In a Terrified Tizz!

Hi, I’m a newbie, having just been diagnosed with Grade 2 Breast Cancer just 2 days ago. Due to have a mastectomy and recon in the very near future. Absolutely bricking it! So many questions and so many different possible answers. Is this really happening to me?!

Fire away with the questions. Most of us were exactly the same when diagnosed, it’s seriously scary isn’t it but I found the surgery wasn’t too bad at all, and the rest of the treatment wasn’t as bad as I thought either.

Sorry you’ve got to deal with this disease though.

Lots of love


Thanks Angie, my new breast friend! What did you have done? I’m not sure if I’ve made the right decision to have the recon at the same time as mastectomy (not got used to all the abbreviations for the technical terms yet!). And how long it all takes, when will I be better, etc., etc. … ! Will I get better even?

hello jacnotyetinthebox…of course you will get better! I was diagnosed on 23rd spet and am due to have my op on 28th Nov, so starting to build the wall with my own bricks too! I have gne throught he disbelief stage, though i’m still happy for them to tell me they’ve made a mistake over my diagnosis! Was originally told i’m having a mastectomy, but now thinking seems to be a very wide local excision (WLE) and sentinal node biopsy (SNB) and the surgeon has made no promises…if things are worse than they thought after he goes in, then it’s back to the mastectomy.Might have been better for me to accept mastectomy in the first palce, but it caused me huge amounts of personal grief and trauma,so the rethink…but i’m more at ease with things,and my surgeon is doing a reconstruction straght away, with a reduction of other boob at the same time,t o balance things up and make me more ‘pert’ as he put it! I never saw this one coming, that’s for sure, but,i am going to get this out of my body, and be well again as quickly as the system allows! I wish you well with your surgery…lots of lovely people on here who have huge amounts of courage and humour, so ask any question you like (and there is NO subject they don’t have answers to, trust me !)and someone will be along with an answer.

Thanks for responding narnia, it does help to talk to others in the same boat. My family and friends have been amazing in the last two days, but it still felt as if I was the only one in the world it was happening to - until I found this site. Isn’t technology amazing? Let’s hope our surgery is too! Yep, I was told to expect ‘pert’ too and was offered the other side to match, but not at the same time. (I’ll just have to walk with a limp for a while!) I think that as I’m 56 and overweight, he seems to think it’s a bit risky for me to be ‘under’ for any longer than necessary. Although my son-in-law is a physio (very handy!), and said that people much larger than me have long ops. Are we allowed to talk names of hospitals on here?

Hi and thanks for responding Val. I’m under St. Bartholomews in London - not quite as pretty as Shropshire! Thanks for the website, I’ll try that one too. Jackie. P.S. How do you whisper back?

Hi Jacqnotyetinthebox

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care forums. As well as the help and advice you are receiving from the many informed users of this site you may find BCC’s resource pack helpful, it has been designed for those newly diagnosed. The pack is free of charge as are all our publications. If you would like a copy just follow the link below:

If you feel you need to talk to someone in confidence then please give the helpline a call, the staff here are all either breast care nurses or people who have personal experience of breast care issues. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 the lines open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturdays 9am - 2pm.

I hope this is of some help to you.

Kind regards

BCC Facilitator

Hi jacqnotyetinthebox,
I was diagnosed in January after being originally told that the lump which I chose to have removed was just a bit of fat.
The bit of fat turned out to be a 10 cm tumour…
It is scary and I also had a lot of question. While my family has been fantastic in many ways, this site has also been a lifeline. I was able to get answers to many of my questions without being a burden on my family.
After the diagnosis, the unknown of the treatment is really scary.
I have to admit, that after my mastectomy and then my second chemo, I did not need to come here anymore.
I have finished Chemo, and radiotherapy, I managed to work throughout my treatment. (I took 6 weeks off after the mastectomy). I am now on tamoxifen, and I can say my life is taking some sort of normality.
I have now decided to come back to this site once in a while, to help newbies like you to try to make sense of it all.
So fire your questions, anxiety, good moments, there will always be someone to listen to you here, whatever the time of the day.
What I can tell you is, yes it is scary, but with the help of everyone around you and this site, I am sure you can fight your way through it.
Get help from places like the Maggie Centres, which have really good classes on how to deal with the stress of cancer, sessions like “feel good, look better”.
If you think you haven’t made the right decision about recon, make another appointment with the surgeon to discuss it further.
Be positive, and good luck for the op and the treatment.


Bloody hell, what was so exciting about my e-mail? Can’t remember what happened a few hours ago, let alone an e-mail sent over 24 hours ago! Could be something to do with this squash … called Wine! Oh well, whatever gets you through it. God help me if I have to have a liver scan too. Was ok the first couple of days, probably only just sinking in. Normally a bit of a ‘wag’, but feeling very weepy tonight … it’s that new granddaughter’s fault! I just wish I knew all the facts about ‘me’, it’s ok reading all this internet stuff - but it’s other people. Surgeon was very blunt and scary, and the cancer nurse was nice and positive … who are we supposed to believe? Taking very clever, eldest daughter with me on Tuesday (to see nurse) and on Wednesday (to see surgeon) - she’ll ask all the right questions - I’m sure. I need to write all my worries/queries down on a notepad as soon as they pop into my head before I forget them, which I’m constantly doing. What’s worse, cancer (me) or dementia (my mum, aunt, nan and sister) - at least I wouldn’t know what was happening!?! Actually, I think both are happening simultaneously. P.S. I want it all done yesterday!

Thanks for your message Sophie, it’s very good of you to come back and help others. I do have my final decision appointment with the Surgeon this Wednesday. I really wish that he would make it for me, after all he’s the expert. How long do you have to stay in hospital for with a mastectomy and recon, and how long just for a mastectomy. If you have a recon at same time, is it absolute agony front and back (where muscle and tissue is going to be taken from in my case). I don’t suppose it hurts any more having it done at the same time, it’s just that I guess I’d be ‘under’ longer. Then he said that at a later stage they’d do my ‘good’ boob and match it up, then that would be 3 hospital stays! I sound so ungrateful I know, but I’m self-employed and if I don’t work - I don’t earn! These questions are to anybody who can help with the answers, please. Would my GP give me sleeping tablets up until my op., or will he think I’m about to ‘top’ myself with them? This wine malarky is making me feel ill! Am getting more terrified of all of this with each passing day.

my gp gave me sleeping pills, just 10 as he didn’t want me to rely on them (!), and they did help, but i stopped taking them after 6 or 7, so back to poor sleep, but i want to try to get back into my own rhythm,which is difficult right now.

Thanks narnia, I’ll be on his doorstep 1st thing! After all, if I wanted to commit hari-kari I could find other ways apart from sleeping pills. I’ve been a lifelong insomniac throughout my life anyway, without this! Whereabouts are you, I’m in London (under Bart’s) and they gave me the impression that I wouldn’t have to wait long, not sure that that’s a good thing! When do we find out if it’s spread to other places? That’s the bit that’s crippling me.

Sorry Narnia, just seen on another part of the site that you told me you’re in Bath. I don’t know where to go for the best place to talk to people. Never done anything like this before, what is ‘live chat’? I have to see the nurse tomorrow at Barts and then back there again on Wednesday to see the surgeon. Today, after just a few hours sleep, I feel like I’m going mad. Can’t stop weeping. This is not like me at all.

no,it’s not like you…but you’ve never had cancer before either!! I was exactly the same, could have filled the bath with tears in the first few days.I have mostly gotten through that bit, but do still have some dreadful moments (this weekend was poor, but i have bucked up again now!) It seems to be about 10 days (roughly) between ops and results, so as i’m having my op on 28th, i shall have my fingers crossed for a very good christmas, as I hope i’ll get mine around the 10th (all my clinics have been on a Tuesday), which is a week before my birthday too, so i hope for a double celebration! I’m after clear nodes and no more ops.He’ll get a nice bottle of whisky for christmas if he’s done the business (doesn’t seem much for his good work, does it?)

Actually I have - I had cervical cancer in my early 20’s.Can you believe I actually forgot to tell him that when he asked if I’d had any ops., - I told him about my tonsillectomy when I was 4 years old! Am keeping quiet about the cervical cancer in case more tests delay this breast cancer treatment. Almost 100% brain dead!. When’s your birthday? - Mine’s the 12th of the 12th. They’ve told me that everything will be ‘sorted’ before Christmas, so am hoping I’ll get a date when I see him on Wednesday. My daughter looked up on the Barts website for visiting times, etc., and it said that the surgeon I have won the award for the top NHS Surgeon in London - so I believe I’m in good hands. I always insist on the best! Whatever he wants to do is ok by me! Please keep in touch so that I can at least wish you well before your op. Why am I ok in the evenings but crap in the mornings? I could currently dance the Light Fantastic but want to boo every morning - obviously a ‘nightbird’!

Hi Jacq,

I’ve had all my treatment at Bart’s after being diagnosed in January. Just about to start radiotherapy and then…woooh…back to the real world, minus the cancer rollercoaster.

I can’t tell you how furious I was at diagnosis…why hadn’t I found it? etc etc. Was very tempted to sprint back to my native Scotland for treatment. But Bart’s has been pretty good so far. They genuinely work as a team, and I’ve found oncologists, surgeons, nurses, (especially BCN’s) cheerful, compassionate and knowledgeable. There were a couple of blips early on in terms of communication, but in general, there’s a sense that they’re genuinely rooting for you. And you’re right, Mr C is a terrific surgeon who leads a great team.

Anyway, that’s my experience.

A few long waits in the Combined Clinic on Fridays, though…take a good book! And the place is a bit of a building site at the mo, so some parts of the buildings are very tatty.

Good luck on Wednesday, and please feel free to PM if you want to chat.

L x

Thanks Lanterna, been up for hours, hardly any sleep again! Congratulations on being cancer-free and back to normality - whatever that is. Off to see the BCN in a few hours, such a trek up there, and then up there again tomorrow - I so hate the tube. I agree, it is a bit of a maze up there. When I went last week I treated myself to a cab and he dropped me far away from the bit I wanted, was walking round in circles for yonks. Also had to get a cab home 'cos I was in too much of a state to do anything else. Nearly £60 for both - can’t do that too often! Not sure what I have to see her for today. I’m ok until somebody is sympathetic and nice, 'cos that just starts me blubbing. What a to-do!

Evening all! Feel so much better with everything now that I’ve had a good chat with the BCN this morning. Have been able to tell my friends today - kept everything secret 'til now - 'cos can’t stand people being kind to me when I’m weepy. Feeling as strong as an ox tonight - let’s hope it stays this way. Definitely decided to have the back muscle pulled through to fill empty boob skin at same time as mastectomy, and they say that from all tests and scans have had done so far they are pretty sure it hasn’t spread to lymph doo-dahs under arm, obviously they can’t say for sure until after op., but it’s all looking brighter. Will get date of op on Thurs., should be in about 2 weeks time. Op should last for 3 - 3 and a half hours, much shorter than I’ve read about - surgeon working on mastectomy same time as plastic surgeon on back. Thank God for brilliant men - and I usually moan about them being the weaker sex! I’ll probably be in on hospital for my birthday, but at least this should guarantee getting a few more. Much love and strength to everyone! x

Hi all, not been on for a week, 'cos was feeling ok. Have my op next Wednesday, 25th, and am absolutely bricking it. Back to the weepy stage for a couple of days. Had all my pre-op tests on Wednesday, omg, what a pallaver - never new there were that many! Seems I’m as fit as fiddle - just one ‘niggle’!!! Been on a mission to find nice pj’s - here’s a tip for people having trouble finding roomy, smart ones - Matalan’s men’s pj’s - excellent. If anyone notices the buttons on the wrong side, I’m just going to say they gave me a bit of a sex change whilst I was ‘under’! One thing I’m really fretting about is the fact that my consultant told me that he didn’t think I’d need an MRI scan, which I originally thought was great - thinking it meant (and he did suggest it also) that he thinks it hasn’t spread; now I’m wondering if it’s not necessary because he already knows it has spread and that’s why it’s unnecessary. Are they allowed to tell fibs to keep you sane, or do they HAVE to tell you the truth? I really need an answer to this, please - anybody?

Hi jacqnotyetinthebox,

I hope you are still eeling strong. I am going into University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire on 4/12 for a measectomy andreconstruction, but having the Diep as I have a little tummy fat going spare! I have to go on Monday though for the pre - op tests, which i see you have just had, could you pls tell me a bit more of what was involved with them, im just not sure what to expect?? Its good you dont have too long a wait for your op, I have known for 4 weeks already the date for mine - but at least it has given me a chance to get sorted for christmas!! I managed to get some nice PJ’s from tesco - 20% off too, i thought a reduction like that was quite apt!! sorry I cant answer any of your questions. I am off to see my BCN next tue so get some more answers.
Please keep us posted on how you are doing.