adjusting to change

Hi everyone. I was diagnosed on 17th Jan and had a masectomy last week. I feel lucky that my treatment and diagnosis has moved quickly but it makes it harder to adjust to. i feel a bit numb about what has happened and friends and family keep commenting on how matter of fact i am being. i think it’s because I am blocking out lots of worries and trying to deal practicly with my thoughts/problems. I have 2 children living at home (3rd at Uni) and want to appear “normal” for them. We (partner and I) have taken the positive line of we’ll get through this and no I’m not going to die with the kids. Maybe I can use this forum to express my dark nights of the soul instead of worrying my family.

My treatment so far has been excellent, GP and very quick appt at breast clinic.I guessed on my 1st visit that staff thought i had breast cancer so the diagnosis after biopsy results wasn’t such a shock. Surgery was arranged so quickly (2 1/2 weeks later) that I felt i was running aroung trying to sort things out at work (I’m a teacher) and tell everyone i needed to as well as spend time with partner etc etc. I thought about spring cleaning but i’m glad i didn’t as a lovely friend came to stay this weekend and insisted on hoovering, ironing, cooking. I came home with 1 drain in but thankfully that was removed next day so i’m back to see BC nurse for check today. A friend had lots of problems with seroma (spelling?) so i hope i’ll avoid that but not sure if there is anyting i can do to help beyond arm exercises???

Planning to log on regularly and get to know you all. Great to be able to get advice from people who have been through same experience. By the way I’ve got appt for final diagnosis and treatment plan in 10 days but at the mo I’ve been told I’ll probably be having chemo.
Love Littlemrs

Dear Littlemrs

Firstly, welcome to the forums, I am sorry to read of your recent diagnosis. I just wanted to let you know that Breast Cancer Care have published a Resource Pack, it has been designed for anyone newly diagnosed with information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and various treatments, it is available via the following link or by contacting the helpline:

You may find our helpline useful to call during this time as they can give information about our other support services and also offer support and a ‘listening ear’. The number to call is 0808 800 6000, Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, Saturday, 9am - 2pm.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Hi Littlemrs
I’m so glad you have written this. Like you I was diagnosed in the middle of Jan and had my Op on 31st Jan so things moved very quickly - for which I’m externally grateful. As a teacher it was really hard to leave everthing that quickly and also leave many of the students who are in their last year. I also wanted to get everything sorted at home and also make sure that my children (youngest has just finished Uni) was OK with everything. Although its all been very hectic I do feel very calm about it all. I talk at lot to my partner and children so that we#re in it together and so they are prepared for the next few months and I just feel that this is the job that I’m doing at the moment. That doesn’t mean I’m not facing up to anything but rather that I have faced up to things and feel that I’m up for the fight.

I have a seroma which the breat care nurses drain for me which is a nuisance. My one side feels huge before the drain it a bit like when you’ve had a baby but its a wonderful relief when it is drained. It makes the exercises more difficult but it is “do able”.

I go for my results on Wed and feel that whatever the results I’ll take it from there. They’ve already said that I’ll probably have cheme and I’m sure that even though I’m OK now I’ll have low days and dark nights so it would be great to keep in touch as it looks as if we’ll be going through everything at roughtly the same time.

Love Wendy

Hi LittleMrs, and Wendy

If there is one place that you can express those dark thought, or any worries/concerns/etc - it is here. I am so glad you found us, you will get a ton of support, from people who truly understand what you are going through.

I was diagnosed in Nov last year, and lke both of you the process was amazingly quick. In my case the timescale was:

30 Oct - went to GP with lump in right breast
1 Nov - attended one stop breast clinic
8/9 Nov - attended for bone/lung/liver scans
15 Nov - had right mastectomy and axillary clearance
22 Nov - received full path report
28 Nov - started treatment regime with Fec chemo

so as you can see - it was less then a month from my initial suspicions - to having had the op and setting out on treatment plan !!

As you can imagine I had no real time to take everything in. I’m 46, married with 2 kids (one aged 21, one aged 9) - we have been up front with both of them. The eldest tends to bury her head in the sand - while the youngest is much more frank about ie are you going die, I don’t like a bald mum, you might not be here when I go to high school then ? - all of which i have to say I find very refreshing lol

My hubby has been great, but he isnt a talker in general, and doesn’t like to disscuss the ‘what ifs’ - whereas I’m the type that needs to talk about everything. I have used this forum almost since day 1 - and the help, advice and support I have received has been invaluable - it’s somewherere you can rant and rave and generally let off steam - and no one minds in the least !

My tumour was grade 3, with 5/11 lymph nodes affected and HER2+. I am having 4 x fec chemo, (which I have just finished), 20 sessions of radiotherapy, followed by 4 x taxotere chemo, followed by a year of herceptin. Seems like a huge amount of treatment when you look at it, but if you brerak it down into chunks - it is manageable. You will see that on a lot of the threads on here - chemo isn’t the most wonderful experience in the world but it is do-able. There are lot of threads to help you through it, with advice and tips on coping.

As you have both said - there will be dark times - but there will be just as many good, bright times.

Wishing you both well for your results - please keep posting and let us know how you get on

take care

Margaret x

I’m so glad I’ve logged back on and read your comments. I had a very poor night’s sleep last night. Not so much from worrying at first but because i couldn’t get to sleep decided to read and then realised it was 4am and then started worrying about the future etc. Usually if i’m stressed I wake very very early and then start thinking about all the things i need to do but this was a completely different sleeplessness. I wonder if my sleep pattern has been messed up by morphine making me sleepy during the day in hospital and reading during the night as other patients were admitted to ward and it was noisy. Also other women snoring (not that i ever snore myself of course!). I’ve got an appt tomorrow at a cancer support centre to discuss what they can offer that would be helpful. Maybe some relaxation or aromatherapy would help. I’ll enjoy it anyway. I feel like i’ve got a window of time at the moment when i feel OK so as long as i don’t rush around too much so should take advantage of not being tied to tyranny of work. Family enjoying the casseroles etc that have been donated by kind friends. I feel a bit of a cheat at the moment as I feel OK although only had op a week ago. I hope good will doesn’t run out for when I guess i’ll need it during chemo.
Good to meet you

Hi Littlemrs

Sleep is the one thing i do’t do very much of lately - at least not at night lol - I can fall asleep anywhere during the day, but for some reason I think I have just knackered my body clock completely.

I’m sure the goowill will still be there if you have to have chemo - make the most of it and accept all offers of help!. Initially, I had big plans to carry on working, and just ‘pop off’ for the chemo as and when - unfortunately that plan went out of the window! I did have more good days than bad days on the chemo, but on the good days you just want to make up for the lousy ones!

Don’t you be feeling like a cheat - yo’ve just had major surgery - I felt exactly the same after my op - because I felt so well, and no real pain other than in my arm, I thought I could still be all things to all people - you’re body soon lets you know otherwise, and you have to learn to give in to it, and rest when needed.

Hope you find something to help with the sleep - if not I’m usually here at all hours of the night haha
take care

margaret x

Hi all,

Well i managed to over do things at the weekend and am now paying for it by feeling washed out, low energy etc. I’ve spent today watching daytime TV and then was woken from my doze by a neighbour to tell me my car had been clamped. I suddenly realised i had more energy than i thought in sorting that problem out. sadly the woman at the pound wasn’t moved by my story of recent surgery etc so had to pay up. Luckily good will still intact as neighbour took me to post office to buy car tax (I won’t bore you with why i didn’t have tax on car- to do with stress partner’s been under etc) and my brother lent me money to release car. Maybe the stress of diagnosis, putting brave face on for family, sorting out work is catching up with me. Also a bit nervous about Thurs as getting treatment plan and am trying not to think about possibility of cancer having spread else where. I know the surgeon won’t know about that beyond lymph nodes but the dark hours of the night seem to be the time I start to think about it.I hope your results were ok Wendy. maybe we can compare treatment plans when I’ve got mine. My problem with chemo is that i don’t know anyone who has had this recently so the practical information isn’t readily available amongst my friends; I have been perusing postings on here but feel a bit lost sometimes as other posters seem very confident with jargon and abbreviations for treatments and i’m trying to decode them. I’ll persevere as this seems a good place to off load thoughts.
Off to walk my dog now (lead in rt hand only!).
Take care
love littlemrs

Hi littlemrs (love the name by the way!)

Welcome to this awesome site. I was diagnosed last year and its been my lifeline. The support and advice is amazing, and we even occasionally have a laugh or two !

I’m 42, married with two wonderful daughters who were 10 and 13 when I was diagnosed. I had chemo first, followed by a mastectomy on 3rd October, radiotherapy, and am now on herceptin, and due to have a reconstruction in April. Like you, I took the “remaining positive” approach, especially where my friends and family were concerned. Any “dark” moments I’ve had have been, thankfully, very rare. Once you get your treatment plan, you’ll start to feel better, and more in control as you’ll know by then exactly what you’re up against. Chemo is hard, but do-able, I promise ! Talking of which, one of the girls started a brilliant thread about chemo - I’ll find it and push it back to the top for you.

Anyway littlemrs, I wish you lots of luck for Thursday, and with the rest of your treatment. You’re amongst friends here, so do keep posting so we know how you’re getting on.

Lots of love and a big (gentle) hug !

Julie xx

Hi Littlemrs & Wendy, welcome (even if you don’t want to be here)
I was dx & had mast last December which was a Grade 3 x 4cm tumor, 1st & 2nd FEC chemo already completed with number 3 of 6 on Thursday. If its any consolation I have had a week off after the chemo then gone back to work. It is different for everybody I know, but please stay positive. I struggled to get a good nights sleep after surgery and after first chemo & can sympathise, but since 2nd chemo I’ve not really had a problem. I would suggest you get your GP to give you some sleeping tabs, the ones I have are only 3.75mg but work really well if I need them.

All my seroma has disappeared (had it drained twice) although I do still have a little swelling, there is no discomfort.
I think you will be surprised how quickly things go along, once your treatment starts, I can’t believe that come Thursday i’ll be have way through! This will be followed by 4 weeks of Rads then 18 months on Herceptin. Piece of Cake!

Good luck on Thursday & good luck on Wednesday Wendy, stay positive & i’ll think of you while i’m having my chemo.

Love Thelma xx

Just a quick post to wish you well for tomorrow Wendy - thinking of you

And to you too Littlemrs for thursday - I shall be away or radiotherapy then so hope you get on okay.

take care

Margaret x

Greetings all,
I hope your appt went ok today wendy. I’ll be glad to get the information tomorrow. I seem to deal with problems better if i have facts to mull over. After visiting here yesterday i went to the cancer research website as suggested on another posting. it helped explain some of the abbreviations i’ve seen about chemo etc.

Amazing what a good night’s sleep and a visit to a friend (hence needing to get dressed put on make up and find sense of humour) can do to lift my mood. I think i spent too long on my own yesterday as kids away and partner on late shift so not home until 10pm. Too much time for brooding on posts about secondary cancer. I’m hoping the alternative therapies offered at the cancer support centre that i’m booked into next week will help with the sleeping. if not i’ll have to discuss with my GP. I’m sure it’s stress and having to adjust to a lot of change all at once that’s causing me to feel wide awake as soon as i get into bed. i am getting through a lot of books though with book parcels arriving from far and wide. I don’t usually have enough time to read as much as I would like so am looking on the long nights as a plus. Half term this week so don’t have to get up to rouse my son so a lie in is possible some days.
take care