newly diagnosed

Hi have been told Monday that I have breast cancer. I am having a CT scan on Weds and after that will start chemo for 5 months every 3 weeks. I am stunned and shocked…please tell me it will get better, that the shock will subside.

Hi wintersocks,
I’m so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Like everyone here before you, you are learning to cope with with the shock right now and wishing it would go away.
I promise you that this is the hardest part of what you are facing. Waiting to start treatment is terrifying because you have no idea how it will be and your imagination runs riot.
I had a mastectomy in November and was able to fly to London for my son’s wedding 11 days later. I danced until midnight!
I am now waiting for my fifth of six chemotherapy treatments and the time has passed more quickly than I could ever have imagined. There are good and bad weeks on chemo and you learn to take it as it comes. There are effective remedies for all possible side effects. You just learn to lie down when you’re tired.
If you have young children you need to ask your family to help when you feel low. If you are working, there are some people who manage to work on through and others who can’t. You’ll find your own way with that.
When I was diagnosed an old school friend who had all this ten years ago told me it was doable. She didn’t lie. I am not a brave person and was always a hypochondriac. I’ve always hated needles. I was always vain about my hair. I’ve faced all my worst horrors since last October and I’ve found that I’m much stronger than I thought.
This will pass for all of us. Think of something wonderful you want
to do at the end of your treatment - I’m planning a family week in Cornwall in September - it will convince you that you will have a life after all this.
I wish you all the very best in the months ahead. You will find a great deal of support in these forums.
Love,
Kathleen

Hello Kathleen,

How very kind your words are, I’m very frigtenend. I have 2 sons, the youngest is 14, he has been so sweet…I so fear for him in the months ahead. I don’t want him to see me so ill from the chemo, but know I can’t hide it. I am pleased you are well and able to be at your son’s wedding.

Taking time to reply has been a comfort to me…I will report how I get on in the next few weeks and of course if I can help anyone else with this dreadful disease…

WS x

hiya wintersocks.
Sorry to hear of your diagnosis its a scary unreal time your going through at the moment,i’ve recently finished my treatment,like you i had chemo followed by masectomy and rads,it’s a hard slog but it is treatable and beatable and you can get through it.
my son was 15 and my main concern but he has handled it quite well,and used to buff my head when my hair fell out, although can’t say i was quite so keen when he nicknamed me Carl after “an idiot abroad” when it started to grow back.
I found keeping a diary helped as it not only allowed me to poor thoughts and feelings out but kept a record of how i was feeling so i could monitor my symptoms/side-effects,it’s also useful to look back on and see how far you’ve moved on.
Katyb61 gave some good advice if help is offered take up the offer,it also helped my family as it let them feel they were doing something positive as indeed they were (mind you i’m paying for it now)
This terrible time will pass and there will be good days and bad but you will find your strength to get through it.

I wish you and your family all the best and will look out to see how your doing
take care x

The shock does subside and, as other people have said, people do cope with cancer surgery and treatment. Please don’t be put off by some of the stories on forums. In fact, my advice would be not to delve too deeply into internet forums - you could end up tying yourself in knots and dreading things which don’t end up happening to you anyway.

Keeping a diary worked for me too. I did this during chemo and it was so encouraging for me to realise that during each 3 week cycle there were good days when I could do nice stuff and feel relatively ‘normal’.

Sending you my best wishes.

Hi.
I’d also like to say, take one step at a time. It’s a huge learning curve when you start out on this road. Ask questions, nothing is too trivial.
You will feel a lot better when you have your treatment plan.
As for your sons, I told my kids (who were a bit older than yours) that it was business as usual, and that it was the treatment which would be making me feel ill. They will very much take their lead from you, so if you are positive and matter-of-fact, they will follow suit.
Carry on planning social things - you have a life, and be prepared to cancel at the last minute. Your friends/family will understand. Every invitation I received was accepted with the proviso that if I wasn’t up to it, I wouldn’t go.
All the best,
Leigh

Hi WinterSocks

Of course you are in shock having just had your diagnosis, but try to remain positive. I found it helpful to think that at least I had found my lump, and that something could be done about it rather than be ignorant about it. Try to find positives in your situation as they are there even if everything seems rather negative at the moment. Once you start your treatment you will be one step nearer to your recovery and you will start to feel back in control of your life as your treatment progresses.

You will receive the very best of treatment I am sure, and there are 50,000 more women in the UK alone each year who share your diagnosis. Take comfort from the fact that you are not alone and a lot of these women are on this website suppporting you, and others like you with your treatment. One of them is me so join hands and follow me as I am now 10 months further down the line than you, following a mx with reconstruction, 3 FEC and 3 Docetaxels, 15 rads and herceptin.

I think that every women on this site who has been offered chemo will have been as scared as you currently are regarding the prospect as prior to our diagnosis we only seem to have heard horror stories about chemo. I think that the fear of chemo is worse than the experience so try and take it in your stride and mark each chemo session off as you have them. I had to have 6 sessions so after 2 I was 1/3 through, after 3 I was halfway, after 4 I was 2/3 through and then after 5 it was just the last one. This bite-sized approach worked for me.

Just like PuffyWhiteClouds I have also kept a diary called ‘My Journey’ and I would certainly recommend it as not only is it quite therapeutic, but it will also serve as a memory of your treatment should you need to refer back to it for any reason in the future. After all, do you remember exactly when you had measles or chickenpox?

Just remember that chemo is different things to different people, but most of us who have undergone it will agree that it is ‘doable’. Just let your oncologist know if you really can not put up with any of your treatment as they can always find a way round any problem, but you must let them know and don’t suffer in silence. The side effects are what you MIGHT experience, but then again you MIGHT NOT.

Take a look at what is already in your bathroom cabinet and the chances are even a headache tablet has side effects listed that didn’t stop you from taking them and that you never experienced either.

Take the support of your Breast Cancer Nurses who are there for you. Mine told me told me that they will see me through this, and they will. Together we will beat this as you will too.

Life will get better - I know for I have almost reached the 1 year anniversary of finding my lump when my life seemingly turned upside- down, inside-out and back-to-front in a moment.

Keep smiling

Mazzalou x

Hi there wintersocks

Firstly, welcome to the Discussion Forums, you’re already receiving support and I’m sure this will continue.

I thought you might be interested in our Resource Pack its with information to help you understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available. Here’s the link to the order page:

www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/publications/diagnosed-breast-cancer/resource-pack-primary-early-breast-cancer-bcc145

Also, do call the Helpline if you find it helps to talk, they can offer support and information about treatments, etc or just listen if you need to offload. They’re open weekdays 9-5 and Saturday 9-2. 0808 800 6000.

I hope this information is of help.

Best wishes.

Louise
Facilitator

Hi Wintersocks

I’m revisiting this thread as I was wondering how you’re doing. In my experience, Mazzalou is so right when she says the fear of chemo is worse than the actual experience. I did the countdown thing too, physically ticking each chemo and radiotherapy session off the calendar felt like such an achievement each time.

The breast care nurses in my team were absolutely wonderful and I still rely on them occasionally for access to information and I’m over 2 years post-diagnosis. If you have access to such support they could become your rock throughout this process (I hesitate to assume you will have access as I don’t know if you’re being treated by the NHS in the UK).

with my best wishes.

Ah Wintersocks, I so understand your feelings. I was told I had to have chemo just last week and since then have been alternatively reading all I can about it, and denying it will happen to me! The posts on here have been totally invaluable to me during this week and i thank each and every one of you who take the time to post them and reassure each other. It truely feels that we hold hands during every step.

I think this time between knowing you are starting chemo and actually it happening must be the hardest, as your mind does work overtime. I too have begun a diary of fears/positives and just general things which has helped me sort it out in my mind a little.

One thing I do feel tho, which may be completely wrong, is that the nurses assigned to me during the surgery process have now done their job and I feel at a loose end as to whether I will be assigned another ‘key worker’ nurse or whether the previous nurse is still my key worker! Does this make any sense? This is limbo land!

Hugs to you and just remember we women are made of strong stuff, why do you think we get the periods and the babies to make and deliver!

Lots of love
Gabby

Hi Gabby,
I’m just dipping in to this thread to say that the breast care nurses are there for all of us right through the journey. If you have a phone number for the nurses you can ring them with any query about your treatment. Sometimes you can also find answers here on the forums from those of us who are further along in treatment. There is plenty of reassurance in hearing from people who are going through chemo just ahead of you.
I’ve never used the BCC helpline but they are highly trained and experienced advisers who can reassure you about any concerns.
I wish you and everyone else on this thread all the very best. There’s plenty of company for you on this journey that none of us ever wanted to make.
Love and hugs,
Kathleen

He Gabby

As Kathleen says your BCN is there for you even as you progress through your treatment, whether it be chemo or rads or herceptin, and remember that you will still be assigned to your hospital for quite some time after all your treatment has finished. You will still be having annual mammograms too. Just because they appear to have disappeared into the background for the time being your BCN is still there for you. Unfortunately, breast cancer is so common that I think that they have to spread themselves so thinly that they can’t give everyone the same level of support as they would like once they have made that initial contact with those who are newly diagnosed. It may be that you need to contact them if you feel you need to rather than wait for them to contact you.

Whilst undergoing my chemo I was also assigned a Chemo Nurse who I have contact with, and this will continue until I complete my year’s worth of herceptin treatment.

And of course, you also have this website to support you as well as your BCN, but do contact them as they will know your case-history too.

Best wishes

Mazzalou

hiya wintersocks.
just checking to see how your doing and to wish you well for your scan on wednesday. I know it’s a hard time but having all the facts and your treatment plan does make it easier and gives you more of a focus and a time line to work towards.

I also hope Gabby is doing ok,my breast care nurse is still the same as from diagnosis although her input is less because my needs are less which is a good thing but she’s just a phone call away.

Good luck both with the chemo if you can use the support around you it is manageable, i tried to think of it as a relatively short period of my time to gain a lifetime and it is surprising how quickly you cross off each session.

love n hugs
shazza x

Thank you Mazzalou, shazza and Katy. I will be glad to see Sue my BCN again, she was so lovely to me. This has put my mind at rest.

Hugs to you all

Gabby

Just wanted to say Hi to everyone posting on this topic. I am newly diagnosed and am set for surgery on Tuesday and then have the wait to see how bad or otherwise things are. This is my first day looking at the forum and I can see already that it will be invaluable. Will be back when I know more.

Vespa - good luck with surgery! My routine mammogram found a lump. The core biopsy showed it was an invasive, malignant cancer. I had WLE and SNB 2 weeks ago and am mostly recovered - still having to have seroma drained a couple of times a week - not very pleasant but totally painless. I had my node biopsy result yesterday - cancer all gone - no lymph node involvement. HOORAY! All that wasted worry imagining the worst - (that is one drawback of this site - you read other people’s experiences and you MAY not even have to go there!)I have an appointment on 21st March to find out if I need chemo and to plan radio- and hormone-therapy.

Keep positive, cry when you need to, but try not to dwell on what might not be. Just take each step as it comes and get better. Listen to all the people who have come through this and out the other side to full health!

Hi Vespa

As JCJ says, you may not need this site, but if you do, then please remember that you will find lots of us here to support you on your ‘Journey’.

Cross the bridges when you come to them, but in the meantime do try to remain calm and try not to worry too much. Trust me - I am now almost 1 year on from finding my lump and the start of my ‘Journey’

Love

Mazzalou xxx

Mazzalou and JCJ thank you. JCJ I am having exact same surgery as you had and would really appreciate some understanding of recovery time and limitations I will have. At the moment I have so many things in my work diary and have only cleared a couple of days after the surgery but and now thinking that I will need more. Anyone else with info, please let me know.

Sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I am due to have 2nd chemo on Monday and will say each step of my treatment has been nowhere near as bad as i thought it would be. i too am keeping a diary and counting down the chemo sessions as they go. 3 months time and mine will be all done and then i move on to the next chapter - radiotherapy. Good luck with everything. I have had so much support from everyone - breast care nurses, chemo nurses and friends and family. xx

Hello Wintersocks here,

I am now waitiing for a MRI next Weds, plus seeing my GP on 22nd to discuss all with her. I have also arranged to have my hair cut short on the 22nd. My 1st chemo being the 23rd. The doc told me I will def loose my hair but that is the least of my problems…

I wish I could get the chemo underway. I feel so depressed, I cannot face seeing people, wondering who to tell and not tell, I don’t like that weird attitude that some people have…

I can’t remember where everyone else is up to on their ‘journey’ but after a few months on here I guess I will become more familiar, so forgive me if I appear to be going on about myself.
WSx