It's tiny - and I'm panicking

Oh how a life can change in a couple of weeks.
My mum was diagnosed last week with a tiny ‘mass’ 9mm to be exact.
She has to have a wide lump excision next Wednesday and then we see from there. The hospital have been very positive told her it is very early, and only mentioned the op and radiotherapy.
But looking on this site, hormone therapies and more worryingly, Chemo is mentioned, depending on the grade/stage of the tumour. I am so scared that it won’t all be positive and good - I see my mum struggling through chemo, and all sorts, won’t go into details you get the idea.
What are the odds, how can I stop panicking?
I’m also really angry with my mum - and feel totally horrid about it - she’s (the illness) has ruined Christmas, we’ve had to cancel a holiday, I’m having to take time off work blah blah blah - am I really a horrible person cos I certainly feel it at the moment.
Need friends :frowning:

Hello Gardenbabe,

Can I start at the end of you post and work backwards? No you are not a horrible person, you are a shocked and frightened one whose world has been turned upside down. Anger can be part of that as much as any other emotion.

Dare I suggest that Christmas is not necessarily ruined. It won’t be what you had planned or what you dreamed of, but you can still have a special time with those you love. I know this is true because it’s a path I have ‘walked’. Next year you will be able to have the lovely holiday, with all this behind you. I know it’s small consolation but you will get through.

Looking on this site can be a blessing and a curse, it is so easy to drift into reading posts that are disturbing when you are compeletely new to this ‘world’. (At the same time, they are very helpful for those for whom they are intended) Be careful what you read, and stick to things like the ‘newly diagnosed’ and ‘surgery’ sections as they are the most likely to be helpful just now.

Once your Mum has had her surgery - and probably a sentinel lymph node biopsy - the hospital will know better what kind of treatment is best for her, and will discuss it with her in detail. 9mm is small, and that is usually a good sign. They will test the mass to see if it is ‘fed’ by hormones, so that they can tell whether any tablets might help her. If they think she would benefit from radiotherapy or chemotherapy they will explain that, but try not to cross any bridges before you get there.

These early days are the hardest and most scary, but once your Mum has had her surgery and knows what the longer term plan is, you will find it is, after all, copeable.

Post on here as much as you need to, ask any questions you like (none are silly) and avoid googling as a lot of stuff out there is out of date or wrong. Perhaps you could ring the helpline tomorrow on 0808 800 6000 and they will be able to support and advise you.

Hello gardenbabe, i echo all of revcat’s messages. it is such a scary time and you are not horrible. its all so early and 9 mm is small/ dont be hard on yourself, you are entitled to feel all of those things. just go gently and be kind to yourself.
it wont be so scary once you know more, and its likely that christmas may be different but not much will be in place by then if she needs more stuff, i was scared of my wle and actually its pretty simple and she will be able to do more than you think.
do what revcat says and dont read too much.
big support and just rant whenever you

I can’t add much to Rev Cat’s sound advice, but just to say NO YOU ARE NOT a horrible person. By all means, be angry at this sh***Y disease. Anger, frustration, fear, disappointment. They’re all normal and perfectly understandable. But don’t be angry at your mum. Let her be angry too!

Try to be as ‘normal’ as possible while you are waiting for treatments and results. Notice and appreciate the things that you enjoy together. Plan little treats. Christmas will be different, but not ruined, and there’s every chance your mum will be feeling much better by next year and you can re-book that holiday.

My world fell apart in February. WLE and SNB Feb 22nd. My cancer was 28mm and grade 3. I had Radio therapy April 24th to May 14th. Phased return to work end of June and I’m now more-or-less back to normal, just tired and having regular, mild hot flushes, probably due to Tamoxifen and Zoladex hormone therapies. (But I was approaching menopause, and may have had those in store for me anyway!!)

I agree with RevCat that you must be selective in what you read on here. I scared myself half to death reading secondary and chemo threads. Although they are a lifeline for those in that situation, many of us will never have to go there. Tackle each stage as it comes. There’s plenty of support. You will get through this.

You’ve got friends on here. hugs.

Hello pet, you are having a rough time, and your mum too.
Perhaps this will help - I had double WLE in Nov/Dec 2010 (17mm and 13mm) and 4 days later I was absolutely fine and doing all the shoulder exercises with ease. And I spent Christmas trogging round to visit friends and family with no adverse effects at all. Then in March 2011 I had rads, didn’t need chemo as my cancers were 100% oestrogen positive and are prevented from coming back by drugs called aromatase inhibitors.
So your mum’s cancer sounds very much like mine.
Take it a day at a time, read the hospital letters carefully, ring the clinic with ANY queries, and your mum decide how to play this out. Everyone does it differently.
all the very best

I am SO glad I posted on this site - sitting here crying at your responses (good job my office mate is a good 'un!). Thank you all I will keep you updated on my mum - and me xxx

Keep reminding yourself that there will be other Christmases and other holidays. I sincerely hope that your mum will be with you, in good health, for many more of them. Show your mum how well you’ve learned to care for and support other people. (Most mums are far too good at beating themselves up for ‘spoiling things’ for their families at times like this.)

Hi there,

I just wanted to say that I had WLE on the 20th December last year with all of the lymph nodes under my arm cleared as well. It was day surgery, and although I couldn’t do any heavy lifting by Christmas I was certainly up and about and able to participate in the day and enjoy being with family. I had radiotherapy in January/February, which was fine, and I am now on hormones (tamoxifen) which have not given me any major side effects.
I would say the only lasting effect has been some tiredness and slight anaemia, both of which are treatable, and occosional pain around the scars, again treatable with simple painkillers…
It is a big shock when you first hear those words, and easy to imagine the wrost. But take heart from the expereinces people on here can share with you, and try to take each day at a time.

Thank you all of you - the op is on Wednesday and I’m not scared about that but petrified about the results. The Hospital have only mentioned radiotherapy and possible hormone treatment, never mentioned chemotherapy but I’m so worried Mum will have to go through that - is it a good thing it hasn’t been mentioned, or are they just not adding pressure on?

Gardenbabe, try not to worry yourself uneccessarily. I had a WLE in September and have had to move onto chemo because of the type of tumour. You can’t forecast it. We have chemo to give us and our families the very best chance to clear out all traces of this awful illness. It’s not pleasant but it is doable for the end result. There are many drugs that you receive to negate the side effects.
I have 2 daughters in their 30s and I know they have been devastated by this. We have a family holiday planned or May. My chemo etc ill be finished by then and we can move forward as a family.
Look after yourself and plan nice things with your mum
Kay x

In my experience, Gardenbabe, everyone at the hospital played it very straight. NOBODY was worried about “not adding pressure” on me. (there were times when I kinda wished they DID feel that way!) They told me from the first exactly how it was going to be, and nobody pulled any punches. So please don’t worry that the people at the hospital are just not wanting to break it to you all at once. That’s not how they work these days.
That said, if your mother turns out to need chemo, it is much less frightening than it seems at the beginning. My gp told me before it all started “these day’s many women find out it’s no big deal”. I thought he was crazy, and that he was trying to sugar coat it, but looking back, it was surprisingly do-able–I was even able to work most weeks, and I certainly didn’t need round the clock care.
But don’t borrow trouble. If they haven’t said chemo, it most likely means they aren’t thinking she will need it. This whole deal will all be much less difficult than you are allowing your imagination to accept, right now. I was in the middle of Chemo last Christmas, and still managed to have a wonderful time with friends and family. I know how truly terrifying this is, Revcat is right, it is worse at the beginning then once the process actually starts. Play it a day at a time. Good wishes to you and to your mum this Wednesday, you’ll be in my thoughts. xx

Hi Gardenbabe

First, big hugs to you and your Mum.

Second, my tumour was 4mm, my nodes were clear and I had surgery and rads - no chemo. My friend who was diagnosed a couple of months after me also had surgery and rads but no chemo. So it’s quite a common treatment plan for early small cancers (the mobile screening unit had just been to our town so that’s why we were picked up so close together.) So I know it’s difficult but try not to worry about things that might happen, take each day at a time.

You guys are so lovely - and I’m so stupid! I know that this worrying and fretting is helping no-one least of all me, and goddamit, it’s not even me who’s got the cancer! The waiting bit is the worst, at least when you know what you’re dealing with you can get on with it. I worry so much as my mum’s on her own, (selfishly) I’m the only child so will do the caring, even though my mum is very independent and already talking about sending my home on Thursday next week (her op is Wednesday…!). We also have my Pap (mum’s dad) who is 93 and getting a bit frail, my mum does an awful lot of running around for him, she doesn’t want him to know but if it’s chemo he’ll have to - and if he hears the ‘c’ word he’ll panic, think the worst etc etc (now, does this sound like a family trait here…??). Now, this post is rambling on and on like my imagination.
SO thank you for taking the time to reply to me x

Doh and I keep posting twice - well honestly

Well that’s it - the dye is in (she said it didn’t hurt a bit!) so now we’re on countdown to tomorrow - 7.30 am start… I’m panicking but am glad that part of the waiting is almost over.

Fingers crossed for both of you. Let us know how it goes.

Hi well it is Friday - and I have chucked out by my marvellous mum - she has been AMAZING! Op on Wednesday we were in by 7.30am - she had her tracer wire in (sat nav I called it) and went to surgery at 11.37 am. I guess my only gripe was I was told it was going to be an hour but she didn’t get back to the ward til gone 2! We were home by 5! She came back up to the ward a little groggy but had a cuppa and was walking around after half an hour! We came home at 5, she ordered pizza at 8 and then declared she was going to have a glass of wine after her traumatic day (yes, yes I know she shouldn’t have but you don’t argue with my mum!!!). Yesterday, she was up and dressed by 9, we went for a half hour walk, then in the afternoon she declared we were going to the supermarket cos she needed milk and another bottle of wine…!!! so here I am 48 hours later at home…! I am lucky I am only 5 minutes away so can easily get back to her if needed. I do feel a bit selfish and guilty at leaving her, but I do have to trust her and believe what she is telling me. She is not going to do much this afternoon, but apparently we are going to a Christmas craft fair tomorrow, and as I’ve got a couple of days holiday from work next week, we are also going Christmas shopping…! She can lift her arm above her head, do everything as long as she is just a little careful. I am truly amazed, astounded - and humbled.
All I can say is - mum I love you, and I have underestimated you BIG time. You are an inspiration, and although I’m still petrified about what is ahead, I know that you have the strength to deal with it xx
I do hope that others have this positive outcome and thank you all for your kind and helpful words - I will keep you posted on ‘what next’.

GB, you’re not horrible, you’re not stupid, you’re a very caring daughter, and well done for being there for your mum when she needed you to be.

Physically, the op your mum had was pretty minor so it’s no surprise at all that she’s back up on her feet and doing stuff. Psychologically, it’s really tough onothers, and we’re here for you.

Don’t feel guilty about being back at home, your mum probably wants a bit of peace and quiet and some alone time just to get her head round things, and to discover for herself how she feels about it all.

Good luck to you and your mum, you’ll feel much better once the docs do their tests on the small tumour and come up with a plan for your mum.

Results on Thursday - feel sick already!
Ironic that the diagnosis was given on the 13th of November, and we get the results exactly a month later. Mum is sooo positive she’s amazing.

Just back from the hospital - after an hour’s wait, the surgeon took about two minutes to tell us that the cancer was tiny - and is now all gone. It was also ‘not a bad one’ and three weeks of radiotherapy and tamoxifen will be belt and braces. I can’t stop crying - but tears of joy and relief.
Thank you again to everyone here for your time and responses - I know it’s not quite over yet but it isn’t what I was imagining x and big hugs to everyone who is also going through it.