Mum diagnosed - Overwhelmed daughter !

My Mum was diagnosed with Bc grade 3 at the end of May, She had her Mastectomy in June where it was found the nodes under her arm where cancerous too. The cancer is also Her2 positive. She is about to start Chemotherapy in 2 weeks for 6 cycles, then radiotherapy and then Herceptin for a year. Phew

Im just Overwhelmed totally - Im 26 and the youngest child (the baby I suppose) I am the one taking my mum to appointments and doing all I can to help (clean, cook etc and keep my own house running). My dad works so cant take every appointment off as do my siblings. I just feel I need to be strong for everyone but Im falling apart at the thought of my mum suffering.

Im with her everyday and love spending time with her but the thought of the next hospital appointment after hospital appointment is making me a nervous wreck. I want to be there for my mum every step of the way not have her worrying about me!

How do I stay strong all the time ??

Any help much appreciated

chowder x


Hi chowder,

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care discussion forums, you’ve come to the right place for some good support not only for yourself but for your mum too, as the users of this site have a wealth of knowledge and information between them.

Here at BCC we have numerous free publications that may be of interest to you and your mum, our freefone helpline you can call if you need to talk to someone in confidence plus BCC run various events around the country on different aspects of BC which may be of interest to your mum. I have put for you below links to a couple of publications you may find helpful.

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BC and you:*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/89/

Resource pack:*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/82/

Hope these help. Take care,
Jo, Facilitator

HI Chowder

My Mum had bowel cancer and unfortunately died from this after 3 years, she had massive spread etc.

So I understand how you feel. It’s scary, though I honestly thought she would pull through it all, it wasn’t until she was told there was nothing further they could do and she was too weak for chemo that it really really hit me that she wasn’t going to come out of this, she was one hell of a strong woman and normally bounced back from illnesses.

It’s scary yes, but you know, I hid it all from my Mum until the weekend before she died when we stayed up til 5am in teh morning talking and I broke down and told her I was terrified of losing her and couldn’t imagine not having her in my life and didn’t know who to deal with it.

You know what, I think she felt very lonely because noone was really showing their devastation, thinking that she wouldn’t want to be worrying about us. Thinking we were being strong for HER. She said towards the end that she felt very very loved by all the show of emotion and that helped her.

So I think if you show your Mum and explain why you’ve been protecting her but that you love her so much and are scared as she probably is, if you’re helping her out with appts and domestic stuff, she may not feel that she is on her own.

Parents protect their kids too, I can be sure she has a lot going through her head herself and may be a relief to hear this from you to.

It’s a judgement call.

DOn’t be too hard on yourself, it’s a very tough time! xxx

Chowder, you don’t HAVE to be strong all the time, you’re human, not Superwoman!

From your mum’s perspective, now she’s on the road and doing stuff go deal with this stupid cancer, she’ll be feeling a lot better than she was right at the beginning when it was all very scary and unknown, but I don’t think you’ve been able to take that step forward, so something you may benefit from is a long chat with the helpline. They are very well informed, and will have spoken to others in your situation and will probably come up with some really useful suggestions and information.

You might also want to have a chat with your mum in a calm moment and let her know how much you love her, and also that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. As a mum, the thing I most worried about was how my family would cope, so I’m sure she’s aware that things are getting to you. Being open and talking about it all may well help you to get things back on an even keel for you.

Do you talk to your dad and your siblings? They might also be feeling very overwhelmed by it all, and probably a bit guilty that you’ve been doing the lion’s share of the ferrying round. A bit of an open chat, possibly even with a few tears (but there’s nothing wrong with tears, honestly!) may well help you all to cope much better with the rubbish situation you’re all in. It’s not a disease that only affects the person with the tumour, it’s an atom bomb in the middle of the family and affects you all.

Be kind to yourself, get on that phone, and please accept my heartfelt thanks as a mum for being such a lovely daughter.


Hi Chowder,

Sorry that your mum has been diagnosed but what a wonderfully thoughtful and supportive daughter you are and no wonder you feel totally overwhelmed - it is completely natural, the white knuckle ride you and your mum (and the rest of your family no doubt) have been through recently is really scary and sometimes you just feel like you’re hanging on…

I had my mastectomy at the end of March, node clearance at the end of April and started my chemo journey at the end of May (halfway through now) then Radiotherapy and herceptin for me too, so I can appreciate the overwhelming feeling of not being able to pause for breath to take it all in.

Both my mum and younger sister went through treatment for BC last summer and I was the one holding everyone together, it is really tough, when you don’t know whether you’re doing too much, not enough or even saying/doing the right things, there is no right or wrong answer unfortunately and just to take each step at a time. Once they had completed their journey, it became my ‘turn’ unfortunately and have found this site a complete godsend, to ask questions (of which there are no silly ones), to lend an ear to those in need and share my experiences with others in a similar situation.

You will naturally worry about your mum worrying about you and the effect this will have on you all, and sometimes it is difficult to share your worries with them - I have found trying to be the ‘strong’ one on the outside and the ‘one’ going through all of this now is totally different. I still find it really hard to talk to my sister and mum about what I’m really going through at the moment (even though they’ve been there) and I’ve found that I try to shield real emotions from those I care about the most - human nature I guess.

It will be difficult to stay strong all of the time, and is probably how your mum is feeling too - we all need to let off steam, cry a little, scream a little, laugh a little, but there are a wealth of lovely supportive ladies on here for both you and your mum if things get a little scary, and being on here really does help me get through. There are always some who are ahead of you to help and unfortunately there’ll be others along behind you too…

I wish your mum the very best for starting her chemo treatment, and I hope all goes well for you all

Big hugs
Bev x

Hi Chowder your mum has a lovely daughter in you & I think what you are doing is wonderful, as has been said dont be hard on yourself, im sure your mum is putting a brave face on aswell. It sure is overwhelming with all the appointments.

Take each day as it comes try to also have a bit of time for you too where possible as im sure your going to get very tired too.

Keep posting as talking with others really helps BCC has been a lifeline for me too.

All the best to you your mum & the family

Mekala x

Thankyou all for your kind words and responses:) As my first post I wasnt sure what to expect but your replies and support have really hit home.
I think in my quickness of writing I may have done my dad and siblings a disservice as they do help my mum greatly - and we are as a family in this together. Its just that as Iam home at the moment Iam able to help more.

Chocciemuffin- I do speak to my sister about everything but I think my brother and dad feel a little lost in it all to be honest. My dad is great when it comes to looking after us and making sure Im ok but he doesnt speak about how he feels about it all. My brother probably feels outside this little womens circle of me, mum, sister and auntie but is doing his best to keep us all laughing.

I think you are all right when you say I must tell my mum how I feel - until I read the replies I thought I was being selfish feeling overwhelmed when it was my mum who was ill ! I now see how wide spread the worrying actually goes. In fact I must speak to my brother make sure he is alright - I would hate him to feel like he wasnt apart of it or not knowing what was going on.

Mekala- thankyou x

Beverlie - thankyou and good luck with all your ongoing treatment x

Chocciemuffin -thankyou

Elkatrano- So Sorry for your loss x and thankyou for replying x

Chowder xx

Hi Chowder,

This is my first post, only just registered on here looking for a few answers then I saw your post and it was like reading my story. My Mum was diagnosed end of April, first op removed lump and 4 glands, 3 of which cancerous. 2nd op removed all 16 glands 14 were cancerous. Having terrible problems at the moment with fluid build up after drain was removed and I feel so sorry for Mum going through all this. Chemo starts on 27th for 6 sessions, Herceptin for a year and Radiotherapy. Mum is being amazingly positive and laughs at her situation, especially when we went wig shopping this afternoon! She feels that things could be an awful lot worse, it was a huge relief to her when her torso scan came back clear, she felt strangely relieved that it was only the breast cancer that she had to fight and it hadn’t spread elsewhere.
I too have been to every hospital appointment with Mum, my Dad also, we find it helps to be there and hear first hand what Drs have to say as my Mum struggles to take it all in. My Brother and Sister-in-Law have been quite frankly useless though. My Brother will talk on the phone about things but has visited Mum less and less since diagnosis, its like he has buried head in sand and doesn’t even talk to Mum about treatment, how she is feeling etc. I know he is worried sick but it frustrates me sometimes.
I am 31 with a family of my own so I think it helps that I have a 5 year old to constantly make me laugh and take my mind off things for a few brief minutes.
Just keep telling yourself that your Mum is in the best hands now, getting the best treatment, thats what gets me through and holding my Mums hand, never too old to hold hands with your Mum!!
Loads of best wishes for the coming months, I will be going through it every step of the way with you xxx

Hi Chowder!

I am in exactly the same position as you! Overwhelmed indeed!

About a month ago now my mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, grade 3. It all happened while I was in my finals at uni, and living 2 hours away from home. I’m the eldest, at 21 but can’t drive so I could never just pop home for a visit! After much debating I decided to leave Newcastle (the city I studied in), after finishing my degree. So I’m back home and at my mums beckon call whenever she needs me. It’s been so tough putting on a brave face for her. I know exactly how you feel.

We found out today that her treatment starts in 3-4 weeks, chemotherapy then radiotherapy.

Finding it really difficult that I’m going to have to watch my mum go through chemo (I know it wont be half as bad as actually going through it though!). I don’t know how any one in the families going to take it, and how we’re going to cope, but we will!

I’ve found this forum very helpful in dealing with this, everyone so lovely :slight_smile:

Hope you and your mum are okay x