In a daze

Diagnosed on 1 April, age 42, devastated. Isotope Injection and scan this Tues with lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Wednesday. Frightened, sad, angry. Young family with supportive husband. Frightened about the injection on Tuesday - breast already painful Not sure what to expect. Warned that I’ll probably have to have chemo - my hair has been the one thing I’ve loved and don’t want to lose it! Been reading too much on the internet and the side effects of chemo terrify me. Anyone out there able to offer any support/advice?

Hi Ellie,

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care discussion forums, you’ve come to the right place for support. While you are waiting for your fellow forum users to reply I’ve put for you below links to a couple of BCC’s publications which you may find useful. Please do also give the helpline a ring if you need to talk to someone in confidence about what you are dealing with. Calls to the helpline are free, 0808 800 6000 lines open M-F 9-5 and Sat 9-2. Hope these help.

Breast cancer and you publication:

Resource pack:

Kind regads
Jo, Facilitator

Hi Ellie42, Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago and it took me a week so start sleeping better and stop crying at random moments. As you have only had a few days since being told it must be very difficult for you as I’m sure it hasn’t registered properly yet. I am so glad that your husband is supportive, mine has been wonderful too and that has helped me so much. I can’t help you with the chemo as I am due a lumpectomy on Tuesday and don’t know whether I need it yet. Like you I am worried about it and the thought of losing my hair but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I’m sure some other forum users who have had chemo will be able to reassure you about it. Best Wishes to you LooLoo x x

Hi Ellie and Looloo,
So sorry you both find yourselves here, but glad you have found us!
What you are feeling at the moment is perfectly normal, of course you are very afraid. Please believe me these feelings will subside and be replaced with acceptance and a determination to get through this. I used to look at everything to do with cancer on the internet and always say it is an instant cure for constipation!!
The SNB injection is only small and quite quick, please don’t worry. I had SNB and lumpectomy and was home the same day. I was also terrified of the chemo but I was fortunate that I didn’t suffer many side effects at all. Not everyone does but for those that do there are many remedies to counteract them. I was where you are now last year and I really thought I couldn’t get through this, but I did and you will too. Keep posting, there is a lot of support here for you.
Take care,
Tracey x

Hi Tracey and Looloo

Thank you for your supportive comments. The one thing that’s astounded me over the last few days is the tremendous and very moving support I’ve received from friends and family.

I’m still trying to get used to the idea of losing my hair. Does anyone have any advice or useful websites about this in particular?

Has anyone managed to fit work into their routine following surgery and during chemo treatment? My bosses have been very supportive and are encouraging me to get well again but work does help me enormously as a distraction (don’t get me wrong I’m not a workaholic!) - I don’t relish the thought of being confined to the house over the next few months.

How long is it after a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy before you’re up and about again?

Hi Ellie42

I noticed Jo one of the other facilitators has already recommended some of the BCC publications to you. BCC also have booklet on hair loss, which you can find by going to the following link:-

I hope you find this helpful.

Kind regards
Sam (BCC Facilitator)

Thanks Sam - I’ve had a quick look and it’s been helpful.

I’ve just returned from bra-buying trip - Bravissimo have been marvellous. They see ladies every week going through what we’re going through so they were very helpful in advising what sort of bra to go for post surgery. (Being a G cup, there’s no option but to wear a bra!). Thoroughly recommend them to anyone looking for something comfortable.

Hi Ellie42

Some women work during their chemo and I’m sure a supportive flexible boss will help in this. I think it is good to follow what your body tells you and make sure you get enough rest, so if you work make sure you take time off when you need it. I chose not to work through mine (recently finished - yippee) as I work long nights shifts and am happy to be at home at the moment. I have a friend who returned to work within a week of her op and is working throughout her chemo as she says she would climb the walls at home!

We are all different but I had a lumpectomy with node clearance and was discharged from hospital the next day. We live quite near the hospital and I just went in daily to have drain emptied and it was removed 5 days after op.

As far as loosing your hair some ladies choose to have a cold cap treatment during chemo which can reduce hair loss, your onc will discuss this with you if you do have chemo. I personally chose not to have it as I have thin hair and was resigned to loosing it. I shaved it off after first chemo (which was quite empowering) and it is growing back quite strongly now. I prefer wearing funky scarves but many women prefer their wigs. It is an unpleasant side effect of chemo but I looked at it as necessary part of recovery.

I’m sorry this all sounds so daunting at the moment but believe me Ellie you will get through it and you have come to the right place for support. Having supporting family and friends’ also helps enormously and my advice would be to put you first for a while.

Lots of love

Anne xx

Hi ellie, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in december and half way through my chemo i am on the 6 month epi/cmf so just finished my epi which took my hair.I had long brown hair and I did find it very hard to come to terms with but somehow you just get on with it and think i have to do this to get better, i find i wear my wig for going out and a spare for the house with my scarves. Like you i felt the same shocked and devastated but you have a strength to see it through.I am 48 and have a 17 year old daughter who has been so good and so has my husband. I cant wait to finish my treatment i am desperate to finish it but its something i have to do and come to terms with it. You are not on your own there are alot of us out there in the same boat i know a few people personally who have done the chemo and back to work and college so you can do it we are strong. Take care jackiex

Hi Ellie,

I am 42 - and have had one lot of surgery (Mx and partial reconstruction) and halfway through chemo. On the two questions that you raise:

I have managed to keep working through chemo. On some chemos the side effects are mainly on 2 to 3 days post chemo - so I’ve had chemo on a Friday and taken weekend to recover plus worked at home where needed on Monday and the Tuesday. It is a case of being flexible really. I’ve found first week post chemo that my work output is down, just about okay on second week - and back to full eneregy in third week - so do more hours then.

Re hairloss - I’ve used the cold cap to good effect. It means being in the chemo unit 3 extra hours each time - but I think 18 extra hours in total to keep my hair has been worth it. My loss has been a bit more than normal day to day - and tends to be mid cycle. But still look like I have a full head of hair and I’m going to continue with next sessions.

Good luck

Bright x

Hello to all in this thread, hope you are all okay. I thought I’d give you an update. I had my lumpectomy on Wednesday and sentinel node biopsy. The good news is that initial indications are the nodes are clear but they’re doing further conclusive tests and we’ll get the results next Wednesday, but this is a hugely positive start and has helped me face the whole sage in a much more positive way. I’m more relaxed about work now - I can dip in and out from home, but I’m going to concentrate on getting better.
For anyone out there wondering what the op is like, all I can say from my experience is that I’m just a bit bruised and tired afterwards. I have almost full movement back in my arm and I can even manage to do my hair - whoopeeee!!
Naughty of naughties this morning though, I did the hoovering, albeit left-handed but I’m determined to keep mobile and get stronger. Love to you all and take care Ellie xx