Benchland. The humour may not be to your taste but it will show you just how many of us have felt that guilt!

It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK to feel whatever emotions you feel. We’ve all been there. Take time to notice and enjoy the special people and moments and you will start to feel better. Don’t forget your mum will probably feel even guiltier than you even though she shouldn’t!

Hugs x

Bless you Nat. I felt it too, and stil do occasionally (I’m mid treatment). JCJ is right and it is normal. Breast Cancer is life changing and changes your emotions more than anything. Who better to understand that than your lovely mum. Share the guilt with people who understand, then chuck it in the lake for the aligators to eat!
Big hugs,

Hi Natty,

Everything about this disease sucks doesn’t it. My Mum had a local recurrence of breast cancer in May last year and I was diagnosed in December, it was SO hard telling her that I now had it too, I know she felt it was her fault, at least at first even though it clearly isn’t. Luckily Mum’s was caught very early and she didn’t need chemo this time, just surgery and hormones.

(I’m also 32, with a 2 1/2 year old at home, I did a double take reading your post!!)

Much as I’d far rather neither of us had to go through this, I have found my Mum is really good to talk to about it all as she’s been through it so she understands, and I think talking about it with me has helped her too. Have you talked to your Mum about it all?

If you find a way to get past the guilt of how all this affects your child, please let me know. My technique is to just push it to the back of my mind and try and make sure I’m there for my son as much as I can be.


Hi Nat

I was diagnosed last August and have a 6 year old son. The overiding emotion for me was (and sometimes still is) guilt-much more than fear. I was suprised as this isn’t something I thought I’d feel.

I’d echo what jcj and millymolly have said. This illness brings up all sorts of emotions all of which are normal and about processing what has happened. My son more than anyone has helped me enjoy things in the here and now. I also accessed support groups which helped so much as the feelings you describe are really common and its good to talk to people who know where you are coming from.

You are newly diagnosed and it takes time to process your feelings. You also might feel better when you know more about your treatment plan.

Best of luck Nat

Hi Nat,
I totally relate with you about the guilt, you are so brave for posting this and I want to thank you as it has made me feel better about the guilt I feel as i know I’m not the only one.
I had cancer 18 years ago too and when I had to tell my parents I had cancer again it was horrific and as you say one of the worse moments of my life which I’ll never forget. Also, my son turned one 3 weeks after I was diagnosed with BC last December, my head was still in a bubble of shock and even though I tried my best and gave him a little tea party this shitty disease was hanging over me and you can’t erase that ever but what I can do is be there as much as I can and make up for it when I’m well. I am thankful he is so young which means he is mostly oblivious to it unlike my 5 year old daughter… I think my guilt is now turning into anger about how this is affecting my kids but this makes me more determined to beat its ass!
Sorry if it seems I’ve ranted above but I could really identify with what you said, our kids will come through this stronger, they will be great copers in life and our relationships with them will be even more precious and special. Im planning lots of lovely things to do with them in my good weeks and for after my chemo.
Good luck& lots of love
Sarah xxx

Hiya, I totally get your feelings, I felt exactly the same when in was diagnosed and through treatment and it took some time afterwards before I ad processed it. I wrote this poem about it, thought it may help you?

No, I didn’t let my children down
Full stop. End of. Big frown.
Breast cancer came
I don’t know how
But it wasn’t my fault
And I know that now.
I’d let it in
To my family 
Through my guard
It got past me.
My boys’ lives changing
They didn’t know it
Mummy was ill
But she couldn’t show it.
I worked very hard
Through nasty stuff
To be there for them
Just enough
So I made their tea
And I took them to school
And I told them off
And I  played the fool
I made birthday cakes
And had their friends for tea
I tried my best
To be my normal me.
And I got them through.
And I’m still their mum
And some times were hard
But some times were fun
And I saw sports day
And I saw their birthdays
Starting school
And leaving nursery
And I know I didn’t
Let them down at all
I did my very best
Through a perfect storm
And i’m proud I did it
And grateful that I could
But I still stay cautious 
And I still touch wood
This is where I am
At this moment, on this day
And that is all I wanted

your poem is so beautiful, has bought a tear to my eye and also made me feel proud of being a mum.
Sarah xx

Tors your poem made me well up, thanks for posting it

lovely poem Tors.


Thanks ladies, I did that poem as “homework” when I was having cognitive behavioural therapy counselling to help me get past the anxiety/after effects of my BC dx. There are loads of other poems ladies have written on the poetry thread. Here’s the link


Well said Tors beautiful poem that hit the spot with me x

Tors-just lovely. Thanks