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My wife had her lumpectomy and after 2 long long weeks of waiting we got the worst news on Monday. They have told us that she must now have a mastectomy and all her nodes removed. They have told us it is grade 3 as she has field change in her breast. From the 4 sample nodes removed the sentinel node has shown a flake? but the other 3 were clear. This just seems to go from bad to worse. All the positives we were clinging to have been taken away and we are both so scared of what news we will get next. We have an oncology appointment tomorrow to discuss treatment but I’m so worried this will be more bad news. The next operation is on Friday. I am staying positive about this but am struggling to keep it all together. Still don’t know how to talk to our children 3 1/2 (as he keeps telling me and 6 year old daughter.

hi - sorry you have had to find us out but you’ve come to a good place! Does your wife come on the 'puter - if so she’ll get great support here…being young the grade 3 bit is unfortunately very common, as mine was. Once she gets all of the surgery out of the way things start to settle as I think for me you tend to think of the lump as gone and the treatment as sorting it further. The diagnosis is horrendous and takes a good while to start to get your head round, I couldn’t sleep or eat or think of anything other than the bc in the beginning, that is so normal and to worry about the future and treatment etc. I found it hard to even watch the tv as everything seemed to be doom, a bit like when you think you might be pregnant and all you see is nappy adverts?!
My kids are a bit bigger at 10 ND 16 but a lot of us recommend the booklet Mummy’s Lump which this website does - I’m not much cop with links etc but am sure one of the mods will post it. It is a very hard time for you all, your wife, you and the kids and further family too but you will get there. I was diagnosed on jan 7th and had surgery on 28th with node clearance and then started chemo soon after that, that was a worry because we only have awful experiences or hear stories about it but its amazing how common it all is and the staff are so supportive…and it is do-able, your wife obviously has good support with yourself and that will be so important for her but she’ll make lots of “friends” on here too - I really feel like I know so many of these other ladies going through the whole thing and we meet up too sometimes…please tell your wife to keep strong and look after herself,keep talking and being there for each other and you will get through all this…mary x

Hi,
I’m sorry to hear that your wife needs mastectomy and node clearance. I also have grade 3 cancer and was fortunate that lumpectomy and node clearance was enough surgery for me. Only one of the nine nodes they removed had cancer cells in it and it was one of the sentinel nodes. If I had needed further surgery I would have been gutted like yourselves, but by then I was prepared to do what was necessary to get most of the cancer out. I know it is so hard to stay positive, but supporting each other and these forums have got me through the really tough times so far.
I have 2 children. My little boy is 15 months and doesn’t have a clue and my little girl is 4 next month (though she still says she’s 3 and 1/2!) and has handled things better than I could have imagined. I needed lots of biopsies for them to determine the type of cancer, so she knew i had a lump and was very interested in the bruising. This meant explaining the lumpectomy was easy - mummy just needed the bad lump out and the doctors had to do this at the hospital. Again she was most interested (and still is)in the scars, especially the one under my arm from the node clearance, but at no time did i let her come to the hospital to see me even though i felt fine and missed her like mad. She checks up on me regularly and says she’s a nurse like my macmillan nurse and wanted to look at it again today (3 weeks later). She says its magic because its nearly gone! (She’s majorly into fairies at the min!!) Explaining the chemo has been harder (I need 6 cycles of FEC-T), but she seems happy at the minute to know it’s strong medicine that makes mummy very tired and sick first before it can make me better. I’m not sure she understands the hair loss bit yet, but i’m not sure i’ve got it yet either!! The mummy’s lump book is good, although i changed a few bits as i was reading it to her (just as well she can’t read yet!)and i thought the pictures might help her understand. I think basic is best with your son and one step at at a time, but i was saying yesterday to my mum, i don’t know how i would have explained it if she’d been a year or two older, so in terms of explaining it to your daughter i’m not sure. Hope this is some use to you and your wife. Like mary said keep yourselves strong, keep talking and you will get through this.
Thinking of you
Kathryn x