Finding it hard to cope

I have just been told that my cancer has returnd after three years. I have a small swelling in my neck, had a biopsy and they found cancer cells. My consultant says that it is a lymph node. I m now waiting to have more scans to see how far it has spread… I am terrified and don’t know how I am going to face the next few weeks, I had such a bad panic attack last night, that I told my husband that I didn’t think I could go on. Everyone says that the new phrase is 'living wth cancer, 'but I dont know if I want to!! people tell me how brave I am but believe me I am the worse coward in the world. Also I am finding it hard to deal with my husband , he is so upset and frightened, I hate to see him like that, is there anyone out there who could tell me how they coped.

Hi Marychris,
sorry to hear your news and trust me we can all understand the rollercoaster of emotions that you are going through. Not much help I know, you will be in a state of shock and frightened silly well that is how I felt. Things will change and somehow you will cope I think we all do. It is just that we are all very different and we have to find our own way of dealing with this new stage of our life. You will get lots of helpful advice and we will share our experiences with you. My husband still gets frightened when things go a bit wobbly which sadly they often do we are able to talk about the what ifs, although that did not come easy for him at first but I needed to talk and he began to understand. There is a thread on the" family partners and friends" two blokes chatting about how brave they are coping with their wives condition it is a lovely thread and has done more to help me understand im indoors than 3 marriages have.
Welcome to the club no one wants to be in. With luck we will be able to help you through the tough times.

Love Debsxxx

Oh Marychris

I don’t know how I cope…I don’t know how any us do. I was rediagnosed 3.5 years after primary diagnosis in April 2007…tumours in my neck and chest wall. I’ve had loads of chemotherapy since then and still the tumours are there and spreading though not yet to major organs…and so many many ups and downs since then. I know exactly what you mean about not knowing if you want to ‘live with cancer’. I also feel myself to be the worse coward in the world(I don’t really think there is such a person…but I do think some people are more stoical about physical illness than others…I know my strengths and stoicism in the face of physical illness is not one of them…)

Waiting for test results is always hell…beacuse until then you won’t know exactly what you are dealing with, what your treatment options are going to be.

Havent really got ay advice on your husband…has he got freinds or family he can talk to? Is he the kind of person who might find counselling helpful?

In the end somehow my partner and I ‘cope’ because we have no choice…we do have good times…as well as terrible ones. We set oursleves tiny little goals at bad times, bigger ones at better times. We have a filthy dark sense of humour with each other too…and that helps…I think it can be worse for partners…they have to cope with the thought of the time after our deaths as well as the hellish time now.

your re diagnosis is new and fresh…just like at primary diagnosis you will find some way of managing…most people do…but it ain’t easy or uplifting.

very best wishes


Hi Debs

Thank you so much or answering so quickly, my friends and family have been so kind, but they can’t really understand what I am it is good to hear from someone I can share thi.s with, Everything just seems so surreal, I always knew that I was high risk, and that this might happen, but somehow you always hope that it never becomes a reality, nothing prepares you for it! Thanks again for your suppout.

Love Maryxx


I know myself that no one can help me cope one way or the other, I know that has to come from me,but it is helpful to know I am not alone,and that you all understand what I am going through. Regarding my husband, he is in shock, we both are, but he is very strong, he got me thourgh the last lot, so I know we will manage somehow or other, he was a counsellor
, so I think he would talk to someone. As you say it is the waiting that is terrible!
Thanks for your support

Love Maryx

Hello Mary,

How i sympathise with you and your hubbie at this time. It is a difficult period to get through but somehow most of us cope. My husband, like yours, was so upset and shocked. He felt he didnt want anyone to know either. But I pursuaded him to find a friend and just sit and talk. It was good for him, and today 6 years on from that secondary diagnosis he will share what he has learned with anyone who needs his help. I have been living with breast cancer now for 18 years and as I said the last 6 with 2ndaries. It started in my neck and shoulder/chest and spread extensively to my bones. Once over the shock that it didnt spell immediate death or an invalid lifestyle:) I was able to get on with life generally. I think the first news just takes time to adjust to - once we know how it is going to be treated and what we are dealing with it will get more manageable. I hope you will also find friends and family prepared to listen and help you both.


Hi Mary

so so sorry to hear your news. I was diagnosed with bone secondaries in June after 5 years clear so am still adjusting. I coped to start with by simply not believing it. Then after a few months it started to sink in and I do believe it now; I’ve started to get depressed and angry (and my poor husband tells me I’m taking it out on him!) which I guess is entirely normal, and I’m feeling really stressed a lot of the time, but I do also have periods in some days when I feel upbeat and happy and I try and hang onto those. This whole year has just been so shitty for me, and I’m having chemo till mid Dec, that I think I’ll just write 2008 off as a poor vintage and start again in January. I’ve been pretty immobile for much of the year so I plan to start an exercise programme to get myself back on track, go for nice walks when the weather permits, take up a new hobby, and make sure I’ve got at least one really nice treat a month to look forward to - that’s my game plan anyway. I’ll have to come back and post in a few months to tell you if it’s working!

My husband was also really upset and frightened and he didn’t talk about it to anyone other than close family until very recently. None of his friends knew, for example, whereas I began to let people know quite early on, as much to make myself realise it was real as for any other reason. But he has now told one close friend, and I guess will tell others as well in his own good time (all these people are abroad and they don’t communicate all that often anyway). I encourage him to go out with mates and work colleagues as I know how important it is going to be for him to have a good circle of friends for when I’m not around (not that I have any plans to disappear any time soon). Our home lives are completely focussed on a very lively 23 month old (second birthday party in the planning!) so we aren’t spending as much quality time alone together as we’d like. But our daughter is also keeping us from dwelling too much on the dark side.

Funny isn’t it how everyone keeps telling you how brave you are. I don’t feel brave at all. I always thought bravery implied some sort of choice or sacrifice - and I didn’t choose to live with this disease. But I guess in the back of their mind they’re thinking (quite understandably as well) ‘thank god it’s not happening to me’.

I know we’re in for some tough times but we’re both determined to make the most of what we have here and now - and in the end isn’t that the best that anyone can do, regardless of their state of health or life expectancy? Isn’t that really what life’s about?

Very best wishes.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to care about me. I have taken courage from all your support,you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Love Maryxx

I sincerely don’t beilieve there are any cowards on this websidte - we start out as one but boy we cope fantastically at what is thrown at us by this horibble disease. Give yourselves credit and a big pat on the back because having to go through is, is a rave thing to do. We may have been forced into being brave but each and every one us just have to do it.

I was a right wimp when it came to blood tests and needles and still hate have CT scans - which because of the trial i am on I have to get every 6 weeks. We normally have someone we love by our side and with that help and support we’ll get there!

Diane xx

Hi Diane,

Thank you for your words of encouragement, I am so touched that all you ladies who are going through so much, have taken the time to give a thought to me,what a lovely bunch you all are!!!

This morning I was feeling in control, so we decided to go to Tescos, I was fine until I got outside and had a major wobble just out of the blue! but coming on here and reading all your messages,I realise that you have all been there and maybe I will be able to get it together. I am hoping that I will hear s
omething about my scans this week, I do know my onc is on holiday for the next two weeks, so I don’t know when I will be able to see him,the waiting game is awful!

Take care, Maryxx

Hi Mary
just a tip, I know we are all different and would never dream of telling you what to do we all have to find our own way of dealing with appointments etc. My coping device for scans is I always ring oncs sec to say scan date is eg Mon can onc ring with results Wed? I dont need to do that anymore he is well trained and does it all by himself! I am very lucky as we have a good relationship mind you it has been nearly 5 years so we have a good understanding. Also get to know your breast cancer nurse they really help with all sort of things.

Love Debsxxx

Hi Deb,

I have only seen my onc a couple of times, right at the beginning of my original treatment which was three years ago, I must say I didnt have much of a rapport with him and was hoping to never see him again! as I am now having to start again I am not sure what the procedure is, but I am on good terms with my bc nurse, so I will be talking to her this week, as she said she would phone me, so I will find out a bit more then.

I have been looking on the ‘family and partners’ thread’ that you suggested,but I don’t think I found the particular one you were talking about,but I will keep looking.

Love Maryx

Hello All,

I have had my appointment through for my first scan,it wll be on Monday, I am still waiting for my bone scan to come through. I know that I won’t be seeing my onc until 3rd Dec, it seems such a long time to wait!!! I am still feeling tearful and terrified but have managed to get a bit of control back. THinkng of you all,

Love Maryxx

Hi Mary
Following my scan in September I was told that I had significent progression and therefore that chemo was not working. I found it much harder to cope this time but am now feeling a bit more like myself. I always find it easier once I know what I am facing and once treatment has started. I am now on weekly Taxol and Avastin and I now have worked out when my down days are going to be and when I will feel better so can make some plans. My husband has been the anchor throughout this, he comes to every appointment and sits through chemo. I think it is so hard for him as he doesn’t really open up to anyone else about how tough this all is. My children as well.
You must be pleased that you have your scan date, can you ask if there are any cancellations for appointments before December ?
Best Wishes Kathryn

Hi Kathryn,
Hi Kathryn

So Sorry you are going through so much, I do hope the new treatment is doing its job.

I have had news of my bone scan, that will be on the 21st. Nov and ct will be 17th Nov, unfortunately I can’t see my onc any sooner as he is on hoilday. I am trying to keep myself busy,but like you am having my down days, it’s a rollercoaster, but thank goodness I to have great support from my husband.

Wishng you all the best Kathryn,