As angry as a bag of weasels....I think....!

Hi all,

Selfishly and arrogantly, maybe, even though I’m a first time poster, I’ve decided to start a new thread!! Honestly, this is only because you all sound so experienced at this breast cancer lark…using abbreviations even!..what’s “DX”!!!..and I’m really, really not…

I’m 34, not a mother, not in a relationship.
I live in a rented flat in north London with one other single girl. 3 weeks ago I was drinking, smoking, buying clothes I didn’t need and shoes I oh, so wanted!, when all of a sudden…

I was diagnosed on 23rd June with early stage one breast cancer. I had the op on the 27th to remove the lump. Got the all clear on my lymph nodes 3rd July, and on same day, was told I needed a little more preventative surgery.

So now, I’m having a big “Hang on a second!!! What the hell just happened there!!!” moment!

I’d love to hear from anyone who may have undergone a similar speedy diagnosis-to-surgery experience, and who may be, like me, setting out on the path to further treatments…Are you also floundering, unsure, a bit angry, and not at all sure of what to do? Are your scars itchy?! Is your arm still a bit numb? Have you shouted at random passers by just because they didn’t smile back at you?! Ok…that last statement isn’t true…I haven’t done that…but I do feel that I might!

I know this posting is a little shabby…but it would be great to hear from anyone who feels even a little bit like I do!

Hi Vournie
welcome to the club we all would rather not be in!
DX I think is diagnosed well thats what I have used in translation. Sorry this has happened to yet another young women the only advantage is sadly you will make lots of friends of the same age group they will all be along soon to offer help and advice. We are a really friendly bunch and find the daftest things to laugh about. Plus a gruop of the younger ones meet up I think some of the olders ones stray in as well.
Dont worry you will still be able to drink a bit and dance around your handbag just not a heavy one.

Love Debsxxx

same from me… it is totally rubbish in my view that younger wimmen get breast cancer…but stage 1 is v good in terms of stages and clear lymph nodes are brill…

i had a tiny inversion of the nipple and less than a month later… op etc

hmm don’t think i am classed as young (damnation, pish pash bosh) since i have not long hit 50 but having had mastectomy and lymph nodes (stage 2), on last chemo round and info just arrived in the post re rads (radiotherapy)and tamoxifen which i start in a few weeks …i am still drinking and smoking… i am too tired to dance around a handbag but whatever!

i was offered wide lateral excision(i had invasive lobular cancer with single lymph node affected) - taking the tumour and a good margin round - but the surgeon was more comfortable with mastectomy because the tumour was under the nipple. i agreed because they would have taken such a lot of breast it would never look normal and with no nipple i thought it wd be a dog’s dinner look!!! the one lymph node put me on the chemo and rads train but what the heck.

having cancer of any kind is pants, it isn’t the end of the world. my oncologist says that his job is to see me die of old age… throught most of this i have not felt unwell.

i am sure leeloo and many others will post … she’s more your age!!

do what needs to be done and then look back if you must but i’d always say go forward!

best of luck

Jen

Hi Debs & Jen!
Thank you both for your really lovely words!
I like the notion of “The Club No-one Wants To Be In” - might be my sense of humour, but that almost makes me want to join even more?! In a reverse psychology way?! It’s exclusive!!! ;o)
This feels like the start of something life changing, really. I’m scared, unsure, angry, stubborn but hopeful too, and looking forward to making it all a bit more manageable!
xXxXx

Hi Vournie

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care forums. I am sure you will continue to get lots of help and advice from the many informed users of this site.

You may find BCC’s resource pack helpful, it has been designed for those newly diagnosed. The pack is free of charge as are all our publications. If you would like a copy just follow the link below:

breastcancercare.org.uk//content.php?page_id=7514

I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes
Lucy

I haven’t been angry at all until this morning … for those of you who don’t know I don’t have breast cancer but lost my daughter Lisa on June 10th to this awful disease …and anger has been one thing I haven’t so far been through BUT this morning I returned a pair of shoes that I bought for Lisa on the day she died ( not knowing she was going to die later that day of course) … only a pair of white flatties from Tesco that she wanted and only costing £8. She tried them on in bed but hadn’t removed the label. This morning I decided that I must take them back but apparently they have a 28 day returns policy … fair enough policies are policies but I thought I would appeal to their better nature and told them that my daughter had died and after all I was only one day out. This bl**dy girl, who wasn’t that young, just shrugged her shoulders! SHRUGGED HER SHOULDERS! Kind words would have been nice followed by I will ask a supervisor or something but she shrugged her stupid shoulders. You can’t know the words that went through my head and that took all my will power not to let out but instead, stupid person that I am, my eyes filled with tears and I walked quickly away not able to speak. She just stared after me. I couldn’t believe that someone would shrug their shoulders when told that someone’s daughter had just died. Its odd how its the little things that upset me now.
Sue x
Sorry Vournie …that diverted from your original letter … just ask about the abbreviations … everyone on here is so supportive and will put you right and give you loads of help & support. Keep your chin up and be positive we will all be routing for you!

Zotam

I am sorry to read of your Tesco experience; please don’t give up, please write to their manager and tell them how you were treated but their unthinking employee who couldn’t think “outside the box” or have the nowse just to ask someone else if a day here or there REALLY mattered to such a large organisation. Tell us how you get on and better still tell us which branch it was because I would surely write in protest and disgust at their mean mindedness. I can’t help wishing that the next time that girl/woman shrugs her nasty shoulders that her head will drop off!!! Now I’m making myself as bad as her and I was always told as a child that two wrongs do not make a right, not sure I believe that but then there are plenty of things I don’t believe in these days. I do however believe in the power of people and you have shown the power of love, more power to you and thank you for continuing to contribute so lovingly to the threads on this site; you have touched us all.

Best wishes
D

Thanks Dahlia … the stupid thing is I nearly didn’t take the shoes back … after all they were only £8 and it didn’t really matter but it was upsetting seeing them on the bed in the spare room knowing I had bought them thinking Lisa was going to wear them and I could hear her saying, " Take them back Mum" … if she had only worn them once it wouldn’t have been so bad. No, it was just the shoulder shrugging that got to me … silly isn’t it? I went away and really had a sob … over something as silly as that … but thats grief I suppose … people have said it will get me in so many different and unexpected ways. I can easily give the shoes away… what a silly thing to get to me after all we have been through this last few weeks.
I still like to come on here and see how everyone is … feels like an extended family in many ways.
Sue x

Hi Sue
we think of you as extended family as well. In fact I would swap some of my in laws for you any day!
This woman was cold and stupid and poorly trained it would not happen in Tesco in St Ives name and shame then we can all ring in t the manager.
Keep well and in touch.

Love Debsxxx

HI Vournie

I can sympathise exactly with your speedy diagnosis - surgery experience. I was actually diagnosed almost exactly three years ago, but treatment took over two years and there are times when it all feels very recent. I was 30 when diagnosed and remember feeling like the only 30 year old this had ever happend to because when I went to hospital every one else in the wards was about twice my age.

I also live in North London, so if you ever want to meet up one afternoon I’d be happy to arrange something.

Nicola X

PS Your arm’ll stop itching within a few weeks!

It’s funny, isn’t it, how some people just cannot put themselves in other peoples positions…even for a second…if only so that they can, at the very, very least, feign understanding.
And I hate to think that you were treated like that…I’d have cried too…
I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter and I hope each day brings with it a tiny bit more resolve and strength.
Lots of love xXxXxXx

Hi Nicola,

Thank you for your reply!

It shouldn’t be…and it’s a little awful that it is…but it’s good to know that I’m not the only one!

Did you also feel like you were wearing an armband?! Or that one of your biceps far, far exceeded the other but you cannot tell to look at it?
Soooo odd!

I can completely identify with your point about the age of the other patients…all the other people on my floor were men, or quite elderly women, which made me feel all the more isolated.

I’m also beginning to panic ever so slightly now, as I was supposed to have a bit more preventative surgery this coming Monday, but I’ve postponed it. This has all been too fast! I need to start asking questions…!

xXxXx

Hi Vournie -

We could be twins (well sort of) I’m 36, also in north london (but living on my own), single (divorced 4 yeas ago actually) no kids and I had my “dx” (diagnosis) on 28th April and emergency surgery on the 29th. I’ve been put on tamoxifen already and am 3/4 done my radiotherapy at this point.

The weirdest thing was being told I had to make a decision about my fertility the day after my surgery - odd to make a decision like that in a vacuum!

I haven’t really been able to get angry - both of my parents passed away in 2007 (dad in February and mum in April), and I was still dealing with the legal and emotional aftermath of that when I was told I had stage 2 breast cancer.

I feel like I’m permanently in a state of shock, it’s all a bit surreal. I keep thinking I’d be more angry if happened to someone I know rather than myself. I haven’t wanted to hit passers by yet (though that’s a daily thought on the tube when people read broadsheet newspapers during rush hour!!) but I have started to get very annoyed at the “oh, but you’re so young for this to have happened!” comments - I don’t like being felt sorry for, it’s my own pet peeve.

The upside is that I really found out who my friends are (some showed their ugly true colours as well, but better to know that now!) and it has polarised a lot of things in my life (i.e. I don’t think I’ll ever tolerate a crap job or crap relationship again!) and I’ve actually started dating again, which is not something I thought could happen NOW. If anything I want to live more fully than I have before the cancer and the friends who have stuck around have been amazing. Sorry if that sounds a little too pollyanna sunshine, but the other options are less appealing to my sense of well being.

Re: the physical stuff, your arm will feel better and stop itching eventually. Do the exercises they give you post surgery, silly as they seem they will help. And anything you notice that seems odd (if numbness lasts etc.) definitely tell your breast nurse, or any of your team. Be your own best advocate in terms of getting the care you need.

Likewise, as Nicola said, if you want to chat with another 30something in north london, or grab a coffee some time, feel free to pop me a message here. We can have a proper club that no one wants to belong to!

zotam - thoughts are with you, and I’m so sorry you were treated like that, it’s appalling! I’m glad you can still come here and find support and people to talk to.

Best wishes to everyone!

Nicole
x

Hi ladies

I’m local to some of you as also in north London. Not married, no kids but am in a relationship in fact met my boyfriend on New Years Eve 6 weeks after my mastectomy when I wasn’t looking and it’s good. He told me last night that if I don’t have reconstruction it really doesn’t bother him and that he loves me for me.

Nicole I really really feel for you after all you’ve been through - what an awful lot of unfairness and what a terrible time. I’m seeing a fertility specialist in a few weeks to determine my fertility after everything that has been thrown at me since the treatment started.

Vournie I’m not surprised your mind is in turmoil as it’s all been a whirlwind and you have to go through things that you haven’t had much time to think about and mull over - they don’t give you time generally as usually treatment needs to start quickly (it did in my case). It’s really hard to get your head round it but you do after time and you do learn to deal with it.

Zotam - so sorry to hear how awfully you were treated at Tesco and I really feel for you and think about you and the pain you must be going through. Sending you big hugs.

Ruby xxx

Thanks Debs, Vournie and Nicole.
Sorry Vournie I hijacked your thread … didn’t mean to. I loved your title ’ Angry as a bag of weasels’ !
Love Sue x

Vournie

I am 40, divorced for more years that I was married and have an 18 (nearly 19) yr old son.

My DX (diagnosis) and surgery was very quick too. Went to GP on the Monday (7th Jan), saw breast consultant on the Thursday, further test the next day then back the following Thursday for results then surgery the following Friday - in total I was 21 days from actually finding the lump to it being removed. I had no lymph nodes involved but did have the oddity of an intermammory node affected so this delayed the decision of chemo or not until the MDT (multi-disciplinary team … just a big bunch of clever doctors) could discuss me at length. The final decision was no chemo - went to Rads (radiotherapy) planning end of Feb and started 29 rads sessions mid March through to end of April.

I totally understand about the head spinning speed - there is very much an element of ‘hold the bus’ at the start. In fact I got to about the middle of May and suddenly realised all that had happened and I was now at the all over bar the shouting stage (ok there is 5 years of tamoxifen to do and am still on monthly check-ups with the oncologists cos my ovaries are being awkward and remain active).

Yes the scars will be itchy - it’s all part of the healing process, keep an eye on them and check that they are clean, dry and not inflamed - if so get to the GP for some anti-biotics. The arm will be sore and numb for a while. I am a good way down the line from surgery but my arm is still numb … not to the extent that it impedes me doing anything (the lymphodema prevention does restrict what I do with it) and it’s a sort of only numb if I touch it numb if that makes sense.

The anger is normal too … I used to get annoyed at stupid things… in fact when my son crashed his car and I ended up sitting in A&E for 2 and a half hours waiting to discover that he ONLY had broken wrist I was a bit peeved - I even remarked that sitting there for that length of time was worth a broken leg at the very least!

Good luck with the pending surgery and any follow-on treatment you may require - let us know how you are getting on and feel free to ask any questions you have along the way … on here there is no such thing as a stupid question and if you go through many of the threads you will see just what a diverse range of issues we have discussed on here.

Zotam

Just thought I would add a post to you - I’m sure Vournie won’t mind you hi-jacking her thread. I am absolutely disgusted at the reaction of the tesco woman. As you say policies are policies they are not carved in stone! I used to work in the complaints team for a well known broadband supplier and we had policies and proceedures to follow- but there was always a bit of leeway that we could apply at our own descretion … if it was pushing the limit a bit we hauled in the supervisor and if it was pushing it for that level the team manager joined in too.

Obviously there were occassions where no matter what way we twisted the policy we were still unable to agree to what the customer wanted … and I have to say that some customers did have some ridiculous demands … but on these occassions we did our best to at least come to a compromise. In a situation like your’s there would be no question of a refund but a compromise may have been a credit note.

For anyone to shrug their shoulders at you is deplorable … especially from a woman. Some ppl have just got no compassion. I hope you got this person’s name … if not go back and sneak a peek at her name badge. I understand that the shoes sitting there will be upsetting for you and the money is not the main issue … I would urge you to write to the store manager and senda copy to Tesco’s head office.

Personally I would donate the shoes to the local cancer charity shop and tell Tesco that I had done so … and then start shopping in Asda.

Hey Vournie,
I was dx (diagnosed) on 7th April and had my op on 23rd April, I too had a WLE. I got my results 6 days later and I had to have a re-excision as my margins weren’t great. ONe side of the lump had virtually no margins. The second op was basically a day procedure and was no where near as hard to get over as the first. Albeit I was more tired after having 2 anaesthetics in 2 weeks, sorry second op was on 7th May. Everything came back the second time round thankfully.

Like most have said on here ask if there are things you don’t understand and your sense of humour is fine, there a re a lot of us on here who like to see the funny side bloody cr&&py illness.

Feel free to vent and rant and cry we all have/will do so feel free. I am 32 btw (by the way) and have 3 kids 11,8 and 2.

Did your BCN (brest care nurse) give you a folder about your cancer, if so there are lots of ideas for questions on there. If not check out the publications section on here as it pretty much the same stuff.
Write all your questions down so that you won’t forget anything and take notes when you sepak to the surgeon so you can look over them later.
My arm still is numb down the tricep and part of my back just under the joint. It is one of those things, they muck with your nerves so there will be loads of strange feelings, like an itch that you can’t scratch I had a major one tonight and was doing the horse thing where you scratch your butt against a post except it was my arm, didn’t do any good though, drove me potty for a good 5 mins. If there are any questions you need answered and we can help we all will.

Talk to you soon
Lisa
xoxo

Sue - hijack anytime! I didn’t for a second think you had done so, but please do! My title is misleading, as it’s a phrase I quite possibly over use!

Nicole, Ruby & Lisa - thank you - it helps to know the weirdness isn’t unique to me, and Lilac, I completely get the ‘numb only if I touch it’ thing too!

Lisa - it is a margins issue with me too! I’d actually forgotten that that’s what I’d been told…guess nothing much sank in after I’d been told the nodes were clear…feel a tad foolish now, as understand that if I don’t go for this seconds op it would kind of render the first futile, really.
I’ll rearrange as soon as possible.

Actually, I noticed a lumpy area just under my armpit tonight, so may need to get that looked at. Suspect it may be fluid, as, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve not been doing the exercises as often as I should be!
Which basically makes me a plonker!

You’re amazing…all of you! Really good advice, and so, so, so good to hear all your personal experiences!
Thank you! May forget to say that later…particularly when it gets to the “Erk…have to chose/talk about therapies now…” stage

1:54am - Sleeplessness - another side effect!
xXxXx

P.S. LOVE the idea of a North London club!

Hey Vournie,
No worries hunny I am sure the rest are like me and glad we can be of help.
That’s the thing this is one big helpline here and make full use of it.

I need to start doing my exercises again, I have been so bad and have a sleeve to wear cause mine keeps swelling slightly.
So we are both plonkers LOL.

Keep your chin up and write every thing down now so that when you go back in you can question everything and then you will know a little bit more.
Don’t be afraid to take notes while you are in there too, as you said you miss so much when they go off on one about dx, treatment etc.

Love and hugs
Lisa
xoxo