Need some reassurance from someone please.

Hi, I don’t know what to say, how to react or what to do. My lovely sister is in hospital as we speak. Last week she was told that her routine and first ever mammogram was suspicious. She had some breast tissue and lymph nodes removed on Monday, and was seen by the breast care nurse today. It is cancer, which had spread to the nodes. How do they know that? She gets her results in 10 days time. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy were discussed. God I don’t believe this is happening. I honestly thought and hoped it was something and nothing. The family is in shock. My sister is the one being strong and reassuring us all she’ll just have to face and fight whatever is thrown her way. I feel that if I am matter of fact about it, that I don’t care or am not taking it seriously. But if I get upset or negative that I am of no use to her. It has helped reading the discussions in the forums but I can’t help feeling scared for her and what she has to face yet. We, as a family have had a rough time over the last 10 years. Including our mum, who has had cancer , not breast cancer, but the op she had has left her with lots of physical problems and she is not a well person. It worries me how she will cope with this. Sorry to go on. I think it is good to get it off my chest. I’ve not had anyone to talk to really. Thanks for your time anyway. If you have any reassuring words, they would be much appreciated.

Hi Banana

I am sorry to read that your sister has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, I am sure the users of the forum will be along with support for you very soon. One of BCC’s publications, ‘In it together’, is mostly aimed at partners of people diagnosed with breast cancer but you may find some of the information it contains is of some help. You can either download a copy or order one on line. The link is as follows:

I hope this helps all of you.

Best wishes

Hi Banana,
Welcome to the forums,you have come to the right place.You will be in shock at the moment as will your sister.Your sister,although she sounds brave ,has no choice but to" face and fight whatever is thrown her way".She may not always feel positive and brave and its important that she has someone she can be straight and honest with.Let her talk if she wants but treat her normally too,do what you would normally do.
You both need to take this one step at a time.Whatever comes next,first the results,then maybe more surgery,then chemo then rads.One step at a time.
Don’t ever apologise for being on here,we have all had dark days/nights and needed a kind word or virtual hug.
It is also important you look after yourself too.
Take care,
Love n hugs

Hi Banana
sorry to hear your sister has bc it is always a shock and takes a while to sink in. So many questions to ask and some that we wont ask this forum is brilliant lots of advice and sympathetic ears when needed. As Dot says you have to take one step at a time and deal with what that throws up. I have a note book for questions and answers always date it I have found this to be worth its weight in gold. Mind you I am on my second and onc etc are all used to it. In fact I can find thing faster than they can in their notes. Let your sister know about this site and when she is ready she can check us out.
Good luck.

Love Debsxxx

Hello Banana
I am really sorry to hear about your sister.
One think I would say that when I was dx with secondary cancer at first dx march 07 it was such a shock to myself and my family. But my family were so supportive especially one of my sisters who used to come around several times a week to help with the children, ironing anything else that needed. She was a great help to me and I really appreciated it. The only thing that you can do is be there for your sister and help where you can. It also helps to talk about things we had a family get together recently and had a good heart to heart and I was amazed at how much it efected all of us.

Good luck and as Debs says get your sister to look in on this site it has been fantastic for me


Hi Banana, sorry to hear about your sister, as others say above you as a family and your sister will have down days as we all do, but you will have good days as well. Talk as much as you can, and yes treat your sister as you normally would. My sister was diagnosed in April with Gyni cancer and I was diagnosed in May with BC, we have talked and talked and both have supportive families and this means so much. Take care and be their for her, keep looking and reading this site it is so valuable and informative. Take care both of you thoughts are with you it is doable love junieliz

Hi, all I can say is just be there for your sister. My own sister works abroad and she went into denial over my illness. Every time she came to visit the UK for 3 weeks she either went on holiday or off with other friends and relatives, anything that meant not having to spend time with me. She came for a visit last year 2 days after I had ended up hospitalised and on intravenous antibiotics; my OH had to practically make her visit me as she wasn’t making any effort. She also said I looked really fat - I was on a major dose of steroids at the time and had been inactive due to chemo side effects for 4 months; it was like she it just didn’t register how ill I was. I felt so let down and distressed by her behaviour that I ended up having counselling because it was eroding my confidence.

She expects me to be there for her and listen to all her really petty stuff, but I don’t ever think things will be the same between us. Counselling made me realise I can’t be responsible for her actions, she has to deal with her problems herself.

Thank you all so much. I feel quite overwhelmed that you have not only taken the time to read my post, but to write back offering sound advice and kind words. My sister is on her own you see. She has been for the last 10 years. It saddens me so much that she goes home to a lonely house and has nobody special to give her a hug and ask how her day has been. I live 50 miles away and have 2 small children. I always feel very frustrated when there is a family crisis because I can’t just ‘nip over’ to help my family. My sister came home today. I had to laugh. She has already booked a hair appointment for the morning and was ringing the insurance company to see if she is insured to drive. She is a strong person and is very brave but I worry sometimes that it is at the detriment of herself. She cried today though. Our mum is misbehaving and I have needed to avoid talking to her (my mum) tonight because I feel angry with her for upseting my sis. She comes out with very inappropriate comments, rather insensitive things which has been going on all week to be honest. Apparently today she more or less went through her address book and rang people to tell them the big news! Extremely personal and sensitive news which my sister did not want to share outside the family. She feels that everyone is discussing her condition, guessing about the outcome etc. Not nice. I feel like I need to give my mum a good telling off but we are all so upset. Can I ask please, will my sister be well ever again or is the threat of breast cancer or secondary cancer always going to be there. Banana x

Hi Banana

I am so sorry that your sister has been diagnosed. The other ladies have addressed your worries on what you can do to support her and I wholeheartedly agree with them. I would like to just say something on your last point.

‘Will she ever be well again’ of course she can be :slight_smile: this all depends on what stage and grade her cancer is, once those details are known and the full biopsy you are all waiting will get this info, the oncology team will decide on her best treatment plans. To understand what stages and gredes mean just pop it into google with breast cancer and you will find lots of resource.

The biopsy will also discover if the tumour is receptive to 3 different things, otsregen, prgesterone or HER2, or possibly none of these, again this will tell the team what they can use to most effectively treat your sister. There have been many leaps forward in cancer treatment, and many more to come I am sure and your sister will be given the best but ultimately my personal feeling is to know all there is know about my particular options, so they can be discussed with the team.

One thing I will say about any research, take no notice of the statistics!! They can scare you half to death but by thier nature are 5 - 10 years out of date already ok.

‘Is the threat always going to be there’ for me yes, for many yes, but some for some it can be put to the back of the mind. Living with ‘the fear’ has been extremely hard. After the first time I was shocked to find I was not invincible, so I was strong, took my treatment, suffered the horrid side effects, got to my first check up and got on with my life. Even then, every pain, headache or lump filled me with terror, but you do learn to deal with it. However, and vitally we get to know our own bodies and when a problem arose I got back in to the clinic straight away and it was the cancer returned. I have now had a couple more ops and started more chemo cycles yesterday. The battle continues, but the war will be won!

I would say at this point your sister will need support, I found on my dark days I couldn’t talk to those close to me as they truly did not want to hear me being ‘realistic’ they prefer the bubbly, positive, go get it Nikki, and I do understand. This place is a good place indeed, it’s helped me a lot, and I hope it offers you some comfort and valuable advise in supporting your sister through her journey.

My very best wishes to you both.


Hi Banana

I really feel for you. Its such a shock to find out a very close relative has breast cancer. Knocks you sideways.
My Mum was diagnosed on 6th June. Each day seemed like a blur - I had to sign off work. BUt we made it to through. She is OK now - feel like we ran 6 marathons but hardly remember it. Friends sent me a very large bouquet of flowers for my birthday also in June. The other day she asked if I had liked them - I could barely remember getting them. I think the best I can say is dont be hard on yourself, stick together as a family and be strong, and most of all look after yourself because you will need your strength. This B*****d disease affects the whole family in many ways - BUT you WILL get through it. I hope she gets a good prognosis for the future. Treatment success has never been better - but I guess at the moment you will still be in shock…

One of my worst times was when my poor Mum lay in a hospital bed after surgery and we didnt know how aggresive or not it was, if it had spread etc. Turned out it was the least aggresive but it was in the main node. The week after she was in again having all her nodes removed, which I was heartbroken about. However they were clear. I remember sitting here every night and just drifting into another world trying to get my head around it, then weeping for ages. 2 days after her first op we went to visit her, and found her in the coffee shop with a new friend, dragging a bllod drain bad around with her!! Then she was complaining that these “old buggers were sleep walking every night” on her ward, so she made my and my sister laugh.

I came on here and tried to organise “giggle for life” - so mums n daughters (or supporters) could meet and have a little walk and a smile. I got a fab response but when I told me mum she was devasted - she said I dont want to be in this club, I dont want anyone knowing and I just want it to end. I can completely understand that now but at the time I wanted her to accept and fight and she wasnt ready - but you should see her now! She is glowing and has turned her life around - I truely hope your sister does. Mum also met people in the village by chance who were living with cancer - very happily and with courage.

Sendind lots of love, hugs and best best best wishes xxx Suzy

Hi Banana

I am so sad to hear about your sister. My sister was also DX with BC just a few months ago. It has been (and still is) very hard - ofcourse for her but also for the family. She has has mast, folllowed by chemo eevery 2 weeks with no steroids as she is diabetic followed by 5 weeks of rads. I think if I can offer one word of advice it would be to remember to look after yourself and to let your feelings out, whether on this forum with all these kind hearted pepople - or through a counsellor.

I didnt - I kept it all trapped inside trying to be the strong sister for her that I needed to be and ended up off work with clinical depression - yet she is the one that is really ill, not me.

So … menatl health and well being is just as important. You obviously care immensely about your sister - so … trust your instsincts and your heart with regard to what you do / dont say - and come on here to let off steam or have a written ‘cry’ - love to you, yur sister and family.

Jane xxx

Thanks to you all. I can’t believe it’s only 4 days since I joined the site. So much has happened. I haven’t been able to face logging on for the last few days so I apologise for only just reading your lovely messages.

I visited my sister over the weekend and we managed to have a good chat. I thought I would feel better for seeing her but I feel worried sick and have gone into a panic. She needed warfarin injections during her op as she has a history of a blood clot on her lung. She said she wasn’t breathing right and was unable to lie on either side or her back. This morning her boob was swollen and her arm tingling. Is this the lymphoedema? She promised to ring the hospital for advice. She thought she had been doing too much, then said she was off to the supermarket!

When we talked she was understandably all over the place with her emotions. She seems to think that having breast cancer is a punishment for something. I don’t think I responded well to that. Then she laughed, cried. talked about chemo, wigs, past, future. Yesterday she was bubbly. Today flat. Gosh, this is going to be one hell of a ride!

She did ask me who I was talking to though and on which site. I think she might have a dabble when she is ready.

Alana x

Hi Banana just popped in have been keeping up to date with your posts ,but haveent posted anything as didnt want to intrude .I was Dx last Nov my sister lives in Oz …so it was really difficult for her as she wanted to come straight over but i wouldnt let her …as I have kept her info to a minimum I think that she has been protected from the severity of the illness and doesnt really know how bad things were …she is going thru a divorce at the mo in a strange country so that cant be easy for her .I feel for you as you are part of your sisters journey …all you can do is support her it is along and turbulentb ride this bloody BC I tell you but if you face it head on you will get through there are some dark moments …I will not lie but the support on here is awesome and it really helps to talk to people who know exactly wat you are feeling xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxl !!

Thinkijng of you Maz xxx

Thanks. Yes, it does help. Its really quite comforting to be able to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about. Its become a rollercoaster of emotions already. There is nothing much I can do apart from be there for her. All the way. I do feel though that I am helping by finding out as much info as I can about BC and its treatment. My sis and the family ask me about it. There is so much to know. I had no idea. Anyway. Staples out tomorrow and hopefully an opinion about the swelling and pain in her other side. Results on Monday. Wish us luck.

Alana x

Hi Banana,
I had a similar experience to your sister - diagnosed at first routine mammo. When i was recalled they straight away I had it in my nodes as one of them was swollen and was biopsied as well as two lumps in my breast. He could tell by the tissue he’d taken that there was little doubt it was cancer.
After mastectomy it was found that mine was grade 3 with 6/14 nodes and lymphovascular invasion. It looked very bad. I had chemo and rads and am still on hormones.
But 3 and 1/2 years later, I have had reconstructive surgery and feeling generally fine and,hopefully, still with no sign of it coming back. So things may well be not as bad as they look for your sister. She’s lucky to have you to support her.
Best wishes

Hi Alana
None of us know what we are dealing with until it affects us.All you can do is be there for her,and there will be times when she will shut you out,but accept it and be there on the other side.I gave my family and friends a terrible time,but they are still here,and we even laugh at some of the things I said and did.

Take care and stay strong