Diagnosed 15 Aug, mastectomy this Friday, all very fast!

Hi everyone,

I was wondering where to post this as I seem to be progressing through the topics at an astonishing rate.

I was diagnosed 15 Aug and am having a mastectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy this Friday 29th. My tumour is 3cm diameter, invasive and very close to my nipple, and with size A boobs the surgeon has advised total mastectomy as the preferred option. I can’t have a reconstruction yet as it seems I’ll probably have to have chemo, but all will be decided on 12 Sep when I get my path results back.

I think I’ll be too busy to post much this week prior to the op, but intend to be back afterwards when I have loads of time on my hands.

A bit about me - 43, wonderful hubby who’s taking loads of time off work, and 2 fantastic children aged almost 13 and 9. My Mum went through all this last year, Apr 07, also had mastectomy and 3 weeks of radiotherapy, and is now fully fit. She and my dad are coming to stay next weekend to help out while I’m out of it and is already providing much needed support.

We were on holiday last week, starting the day after my diagnosis, so it’s been rather surreal really. I’ve asked to see my mammograms this week as I’ve been stuck in denial for a few days and need to get my head around what everyone’s telling me as I feel so well! Hopefully, this, together with the next meeting with my nurse this week will help me move on.

Talk to you all again soon,

Bella xx

Bella sorry you have had to join us on here,pleased you have so much support it really makes a real difference

hope everything goes ok for you and it didn’t spoil your holiday to much. your mum will be a great help.wish mine was around.

Hi Bella

Just thought I would tell you that I had 33mm taken from behind my nipple (tumour 19mm/circled by DCIS - 33mm in total) by WLE and am an A cup. I now have a very neat arc scar in the areola and only a slight depression. But I think I am unusual.

Jo xx

Hi Bella

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

You may find BCC’s resource pack helpful which 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:

I hope you find this helpful.

Kind regards

BCC Facilitator

Hi Bella

Just wanted to say that I moved through it all very quickly too. I was dx on Nov 1st 2007 - on Nov 7/8th I had bone/liver/lungs scan to check for spread (which thankfully were all clear), had right mastectomy on 13th Nov, full path report on 21st Nov (3cm, stage 3, 5/11 nodes affected and her2+++) and started chemo on 29th Nov - all within a month !!

At the time I just couldn’t keep up with what was happening - but on reflection it gave me less chance to ponder upon the ‘what ifs’ - it wasn’t until I had had my first chemo that I actually began to take it all in.

I hope everything goes ok for you
best wishes
Margaret x

Hi everyone,

Well, the operation was a success and the sentinal node was found easily (because of having to take 2 lots of scans) and removed, so I await my results on 12 Sep.

The whole experience was rather frightening for me as I had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic and kept fainting due to low BP. I spent all of the first night awake on a drip with a terribly painful cannula, on oxygen and attached to BP machine. i then had the indignity of wetting myself and the angel nurses had to bed bath me! I was finally on my feet Sunday morning then allowed home Sunday afternoon. The whole experience has put me off the thought of doing it all again for a reconstruction, but it’s early days yet. Maybe it’s like childbirth where you forget the whole experience??!!

I’ve been feeling wiped out since then, although steadily a bit better each day, and hubbie got me out to a garden centre for coffee this morning, which was nice. But I feel like such an old lady!! I’ve a district nurse visiting every other day to monitor my progress. The only real pain is the drain which has to stay in for 14 days (why??) and is stopping me from sleeping as it’s so uncomfortable.

I’m still waiting for the shock of it all to kick in, as mentally I feel fine at the moment, but have a feeling it’s going to sneak up on me, as it did for Margaret.

Thanks to you all for replying, and hope you’re all OK. Will post again soon,

Bella xx

Hi Bella

Glad to see you back - though sorry you had such a bad reaction.

You are bound to feel wiped out - I know I did. My hospital let me go home for an afternoon the weekend following my op - I was actually glad to go back into the hospital just for a rest!

Have you been told that your drains definitely have to stay in for a fortnight? Mine were removed when the levels reached a certain point (so many mls per hour or something like that).

Please keep posting and let us know how you get on

margaret x

Hi Magz,

I was originally told by the BCN that it would have to be in for 10 days, so I had next Monday mentally booked as the time when it would come out. Then as I was being discharged it turned out the surgeon had insisted it stay in until my 14 day appt with her next Friday, so I’ve another week to go of the blessed thing. It’s the one thing holding me back at the moment as it’s affecting my mobility and sleep (although I did sleep a bit better last night), but suppose there’s a good reason for it. I’m still producing significant fluid (sorry if TMI!!) so I suppose it’s doing it’s job, but will be so glad to see teh back of it.

How are you doing?

Bella x

Hi Bella, I had my mastectomy on the 25th June and I find it hard to believe that your drain is in for such a long time. My consultants protocol is less than 30mls per 24 hours or max 5 days. I have just had a full lymph node clearance and the drain stayed in for 5 days and removed by the district nurse. I can appreciate exactly what you mean by it hindering mobility and sleep.

I adjusted quite quickly to haveing my boob removed as I thought of it as getting rid of the beast. I too will possibly have a reconstruction later on but I get my path report next Tuesday and then will start a minimum of 7 sessions of chemo, then poss rads and then hormone treatment. At this mo in time I cannot even consider the long op for reconstruction but maybe with time this will be more of a positive option.
Take care of yourself and listen to your body and rest when you need to regardless of what is going on around you.
Love Sharon xx

I had surgery on July 9th, mod rad mast, one breast removed, as well as 10 lymph nodes, 1 positive.
I had drains in for 12 days, long by any standards, and it was difficult. I think in the beginning you are so numb by the mastectomy and arm, that the drain is less obvious. As the rest of your body heals, it becomes more prominent. I had to wait till there was a mere drip of fluid, under 25 ml for an entire day. My surgeons nurse took it out and it helped enormously. What a relief!

Like Sharon, I may have recon but not for a bit. I am not even eligible for it till February which really is a relief since I am just now getting back to living again. Even though I am still having rads (35), today was my first day back to work!

Just know it does get better and try to rest. It’s hard to sleep but it helps to use pillows. Even though most of the time I was recovering from surgery I slept sitting up, it helped to a nice soft but big pillow under my arm and across my chest. It relieves the pressure I think so gravity doesn’t sink your arm too low. Its been two months and I am now sleeping lying down. It takes time, but it happens.

Take it easy, hope it goes quickly for you!


Thanks for your comments everyone.

I’ve had a right palavar today as the drain leaked big time last night trashing my bed! As it’s a Sunday I’ve been waiting all day on duty Drs etc but have finally been given permission to go and have it removed tomorrow. It can’t come a moment sooner as I know I’ll feel much better once it’s out. The lovely district nurse is coming in a mo to pad me up for tonight so I don’t have a repeat performance, so fingers crossed I’ll be a happier bunny this time tomorrow!

Love to all, Bella x

Hi Bella,

My story sounds a little similar to yours. This is my 1st post so may turn out a bit wrong (apologies in advance if it does)

Was diagnosed on the 1st, mastectomy, 2 lymph nodes removed and reconstruction done on the 26th. Like you up all night the 1st night, low BP for a few days but had drain removed after 2 days as they removed when less than 30mls came out within a 12 hour period. Was lovely to get that out. Got an explader implant in which may start on the 11th which is my results day.

I’m 33 with 2 children aged 6 & 4. Timing was terrible as was half way through fertility treatment for our 3rd and it was our 10 year wedding anniversary but then the timing is never right for anyone is it. Cons has said that at least I am not pregnant which I didn’t want to hear at the time but can now understand.

Strange to think that by the end of this week we will both know whats in store

Love Sam xxx

Hi Sam,

Good grief, we are comrades in battle aren’t we?! This blasted beast is so indiscriminate isn’t it - have you asked the ‘why me’ yet? There’s so much to get our heads around - mine seems to have imploded recently and I’m unable to think of much else.

I send my best wishes for you this week as we both discove our fate. I was at hospital today (and finally had my drain removed and feel so much better for it even though it was probably the most gross thing they’ve done to me so far!) and walked past the path lab. I couldn’t help but think that somewhere in there is a collection of brillliant minds studing what they removed from me and deciding what is to be. I had to pray that they’ve not found anything too bad, and hope yours is so too.

Speak to you soon, take care,

Bella x

Hi Bella

I gave the right answers to the initial questions and have been told that there is no obvious reason why me. I lost my best friend to cancer in Nov, she was only 28 & I really really really never though that it would happen so soon to me, being so close to her. We were both checked out on the same day 18 months ago and I was told that I was OK and she was referred and eventually received bad news. It had already spread far up to her brain My lump suddenly got bigger a few weeks back, they say, why did you not come back sooner but if you are told something is OK and it sits there and never changes for months and months you accept it and live with it, well that is what I did so a bit anxious about results on thurs.

But the most important thing that I keep reminding myself is that I’ve been given a chance, yes I’ve had a mastectomy and not sure yet what lies in store but I have been given a chance and I am taking it and will fight it.

I am so glad you’ve got that horrible drain removed. It will make you feel a bit better just by doing that. You made me laugh about the path lab, that is exactly the sort of thing I would have thought, would also want to pick it up and hurl it as far as I could (but make sure I get my results 1st)!!

Take care and my thoughts are also with you this week (wonder if any of our results might have similarities)??

Love Sam xxx

Hi Sammie,

Thinking of you also as we approach D-Day. The nerves have just started to kick in today as I wait for tomorrow morning’s diagnosis. Fortunately, in a bizarre way, I’ve had physical problems this week which have kept my mind off it as I’ve had to concentrate on getting better (wretched drain site went manky). Now it’s better my mind is starting to wander…

Take care, Bella x

Hi Sammie,

How are you? Did you get your results?

I got mine yesterday and they’re as good as they can be. They got all the tumour and the sentianl node was clear which means it hadn’t spread. However, because the tumour was large, and I’m relatively young, I’m to start chemo next month when my body has recovered from surgery (it still hasn’t) followed by radio then tamoxifen for 5 years.

I’m scared of the chemo, but because the tumour was so large, understand entirely why I have to have it, so have a lot tho think about over the next couple of weeks.

Thinking of you,

Bella x

Hi Bella

Sorry I hadn’t been on here. I’m fine, results were OK, not bad, not good but could have been better. I thought they removed 2 nodes but turned out to be 26 of which 10 were infected. I am still awaiting more test results to see if I would be able to have Herceptin as they said I am at a higher chance of it coming back. I am starting chemo on Mon morning at 9am

It was a lot to take in and I don’t know the size of the tumour but I understand why they are starting chemo so quick. I haven’t recovered from the surgery yet, having pain at the moment from the reconstruction but am sure it is all part of the healing. Chemo does seem awfully quick but they want to press on with it as other little pre-cancerous bits have shown up & obv now we know it was in lymph nodes so looking at the whole picture I know that it is right to press on with the chemo. Got told all of this on Thurs pm and they weighed me and done my height etc all ready for chemo so not much time for it to sink in but its nice to know that they are giving me everything straight away.

Unfortunatly it means I’m going to miss my little boys 1st day at nursery which I’m pset about but did think about delaying his start day til Tues but then thought that I may be throwing up so better to leave as it is and I pick him up as have been told that probably won’t start feeling unwell until Mon night so we will see.

Such good news that your lymph nodes are clear. You’ve got a lot of thinking to do over the next couple of weeks and resting. I’m glad I’m having chemo in an odd kind of way, mop up any little byters left behind.

Take care

Sam xxx

Just looked back and my spelling is terrible, I can spell, its more that i can’t concentrate with 2 children keep asking when their cousins are coming over, They’re coming over this evening with my sister and brother in law. They are the same age as my children, girls are 4 days apart and the boys 8 weeks. I think I am suddenly ageing, I rang her up and asked her to bring scrabble over!!

I’m really pleased for your news. I am still very positive and not doubting at all that I will get rid of it but was hopeful with the mastectomy that I would be able to forget about it after treatment and my reversal op next year. I’m dissappointed that there is a higher chance of it coming back but I know that they are doing and will do all they can to hopefully prevent it.

Hope you have a lovely weekend, I must get our spring bulbs planted tomorrow!

Love Sam xxx

Oh Sam, I’m sorry it was not better news for you but I understand how you feel about blasting The Beast with chemo, it’s the same as I feel. At least this way we know we have the best possible chance of recovery and non-recurrence.

My chemo won’t start until next month as i’m still having problems with my wound, so we won’t be in-phase, but hopefully we can stay in touch. It hit me yesterday that I’ve had a lucky escape, the tumour was 60mm with only a 1mm margin, and this was after amastectomy so wasn’t any more they could have taken. If I had left it any longer goodness knows where it could have gone…

I wouldn’t be too upset about missing your son’s first day at nursery, there’ll be plenty of other special milestones along the way and you have to concentrate on getting well so you can enjoy them to the full. My ‘little boy’ was 13 last Thursday and we took him out for dinner last night. It wasn’t the greatest meal ever but I so enjoyed it because I remembered how ill I was 2 weeks previously and didn’t think I’d be there!

Hope it goes OK tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of you,

Bella x

P.S. I can’t believe you’re thinking of planting bulbs…my garden is a total mess from 4 weeks of bad weather and my neglect from being out of it. Oh well, i’ll just have to start again next year! Just think though, by the time those bulbs come up you might have finished chemo???

Two minds think alike, that is exactly why we’ve been gardening. I love flowers and the children know I do and they love growing things (they’re at that age where they want to continuosly water things) so thought it would be a good idea to plant bulbs today as I’m starting the chemo in the morning and then when its all done, we should have flowers.

(well thats the aim, whether we actually get any good results from todays effort remains to be seen)!!

Just hope I haven’t overdone it from the surgery point of view, little bit more sore tonight

Sam xxx