Newly diagnosed and scared :(

Hello, I’m 43 and was diagnosed yesterday 21/01/13 that I have BC and in the armpit node too. I have to go back next week to find out which type I have and whether I will have chemo first to reduce this ‘lump’ or if surgery is the next cause of action if so this will be within 30 days, followed by chemo and then radiotherapy. I feel like I have been smacked with a sledgehammer :frowning: One minute I am calm and the next I realise this is all happening to me!! I am a single parent to a 12 year old but have an amazing family and partner who helped me break the awful news to her. She is obviously scared and also extremely brave but I have been honest with her and have drummed it into her that my care nurse has told me this is treatable, she told me to keep telling myself this too. The help and care I received during my mammogram, ultra sound and core biopsy yesterday was absolutely fantastic and so professional. It has given me the confidence to be strong and calm and take each day as it comes. I have no idea what is ahead of me, I just know its going to be tough and I have to be too. My work are amazing and have told me to take all the time off I need, my job is totally safe and they will support me 100% throughout and are there for me. I have also notified my daughter’s school so they can keep a close eye on her and she can talk to someone if she needs to whilst there. The head teacher called me today to assure me, they are there for ‘J’ and she will be totally safe and have told various teachers to be available immediately should she need somebody at short notice. I am very lucky that I have people around me who are fighting for me too. I would like to write on here of my journey through this as I think it will also help me come to terms with this and allow others to know some of the challenges they may also have to face.

Hi JW1970
Sorry to hear your news, but be asured you are not alone. I was diagnosed with BC on 6.12.12, I am 48, which like you came as a complete shock, but I have had nothing but brilliant care since. I had my lumpectomy and node clearnce on 19.12.12 and luckily for me it had not spread to my nodes and I am now waiting to start my radio therapy. At first I couldn’t take in that this was happening to me, there is no family history, but just shows it can happen to anybody. At first I was very positive and just got on with it and of course there was Christmas to deal with in between, but in the last couple of weeks it has really hit me what I have been through and what it could have been, I feel incredibly lucky.
I have only just discovered this forum in the last week and so wished that I had known about it sooner, the care and support that you receive from others is brilliant, it is great to get advice and support from people that are going through the same thing, as they will know how you are feeling and can ease some of the stress that I know you will feel with it all, it makes you feel that you are not alone. It is great to have support of your family friends and your nurse, but sometimes you just want to ask a question that only other BC women will know about as they have asked the same things and will have the answers.
I wish you well with your appointment next week and remember no question is too silly to ask on this site, remain positive as this can be beaten and especially until you know what type of BC you have.
Take care.
Debbie x

Hi jw,sorry this has happened to you but you seem to be dealing with it amazingly well,if having the right attitude helps then you are gonna win this battle hands down.I am more than 2 yes on from diagnosis now life is virtually now back to normal,as normal as can be anyway and you can get there too.It is a rollercoaster of a ride but it sounds like you have good support too.I wish you well and please keep us posted on your journey,lots of love and best wishes,

So sorry to hear your news, and yes, you do seem to be dealing with it in a good way. I have found writing it all down is helping me. I am keeping a diary on my computer. I was diagnosed on 27th December following a routine mammogram and felt like I had been hit by a 20 ton truck. I am 65 and in perfect health apart from this bugger. I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy 4 days ago, still awaiting results to see if I have clear margins and nodes. I know my lump is grade 3 IDC and HER2 positive so I will have to have chemo and Herceptin, plus radiotherapy, so plenty to “look forward to” this year!! My husband is amazing - he has been to every appointment with me, asks his own questions, and has been reading up all about what we can expect. Our lives are on hold for the time being, we have cancelled a holiday that I know will be in the midst of the chemo, and if forward planning can win this battle, then we will win hands down!!

I wish you well with your appointment, and make sure you include your partner in this - and that someone is with you at your appointment. 4 ears are better than two. xxx

Hello JW,
A lot of hospitals select to have the Chemo first to shrink the tumour with some very good results , so dont be alarmed if that is what your team decide. They really do know best and we must trust them to make the right decisions. Along the way you will need to make some of your own decisions , as they like us to be involved as much as possible. I had Chemo after my mx, but as I was a borderline case for Rads I decided not to have Radiotherapy.
I know you will stay strong for your daughter as that is what we Mums do. My daughter was 18 when I got my dx , but she was devastated and took the news very badly. She instantly thought I was going to die and when I told her " I am not afraid of dying " that made her worse so be careful what you say to your daughter as she is at a very vulnerable stage in her life. She is about to become a teenager with her own hormones and tantrums to deal with, so stay strong and you will get through it together. Involve her every step of the way so that she does not think you are trying to hide anything from her. Sending you all big hugs and positive vibes. Tracy xxx

JW1970 I am 44 and have a 511/2 year old. I’ve found this forum great, I post alot on ‘Starting Chemotherapy in October,’ there seems to be a regular groups start up at the begining of each month for those starting chemo, urge you to join one or start one yourself, when you start your chemo, they are a great source of info, and a good place to vent off with others who get it. You sound like your doing everything you need to do.
One thing I did, was go to a wig supplier who was recommended by the hopital. I chose a wig before I had my perscription/ voucher for it so that when I started my chemo I just posted the stuff from the hospital and they posted the wig, saved me the 6 hour round trip when I was feeling tired after 2nd chemo session when hair started coming out.
Hope what ever your treatment plan is it goes smoothly, big hugs to you from an October Pumpkin.

I cannot thank you beautiful strong ladies enough for all of your advice, kind words and encouragement. It has made me cry. You are amazing and it makes me feel so much stronger knowing I have friends here to talk to who really know whats going to happen and helps hugely to be prewarned and advised on various things. My boss at work pulled me to one side today and told me she has also been through this! Surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. She has told me to call on her for anything I need, its almost like I have been given a ‘guardian angel’ on standby and further proof that there is light at the end of this tunnel. This forum has been hugely beneficial to my state of mind too and I want to thank you all again for all of your support. Although so sad to read all of your different cases, it help to know I am not alone and that in itself helps me smile through. Thank you. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Hi JW1970 and welcome to the BCC forums

In addition to the valuable support you have here, please feel free to call our helpliners for a listening ear, support and information on 0808 800 6000, lines are open 9-5 weekdays and 10-2 Saturdays

BCC have published lots of information for those newly diagnosed which you may find helpful, you will also find further support ideas via the following link:\_source=Homepage&%3Butm\_medium=help\_you&%3Butm\_campaign=diagnosis

Take care


JW, when I had my dx (recall from routine mammogram, this time last year) I was amazed by how many people I knew had either had BC themselves years ago, or were closely related to someone who has. It brought it home to me that MOST people now survive this - and treatments are getting better all the time! So try not to focus on all the high profile stories we hear, in the media, about women who “lose the battle with cancer”, statistically, you are unlikely to be in that group!

You have come to a great place for support and information.

Good luck with it all. You WILL get through it! x

I went to the breast clinic yesterday, and they said that i probably had breast cancer. They took
a mamogram, ultrasound and have sent off a biopsy. I have to wait for the biopsy results,
but they already know, as the breast nurse started telling me about the various treatments.
I am really scared my mouth went all dry, and i am frightened of operations as i have never
had one before. I know people who have had breast cancer and come through it, but I still am
waking up in sweats in middle of night. I just wish next Friday when i am due to go back could
come quicker.

I think it,s regular to have all of the worries that you have right now, some you will shift approved soon enough but some will find their way up on you much later. I am pretty new in comparison to a lot of other women on here. Some of them are 5+ decades and keeping track of.


I was in your position exactly a year ago. Newly diagnosed, told my two daughters (14 and 12) and scared stiff. Had chemo first then mx and immediate LD flap reconstruction, then radiotherapy. I am still having Herceptin and will be on tamoxifen for 5 years.

But, I am out the other side, my hair is growing back, in fact I had my 2nd hair cut yesterday. I am back to going to the gym and life is good.

It will be a tough year for you but I wish you all the best and if you need any more info please do not hesitate to PM me.

Jane x

Hello JW, like you I am 43 and was diagnosed recently. 10th January. As i type this response I have had (privately due to work provided cover) a wide local excision (lump removed and remaining tissue rearranged) mammoplasty (surgery to reduce the size of the normal breast and axillary clearance (most of lymph nodes removed). I can honestly say that it was not painful, i’ve been sore and they give you painkillers to prevent pain but after just 3 days I felt i didnt need them and have been fine. A bit sore and awkward to sleep but on the whole really good. I got the sledgehammer feeling too! No doubt you’re full of emotions, ups and downs but the best advice I’ve been given is to be positive, take one day at a time, get fresh air and to keep busy. Also like others have said take someone with you to your appointments as there is so much to take in. The resources on here are brilliant and there are lots of leaflets you can either order or download. i know it’s hard but try your best to enjoy the pre op days too. I filled them with lots of fun things that I knew I might struggle to do for a while after the op. lots of shopping, cafes, lunches with friends and even ice skating! We will get through this, it’ll be an unpleasant diversion in our lives but its so heartwarming when other ladies further down the line give us inspiration. I’m rooting for you too. Big hug, Kerry x

Hi JW1970, and all other newly diagnosed,
I know what you mean about the sledgehammer. Life is going along, all very smoothly and then BAM!
At first the amount of information you have to take in is just overwhelming, there are so many new terms and phrases to get used to…hormone positive, her positive, node involvement etc etc. When I was first diagnosed I had a chat with a friend who works in Cancer Research, and he threw all these things into the conversation and I just said, “Yes, that’s all very well, but am I going to die?”!!
Slowly though everything becomes clearer, a treatment plan falls into place and you just get swept along with it. There is loads of support available - on here, from your team and BCN, from Macmillan and Maggie’s centres (if your hospital has one). Use them all if you need to…never feel you are on your own, and never feel you cannot ask a question for fear of looking silly.
It sounds like you have a great amount of support from you family, friends and daughter’s school. Again, use this support…people really do like to help. I think it’s good to let them, and helps them feel less helpless too!
I was diagnosed a year ago today. I can’t believe a year has passed or what I have been through. It still feels like it’s happened to someone else: " Breast cancer? Me?? Nah!!", even though I have the scars, chemo hair and radiotherapy tattoos to prove it.
But, I have got through it, as have many of the very lovely people on this forum who have helped me and will help you.
Very Best Wishes and big hugs XX

Oh my goodness, what a brilliant response from you all, so encouraging and yes I do feel like I am being swept along but Monday will reveal all and fingers crossed will know when my treatment will start, I just want to get on with it now we know what it is! I am keeping really busy, continuing to work and today my boss is informing my colleagues of why I have been a bit quiet the last few days ( in my absence so I dont get upset again ) so they can understand and know they can ask me anything without feeling awkward or shocked when I visit eventually, without my hair! I am trying to laugh at this as I don’t want to dwell on it when its got to happen for me to ‘get better’. I have planned lots of lovely things with my daughter ‘J’ and partner to take my mind of it all and tell ‘J’ everyday if the conversation comes up that its going to be okay. We even joke about me going bald and have suggested she cuts it all off short before it falls out itself. She likes this idea ~ hmmm :slight_smile:
Chanson1 ~ stay positive huney, I was in bits for 24 hours and still have tears and waves of worry but at the end of the day we got ourselves checked out, its not what we wanted to hear but we are going to be looked after all the way. Sending you a big hug and try to keep smiling X
I am sure once treatment starts I will feel a bit worn out so am making the most of the energy I have to enjoy myself. I think carrying on as normally as possible will also helped loved ones around me to feel positive too. Thank you all for your posts, and I will keep updating as and when I know more. Sending you all love Justine XXXXXXXX

Hi Justine,
Actually, “J”'s idea about cutting your hair short before it all falls out is a pretty good one, if you’re not using the cold cap.
Lots of women do this, as when it does fall out finding long hairs all over the place is annoying, (forever hoovering up), and can be distressing.
Also, I found my scalp was really painful when the hair started falling, and I think a bit less weight might reduce this. My Chemo nurse said I would feel a lot happier if my husband just buzzed it all off, (with clippers), and slightly to my suprise I did feel really relieved. No more hair all over the pillow/bathroom/food.
Not suggesting you go for a crew cut straight away - it does take a while to adjust to the fact that the hair really is going to go, but lots of women do opt for a short bob pre-chemo.
Good on you for going out and enjoying yourself - it’s great to be able to take your mind off things, and must also help your daughter.
Good luck for Monday, let us know how you get on,

Hi Justine,
You sound in a really positive mood now and I guess you are going to make this weekend a special one for you all to enjoy , then plan other things into your diary as your treatment dates are sorted out. I always went out with my Mum and Dad for lunch on my Chemo days as they wanted to feel useful. I had my bloods taken in the morning , went away for lunch and then went back when the Chemo suite phoned me to say the bloods were okay for my next session !
You will find what is best for you as a family. My hubby is a big softie so he was much better being at work . He could feel normal for the day of Chemo instead of being a wreck. I found this therapy okay and took the opportunity to chat to other patients and be as cheerful as I possibly could. It doesnt hurt at all , we are just resting in a comfy chair really so take your favourite magazines and we was allowed our mobiles so we could keep in touch with everyone.
Well done on taking the positive approach , it is the best way forward if you can manage it . Sending you strength and positive vibes for Monday . You can do this girl !! Love Tracy xxx

Thanks so much for your comments Catseye and Tracy, I love having friends on here to talk to and even though it horrible that you are going through treatment too, its brilliant to get all your comments and experience of this so I can be more prepared… I have an update…
The diagnosis was confirmed yesterday as expected from the core biopsy and three bits of good news, 1. its the most common type of BC so not complicated to treat, 2. Its not hormone driven so I won’t need to go on Tamoxifen (not sure how you spell it) for 5 years after of have to fuss about with having my coil removed and it didnt have the HER2 thing either. This is good news and well needed. They plan to place a clip in my ‘lump’ then start chemo immediately to shrink it, check me out in 3 months to monitor it and if shrinking then carry on with chemo, if not then immediate surgery. Followed by Radiotherapy. Got the steroids here ready to start taking and am expecting a call tomorrow (30/01) hopefully with a start date next week. Had a look around the dept where I will be treated and have a fab chemo consultant who is a bit of a laugh, really nice fella. They have completely armed me with all the info I will need and that it wont be a picnic but I can call them day or night for help. My daughter ‘J’ came with me, she’s 12 and was glad to know what to expect too ~ she is going to help me ‘choose my new hair’ !!! Hmmmm please not something bright pillarbox red!! So I am ready… I went to work today after staff being told of my ordeal and they were so lovely and are all rooting for me too. Some couldnt believe I was even in but I actually feel well at the moment and want to keep busy as long as I feel well enough to. So… I will let you all know my next update soon and “staying positive” I am finding is the key and it helps ‘J’ to know I am alright too and not to worry. Lots of love to you XXXXXXXXXXXX

Glad to hear that you recieved good news on your test results and that you are managing to stay positive. Hope things keep going well for you.

Hiya Justine,
That is good news for you . I know you will be able to cope as you sound so strong now. It was good that your daughter went with you to hospital , it will not seem so frightening for her now , especially if there was some eye candy in the form of your onc. We can look cant we ? Nobody can deny us that ! Take good care and keep us informed of your progress. Love Tracy xxx