Newly diagnosed with questions

Hi, found a lump at the beginning of lockdown that I chose to ignore until a month ago!! biopsy revealed stage 1 BC. another shadow was seen and had MRI, now waiting fir those results to confirm treatment plan.

How does everyone deal with the waiting? i know and whole heartily appreciate that im one of the ‘lucky ones’ but my emotions are all over the place!

I feel like a terrible person- my friends are being amazing and baking, buying me gifts and organising ‘girls nights’ to give me something to look forward to, but i just want to go back to ‘normal!’ that sounds dreadful and massively ungrateful - i just feel like ‘that person with cancer’ 

is it ‘normal’ to hate your breasts after diagnosis? i cant bear to look or touch them. 

lastly (honestly!) my wonderful breast nurse has told me to live as ‘normal’ until 2 weeks before my op. But, i am now covid obsessed as i just want this cancer OUT! I usually love the gym but am i putting myself at risk of infection by going or am i being neurotic ? We are thankfully in a very low risk area.

 thank you so much for your time  


I’m sorry you find yourself here and I’ll try to address your questions in order BUT, with your post out of sight, there is one thing I have to say. There isn’t any hierarchy in Breast Cancer World. You won’t find me gloating Hah Ha! Mine’s worse than yours. The fact is, if you have entered BC World, you are going to experience the same emotions of terror, fear, anxiety, numbness and everything in between, regardless of your diagnosis. So try to eliminate “lucky” from your thinking and allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel without guilt.

I’m afraid there is a LOT of waiting, not just for results but for phone calls (used to be clinic consultations), answers, explanations… I remember getting home at 8pm from an 11.30am chemo appointment! That was the exception but…there’s a lot of waiting. So how do we deal with it? First, accept your emotional reactions are probably normal. They aren’t pleasant. Speaking as someone with panic disorder, I think that gave me an advantage. Not even breast cancer could match my phobia! I’d had a lot of practice with anxiety, fear and panic so I managed relatively well. If you’ve got less experience with anxiety, it’s still in its early stages and can be brought within your control. There are apps that are medically recognised like Calm and Headspace. There’s mindfulness and meditation (both need to be learnt). For you, there’s working out at the gym. I found videos on YouTube very helpful (particularly Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing - it saw me through the whole time and I defy anyone not to drift off into a relaxing rest or sleep). There’s also your GP if you feel things are getting out of control.

To be frank, you cannot go back to ‘normal,’ whatever that was. Your diagnosis has happened. You will have surgery of some kind and probably some treatment and/or medication. You may need daily exercises. You can’t change those things so forget now about how things were and accept that your life will be just a little different, maybe a scar, maybe daily medication which will remind you that you entered BC World. You’ll get used to it more easily if you accept that. But breast cancer doesn’t change anything about who you are and what your life is like is up to you. You’ll soon tire of seeing yourself as ‘person with cancer’. You’ll be pleading with your friends either to stop talking about it or treating you like an invalid - but they are scared too so let them pamper you while the pandemic allows. Don’t feel a fraud and don’t pretend it’s not happening. Just be honest about how it’s affecting you.

I would say yes it’s normal to hate your breasts, even your body, for letting you down like this and forcing you into things you never wished for. But you can’t change what’s happened and it’s not your body’s fault so try hard not to go too far with the hate. You are going to need that body to get you through uncomfortable times. Treat it kindly. I had a large benign lump removed in my 30s and hated the scarred breast ever after. Now I’ve had a mastectomy, I just think of my scar with awe. It saved my life. Be grateful your body alerted you early?

Covid is really muddying the waters right now (if they can be muddied any more than our government is doing) but, if your gym felt safe before your diagnosis and you aren’t in a tier 3 area, why should your gym be less safe now? Cancer doesn’t make you more prone to catch Covid. It’s chemo that does that. I was ‘shielded’ but I’m going to my gym to swim at least twice a week - the need for exercise outweighs the risk and my gym is very carefully organised in Covid-terms. If you trust your gym’s precautions, take your breast care nurse’s advice and carry on gymning. It’s not neurotic; it’s common sense and caution. Just weigh up the pros and cons for you.

I’m really pleased you described your bc nurse as wonderful. Trust her. Follow her advice - it’s based on so much experience of other patients - and remember, breast cancer is just a disease (that’s what my blog’s called). For most women it’s treatable and they are never bothered by it again. Unfortunately it has a negative public image, one more applicable to the last century. Treatments have improved in leaps and bounds and the prognosis is way better now. So, Person With Cancer, I hope I haven’t bored you to screaming point with platitudes. I mean everything I’ve written! I wish you all the best and suggest you get moving immediately on dealing with the one thing you can deal with - your feelings. Take care of yourself.

Jan x