I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in June and had a mastectomy followed by immediate DIEP flap reconstruction as my first treatment in August. I’ve just been to see my consultant to get the histology/pathology results and am gutted that what I was told initially was stage 1 multifocal with grade 2 and 1 presence and no lymph node involvement has now changed.

I was kinda prepared that the grading might change which weirdly was slightly less concerning to me but actually that hasn’t. BUT I’m terrified because one of the five lymph nodes removed was encapsulated and therefore I now need a full body scan and more surgery to clear the rest of the lymph nodes and my cancer is now upgraded to stage 2.

I have some shoulder pain on the opposite side to the cancer boob which I thought was down to poor posture but now I’ve had confirmation of lymph node involvement I’m convinced that I actually have bone mets and that my worst fears are starting to come true. My mum died of cancer at 56 years old (not breast) after discovering hers at stage 4 and I feel like history is repeating itself. Despite having lots of people fighting my corner with me I feel absolutely lost .

I think many of us struggle with catastrophizing when we are diagnosed with breast cancer. And I wish we all could sit and hold your hand while you wait for results. But we can’t so I’ll remind you that changes in pathology reports from initial biopsy reports are hugely common and a positive node does not mean spread. In fact the vast majority of times it doesn’t. I mean 4 out of 5 of your nodes were not positive. And yes that does mean more scans but it’s routine. Doesn’t mean they think it’s spread. Also back pain or any other kind of pain for many weeks after a mastectomy is to be expected. Your whole body has changed and there are going to be adjustments within it as result. That can involve pain.

I think in the UK there is a number you can call to talk through things. Don’t hesitate to do so, don’t hesitate to get a therapist, and don’t hesitate to take any medication you can for anxiety. This is a horribly stressful time and hold your hand out for mental help as you sort through everything. I don’t think I know of one breast cancer patient who hasn’t struggled with thinking up worst case scenarios when confronted by new information. But that’s all they are. You know nothing beyond they found a positive node which is hugely common after surgery, so common they have many treatments in place to deal with it. I would also add that if this is the first time you’ve starkly been confronted with your own mortality then it adds a whole other layer. You do get used to that after awhile because in all honesty we may be the ones confronted, but everyone has got an expiration date. We’re all in the same boat there and for me when I really applied logic to thinking through that I found a lot of comfort. One day at a time, one minute at a time and I try to stay focused on that because that’s all any person is guaranteed breast cancer or not.