I've got it - I'm scared but my husband's my problem!

Hi
I was recalled after a mammogram and was shocked to have a core biopsy last Monday (30th Oct). They said I could come back for the results on Thursday but I was going to Scotland on Wednesday for my daughter’s 30th birthday party on Saturday so I wouldn’t go (I just couldn’t ruin my daughter’s party with that sort of news). They made me an appointment for yesterday (5th Nov). I knew that I would cope better not knowing. My husband would rather have found out on Thursday and he had a really bad day that day knowing that the results were there. We got through the weekend very well considering and nobody guessed anything was wrong. We went to get my results hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Unfortunately the result was BC. They say it is always better for the person suffering than the person watching and it’s certainly true for my husband. He’s not coping at all and keeps trying to put on a brave face but I know he’s in turmoil. He came back to me twice this moring for a hug & kiss before he went to work and is on the edge of tears all the time (he won’t cry though). I’m so worried about him (he’s got high blood pressure) but I know that I should be thinking of me at this time. I can just about cope with things but not with him being like that. We go to see the surgeon this afternoon to be told when treatment will start. Any advice, please???

Hi Jean
So sorry to hear of your news. I completely agree that it is easier for the person with the diagnosis to start dealing with what’s happening. Afterall, you are the only person who knows exactly how you feel. When I was first diagnosed my partner did not know how to deal with the situation. I remained quite upbeat but he was in turmoil. I think he thought I would snap in two if he touched me and just looked at me with the sadest eyes I’ve ever seen. I tried to put myself in his place. I just went along with his reactions and knew I had to let him come to terms with things. It took him about three months, but I now feel I have my man back. My advice would be to let your husband come to terms with what is happening to you and talk about things and let him know how you are feeling and also how he is feeling. Once he has come to terms with things he will need to be strong for you. I have nearly finished chemo, which started in June and having had a WLE initially, now need a bilateral mastectomy in January. I do feel on occassion that it is me supporting my partner and although I know this is my journey and my breast cancer, the impact this must have on a person who loves you dearly must be awful.

Just ensure you keep communicating. I wish you all the best. Be strong for each other.

Carly x

Dear jeanx

I am sorry to read that you have had a diagnosis of breast cancer yesterday, I am sure you will continue to recieve lots of help and advice from the many informed users of this site.
If you feel that it would help you to talk to someone in confidence about how you are feeling at the moment please feel free to give our helpline a call, the staff here are either breast care nurses or people who have personal experience of breast care issues so will have an understanding of what you and your family are going through. The number is 0808 800 6000 the lines are open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturdays 9am - 2pm
You may also find our resource pack helpful to read as it has been designed for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, it contains information to help you to better understand your diagnosis and the treatments available. You can order a copy via the helpline or via the website on the following link: breastcancercare.org.uk//content.php?page_id=7514
I hope this is of some help to you.
Best wishes
Sam
Moderator
Breast Cancer Care

So sorry to hear about your diagnosis; it’s a horrible shock, and if you’re anything like me you’ll feel very scared and shaken right now. It probably feels like you’ve been handed a death sentence (you haven’t … but I know that’s how it feels right now).

I’m seven months down the line now and have had chemo and surgery, with radiation therapy to follow. I can honestly say that the worst bit of the whole thing was the first couple of weeks. Too many appointments for scans, tests, results, consultations; too many new faces; too much information; just too much to take in and deal with. And having to tell people about your diagnosis is very hard too.

Once treatment begins, things will settle down and seem easier to deal with. You know then that you are doing something positive to rid yourself of the horrible thing. I think most men cope by being practical, and once your husband has a clear idea of what he can do to help you he will feel more in control and better able to manage. Things like driving you to chemo, helping you to tell friends and family, finding out the info that you want or need to know, helping with the chores and stuff when you feel unable to do them, being there to talk things over with.

It’s still very early days for you. If, after a while, your husband is still too upset to be much of a support for you, you could ask your breast care nurse to put you in touch with a local support group or to arrange counselling for you both. My husband found it very helpful to be able to talk to other men about this, as the conversation was then neither too medical or too female!

Best of luck for your meeting with the surgeon and your forthcoming treatment. Meanwhile, please believe me, it WILL get easier.

Love, Stockbeck

There’s a book called ‘Breast Cancer Husband’ by Marc Silver. We were lent this by fellow sufferers. It is American, so some of the information is not relevant (the bits about choosing your medical team, and insurance for instance) but I know my husband found it very useful. It has lots of practical information, as well as advice on how best to give support.

Agree with all the above.

My hubby was so angry, got drunk that night and ended up burning his hand in a bonfire. Kept saying over and over again that why couldn’t it have happened to him, that he felt so useless because he couldn’t fix it or take it away. 3 1/2 years down the line the roles have reversed. Its me who now gets scared, the menopausal symptoms have kicked in big time (had oophorectomy in March this year) and I feel like Jekyll and Hyde most days. He is now very supportive, reassuring and very positive about “our” future together.

It will work out, its early days and as time goes on you will both feel closer and will fight this together.

Let us know how you got on this afternoon and your treatment plan.

Love and hugs
K

Hi Jean,

Sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, do doubt after the appointment this afternoon you are still taking this all in.

Reading your husbands reaction seems, in a strange way, so very sweet, he must really love you. I think that he just wishes he could take all this away from you and feels almost powerless.

I expect you know that giving him time to come to terms with what is happening to you will be the best move right now. As you begin your journey there may well be times when you want to be alone and other times you will want him close. I am sure he will be able to support you through this.

I know we are all different but perhaps if I tell you about my husbands reaction it may help.
He is a man of few words so it is difficult to know what he is thinking. I know he loves me but often doesn’t know what to say in case he upsets me. His strength is being able to look at things in a clear light particularly when I am getting in a state. We have cuddles with no need to speak, when I have asked what he is thinking he has just said that he feels sad that I have to go through all the treatment. We don’t talk in prognosis terms but we do talk about what holidays we will be taking next year.

I do hope that you can find comfort from one another without you having to have the extra pressure of keeping a brave face on. You might have to say you need the space to cry, scream or have black moods without him trying to cheer you up. I really think you need to ride the roller coaster of emotions, sometimes with someone in the seat next to you, sometimes in the back of the carriage.

Take care

Carol

Hi Jean

What brilliant advice you have had from the girls on here, I really can’t top that.

What I will say is, my husband too was devastated when we were told I had breast cancer, he actually cried first and I remember asking him if HE was ok while we were still in the Consulting Room. Seven months down the line, and we are closer than we’ve ever been. I always knew we have a strong marriage, but the past few months have brought us so much more closer and much more appreciative of each other.

As Stockbeck has said, it will get easier for you both, and thats a promise.

Sending you lots of love and a big hug

Julie xxx

Dear Girls,
I been so overwhelmed by the replies and support you’ve given me so quickly - I’ve taken things on board from everyone of them - thank you so much. When we saw the surgeon yesterday, he started by saying that although I have got cancer, it’s not like lung cancer, it’s a very small lump, not life treatening and is just an inconvenience! I hope I can believe him - he’s very experienced and does 500 operations a year. We came out feeling a lot more positive as he directed a lot of his advice to my husband who relaxed a little bit! He still is looking at me with those sad eyes that Carly talked about and can’t stop hugging me, but I can cope with that. After 36 years of marriage we have definitely rekindled our relationship so that’s a positive that’s come out of all this! My operation will either be tomorrow or next Thursday (I’m waiting for his secretary to phone) so that’ll be the next hurdle to jump, waiting for the lymph nodes results.

Thanks again for all your good wishes - my thoughts are with you all as well.

Jeanx

Hi Jean,

I am please to hear the positive side of your ‘inconvenience’.
I love that saying, when I was first diagnosed I called my cancer ‘my little inconvenience’
it helped me keep things in proportion.

My best wishes for the surgery and regards to your husband.
Bye for now
Carol

Hi Jean

Like you, my partner went to pieces after my diagnosis last November. Men do feel useless, because they are used to being the strong ones and taking the macho lead, then suddenly something comes along, totally out of their control. Once your husband sees your recovery and how strong you are, he will begin to feel better. Also, when you begin further regular treatment, ie chemo if appropriate, and radiotherapy, you will meet many lovely people, with so much more to deal with, and most of them do so with a smile on their face, it will humble both you and your husband.

I went to a support group that advertised a couple of free alternative treatments (indian head massage, aromatherapy, etc). I always felt i didn’t deserve extra support, because I wasn’t ill, and I am so glad I went along. I have met all sorts of lovely people and it really helps talking to others in the same boat, although we talk about our ailments very rarely - usually chit chat about familys, hobbies, etc.

My best advice, keep your chin up, keep smiling and laughing and stay positive - it is the best aid for recovery (I managed to work through all of my chemo and radiotherapy having only a few days off here and there).

Good luck with your results - I will be thinking of you.

Love Carol

Hi all

I think my husband has managed to calm down a little now, but still keeps looking at me in that strange way!

I have been reading lots of threads about people who were told they were low risk of finding something in the lymph nodes (as I have been) and then went on to have full mastectomies. It’s beginning to get to me now as I have been coping knowing that my lump is small and caught early (even though the surgeon says it’s been growing for 2 years!). I suppose it’s natural to think the worst but I’ve got to get through to next Thursday before the op.

Also, can anyone tell me how long after surgery you started rads? I need to get Christmas into my scheduling!

Jean

Hi Jean

I am really sorry for you and your news, but you MUST stop putting him first. I’ve done it for 30 yrs and this wk realised after a yr of BC with minimum support, that it’s time to call it a day. I will put me first from now on. My husband also has high blood pressure, BC is potentially much worse than an illness that can be controlled by medication.

YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIM JUST NOW.

Irene

Hi Jean
I was diagnosed last month and had my second operation on friday so still sore but doing okay. My husband has been such a surprise. we have always had a good marriage with the usual ups and downs but I have always been the strong one. Suddenly he is so helpful and supportive and I know how lucky I am. I have not looked at my “new Boob” yet and am scared of his reaction but still it has got to be faced. I dont knoe if it is relevant for your husband but mine has a couple of workmates in similar situations and is taking help and advice from them
Good luck
Hilary