How to deal with next check up - advice please

I have a routine check up due next month, and was just looking for a bit of advice on how to deal with it. I had surgery, chemo,rads and have now been on tamoxifen for fifteen months.

My problem is that at each follow up appointment, I always seem to answer “I’m fine”, to all the questions the oncologist asks, when what I really want to say is,“Actually the hot flushes, sleeplessness, breast pain and pretty much any other menopausal symptom you care to mention do get me down, and if I could give up the Tamoxifen tomorrow I would”.

I think I feel duty bound to put on a brave face and underplay my symptoms because a) I don’t want the Onc, (he is nice, but unfailingly upbeat, to the point of appearing a bit casual), to think I can’t cope and write “worrier” in my notes, and b) because my partner is there and I don’t want to upset him.


I’ve tried writing down my questions/concerns and taking the bit of paper into the appointment, but somehow the discussion gets sidetracked. The clinic is always running at least an hour late and I think I’m taking up too much time and leave feeling I’ve got nowhere. 


In all other areas of my life I’m pretty confident and assertive, so any advice to help me get a better outcome from my next appointment would be great.

Hi catseye

Whilst you wait for the other users to reply with their support and suggestions you might find it helpful to give the BCC helpline a call and talk things through with a member of staff.  Here you can share your thoughts with someone who will offer you a listening ear with emotional support and practical information.  The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and lines are open today from 10 to 2pm and weekdays 9 to 5pm. 

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

You and me both Catseye. Due my first check next month after Stage 3. Funny how a years treatment seems to go bye and with all the other things you have to deal with in life it seems like “it’s done” and “you’re well” again. Yet it’s as a yearly check approaches it does start to stick in your thoughts, and questions you do have. If you’re anything like me,all through treatment… “i’m fine” . “OK” . or " no problem " was the standard reply. Yet now as the wee visit approaches, I do feel the questions re-surfacing. SO …what to do about it I say. How to get the confidence in that clinic room? Well I’m working on it, and writing down those queries you do have seems like a jolly good idea. Next is to get the docs attention…it only takes a sec to say  “Hang on” or “Oi!”…anything to get them to stop and actually listen to you. Then you can say what you have on your mind.This is your time in that room to say what’s on your mind so put it to good use. I suppose if getting over this hurdle gives us another 12 months ( 11 really ) to get on with living then let’s give it a darn good try I say. Best of luck Cateye.

My routine check up is tomorrow, so was interested to see the posts below.  I am now 18 months since surgery and am feeling more apprehensive than I was at the earlier check-ups.  I can feel a small lump under the scar, which I hope is just scar tissue.  Indeed I think I commented on it at my last check-up and the mammogram was clear but it hasn’t gone away.  LIke Catseye, I don’t want to apprear unnecessarily worrried, but still…

Reading all this with interest and sat here nodding in agreement ladies. Just had my one year check up and mammogram which I found really stressful and really sore! Again like everybody here I’d been brave and then I walked in started talking and boom in tears:( Macmillan nurse came in but I was fine really just memories I suppose! Although the Tamoxifen side effects are really getting me down but there is no way I coming off and putting myself at risk :slight_smile:
Keep smiling ladies !