How do I control the fear

Need to talk to someone and it can’t be my nearest and dearest. Dx 2005 invasive lobular - mastectomy etc.
Now waiting to go to clinic next week with new lump in remaining breast. Trying hard to stem the rising tide of fear as I relive it all again. Every morning I hope it is all a bad dream and frantically try to fill my time so as not to think - got to stage where that isn’t working.
Son starts his ‘A’ levels a few days after my appointment so I’ve just got to keep a lid on my emotions.

allow yourself to think about it but for a limited time each day - say ten minutes. Then stop thinking about it

also think through what you’d do if it was cancer - e.g. what you might decide as treatment options.

It might make it seem less of a threat.

Plus plan something for the end of the treatment if you have it, and also plan something to celebrate the end of worry if it isn’t cancer

I think the waiting is horrible. Once you have the facts in front of you, you can move on. However, in the meantime, don’t cross bridges unnecessarily as at the moment, you don’t know what you have and it might never happen. On the other hand, if you do have cancer again, you have got through it before and you will get through it again.

This time next week, things will be a lot clearer.


Hi Seren,
I found it so difficult to ‘keep the lid on my emotions’ when I was waiting for tests and results and was so pleased it happened last year (nov 07) when my second son had gone to uni rather than the previous year.
However much I put on a brave face at work there were times when I was at home when there were tears running down my face and thoughts charging round my head.
Its always good to talk isn’t it, I have now lost count of the number of hours spent over cappuchinos just chatting to friends which has been great - there’s certainly some truth in the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ And of course if there is no one available face to face then this is a great place to be real in and share fears and hopes if not cappuchinos!.
Keep chatting

Thanks Molennium and Cathy for what is good advice that I will try to focus on - I have thought all those things when trying to deal with this latest develpment.

Magsi you are so right about ‘timing’ - think that’s what is fuelling my feelings of despair.
The last diagnosis came just before my son’s GCSE’s and I worried so much about it affecting the outcome of his exams - now he’s about to do his ‘A’ levels and it’s worrying me that if things don’t turn out well again it will certainly affect him this time. I have often wished that he could have been older and already at Uni. if this had to happen.

Sharing with you is my only way of ‘talking it over’ as friends were suddenly very thin on the ground after the first time around and I don’t feel able to ‘burden’ the one or two who have been there for me so far.

Seren X


My thoughts are with you - how hideous to have this worry again.

When did you last have a mammogram- surely that would have picked up anything nasty and they are supposed to be good for at least a year aren’t they?

Whenever i go for a mammogram and feel sick before i go in I just think I have got through this before so I will again. Things are never as bad the second time round although I pray you don’t have to go there.

My eldest daughter was in her GCSE year when I was dx in 2005 so I know how you feel.

Thinking of you

Alise x

Hi Seren

I know what you mean about friends being thin on the ground. Isn’t it funny how some disappear never to be heard of again when you tell them you have BC. When I was initially diagnosed (which was only a few weeks ago- God how life changes so quickly!) I told my friends and work colleagues. I didnt make a big deal of it, but just truthful. The ones that I thought would have been supportive have not been near and others who I hardly knew as I had just started a new job, have been fantastic. Just goes to show the different reactions.

What A levels is your son doing? Mine is about to start GCSE’s. He has done very little in the way of revision and I feel really guilty that I have distracted with my own problems. In fact, at this moment, he is upstairs with a load of noisy “Kevins” and I want to so much go up and tell them to keep the noise down, but will fight the urge as I am constantly niggling about something! Feel free to chat!


Hi Alise

Had my last mammogram in July 2006 - only get routine 3yr. screening mammograms after that - ironically I’m due for that one this year!

How did your daughter do in her exams? I was relieved that my son did well in spite of everything. From diagnosis, I focused on trying to keep everything as ‘normal’ as it could be after telling him about the cancer and felt really proud of him. However he wasn’t only a week or so from taking his first exam like he will be this time around!
Problem is I can’t figure out what I would do if the news is bad again.

Have you had to deal with a recurrence Alise? If so how did you deal with telling your daughter all over again?

Seren X

Hi Seren

No - up till now - touch wood I have been OK.

My daughter did really well in her GCSEs and is now doing her A Levels similar to your son. I’m afraid I was a coward and I did not tell her or my youngest who was then 9 that I had cancer. Even when my hair started coming out I said I had alopaecia!! I think it’s a very personal thing whether you tell them or not but I could not face them being traumatised. A lot of people criticised me but I think that for our family it was the right decision . I have since told my eldest who is now 17 and she said she never guessed!! I should be up for an oscar! My youngest who is now 11 is completely oblivious and that is the way I want it to stay for now.

If the news is bad - which I hope and pray it’s not - why dont you delay telling him until after the exams end in May? You could always say if you had to go in hospital that it was a cyst or something - which it may be. I think my maternal instinct would kick in and I would do that but I know we are all different.

Let me know how you go on? Another thought - can’t you pay for a private appointment to speed things up - they will tell you there and then if you do and if you needed it you could still have your treatment on the NHS?

Thinking of you

Love Alise x

Hi Seren,

Do you have friends / contacts around whom you met thro treatment / diagnosis etc last time? Often easier to chat with them as they know where you are coming from. What about local support groups ( not something I have tried as its not that local and meets once a month)
I’ve noticed that on some of the threads people post asking if anyone lives nearby in … wherever and then arranged a central place and time to meet for coffee. Just a few ideas.
Assume your son did well in his GCSE’s to move on to do A levels.
My older son is in his 3rd year at Southampton coming up to his finals and would you believe it he wondered if he could claim extra marks and consideration because he had been affected by his mum’s breast cancer!!!
I had to laugh at the suggestion but it was a good try.
But in all seriousness it is something to think about if your son is affected and certainly worth keeping the school informed so they can notify the examination board if necessary.
Magsi x

Hi Magsi

Yes my son did extremely well in his GCSE’s and is on course for good results again - yet another reason for me dreading anything I do affecting the outcome.

What a coincidence in that he is hoping to start at Southampton in Oct. all being well - he’s really looking forward to it.

Made me smile about your son’s musings!

Great having your support - it’s seems easier to focus on things when you share a worry.


Hi, my son lost his grandad a day before one of his GCSE exams, so i got his consultant to write a letter to the school, they can then present it to the examination boards if he screwed up in his exam, just a thought!!!

Hi Seren

What’s your son hoping to do at Southampton?
James is doing Geog and has a place at the Institute of Education London uni next year to do a PGCE.
We live in London so the empty nest we have briefly enjoyed will have a fledgling returning with his drum kit!

The other son is in his first year at Exeter taking Sports and Exercise Science - has had a brilliant year clubbing and socialising - oh to be young. At the moment tho he’s gone down the park to play in the snow (do they ever grow up?)

Keep in touch and let us know when you are planning on going to the clinic.

Hope you have a good weekend

Magsi x

Hi Alise

I don’t think folk should have criticised you for your decision at that time - though I do admire your inventiveness and obvious acting talent! After all, we each know our children better than anyone else and how they will react.

We knew that for us it was better that our son be told what was happening the first time around - gently and at his pace -as he has always coped better with ‘crisis’ if things are shared and he then knows he can ask anything. I must say my maternal protectiveness wanted me not to have to tell him but I knew that FOR HIM that wasn’t best.

If it’s bad news again, I will have the same dilemma and I so hoped that I wouldn’t have to deal with this again at this point in his life, as we all do. Thanks so much for your support.
Seren x

Hi Anna

Thanks for that advice - hadn’t thought about that possibility.

Seren x

Hi Cathy

I admire how you are willing to offer support to me after your so recent dx - I am so sorry you have had to face this horrid disease too so recently.

Didn’t understand how ‘friends’ could disappear after I was dx but had to accept that it as an unpalatable side of human nature ( in certain cases ) for whatever reason.
Trouble is, don’t want to load my GOOD friends with this latest development but that isolates me from the support a friendly face could offer.

Seren x

Hi Seren,

I am sorry that you are having to go through this all over again.
My son was sitting his A2’s when I was diagnosed last year. I told him after he had sat his final exam. It was difficult because he knew something was wrong but wasn’t sure what. I am very clear about my decision and it was the right thing to do as I knew that if I told him earlier, it would have a massive impact upon him and I didn’t want to ruin his chances of going to University.

If the time comes, you will know what is right for you and your son. I hope the appointment goes well for you.

Kat x

I think telling children or teenagers is a very individual decision. My son had cancer as a baby and is now 16. During his treatment, we saw a few children sadly die of cancer but many more survive. We have lived with the concept of cancer for years, and so for us, it doesnt have the terrifying associations. He is very used to oncologists etc so when I found a lump, he wanted to come to the clinic with me and came in when I was given the diagnosis also. He has been ultra supportive and is about to do his GCSE’s and I really don’t think he is distracted because I am dealing with it well. However, for other teenagers, who have no knowledge of cancer, only what they see on TV it may have a very negative impact. I think it depends on you and how you handle your diagnosis more than anything. They pick on the vibes, so to speak.

By the same token, I wish to God that I never told my mother in law. She is like having your own personalised version of the Grim Reaper come to visit. All she needs is a sickle and a hood and she would be perfect!! She seems to have it in her head that cancer means death as I suppose in her day, it probably did!! She looks at my pitifully with her head on one side saying “how are you feeling today?” I am fine - go away you old bat and depress someone else, is what I want to say, but of course, I don’t!!!


Hi Cathy

Gosh you and your son have had to deal with more than most - it sounds like your son is a very mature and caring young man. I wish him well for the exams.

Know what you mean about them picking up on vibes - that’s why I’m so worried about my son if it’s bad news.His first exam is next week and the last at end of May - I know he would sense it if anything wasn’t right and ask.
I have always been honest with him right from the day of my first dx, and he coped very well - but this time so much depends on him doing as well as he can in his 'A’s.

Thanks for the smiles generated by the description of your mother in law - my in laws have shown no interest or support since the first dx so I don’t expect any whatever happens this time either.

Seren x

H Seren

Thanks for you nice comments. I don’t think my son is any more mature than any other boy his age. It’s just that he has been so used to “cancer” that it’s not a big deal to him. I am sure other illnesses or crises would make him panic and react in a totally different way. Its just what we are used to. Its like seeing these children who have been brought up by vets in Africa. When a big lion sticks its head through the car window, they get all excited and smile, because its the norm to them! On a more serious note, I think there is little point telling your son when his exams are so near. What good would it do? It would make you more concerned about his exams and he would worry. Off load your fears and worries to us lot on here or to whoever will cope. Let him do his A levels and when he is older, then tell him. It makes me feel more normal to hear that your in laws are not supportive. When my son was ill (their grandson!!) they never phoned or came near. They even went on a three week holiday to Australia when he was near death at the age of 23 months!!! Their excuse was that the holiday had been booked for months and there was nothing they could do. I have never forgiven them for that so what they feel about me is irrelevant.