newly diagnosed

I am newly diagnosed. Have had a lumpectomy but then told it had spread to lymph nodes so will need another op and chemo. Petrified, depressed and experiencing ‘cording’ which I know little about. Somebody talk to me!

Hi Shelton,

Sorry you find yourself here & getting diagnosed is such a shock, but most importantly, it can now be dealt with. 
This is a quieter part of the forum, so do look at Recently diagnosed… where there are others in a similar position to you. 
When you start treatment, then do look at Going through treatment… where you will be able to join the monthly chemo thread for support from others where you are now, as well as further down the line. 
Do take care & it does tend to feel better when your treatment plan is in place. 
ann xx

Hi Shelton


I’m sorry to hear of your fears but I guess you’ve found the right place as so many of us have experienced similar fears.


After my mastectomy and full axillary clearance, I was told that 19 of my 21 lymph nodes were affected so chemotherapy was essential, not an option. That’s when my terror set in. Almost full meltdown as I already had a lifetime’s history of GAD and panic disorder. I look back (my first chemo was last Christmas Eve) and wonder why I wasted so much energy and put myself through so much pain. What followed was not a great experience but I’m here and I am considered NED (no evidence of disease). It is terrifying to hear cancer has spread to the lymph nodes but that’s their job and they hold onto those nasty little cells to prevent them spreading round the body. I’m pretty grateful to mine, much as I miss them.


As regards cording, your breast exercises are essential or it will tighten more. It may be worse once your lymph nodes are gone as they leave a space into which everything that surrounded the nodes just collapses in and creates a lump you have to work on. Mine was. You can no longer ignore these bits of your body I’m afraid. My breast-care nurse showed me how to massage away the rigidity by firm massaging, using the palm and heel of my hand and working across each part of the arm, rather than sweeping up, till I got to the top. Then the stretching. Once your nodes have gone, additional movements will be needed which your b-c nurse will advise you on. Firm massage initially was a bit painful but it definitely worked and I still occasionally have to do it. Ask your b-c nurse for advice and keep massaging so you get freer movement of the arm.


It probably feels impossible right now to picture a time in the future when you won’t feel petrified and there are a lot of scary unknowns ahead but it honestly is nowhere near as bad in the long run as your imagination makes it. Meantime, seriously consider focusing on calming your mind (Youtube videos like Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing got me through some tough times) but some people practise mindfulness, some get help from their GP, whatever works for you. I hope you find something. Good luck with what lies ahead - it’s all manageable, honest.


Jan x