awaiting surgery, anxious

Hello everyone. Can’t sleep, keep waking up very early. Did any of you feel the earthquake at 1 am this morning? SO glad to find this site! I am newly diagnosed and am going in for a mastectomy next tuesday,4th march. I am glad that my cancer seems to have been found early (please, God). But ,of course, it’s such a shock to be told you need the whole breast removed. (due to position next to nipple). I feel positive about getting rid of the tumour, but am worrying about silly things like - will I be able to exercise,run and jump around like I normally do, without people noticing I have a prosthesis? And how long will it be before I feel able to do all my normal things?! Presuming I have a good result, that is.
There is so much to think about! it’ so sudden and quick your brain doesn’t have time to process it all,does it? God bless you all, Ann

Hi Anna

Welcome to the forums, I am sorry to read of your recent diagnosis, I am sure that you will receive lots of support and information from your fellow forum members very soon. I also 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:

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

You may also find our booklet called ‘Your operation and recovery’ helpful to read as it contains information about breast and axillary surgery, you can read it via the following link:

breastcancercare.org.uk/docs/your_op_and_recovery_07_web_0.pdf

Please also feel free to call our helpline for more information, they can also 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
Lucy

Hi Anne

Yes I did feel the tremor I was on here chatting!

I had wle and snb on 13 Dec but unfortunately they did not get clear margins so I had to go back on 31 Jan for mastectomy. The first op was more painful and I found the mast a lot easier, soon had full movement in my arm. Make sure you do the exercies you are given its a bit of a struggle at first but they really do help.

When I came out of hospital I was given a softie/comfie which fits into your bra and looks quite good and I found it gave me back my symetry. People do tend to look at you the first time they see you trying to work out which one is the false one but it is not that easy to tell and you can help disquise it with cardies and scarfs etc.

Havent got to the stage of prosethis (spelling) yet so cant comment I think Im having that next week?

You have got so much to try and sort out in such a short time, try and break it down into more managable chunks, I try and only deal with the next appointment and not worry to far ahead.

Sending Hugs

Karen

XXX

Thankyou,Lucy for that info. It’s wonderful to have this forum to support each other, even in the middle of the night! That’s when you need it,often!
I’m starting to feel more positive, because I want to get rid of the lump asap, and that will help me face the mastectomy.(5 days to go). I keep hearing good reports from people I know, and from my cousin’s wife who was diagnosed 10 years ago and now lives a very full and active life,doing more than ever! It all helps. I also have fantastic support from my church family - there are probably at least 200 people praying for me this week, and I can really feel the difference that makes. I think I would be a quivering wreck by now without it!
Thanks for advise, Karen, I was looking too far ahead, you’re right. One day at a time! I am already developing a new appreciation of each day and want to make the most of it, and can see better what is important and what is not! I am going to try and lose weight and get fit before the Tamoxifen kicks in, if that’s possible! Lost a bit of my appetite so that helps!
God bless you all, Ann

Hi Ann

I’m going in tomorrow for mastectomy and immediate reconstruction on Saturday. Like you, my lump is behind the nipple so mastectomy is the only option. It’s described as ‘strongly oestrogen receptive’ from the core biopsy, I get the full results post-surgery on 12 March. I’m also expecting they’ll recommend Tamoxifen and want to drop some weight beforehand - I’m about a stone and a half over my ideal and haven’t enjoyed buying things two sizes bigger to wear while I have bulky dressings! I do hope yours goes really well. I’m expecting to be in for about a week and will try to update here during the week if I can. Sending you wishes for strength and healing.
Lyn xx

Hi Lyn, I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow and hoping all goes well so that you can get home quickly.
keep an eye open for my return on here, I hope to be home from my surgery on friday 7th, if the drains can come out. yes, mine is oestrogen-receptive,too.So I’ve started on tamoxifen already, at the nurse’s suggestion. I too am about a stone and a half over my ideal ( maybe a bit more! ). We are not offered immediate reconstruction at our hospital. Have to wait until other treatments are finished. Reading other past comments about mastectomies has helped me a lot this evening. I am not going to worry about it so much, just be glad we can have the cancer taken away. We are very blessed. I am 52, but this is still a shock. I’ve said goodbye to my breast already and thanked it for it’s good work of feeding my two daughters! Boo,hoo!
Take care of yourself. praying for strength and healing, Ann xx

hi again,Lyn. Just remembered I will have internet access in hospital,too, so will try to stay in touch. This place is such a Godsend, isn’t it? It’s great to be able to share our thoughts and fears with each other any time of day or night! great therapy.
God bless you. Sleep well.
Ann

Ann I can relate to so much of what you say! I am 51, kids 16, 19 and 21, and I too have been feeling very pleased that I breast fed each of them for 13 months. I think the hospital’s bells-and-whistles TV system has internet access and otherwise should be able to access it through my phone. This is a real lifeline, sharing experiences with people who understand. My 40 year old niece has a hysterectomy at a different hospital today, a memorable weekend for all the wrong reasons. What a way to spend Mother’s Day!

Good luck, I will be thinking of you. By Tuesday I hope I’ll be out of bed and able to wash my hair at least!

Lyn xxx

Just thought I’d add that I was worried about how long it would take before I could do *normal* things.

My op, a bilateral mastectomy with no reconstruction was 1 week ago yesterday.

1 day later I was off the drip etc and up and moving, 2 days later I went home (drains intact) and started doing the very basic exercises (a little too much apparently). 6 days later (Wednesday) returned to have drains and top dressing removed.

I’m now moving around normally, not needing any pain killers anymore and already have full motion of arms, ie can reach as high as I ever could.

I’ve still got the little bandages on until this weekend and have to stop myself lifting any real weight (no digging the garden yet apparently) but that’s it otherwise I’m almost full health already.

So you may get better faster than you thought, I thought I’d be useless for weeks. But I should add at this point that I spent the 2 weeks before going for a 2 hour walk every day so I was at peak fitness, I’m a healthy weight, youngish (33), and was eating a high protein diet as I know it helps you to rebuild tissue.

I was also getting treated by a homeopath (my Mum in fact) so my body was as prepared as it can be so please don’t beat yourself up if you don’t find yourself bouncing of the walls with energy afterwards. In my case I was just so relieved to have the cancer gone you would have needed to strap me down to stop me :wink:

Good luck, play it be ear and make sure you wiggle those shoulders gently after the op so you don’t get stiff, other than that do what you feel like when you feel you can.

Thanks ladies,Hope you are recovering well Lyn. Thinking of you. No-one has told me to buy any larger sized tops to wear. I had better go and buy some today! (3 days to go to op). Maybe that’s my own fault for not asking my bc nurse. I’ve only just realised there will be some bulky dressings on! I’ve been putting my head in the sand, I think. Now I had better get jenned up a bit before “B” Day as I’ve started to call it! I am spending more and more time on this website. it’s fantastic!
I’m planning to get in touch with my local support group today. Think that will be a good idea. has anyone else done that yet,soon after diagnosis? My main worry right now is that Im going to be a blubbering wreck in hospital, because I seem to be bottling it all up just now! I hate being pathetic!
Hopefully some tea and sympathy from one who has been there will release the dam before I go in on tuesday! I had planned to do so much at home before I went in, but I seem to be going around in a daze! I will get through this! Sorry I seem to write so much,think I’ll talk to someone today!!
Best wishes to you all.
Ann xx

I understand about the ‘daze’ thing. I’m going in for my mastectomy the day after yours, but don’t have to report to hospital until noon and then op is scheduled for 4pm. I am finding that I have to be strong for other people, a couple of friends have blubbed away when I have told them - which I find a bit odd really, as things should be the other way round!

It’s amazing how one day you can feel quite emotional and low, then the next fairly positive and strong. Today, I’ve been great apart from about 10 minutes when out with my two daughters for a hot chocolate in Borders, for a Mother’s day treat (well, I paid for it!). I had to bite my lip to stop me from crying. But I managed to get through it, and made the most of the lovely afternoon. It may be a while before we can go out together again, as my younger daughter is at uni in Birmingham.
I’ve packed my bag ready for Tuesday and have a little goody bag of treats to cheer me up when recovering from op.! I’ve decided I need to be kind to myself ! New p.j.'s too.
I’ve also noticed I am needing to be strong for other people. I have to remember I have had two weeks to get over the initial shock, and they haven’t had time to do that yet. My husband is finding it hard, I think. I’m hoping he’ll ring the helpline to chat with someone. I’ve told my family about it. How are your families coping? All the best to everyone reading this. I starting to feel this is like a big family, with lots of positive thoughts flying back and forth between each other, which is great!
God bless you all. Ann

Hi Angie, hope you are still doing well. We’ve got snow showers here in Milton Keynes and our boiler is threatening to break down. Talk about bad timing! Hoping we can coax it along a few more weeks. I go in for my mastectomy tomorrow morning. Feeling scared today and just wishing it was all over. Still, this time tomorrow I should be recovered from the anaesthetic and having a much-needed cup of tea. Then the next waiting time begins. Still I am grateful that we can have treatment for this thing. We have much to be thankful for!

Hi Meg, hope you are feeling strong. I was yesterday! Today I feel like hiding away in a hole. I feel a bit pathetic,do you?
I will be thinking of you on Wednesday. Maybe it won’t be as bad as we think. We will be in good hands I am sure. My husband is feeling low today, probably the stress of it starting to show. bless him. He was very ill 18 months ago, and I felt very stressed!

Hi Lyn, hope it’s all going well for you sweetheart. Hope you sleep well and are able to get your shower tomorrow! Will watch for your return on here. praying for you.

Wish me well for tomorrow,
Ann xxx

Hey Ann.

Well I know you’ll be in now so I shall visualise you all nice and clear which is what all my friends did for me.
No flowers I said, just imagine nice clear lymph nodes and a healthy cancer free body for me.

They did and I just got my results, looks like it may have worked :slight_smile:

So I have no idea what you look like but am imagining a nice healthy lady post op and all clear.

Let us know when you’re back and how you’re getting on.

I’m literally bouncing with joy, or would be if I wasn’t so knackered, am bouncing inside though.

Think I’ll try that sleep stuff now.

Hi Angie,
Thanks for you kind thoughts of me. I came home on monday. stayed in 6 nights,with home leave on the 6th day for a few hours to make sure I felt up to going home. I still have one drain in, hope that will be ready to come out on Thursday,or Friday. Wound was stitched and glued and healing nicely so far.Takes some getting used to, but still.
The mastectomy itself was much better than I thought, but I am getting a bit of pain in the drain site and shoulder, so trying to keep it moving.
Glad that’s over and done with! love my softie which I wear all the time now,just held against my chest by a stretchy camisole. It creeps up a little now and then, but it’ll do for now! It’s comforting to have a squishy replacement there, especially when giving and receiving hugs! We all need plenty of those!
Go back to the breast clinic for my results next monday. Trying to keep positive while I wait, but also expecting to need some follow up treatment,as most seem to do. I’m on Tamoxifen already.My discharge sheet said the punch biopsy showed invasive lobular ca.Let’s hope it was caught early.
God bless, Ann

Yeah Ann

Glad to see you back. It’s all part of a process. I’m sure I’ll need treatment too but right now I’m getting my OH to build some raised beds so I can carry on growing veg. and that’s all I’m worried about until 5th April when I go back to discuss further treatment.

I don’t know if this helps you but do remember that you don’t *have* to take any treatment but after getting my results I had to shake the had of my surgeon and let him know that I really appreciate what he’s done. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Anyway it’s alte so more tomorrow.

lots of love

Angie

Hi Anne

Just found this link and can really relate to your situation being about 3 months ahead of you.

Also diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and due to its position under the nipple had a mastectomy of the left breast on Dec.14th. Also in my early 50’s two sons both at uni, the second had just started at Exeter and we were enjoying the empty nest when the lump was discovered.

Like you I am a member of a really supportive church, who have been praying for me, my husband and the boys.
Their support and the support of friends and colleagues has really carried me through.

Its a long journey so take it step by step and day by day. Enjoy and celebrate every achievent. There are good days and not so good days, a real roller coaster of emotions. Try to focus on what you can do not what you can’t.
I love walking ( don’t need breasts for that!!) so three weeks after the op managed a 4 mile walk - absolutely shattered but I felt so good. Managed 8 miles after 5 weeks then started radio therapy for three weeks which did make me tired after the treatment had finished.

Now a month on I am off to get my prosthesis this Thursday and then back to school on Easter Tuesday - I teach part time so there is a class of 25 Nursery children to look forward to.

Will be praying for you as you go for your results on Monday.

lots of love

Magsi

Hi Ann, I’m so glad you’re through the surgery and home - I came back on Tuesday, day 10, but can’t sit at the computer for long so am just catching up.

I don’t get my results until Weds, they offered a Monday appt but transport difficulty meant rescheduling it. I feel stiff and tight and the exercises are difficult. Underneath of upper arm feels terribly sore but looks ok! Pleased with the immediate recon, my kids have all wanted to see it and are happy too, but we’re all dreading chemo will be recommended and a consequent hair loss will finally make my condition public knowledge - nobody in the village knows. Wishing you all the very best over the next few days and for your results on Monday. Lyn xxx

Thanks, ladies.
So glad you are home ok Lyn. I’ve posted a message to you elsewhere then saw these. I’ve been thinking of you and praying it would go well. If you need chemo we’ll be doing it at same time, though they may give you longer to recover from op. Hope you don’t need it, of course.

I went back to the breast care nurse on Thursday to have my second drain removed ( painless! ), and she had my histology results waiting for me. it was as I expected, I need to have chemo and radiotherapy due to lymph node involvement ( 4 out of the 13 sampled were positive ). lump was 3cm, but completely removed.Stage Two, therefore.

I’m waiting for a CAT scan and appointment with oncologist to discuss the chemo. I’m feeling scared about it if I dwell on it too much, but have decided it’s got to be done and I will ask my family and friends to pray that side effects will be minimal. I have decided I’ll take whatever is needed to be sure of being rid of any rogue cells floating around. Going to try to eat healthily and build myself up over next few weeks. I’ve heard there is a herb you can take ( milk thistle?) to help your liver cope with the chemo. Anyone tried it? I’ll have a look on web over the weekend.

Thankyou for your encouraging words, Magsie. So glad you are doing well. I, too, hope to begin walking again. I’m glad you didn’t need chemo. And Angie, yes I’m thinking of growing some veg and flowers. I was just beginning a plan to increase my fitness and lose weight when this happened, but I’ve decided to just try to keep on track and get on with my life a day at a time. The support from my church family has been tremendous.My living room is like a flower shop just now!
Lots of love to you all reading this,
Ann XX

Can just imagine your living room full of flowers - friends are so kind aren’t they, and just looking at them reminds us of their care and love.

I expect you’ve got lots of cards as well, I found them really encouraging probably a few weeks later when I had time to read them properly.

How are your girls coping at the moment?

I expect your younger daughter at uni will soon be home for the holidays, my eldest returned from Southampton last night and the younger one tonight which generally means more food, washing and noise (that,s boys for you).

Glad to know that you are continuing with your plan to get fit and eat healthily, its good to be proactive.

Will pray that whatever treatment is decided, it will go well and that the side effects will be minimal.

Lots of love

Magsi