And the diagnosis goes on... and on...

Hi, I’m new here, and having read lots of the threads and seen the amazing support offered by the women on here I thought I’d come out of my shell and say hello. My diagnosis was a bit of a fluke really, I suppose. I had a sore, slightly inflamed area on my left breast, with a burning sensation under my nipple. My GP said it looked like a mild infection and that it would probably clear up on its own. As my dad has terminal liver cancer, and my 16 year old daughter is being investigated for a brain tumour I persuaded the GP to book me in for a mammogram just so that I could stop stressing about this at least. She humoured me. Two weeks later I had a mammogram. All clear. The doctor thought she could feel something on the inner quadrant of my breast so she sent me for an ultrasound. The area she had marked up was all clear. I had a small bruise on the outer quadrant, and for some reason the sonographer decided to have a look there. Hey presto! Biopsies taken; results 2 days later: invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 2. The doc had another feel, sent me for another ultrasound and they found another area, more cancer. Then I had an MRI on both breasts. Two suspicious areas seen in my right breast now. Tomorrow I go in for an MRI-guided biopsies on both the new sites. I just want the final diagnosis so that we can work out the treatment plan! I’ve already been told that I will need an MX with no recon on the left side, and to be honest, unless they can seriously reduce my right boob I was going to ask for that to be taken off at the same time anyway. As an F cup there’s no way I want to be left so lop-sided! Part of me hopes that when I go to clinic on Monday for my results that the decision is taken away from me. This is all happening far too quickly!
Sorry, I’ve just realised I’ve written an essay! I haven’t really talked to anyone about what this means to me - my close friends and family just think I’m an amazingly strong woman who can cope with anything. It would be really nice to have a place where I didn’t have to be strong all the time!
Surgery in a week but probably two, it would be nice to hook up with anyone who’s at a similar stage to me.
Anna x

Hi Anna and welcome to the BCC forums

In addition to the support and shared experiences you will soon have here please feel free to call our helpliners, it sounds as though you are having a pretty tough time of it at the moment and here you can talk your concerns over, lines are open 9-5 weekdays and 10-2 Sat on 0808 800 6000

You may find the following 'Just diagnosed information from BCC useful, you will find lots more support ideas here too:\_source=Homepage&%3Butm\_medium=help\_you&%3Butm\_campaign=diagnosis

Take care


Hi Beeny, and welcome - this is the place where you never have to pretend, and there is always someone here to help you, who has already been in the place you are now and come out the other side - it has certainly helped to save my sanity in the last 7 months since diagnosis.

One thing - as you say, the diagnosis goes on and on, and that continues until the operation, because it’s not until they’ve looked at your lymph nodes after the op that you get your final treatment plan - with mine, it was grade 2 IDC, smallish tumour and they didn’t think it had spread, so I was expecting just radiotherapy and Tamoxifen, but then they found a micrometastasis in my sentinel lymph node when they did the lumpectomy, and I ended up having to have chemo, which came as the most enormous and horrible shock.

I hadn’t really understood the provisional nature of the diagnosis beforehand. I wish they had warned me that they really didn’t KNOW.

I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen to you, but it’s as well to be aware that until after the operation they are not 100% sure.

Also, reading your post again it strikes me that you are going through a MASSIVE amount of stress on all fronts right now, without having talked it through with anyone - I got counselling at the Haven very soon after diagnosis, when I was a complete basket case, just shell-shocked and all over the place, and it helped so much. I know there’s counselling available via BCC and Macmillan, too, so maybe that might be worth thinking about.

Best of luck going forward - and know that there will always be support for you here xxx

Thank you Cybele, that’s something I hadn’t really factored in (or is it just complete denial that it could have spread?). Probably the latter! They are going to remove a sentinel node when they do the mastectomy, do you know how long the results take from that? I feel like I want to know everything, no matter how bad it is, so that I can get on with getting through it! I’m a very impatient patient!

As 2plus years post op take my advice and talk about it and share how you feel with family and friends I thought I could just be bcooperatively on my own but no such luck I am now having counselling so please open up to those close to you don’t try to protect them as they need to know how you feel and will be there for you bad times and good.Good luck and I hope you get through it ok it’s a long journey but you will hopefully come out a different but stronger person Janice xx

Hi Anna
So sorry you’ve found yourself here. It sounds like you have enough going on in your life without breast cancer added to the mix. As Cybele as suggested, its a good idea to get some counselling. In the winter I was facing three biggies - a divorce (my husband left me), a recurrence (after primary breast cancer with double mastectomy three years ago) and my mother diagnosed & dying of leukaemia. Without support from the Haven in Hereford, input from the clinical psychologist (through breast clinic) and a very sympathetic GP I would have felt completely at sea. It is not easy coping with breast cancer oneself with these other major issues affecting your nearest and dearest. Accept all help from friends and family, and any other help you can access. Be prepared to spend a lot of your time talking (!) - it does help - and even think about using a journal, that also can help you cope with what’s happening.

Hi Beeny
It’s awful that you find yourself here but its good to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. We are all different and have individual ways of dealing with things but I have to say this site is a godsend as you don’t feel alone. However I do agree with the others, you must talk to people and accept all the help you’re offered.
I am having a mx and ANC on the 17th followed by chemo and rads. As the op approaches I am feeling scared and overwhelmed by how quickly everything has happened. I do try and find humor in things so people do think I’m being strong and positive but Little do they know!
When you have a plan and date for your op you will feel better as you can look forward. As my breast specialist said ‘we don’t look back only to the future’ Pm me if you wish and let us know the date of your op. Good luck
Emma xx

Hi Anna, so sorry that you have had to join us, but there are lots of us here at varying stages that will offer you as much support and info that you want. I had masectomy(mx) and full node clearance (anc) after 2 biopsies, 2 lumpectomies (wle) and sentinel node biopsey (snb). They wanted to preserve the breast but each time the margins were comproised. The staged diagnosis was given to me 10 days after the wle and snb but hospitals differ, maybe yours will be quicker. I am happy that they tried twice to preserve but had I been more informed I would have gone straight for mx as there is bc in family. I have decided to have good one mx at time of reconstruction to try and eliminate anything in that one as mine is estrogen receptive (er positive). The ops are a walk in the park
nd no really painful afterwards, more uncomfortable, so dont go worrying about them. The one thing I woud suggest is to ask for lindacane in your sentinel node biopsy injection as I find that rather unpleasant and was told after the event I coukd have had it if i had asked for it,they offer a deadening spray but it does nothing really. There is no reason for you to be unduly uncomfortable with pain throughout anything in this process. Don,t be afraid to ask for what you need whether it is information or support or pain relief, you have to put yourself first. I am currently on my 3rd cycle out of 6 of chemo and after that i will then have radiotherapy and tamoxifen mediction for 5 years plus another mx and recon somewhere inbetween but being informed and talking to others is a must because you will need support and ther will be theodd day where you feel overwhelmed and tearful, but we are all in this journey together and ready to help eachother. I have found this site especially important and would not be without it.BC diagnosis is not the end of the world, we will probably be talking 20/30 years down the line trying to give another newbie support. Just concentrate on one step at a time and try not to overload yourself with too much info, put yourself number 1 and try to be positive. The helpline on here is great if you need to speak with a person rather than posting.
I do apologise if I have ranted on, I know what I felt like at your stage and wanted to give you as much as I could. Here endeth the lesson. LOL. Great Big Hugs. xxxx

Hi Anna,
I think you are going through a really hard time at the moment. As others have said, you may want to consider counselling. I was dx just three weeks after my mum had died of cancer, so it was a difficult time for me. I had counselling from a local cancer charity. Just one hour a week, it was really useful to have that hour when I could say what I wanted without fear of hurting or upsetting anyone else. I think we often try to stay strong to protect our families, especially our children, and we end up bottling everything up as we don’t want to scare our families, so having a ‘safe’ person to talk to, where you won’t be judged, and what you say won’t come back to bite you, can save your sanity.

Sorry to intrude ladies, but I just wanted to thank you for the information and support you provide here. My wife had mammograms and biopsies last week and we are meeting our consultant tomorrow for biopsy results. They found lumps on both sides and we have been told already that one of the lumps is unlikely to be benign. We don’t have confirmation yet but we prepared for it (probably not…) It was a terrible shock for both of us. Luckily I was with her. She is a very strong lady but also quite private so I will not indulge to much detail at this point as I might get into trouble…she has also been reading many forums which have help enormously.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that info you share is a massive help and will hopefully help me to help my wife as much as possible. We have already decided that we will go to NYC when she gets through it…
So thanks again…

Where do I start? I’m really overwhelmed (in a good way!) with all the advice and support. Thank you all so much; I’m just so grateful I stumbled onto this site.
Every one of you who stressed counselling – I think you’re absolutely right. My GP wanted to see me today as she’d got the letter from the hospital and was very shocked at the diagnosis. I’m quite a private, controlled person who compartmentalises how I feel about things. I’d read so many threads using words like ‘confused’, ‘frightened’, ‘scared’ etc. that I was starting to feel there was something genuinely wrong with me as I haven’t really felt much of anything. It’s been a bit like a project for me to research so far, and I’ve just been intellectualising it. Perhaps it was because I was drained having spent 2.5 hours in an MRI scanner this morning, being whipped in an out to have lots of biopsies taken (after 2 hours and the second lot of dye intravenously I nearly puked and they told me not to worry, if I was sick I wouldn’t choke as I had my head to one side!), but I had a complete meltdown at the docs. It was scary. I didn’t see it coming at all – one minute I was talking about wedge pillows and the next minute a tsunami of emotion just came at me from behind. I cried from a very deep place inside me. It wasn’t just crying; it was wracking, gasping, teeth-chattering sobbing that was totally uncontrollable. I couldn’t even breathe.
So Cybele, jmr, maggy, Emma, featherbird and RoadRunner, thank you for your advice and for sharing some of your own experiences. And I hope I speak for all of us when I say to Paddy that you’re welcome any time, I for one think your wife is one very lucky lady to have you by her side; and I’m sure that any info you want from this site will be willingly shared.
Interestingly, the specialist doing the biopsies today said that I don’t have two lesions in my left breast, I have lots of them throughout the breast but they just biopsied the two furthest apart. She said the MRI scan I had last week showed the same picture in the right breast. Nothing had come up on the mammogram at all as they are like shotgun pellets! I do consider that I’m really lucky that my GP was prepared to humour me and send me to the clinic even though she couldn’t find anything.
Sorry for yet another essay… all I really wanted to say was a massive ‘thank you’, and Emma, will definitely pm you on Monday when I have my date. I have a feeling it might even be next week…
Love and hugs to all, Anna xxx

Dear Anna,
I really can’t add anything much to all that the lovely ladies (and gent) have said. They are, like all who post to this lifesaver of a site wise and caring. I can relate totally to you approaching the whole BC thing as a project. I did and still do tosome extent (Chemo round 3/6 today following a procrastinated investigation and operation stage with more ops and radiotherapy to come).
What I would say regarding this is that, if knowing everything and having it told like it is makes you feel better, let all the docs and nurses know. It’s not weird, I thought it was at first, but many of the lovely people you come accross seem to want to protect you so you must let them know what helps you cope. Keep strong. Sometimes I felt I was being a complete pest by asking so many questions but once they got to know me, as the BC train got rolling, they understood. Now my lovely surgeon and oncologist draw diagrams and point me in the direction of trustworthy web sites to help explain.
Once the whole story is out in the open it is a shock and takes a long time to get your head round buit’s he journey is doable with support. Talk, talk, talk :slight_smile:
Hugs and good luck,
Mandy x

Hi Anna
i am treating the whole BC thing like a project and need to have my plan…I keep apologising to the BCN for seeming to be pushy but they are now getting used to it. My plan said I would be up and about, albeit still in hospital, the day after my mx, SNB anre expander recon…I delivered early and much to my consultants happy surprise I was up the same afternoon. My husband told the nurses the threat of having to use a bedpan is the thing that will get me up…he knew I would do anything to not use one and I was up in time to go to the toilet after my op! Do what you feel is right for you and not what the people around you expect…I’m expecting a few down days as I go through the next 16 weeks of chemo but I’m hoping that I can do what I want when I feel up to it…haven’t planned which days are going to be my good days yet but I’m sure I will do at some stage as that is my logic! :slight_smile:
keep smiling and always think of yourself first…you are the most important in this process, others will understand and at times you’ll want to put them first.

Anna, I passed out and was sick in the MRI suite whilst they were putting the cannula in!! I think it was all the stress and endless tests. It was all too much at the time. See! You’re not alone

Melrose, I just knew we had more than BC in common!! Just been told I won’t get the results on Monday, but will have to wait for clinic next Friday Another whole week before I know what the plan will be. Aaaarrrgghhh!!!

Beeny, I am so pleased that you have been getting brilliant support on this forum. You see the ladies on here saw the signs that you needed to chat things through with a Counsellor and not push everything under the carpet. That is exactly what I did 3 years ago as I thought I was strong enough to be brave not only for myself but for everyone else. I sailed through the operations, but then the Chemo sene me into an early menopause and I felt dreadful! I needed support from everyone, hubby, daughter, parents, inlaws, work colleagues, my best friends and this was hard for me. But along with the Counselling and the anti depressants I started to feel well again. So please take all the help you can get at this early stage of diagnosis. Be open and honest with everyone about the treatment you are having and remember you are never alone. We are all here for you ! Love Tracy xxx

Hello Anna,
I was just checking how you was and noticed that you have not posted for a little while. Thinking of you as you prepare for Friday this week and your results. When you have a treatment plan in place this will help you refocus and plan accordingly. Wishing you all the very best . Love Tracy xxx

Hello Tracy,
It’s so nice of you to check in! I’ve had a crazy day!! Having spent since last Wednesday preparing myself for a bilateral mx - and I found lots of positives and read some wonderful breast-free threads on here, I went to clinic today to be told my right breast is clear and I only need the left mastectomy!! I was a bit shocked (in a good way), and then felt a wave of anxiety - that means I’ll have an F cup and a flattie!! Not an option… so I asked if they would remove my good boob anyway, for symmetry. My surgeon went and found another surgeon, they came back and assessed my boobs again, went out again, and came back and said they really didn’t want to take off a healthy breast, but how would I feel about having a reduction and uplift to my good boob to take it down two or three cup sizes? So that’s what I’ve gone for, and it’s happening on Tuesday next week. Yikes!!
I’ve been so hyper all day, I’m now absolutely exhausted! Work have ignored my suggestions over the last month to get a temp in, so one of the bosses wives arrived at 2pm for a handover!! I have a very complicated computer-oriented aspect to my role, and let’s just say she was quite pale after an hour or so. I’m seeing her at 7.30am on Monday for another session, then I have clinic at 9.30 and pre op checks at 11.00. Back to work for another couple of hours training and then that’s me done! I feel so sorry for her, but I told them that once the tests were completed it would all happen very quickly. Ho hum!
The only thing left for me to do in advance of Tuesday is buy a selection of bras (they can’t tell what cup size I’ll be!), and pack my bag. I’ve even managed to sort out hiring a bed wedge this evening and will get that on Monday. I think I’m going to sleep well tonight for the first time in ages.
Anna xx

Hi Anna,
That is good news that your right breast is clear and also that the surgeon will do an uplift and reduction at the same time. I guess you will go down a couple of sizes to maybe a D cup, but not sure really so dont spend a fortune on bras , just get something that is comfortable, as you will be wearing a pretty camisole for a bit. Remember to buy some PJ’s with a button front top to make it easier and also some blouses. I found this so much easier than having to pull a tshirt or jumper over my head.
Sending you lots of positive vibes for Tuesday and big hugs. Let us all know how things progress. Love Tracy xxx

Hi Beeny
great news on you only having one breast impacted. I would go along with Tracy that you won’t need bras straight away, I didn’t wear bras for about 2 weeks after mx, camisoles that I could put on from bottom up…just pushing straps over shoulders was easier and more comfortable than any bra would have been! :slight_smile:
good luck this week and hope your handover at work goes smoothly too!