Just been Diagnosed

Hi I have just been told that I have breast cancer. just had biopsy taken 28th July 2011. go back to hospital Thursday 4Aug 2011. I am 57 and terrified of whats in front of me. I am a widow and live alone. so have no one to talk to at night.which is the worst time for me .all I do is cry. I have 2 grown up daughters who are also devastated and have asked me to go stay with them while I get chemo. but they have young kids and I don’t know how I will react to chemo so don’t want to leave my own house.any advice would be very much appricated.

Hi westjoitgirl

Firstly, welcome to the forums, I am sure you will find it a great source of information and support.

I’m sorry to read of your diagnosis, the first few days and weeks are always difficult when coming to terms with things and getting to grips with your treatment plans, etc.

I’ve given here the link to our Resource Pack for those people newly diagnosed. The pack is essential for anyone with a primary diagnosis of breast cancer and is filled with information to help you understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available.

breastcancercare.org.uk/heal … tionId/82/

Also, do give the helpline a ring if you need any further support or information. They’re on 0808 800 6000. Open 9-5 Monday to Friday and 9-2 Saturday.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hi sorry you have had to join us this plc is great to cry moan shout we never judge we are all the same here I can understand about not wanting to leave your house but tbh you might be glad of the rest and knowing someone is there but also they cld pop over to you chemo stinks but it’s doable and most of us are ok on it it’s hard at first it’s a shock but once treatment is planned you just wanna kill the cancer ar… and get it gone tc Laura

and add my name to the list who will commiserate with your diagnoses and support you here wherever possible, this is my second journey with breast cancer with a 14 and a half year timescale ( I was 34 then, now 48!) …I have just finished chemo yesterday and whilst not pleasant I, like everyone else on here gets through it somehow…some easiier than others and until it happens to you it’s hard to say how YOU will be, it is an individual journey in many respects,. I would take baby steps through this journey ONE DAY at a time… It is fab you have the support of your daughters , you will need them, A word of caution I on my second journey have 2 children aged 7 & 9, their little faces have been my reason to keep going and seeing them faces everyday has been my best medicine ever! However twice they have infected me with S&D bug, probably picked up from school, and once with a stinking cold…school again! I was glad that on this final treatment, when you do feel the weariness taking it’s toll, that they are off school and it’s bugs!! September, when all the new kids start school is the prime time for bugs as they mix with kids they havent mixed with before, spreading germs to all and sundry! and the first several weeks can be a ‘bug fest’ so be careful …the bugs I got from my two made me very ill esp after one of the treatments…just trying to give you my experience!
We are always here and as you trawl you will see that medication can keep us up very late or very early so there is ususlly some chat going on in even the wee small hours so use us!!! we will be only too happy to help!

Thinking of you as you start this journey XXXXX
edited for bad spelling…surprise, surprise

Firstly, I am so sorry you have joined us but the women here are very supportive and will give you plenty of advice. I suspect you are still reeling from your DX and struggling to come to terms with it and that is perfectly understandable. All I can say is that you will find it easier as time goes on.

My circumstances are very similiar to yours. 56, living on my own, 2 grown daughters, etc. I had a WLE in April and started chemo in May. I managed well on my own after surgery. Also, I was on my own for the first cycle of chemo. I found it difficult but doable. The BCNs told me that the situation is not uncommon and people do manage. You have to be able to ask for help when you need it. Do you have friends and neighbours you can rely on? You may need help for shopping and hospital visits. My youngest moved back in with me temporarily after my first cycle of chemo and for this I am grateful. But I understand completely your reluctance to move in with your daughters, especially as they have young children. This option was offered to me by my eldest but I knew from the start that I was going to be happier in my own home. Rest is an important part of recovery especially in the early days and I think that would be difficult in a household with young children.
Once you have your treatment plan knowing how to arrange things will become clearer. At this stage, you do not know what will be involved so you need to wait and see what is said at your appt on Thurs.

Good luck.

hi, Have you been told that you will definately need chemo? Or has it just been mentioned as one of the possible treatment options? have they said that the cancer might have spread to your nodes? Or are they waiting for the results of the biopsy.

This is such a worrying time, waiting for those results, wondering what the treatment will be and how you will cope. Even when you have someone to discuss things with, no matter how much support they try to give they have to go to sleep sometime and then there you are left alone with your thoughts. That is why this site is so good, its full of people either waiting for appointments and results, all worried sick, and full of people at different stages of different treatment plans. (i am older than you.small operation, no chemo. just radiation and hormones)

Everybody remembers what those first few weeks were like and are here to do whatever thay can to help you through.

Presumably some sort of operation is on the cards. Have you got someone who can stay with you when you get out of hospital? I know it is possible to be released to an empty house, but I think they keep you in a bit longer if there is no-one there to check up on you. You could ask them when you go in for your results, or ring the help line.

persoanlly no matter how ill I am I want my own bed and my own house. and no matter how much i love my children would find it tiring to stay with them especially with grandchildren around. you might be better at home with a freezer full of little meals.

But as Cherry orchard says, until you have your results and treatment plan you will not know how this is going to affect you. In the meantime do come on here for advice, or just to express what you are going through.

Thank you all so much for your kind words. and advice it is very much appreciated. I have been told there is a mass tumor on my left Breast. Doc said he wants to start chemo right away to try and shrink it before surgery. and there is Lymph nodes under my arm which I am not sure what they are. So I hope you don’t mind me asking questions.I know the Doc is there to ask questions but as you all know at the start its when you come back home you start thinking I should have asked about this .That and the next mind mind just went blank wqhen the Doc told me what was wrong I kist got such a shock. ty all so much for listening to me.
God Bless You all I hope you all have a quick recovery.xx

well in a way you are fortunate that you live in modern times. In the old days if you had a large tumor they would have had to take alot of your breast away or completely off and then give you chemo ofterwards.

nowadays they try and save the breast and the first thing they do is use the chemo drugs to shrink it. So on thursday they will know exactly what sort of cancer cells they are and which drugs are best to tackle it. They are getting very good at shrinking them, sometimes down to almost nothing.

Your nodes are glands under your arm that swell up if there is an infection or something strange going on. sometimes if the cancer is trying to get out of the breast the nodes get them too and so have to be taken out. Again in the old days they whipped them all out, but now they sometimes just take a few to see what is going on. The fewer nodes they take the better you recover from surgery.

It is such a huge shock. Are you taking someone with you on thursday? Someone sensible who can remember what they tell you? I meant to record my session on my iphone, but I was in such a tiz I forgot. My husband was with me but had gone off for coffee and so I went in by myself.

Hope thursday goes well. Do ask questions, i bet if you start a new thread called Trying to shrink tumor or something then there will be people along who have had this done

Hello from me too, and echoing the thoughts of the others who have already commented.

I had chemo before surgery (posh name is neoadjuvant chemo) as I had a very large tumour (in fact at 8cm when they started chemo, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone fess up to a larger one on here!). The chemo was really effective and shrank it to less than 2cm of which only 4mm was still active cancer at the time of surgery, despite it being an aggressive cancer. Because of where it was located I still had to have a mastectomy (and lymph node clearance) but was able to have immediate reconstruction. I have since had radiotherapy and, because I am moderately ER+ and PR+ have Tamoxifen for 5 years.

I also live alone - as do quite a few women on here - and it is perfectly possible to get through this so long as you ask for help as and when you need it. I wonder, do you have a good friend you could confide in? I took a friend to all my consultant appointments - at the suggestion of my wonderful breast surgeon - and she took notes for me. I think if you are able to allow one or two people close enough to help - on your terms (I am Miss Independent) it might be a bit easier. If you are part of a club, society or faith group, I’m sure you can find someone or some ones who would be only too pleased to accompany you on this journey.

I am now nearly a year post diagnosis, have finished all my active treatment and am moving on to a new phase of life.

It is horrid being at the start of this journey but you can, and will, get through and in due course find yourself telling others the same!

Take care and hope all goes well for you.

Hi I am also in the same position as yourself I am widowed and live alone. i started my first of 8 chemos last week prior to mx and rads and so far so good.
No sickness I took all the tablets they thew at me, just feel extremely weak and tired. Have managed to get along ok with help of lots of friends and neighbours - one brings a paper in the morning and milk and bread, another walks my dog, a friend comes around to help out. Another friend made me a tape of relaxing mood music which I listen to when I go to bed and so far have managed to sleep reasonably well, in fact I am so tired I can sleep most of the day if people let me.
Had calls from chemo triage nurse reassuring me if I need any help or assistance to ring them day or night. Everything going ok so try not to worry too much and look on the posiitive side they are treating you and you will get better.

Hi westjoitgirl

I’m a bit older than you and have been through chemo living alone. My daughter lives fairly close (half an hour to get to me) so was around if I needed anything. I found I preferred to be at home and could do as I pleased and didn’t have to fit in with anybody else. Eat, sleep, watch TV. read etc whenever I felt like it. My daughter phoned every day and visited regularly with her daughter. When I felt like it I went out and about and visited her. You can prepare by making meals you like and putting them in the freezer. Read the thread called Top Tips on Getting Through Chemo so you have what you need in the house and don’t have to go shopping if you don’t feel like it.

You will get lots of support from the BCC forums. There are threads for family members too so your daughters could have a look at those.

Good luck with it all. x


Another one who lives alone but with 2 dogs and cats!! I have found that like Ragamuffin I like being on my own as can do what I like Wwen I like and I do have support from family and friends if I need it. I get lots of phone calls and my neighbours have been fab. Walking dogs when really haven’t been up to it, mowing the lawns and my lovely neighbour Sheila has fed me for the first couple of days after my chemo. Had last one yesterday got fish and chips last night and chops mash and veggies tonight Not surprisingly have put on lots of weight! But it is doable on your own!

Good luck and best wishes to you. Keep posting as the lovely ladies on here are full of great advise and support


Hi - I’m afraid I don’t have any advice, because I just got my diagnosis yesterday morning and one minute I’m a nervous wreck, the next I am being terribly organised about the coming weeks.

I’m 48 with a 7-year old son who has special needs, so it is going to be a challenge telling him that mummy is ill.

Having read all of your posts, this seems like a really supportive forum and I wish everyone here the best of luck with their treatment.

One thing that scared me a little bit, was that I had a mammogram etc because of a lump I had found - that lump is a cyst, they found the cancer on the mammogram - it cannot be felt when examining the breast, so I suppose I should think my self ‘lucky’ if you know what I mean!

Take care everyone.

Thank you all once again for your advice and support. which has all been taking on board.went to hospital this morning (took my daughter along with me for support)have to get MRI scan on monday. ct scan on wed. bone scan thurs. and heart scan on Friday. and chemo is penciled in to start 22nd Aug. but they are trying to bring that forward. to get Chemo for 6 months. then a masectomy.then radium.(sorry about the spelling)its a lot to take in.sitting there listening to the doctor talking about breast cancer. its as if he is talking to someone else not you. but I do feel better tonight after a few things were explained to me to-day.although still a bit scared about starting chemo.

gosh westjoitgirl, thats quite a schedule. What a lot to take in. Chemo does sound daunting, but there will be people on here going through it at the same time as you and you will get lots of support.

i too had a cyst and then they found cancer. But only very early stages, so just had it out and going to start radiotherapy next week, no chemo thank goodness. its amazing how many different types of tumor and treatment there are.

there is a book called mummies boob meant for explaining cancer to small children, perhaps you could adapt something in that when explaining to your son. have you someone to help look after him when you have your operation??

Thanks - will check out the book. Luckily my husband and parents will be around post-op - and my son will be back at school, so it will really be the dropping off and picking up arrangements that I need to cover.

I met with my nurse today and she had all my appointments (just 5 to get started!) and told me about the wire I have to have inserted prior to the surgery. Has anyone else had this - it sounds a bit weird, hopefully I won’t pick up Radio Luxembourg!


there is another post running at the moment about the wire thing. Apparantly it does not hurt, its just totally weird having this wire sticking out of your boob.

Glad you have contact with your nurse. I have found them realy useful to ring up about silly problems and they always rang back realy quickly with good advice.

Good job you have good family support to get through this, but I bet they are reeling too. I remember my husband saying “everyone is asking how you are coping but nobody has asked how I am” that sounds selfish, but it wasnt it was a little cry for help

Good point about husbands/family etc - my husband was with me when I got the diagnosis and he just started crying - which is just not him. I think at that point I made the decision to try and be as compassionate with him (and my parents) as I can. I hope that I can sustain that.

Hi everyone, I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday after what seemed an eternity. I originally had a routine mammogram and was recalled for a further one. An ultrasound scan was done with a biopsy as a lump had been found. A week later I had a call from the hospital to ask me to have the biopsy done again as the results were inconclusive. What the doctors were looking at on the ultrasound and mammogram didn’t match up with the biopsy results. Anyway yesterday I went for my results and it is a cancerous lump. It is very small and I have to go in on 30th August for a Localised Wide Local Excision and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy. Yesterday, although it was bad news at least I knew for certain what I was dealing with I felt ok, but today I think the reality of it all has set in and I am becoming quite anxious about it all. I have only just started to get over the death of my mum to cancer just 9 weeks ago, she was 84 a good age, so it has been a bit of a blow.
This site seems full of excellent information and lots of support and kindness.

hi sunshine 1, it does take a while for it to sink in doesnt it? I am 45 years old and have had 2 primaries within 11 years of each other, one in each breast, each time I have gone into auto pilot, doing the everyday things we have to do, but not being completely there, if that makes sense, we all have different ways of coping with it dont we? my advise from my own experience is just take it as it comes, go with your emotions and listen to your body, we all do what we have to do to get through this time, and lots of people have said it takes a while for it all to sink in, and it feels like a roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs, highs and lows, its all perfectly normal and acceptable considering what you are trying to take on board

I hope everything goes well for you, sending you love and best wishes, and keep posting if it helps you, Liz x