Newly diagnosed

Hi
I found out officially last Friday that I have a grade 2 tumour in my right breast…op scheduled for April 10th. From ultrasound they don’t think it’s in the lymph nodes but obviously will have to wait till end April for op findings. Consultant said might not need chemo but afterwards nurse said ‘you most likely will’…Chemo scares me as much as the cancer itself…I have always been into alterntive medicine and the problem is that I have read too much stuff about how useless and dangerous it is and I feel in Catch 22 situation - damned if I do and damned if I don’t… I think best way is to try to combine the two and be brave about it…Have really tried to be postive so far but my husband is type 1 diabetic and should avoid stress (ha!) and my older son (30) is a recovering alcoholic and suffers from depression and my younger son (27)has a colonoscopy on April 4th at Christie’s M/cr as he has signs which may have been bowel cancer but they think it’s an inflamed bowel lining but they want to obviously find out why…so I am scared of telling them incase it stresses them out too much…plus I’ve promised my 84 year old mother she’ll never have to go into a nursing home and how am I going to tell her this news? (Although she had a lump removed (turned out to be non cancerous) about 10 years ago and is much more stoical than I am. I really was being very postive but last night my husband said I was spending too much time on the net looking at ‘cancer stuff’ and I was ‘over reacting’ and it just freaked me out that I have to be considerate of his views as well as try and stay strong for him and the rest of my lovely family…sorry that this is so long. I have lost two close friends in December and am just feeling I need to get things off my chest even in a ‘virtual’ way.

Hi Anni

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care discussion forums, I’m sure you’ll get lots of good support from the many informed users of this site.

While you are waiting I have put for you below links to a couple of BCC’s publications you may find helpful.

BC & You
www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/publications/diagnosed-breast-cancer/breast-cancer-you-diagnosis-treatment-future-bcc44

Chemo for BC
www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/publications/treatment-side-effects/chemotherapy-breast-cancer-bcc16

I hope this helps

Take Care,
Jo, Facilitator

Sorry to say this but having had no responses has made me feel a bit odd…was hoping for some sort of comment (thanks to Jo BCC though) but having had no others I sort of feel a bit worse - would rather not keep checking and seeing nothing as feel more ‘on my own’ than if I hadn’t bothered somehow.

Hi anni

Please stick around and don’t be too disheartened, as the forums are so busy threads tend to move from the front page quickly and unfortunately some get missed, I am sure your fellow users will be along shortly now the thread is on the front page again

If you feel it would help to speak to one of our helpliners please feel free to call on 0808 800 6000, the lines are open Sat 9-2 and Mon-Fri 9-5 and our team are here to offer you further support and a listening ear

Take care
Lucy

Anni, so sorry you havent received any replies. The trouble on these sorts of forums is that posts easily slip through unnoticed when its busy and it just makes you feel horrible, whereas there are actually loads of lovely people on here who can give you support.

I know what you mean about trying to look after the rest of the family, my son has OCD, but now is a time you just have to put that to one side and look after yourself!

I was lucky, a lumpectomy and then I have nearly finished radiotherapy, but if you need chemo, you will cope. My daughter had leukaemia when she was 8 (now has a lovely baby of her own) and I just kept thinking if she could do it at 8, I could do it as an adult.

I hope 10th April comes quickly for you so you know what you are dealing with.

Jayne xx

Hi Anni

Sorry that you seem to have missed out on contact with others, but I’m sure there will be others joining me soon to offer you our support. In the meantime please don’t waste time ‘looking at cancer stuff’ as you will only seem to find the wrong stuff. Think back to when people tell you about child birth - you only ever hear from the minority that want to tell you their horror stories, and never from the vast majority of feel-good stories

Of course you are shocked, worried and scared all rolled into one, but do try and remain calm and optimistic even though this seems impossible at the moment having just had your diagnosis. 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 a year on from finding my 'lump’and have had a mx with reconstruction, 3 FEC and 3 Docetaxels, 15 rads and on-going herceptin treatment. As far as I was concerned the more treatments to guard against a recurrence the better so I opted for the ‘Full Monty’. Breast cancer treatment is a costly business - my herceptin treatment alone costs more than £30K and I am sure the NHS wouldn’t spend it if it didn’t work.

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.

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? It is also quite useful to put your feelings down on paper as you can let off steam in your writings, especially if you feel you can not to those nearest and dearest to you.

Just remember that chemo is different things to different people, but most of us who have undergone it will agree that it is ‘doable’. I can’t say that I was looking forward to it, but it was nowhere as bad as I imagined it to be. OK losing your hair, and then your eyelashes and eyebrows is not a prospect I was looking forward to, but it is a darn sight more preferable to losing my life. 6 months after my last chemo my hair is now growing back as are my eyelashes and eyebrows. 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 now 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.

Thinking of you

Mazzalou x

Dear Anni,
So sorry that you haven’t had more responses.You have an awful lot on your plate right now and your husband is doing the typical male thing by taking the ground from under you just when you need most support. I think these forums exist because women need women to help them on this journey. It’s a rare husband who really understands what we’re going through.
I had a mastectomy in November just before my son’s wedding and managed to fly to London and dance until midnight in high heels! I started chemo in December - the choice was mine because the added survival rate wasn’t enormous. I’m two weeks away from my final dose and it has never been as bad as I dreaded. All side effects have solutions and are mostly quite manageable. I will also have three weeks of radiotherapy after my next son’s wedding in April.
You will get well-researched advice from the team who take responsibility for your treatment. You should wait until then to make your choices. Write down any questions that come into your head because hospital visits will always make you nervous and confused .
Try not to worry about other people for now. My husband is depressive and very immature (at 61) and I was terrified of the effect my diagnosis would have on him. He has survived very well so far and has been very good at cooking and doing some basic housework when I am too tired to do it all.
There is no reason to suppose that you won’t be able to keep that promise to your mother. You don’t need to think of the future today. Get yourself through the next few months and learn to protect yourself from stress. Early on when my husband kicked off in one of his moods, I simply said ‘I’m fighting breast cancer and I can’t do this any more’. Don’t be afraid to be that brutal. It’s your life so take control. Women spend their lives facilitating other people’s lives - until something like this stops them and makes them think.
Time to think of YOU now.
Please come and visit the December 2011 thread from time to time. We’re a very supportive bunch of women a few months further along the path than you and you will learn a lot about every aspect of cancer treatment.
I wish you all the very best.
Love and hugs,
Kathleen

Thanks to everyone who has posted so quickly since my last one…hope it makes sense that it helps to feel there are others out there offering support and when I didn’t get what I hoped for at first I felt a bit lost in all of this…Anyway thanks again…I have had time to come to terms with it and am feeling positive…it has been a sort of wake up call and I have made changes to my diet, exercise…doing more yoga and meditation etc etc and feel I have put all things in place that I can have any control over and the rest I will have to take one day at a time…still not told my sons and mum but realise I will have to do that before the op - just waiting for one to get back from holiday. Thanks again - it has made me feel alot better to know there are others out there listening and offering support:)

hi anni,

firstly sending you a big hug. i am sure more ladies will be along over the coming days with support, advice, experiences to help you. the ladies that use this forum are great and offer loads of support, no question is silly, so anything you want to know or advice on, just post a question.

the hotline on this site is wonderful. they have experienced staff who can help you with questions you have or just to listen. i have used them several times for advice and information or even just to runs things by them. ring them i think it will help you initially to speak to someone with all the information that you have being given so far, to talk about your concerns etc.

have you had a breast care nurse assigned to you, if not ask about one. they are really good and are there to talk to. i had a few sessions with mine especially to start with when you are trying to take so much in.

TTM xxx

hi annie im sending lots of hugs to you. the ladies here are fantastic they will help you anyway they can. im sorry your here with us but you cant rant cry do whatever you feel you need to do. im still struggling with my dx in jan 2012 and the girls have been the best. feel free to pm me anytime.your not alone although i know at times you feel like you are. lots of love jane

Sending you lots of hugs at this difficult time…you can do this xxx

Thanks again for your kind comments and advice/support. It definitely helps to know there are people I can ‘talk’ to who are just going to be supportive and practical and not emotional.

Hi Anni
I’m sending you big hugs at this very difficult time.I’ve had my op and I’m just waiting on my results which i get thurs.I’m going to except everything they throw at me even thou I’m dreading the thought of chemo as I’m getting married July but my life is more important then my hair.Big Hugs
Becky xxx

Hi Anni
I was dx at the end of May last year. My husband like yours is a type 1 diabetic and when I had my core biopsy he had a hypo! There I was trying to get dressed, being told by the consultant that he was certain I had breast cancer and running down the corridor to a vending machine to get some chocolate to bring my OH back round.I suppose it did help to diffuse the situation but he didn’t appreciate it when I pointed out I’d taken him so he could be a support for me!

A few months on, post mx and immediate recon we went out for a walk one evening. I had been told earlier that day that I didn’t need chemo. I was obviously elated at the news but also rather scared that not everything was being done to prevent a recurrance. My OH commented that I seemed quiet and then after I voiced my fears he told me I’d never been REALLY ill.He couldn’t understand why I burst into tears and barely spoke to him for the rest of the night.

In hindsight by playing down what I’d been through was his way of coping. I’d rather he’d found a different way!

Anne

hi Anni, I too was diagnosed last friday with stage 2 in my right breast,and also have my op on 10th april too,so far they hav,nt mentioned chemo,they said hormone, and radio therapy, it comes as a complete skock dos’nt it, they found mine on a mamogram, so when I got the recall letter I was worried, but you have so much more going on your life aswell, it must be hard, but your boys will have to know. Im sure they will be strong, proberbly suprise you. I also have 2 sons, 35 & 32 I got so wound up worrying about telling them, love and good luck for the 10th

Hi again Maver! I just replied to your post without realising you had replied to mine! Thanks for your message and hope we can keep in touch via the forum or Private Message me if you want.x

hello again Anni,would love to keep in touch,I feel we have much in common with the dates etc, we might even be in the same hospital!! How are you feeling today? I’ve been feeling pretty good today so far been keeping busy, went for a nice walk with my eldest,and his 2,his partner+ her daughter I call her my half granchild,(lovely girl) they are off on holiday next week, just for a week, I think my other son is burying his head in the sand abit! Its really nice to have people like you that understand to talk to, if you would like to say anything in private I will be watching for your message, take care X Maver

Hi Anni,
This is the first time I’ve posted anything on this site and thought I’d post a comment as your diagnosis seemed similar to mine but I am a month further down the line, which may or may not be helpful!
I had a right breast mastectomy on 14 th March and due to get results Monday 5 th Feb. From altra sound nothing was detected in armpit but I did have sentinel node biopsy at time of surgery to see if any spread. My consultant said at time of diagnosis that surgery was all I might need. When I saw the plastic surgeon, ( I also had first stage reconstruction at the same time with expander) he talked about possibly having radiotherapy. On talking to breast nurse later I asked if most people had some treatment, she said they did. No one has really said anything about chemo .
I’ll let you know how I get on, on Monday. But do bear in mind everyone is different and I keep being told your treatment will be tailored to your individual needs.
hang on in there, I’d be lying if I said these last 2 weeks have been easy but like all of it, there have been good days and not so good.
Love G x

Thanks for your message…it’s amazing how many different situations there are and yet it’s good to have people to talk to and share support. I am feeling positive but must admit that this waiting a month for the op is dragging…and then there’s the two week wait for the results …but I suppose one day at a time is the best way to live life. Keep strong. Anni

Hi Anni,
Had my results this morning. Had not spread to my lymph nodes, and while tumour was quite large 8 cm, margins were also clear. Appointment with oncologist in a couple of weeks, but surgeon today said v unlikely to need chemo. He said onc would prob discus radiotherapy, but may not need. Most probably have hormone therapy. So as I said last post they do treat us all as individuals and tailor treatment to your needs, hope this may make you feel a little better about the prospects of chemo.
I know my outcome has been good and I am so grateful. My thoughts are with you and hope the next few weeks are not too difficult.
Take care
GMT XX