Cancer recurred

I am new to this website and to posting messages, and to be honest I am quite shy and find it hard to talk about things, especially something as devatating as cancer. The one good thing I can see is that there appears to be a vast number of people who seem to genuinely care for others who are going through or who have already gone through such a turmoil.

For the second time I have got breast cancer, the first time I had it was fourteen years ago, it was diagnosed on 16 December 1993, and it was diagnosed on 14 December 2007 this time. This time in all probability I will have bi-lateral mastectomey.

I seem to be having a great deal of trouble coping with it this time, the first time round, I experienced all the emotions going, but once it had been confirmed that I had cancer, there appeared to be a sort of calmness around me. This time however, the appearance of calmness seems to have come and gone in a blink of an eye, and I just cannot seem to prepare myself properly. It seems that auto pilot has to be on with regard to attending to everyday matters - what I just cannot understand it why this time round I don’t seem able to cope as well as last time - has anyone else experienced anything like this, if so did it get any easier.

By the way, it has taken me several attempts to write this - the first message was just to abrupt, I am sure that was because I cannot seem to think straight.

Sorry to go on, but I just can’t cope as well as I would like to.


Hi Ruth

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care forums where I am sure you will recieve valuable support and information from our users. In addition, please feel free to call our confidential helpline on 0808 800 6000 which is open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm for support and information from our team of specialist nurses.

We also have other support services which you may find helpful such as ‘Peer support’ whereby you can be put in touch with someone of a similar age and diagnosis to you for support. Our helpliners will be able to talk to you about this and other help available to you to support you through this difficult time. You can read more our other services via the ‘Support for you’ tab at the top of this page.

Best wishes

I don’t know the answers but maybe the difference is that you now know what treatment involves and also after fourteen years I think we would all think that cancer was well in the past and that lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Knowing me I’d also be thinking how unfair and who can I blame. It’s not fair and I don’t think it should have happened to you. I’d also be really upset to lose my breasts as I found that aspect one of the worst things.

The only plus side is that treatments have generally improved and there’s now more support for people - for example this site.


hello can i just say i really feel for you and do be assured you will have wonderful support on this site as we are all here for you. treatments have improved tremendously in the last 5 years so you will be given suitable medication for you .it must be hard to cope with this for the second time but you did it before and you WILL do it again , we are all here with invisible arms to hold you up anytime you need us remember that when you fell swamped by all that is happening to you .keep posting on here and let us know how your dong , big hugs to you .love lynn xx

Ruth - welcome to this wonderful forum - you’ve done it before and you can do it again. Believe me, I did - 1990 and again this April. I think this is a particularly stressful time of year - definitely not my favourite. Things will get easier and as Aroma says treatments have improved. I just wish this forum had been around in 1990 - please feel free to rant and rage, ask any questions you want, however trivial you may think they are. We are all here to help each other and sometimes it is much easier to do it on line rather than face to face. The only advice I can give you that worked for me was to keep busy - you do have to force yourself sometimes but it does work. And don’t forget to spoil yourself. With love and best wishes Olivia

Thank you Lucy, Mole and Lynn for your kind comments, and for showing me how much care and help there is.

I have been told that I may be having a pre-op assessment somewhere between 27th and 31st Dec 2007, and operation could be 2nd Jan 2008.

I will let you know, when I get confirmation of the dates.

Thank you once again for your kindness you have shown.

Love Ruth xx

Hiya Ruth

Just come across this thread and want to wish you well. When reading your post, I could just hear myself, earlier this year. Like you, I was first dx 9 Jan 1996 then again 9 Jan 2007 (even the surgeon was dumbfounded!) You WILL get through this. You did it before and you can again. As I have found and the others have said, treatment is now so different and just take each stage as it comes.

Nearly a year on now (unbelievable!) and I’m getting my life back, having nearly all good days, throw a few wobblies now and then, but not so much. You take care, and let us know how you go.

Anne x

Thank you Anne and Olivia, and everyone who has been so kind and helpful in their comments. Each one of these comments gives me a little boost in the right direction. To be honest though, there are times when all I want to do is to scream as loud as I possibly can, maybe throw the toys out with the bathwater, and then have a coffee - but I have managed to not throw the toys out, and I’ve not done any screaming, but I have drunk a fair few mugs of coffee!!

It is wonderful to know that there is so much help here - especially as it does seem so much harder the second time around, but my heartfelt thanks goes out to all who have given me their best - I will keep you updated.

With love and best wishes to all of you


Hi Ruth, sorry to hear about your recurrence. As other have said, this site is so supportive and if ever you need any advice or information (or just scream!) just ask. I was first dx in 1999 and did not have access to a computer then, so all my info at that time came via the hospital. When I had a recurrence in 2005 things were so different. Treatments have moved on fast and I now have a computer, so information gathering was so much easier. I too found the recurrence very difficult to cope with, especially as my breast surgeon had just discharged me from his clinic and I was back 1 month later with a lump on the same (reconstructed) boob. I won’t go into all the emotional turnoil here, but suffice it to say, I am feeling much better now and finally getting my life back in order. Have just come off Arimidex - with consultants approval - and beginning to feel my normal self again. So there is life after a recurrence, Ruth.

Very best of luck, Ruth nd let us know how you get on.



hi Ruth
i was first Dx in 1999 & again in Dec '06. I did have a bilateral this time around & like you that air of calmness disappeared, total blind panic really. But i have finished all my treatment, my hair is slowly coming back & i am waiting on tender hooks for my appointment for reconstruction in the new year. I have my good days, but also bad days when i think of nothing else & everything gets me down. You’ve done it once girl, you can do it again! & it does get easier, especially with the support from all on this site.
You take care of yourself
Louise xx

Hello to everyone who has passed on some wonderful comments - all of which are a great help to me. I am sorry that I have not written anything for a couple of days, but I seemed to have gone down hill a little bit, and just did not seem able to think of anything very much.

Today, I was talking with someone I know, and although she was shocked, she said that I had beaten cancer before and I would do so again, and I thought that those words along with all the encouraging words written on this site, gave me a nudge in the right direction, and to think of the positive things which could well come out of this situation.

With that in mind, I am waiting to have the dates confirmed, and then plan various visits to my family before I go into hospital for the operation.

Perhaps I will feel a bit more calmer once I have the date of operation confirmed, and once that has happened I am hoping to see some of my family before going into hospital.

Once again many thanks for all the wonderful encouragement you have passed on to me, and may I give my very best to you all, and wish everyone a wonderful Christmas.

Love Ruth

Hiya Ruth

Glad you’re feeling a bit more chilled (? - right word??) Any questions, just ask, and have a good Christmas.

Anne x


I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer after a gap of twenty years. Like you I am struggling to cope. Its worse this time round becasue I have two children aged 9 and 12 so I have to maintain some semblance of normaility for their sake. I have a date for my mastectomy (its tomorrow) and do feel a bit calmer but still have some moments of blind panic. As many of the comments have said if you can do it once, you can do it again.

Best of luck


Hello Barbara

Thank you for sharing - twenty years that is a very long time to have gone and then to be told that it has come back - you must have felt worse than I did, especially as you have two children. Well done for keeping some semblance of normality for them, it really must have been hard. I really do feel for you because it is such a tremendous shock after such a long time, and in all probability you may have had similar thoughts such as Why me? Why after such a long time?, maybe experienced all the emotions possible in a relatively short space of time, I can only pass on all of the encouraging comments passed on to me via this site, and express the same - you have beaten it once and you will do so again. It is quite strange passing that on to you insofar as a great number of very kind people have done exactly the same to me. Good luck with your operation, I will be thinking of you. I have still to have my date of operation confirmed, it was supposed to have been 2nd January 2008, but now it could be on the 4th - hopefully I will hear soon. All the very best of luck to you.


Hi Anne,

Many thanks for your comments - yes I do feel a little bit more chilled - so to speak, but I now have some daft questions going round in my head - like “how long before I will be allowed to have a shower”, “how will I be able to wash my hair if I am not allowed to get the dressing wet”, “what sort of clothes is it best to wear” - that sort of thing. Hope you had a great christmas, once again many thanks - it was great to read your message.

Love Ruth

Hi Ruth,
One of the nurses washed my hair for me on day 2 following surgery and I washed it myself each day after that. Either button up sleeveless pj,s or loose strappy tops are best to take in with you. My surgeon removed my dressings on day 3 and said I could get the wound wet and shower when I went home on day 6.
Are you having a reconstruction? I believe the mastectomy op takes about 1 hr plus 3 -4 hrs for reconstruction.
My b.c. came back after 8 years I just had a wide incision previously, now I am so glad that the blooming breast is gone Good riddence to it it was nothing but trouble to me I am now
thinking about getting rid of my healthy one. There was hardly any pain afterwards you should have a morphine drip which you control yourself.
Anyway GOOD LUCK we will all be thinking about you , let us know how you gat on.
Love Lynny x

Hi Lynny

Thanks for your advice regarding what to wear - I’ve made a bit of a bloomer - so to speak - I went and bought several very large T-Shirt type tops - they really are large, so that they would just slip on, but it seems that I should have asked first, mind I guess they will be useful when I get home! It does not seem to be too long before the hair can be washed - which is good, I don’t know about you, but I always feel very relaxed after my hair has been washed. No I am not having reconstruction, I was asked if I wanted to have reconstruction, but I just don’t feel able to have implants - the thought scares me - what happens if one of the implants bursts??? So I am having a prosthesis (I think that is how it is spelt,but because I am not that good with certain words - I suggested a “stuffed bra”!!!) Have a problem with morphine though - do you know if they use any other of pain relief - I will have to ask my BCN if there is an alternative. Still waiting on dates - was originally given the possibility of anywhere between 27 and 31st December for a pre-op assessment, and operation on 2nd January, but had a phone call to say that the 2nd was now no longer viable, and there was a possibility that it could be the 4th jan, but there ain’t much time left for pre-op assessment, I will try to let you know when it is all going to happen - if I am not literally called in at the last minute. Thanks again for your help and advice, and for taking time out to write to me - I really do appreciate all the help, advice and letters they are all a great help, bless you all for caring so much.

With love Ruth xx

Hello Ruth

I’ve just seen this thread and am sorry to read about your recurrence and that you’re facing a mastectomy. You say you can’t face implants - but what about the other kinds of reconstruction? Did they not offer any of those? - I have no personal experience, having had only a WLE last year but one of my friends has had a superb reconstruction - the sort where they use some muscle from your back - she is very happy with it.

About pain relief: when I had a hysterectomy several years ago I had morphine for the first 24 hours and was then given diclofenac suppositories which provide marvellous pain relief. After that I moved on to Tramadol pills which also helped.
Lots of luck with your operation.
Take care
Anthi x

Hi Anthi

I cannot find your comments - according to the list you were the last to comment, but when I took a look, there was nothing to be seen, don’t know what has happened.

Ruth xx


Can anyone tell me how to read the messages - I seem unable to get any messages on to the screen - all I seem to get is 1 to 19 of 19, and nothing else, this has very recently happened and I am at a loss as to why - can anyone help me please, thank you

Love Ruth