Diagnosed and awaiting surgery

Hello, I am new to this!  I was diagnosed with ductal breast cancer on 17th May.  I am due to have surgery on 14th June.  Wide local and incision and lymph node removal.  On the whole I seem to be coping, however, I have moments when it just seems to hit me all over again.  I am carrying on at work, however, I find it very hard to concentrate (I’m a Nurse!).  It’s like I have this disease, but it’s not making me ill at the moment.  I have a very supportive partner, however, at this particular time I have decided not to share the news with my daughters - age 15 and 17; mainly due to the fact that the 15 year old is half way through her GCSEs, and the day she finishes is my elder daughter’s 18th!  


Just wondered if anyone had any advice for me?  Re: working? not telling teennagers? surgery? anything else that you think I should know?  All advice gratefully received.


J xx

Hi Justine, sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Yes, the BC thing totally sucks and interferes with your plans. We had to cancel a trip to Canada but decided to spend the money on getting a few treats for the house so I get to enjoy it more whilst I’m stuck here most of the time now. I’m 48, with 2 kids in Uni and I was diagnosed at the end of March (ER+/HER2-, 5cm, locally advanced, invasive, diffuse margins and in 4 local nodes). I told my kids over the phone and managed to be really brave and positive, this affected my Son’s concentration for the first couple of weeks so I got a letter for him from my Oncologist for extenuating circumstances. My daughter is really good at channeling any negative energy into her studies so appears to have coped better. As its so close to your kids exams you may want to postpone telling them if you (and anyone you tell) are able to keep up the pretence.  I started chemotherapy at the end of April and I’ve continued to work full-time from home. As the chemo reduces the immune system it’s best to avoid people as much as possible.  I won’t be having any surgery until the end of my 8 rounds of chemo so I still have my head in the sand a bit on that one! Just keep yourself nice and healthy ready for treatments and try not to let your mind spiral out of control because it tends to focus on worst case scenarios. (We all do this as part of trying to prepare for the worst but do ourselves more favours health-wise in hoping for the best). It gets easier once you get into your treatment plan. Take care and I wish you all the best as you begin your journey. X

Hi Justine
I was where you are now a year ago. And my daughter was going through GCSEs at that time. I chose not to tell her until the exams were finished because I didn’t want to distract her (although that was very hard to do). And I think that was the best thing.
I took a year at of work, initially because it took a while to get my head round it all, but also because I have a very physical job. It took awhile to get over the surgery and then when I had chemo, I found the fatigue quite challenging.
I understand this is a very difficult time for you. My advice as always at this stage, is to take one day at a time and then one treatment at a time. It’s all very doable and you will get through it.
Sending a hug xx

Hi Justine - I echo your feelings and what others have said. I am similar to you in the fact I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma and work wise i’m a midwife. My husband told our children (18, 21 and 23) and they took it ok apart from my 23 year old said he didn’t know how he could cope with seeing me with no hair! I didn’t need radiotherapy or chemotherapy (as I had an mastectomy and clear lymph nodes) so he didn’t have to face that fear in the end. I just kept being positive about my situation in front of them and it helped so much. I’m back at work now, knocked the no-break 12 hour shifts on the head (i’m sure you empathise) and life is really back to normal. The early days are the worst but it will all feel easier x

Hi Justine,
I’m recently diaognosed and waiting biopsy results next week. We are the the same. My daughter is 16 and half way through GCSEs. I’ve actually told her. I felt that is was half term week, I was off work. I could keep an eye on her and support. I felt to wait another week for results would be far worse. I’d then have to send her off to exams. She’s actually been fine and it’s made me less anxious. I think it just depends on individual children and how you feel they’ll cope. How you tell them and remaining positive in your approach. I also felt that if I couldn’t tell her I couldn’t tell the rest of the family. In case they let it slip or told someone out of the family circle. Or she over heard me talking on the phone or saw text messages.
She’s coped well. She’s carried on as normal. Revised, met up with her friends for lunch, she’s been for a summer job interview and had a practice prom hair and make up. So everything running normal in our household. The thought is far worse.
Good luck and hope everything goes well for you.

Hello Justine,

I am new to this too having been recently diagnosed with BC and am having a mastectomy next week (on my birthday in fact - but feeling that getting rid of the cancer would be the best birthday present!). I have 4 children (18.16.15 and 10) and work full time. After much deliberating, we decided to tell our children as my eldest daughter does not finish her A levels until late June and given the amount of tests and hospital visits I have had so far, it felt that it would be difficult to keep it from them. It’s a very difficult  and personal decision but I am glad that I told them and they seem to coping well so far. My children’s schools have been amazing and very supportive.

I totally agree that it feels slightly surreal carrying on with work and daily life - work has kept my mind so busy, I feel it has been very positive. I am fortunate in that I have my own business with 3 partners and have the capacity to be able to work mostly at home. My plan at the moment is to take each step at a time and try and fit my work around that. 

Best wishes,

R x

Hi everyone

Feeling in need of some support.

I went to meet my surgeon yesterday. Was feeling very upbeat, expecting to just be given a date and have an outline plan 're radiotherapy. Feeling as though this is the beginning of the end.

It seems to me now that each appointment carries slightly more complications than expected. Today the doctor said that although my initial diagnosis is DCIS my lesion is not typical in that it is lump forming rather than the usual linear shape. I will be having a lumpectomy WLE and removal of sentinel lymph node. The words lymph node freaked me out. 

Was also told that I will then have to wait for another 2 weeks to get a definitive result, so more waiting and uncertainty. I did have a bit of a meltdown this evening. I just feel wrung out.

Sorry to sound whingeing and whiney but thought I would see light at the end of the tunnel today and now I don’t. Diddy

Hi Debbie have a fabulous holiday hope you get loads of rest xx