Newly diagnosed, in shock


I am 43 and found a lump, had tests, convinced myself it was nothing rather than something but the doctor phoned yesterday to say it is cancer.

She has booked me in to have lumpectomy on 28th if the MRI results are fine and just show one lump and then radiotherapy if no lymph nodes are involved. Luckily they have quickly booked my MRI for this Monday as I will need to isolate for 14 days, which means I can have op on 28th if all ok. I just want to know MRI results so I can see a plan going forward. At the moment it is still all up in the air and I am hoping nothing else is found.

I am totally in shock as I am quite young and healthy, but my friend who is about the same age went through exactly the same diagnosis a few years ago. 

It is scary as everything seems so sudden and you never think you will be in this situation, even though it is quite common.

What is a lumpectomy like? Does it take long to recover? 

Rachel x

Hi Rachel

I’m so sorry you’ve found yourself in this situation. It is always a shock - no one expects it will happen to them. There are loads of women here who can tell you that, scary though it is because of the uncertainties and what feel like interminable waits, it is all manageable and you will get through it. Ignore your preconceptions and TV ads and, most important, don’t go near google!! Use your friend for advice and support if she’s reliable :slightly_smiling_face: You’ll also be assigned a breast care nurse who can answer questions and advise you, and the nurses at the number above come highly recommended (by me).

I had a mastectomy and my lumpectomy (benign) was so long ago that I’m sure things must have changed. Recovery will depend on many unpredictable factors, like how the anaesthetic affects you, the skill of your surgeon to avoid bruising or nerve damage and your state of mind, so there’s no clear answer as everyone’s case is different. The location of your scar will also be an important factor, particularly in terms of how well you can get going with the breast exercises, because your breast muscles need constant working and you need to be able to raise your arm and hold it comfortable behind your head for the radiotherapy (which I found very straightforward).

In the waiting period, be proactive about your mental wellbeing. Personally I think it’s half of the challenge. Go running, do yoga, do mindfulness, whatever suits you. Me, I relied on YouTube videos (particularly Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing which saw me through over a year of treatments) which I tuned into many times a day. 

I hope you get a reply about a modern lumpectomy. We’re a great resource for practical advice and personal experience. Take good care of yourself x

Hi Rachel 

sorry that you’ve had a cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed in April and have now just finished treatment. I have had a lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy and radiotherapy. I’m in my late 40s and don’t have any underlying health issues.

I found the surgery fine, the first couple of days I was tired from the anaesthetic but felt no pain, once the anaesthetic wore of I had some pain which was quickly got under control thanks to a prescription from the GP. I had a week off work to recover from the anaesthetic and surgery, and found I was okay after that as I didn’t have any side effects. I made sure to do my exercises as under my arm was slightly stiff following the biopsy. I returned to work after a week, but only because I’m working from home at the moment so felt physically able to. It also helped me mentally to have something else to focus on rather than the post surgery results. I have found that the scars and bruising had started to heal nicely just in time for the radiotherapy, I now have some swelling as a result of the radiotherapy but again manageable and starting to settle down.

Personally, and I understand everybody is different, I have found the physical side of the treatment manageable as I’ve had minimal side effects. The cosmetic outcome of the surgery has also been positive. The more difficult side is the worry, especially waiting for the results and, also the scary list of potential side effects (which seems endless). As the previous post said looking after your mental well-being is a priority, and remember they have to tell you about all the potential risks and problems but this doesn’t mean they will definatly happen.  I found my Breast cancer nurse to be an amazing support answering any questions I had. They are happpy to be contacted as often as you need - as they realise that it is a scary time and there is a lot of information to take in and understand. This forum is also a good resource to reach out too. 

Hope this helps, and I wish you well x