Recently diagnosed with breast cancer

Hi. I am 63 and was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 weeks ago the day before my birthday after finding large lump. I have to have chemotherapy first - starting next week and then an operation to ‘mop’ up. I’m also waiting to have a gene test which could mean they suggest a double mastectomy!! So much info being thrown at me that I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t know whether to read it all now or as journey proceeds.  I have a retired husband who has Parkinson’s and I was looking after him!!  

Hfc, sorry you find yourself on here You will need thermometer so you can take your temperature regularly during chemo and diary so you can keep check on when you’ve taken meds during chemo. Do jump on the oct2020 chemo thread, they are amazing bunch and will :two_women_holding_hands: help you through as you all step through chemo together. Do use the number on here and speak to someone they might be able to recommend any assistance you might need in addition looking after your husband too You always do what’s right for you, your team have seen it all before and know what to do, you keeping vigilant on temperature will help them get you safely through. Just take things at your own pace and be kind to yourself :two_hearts: :two_hearts: :sparkles: :sparkles: Shi xx

Hi hfc

There is such a lot to take in, as you’ve already learned. I’m so sorry you’re here but it is the right place.

You hear so much about chemo and it has a terrible press. On top of that, the team tosses you leaflets and pamphlets about all the possible side effects till you wonder is it worth it. YES, it is. You don’t know till you’re in there whether you’re going to be one of the lucky ones who can more or less carry on as normal or one of the zombies like me. However, I would suggest you need to reconsider as quickly as possible your current caring arrangements as there will be times when you are too fatigued, at the least, to care about anyone else’s needs and this is a time when your own needs must come first because emotional wellbeing is a major part of the experience. You will need looking after. I know that’s easy to say and less easy to sort out but better forewarned than find the household in a pickle.

How much information you want is a personal choice. Some people want to know and understand everything to feel more in control. Others, like me, take the ostrich approach - there’s nothing I can do about it so just let them get on with it. There is one major pitfall however - Google. We often refer to it as Dr Google and warn everyone to steer clear. It’s outdated, often beyond our comprehension, cannot adapt to the specifics of your diagnosis and consequently is downright terrifying. Beware too of statistics. They are so open to interpretation and what you’re told at the start (if you ask) changes as you go along, only no one tells you so your stats are outdated. 

I wish you all the best with the chemo. They manage side-effects very well so the actual experience is straightforward, if a little dreary and time-consuming. You are sent home with a goodie bag from the pharmacy to help you manage any side effects that might develop once the steroid effect wears off but tbh, I don’t remember anyone being sick throughout. As Shi says, join your Starters group and you’ll get loads of support and the nurses at the number above are great - but do use your breast care nurse. Take care,

Jan x