Silly Questions and panicking!

Taking deep breaths and trying to stay calm and positive.  Diagnosed birads 5 on September 7th, confirmed cancerous on September 14th and told fairly immediately surgery will be October 5th…OMG!!  That is in 2 days!!   I didn’t have a whole lot of time to wrap my head around the idea of cancer and I will be operated on in 2 days.  We live an hour and a half drive away from the hospital so we’d planned on a hotel room for 2 nights (the night before surgery and the night after).  The doctor tells me it is a very small lesion, don’t worry, it will be fine but I notice on my Consent form it says Auxiliary Dissection if necessary.  What??? If they find more cancer, the surgery is longer and they take out more, more complicated???  Little things flit through my mind as I pack in preparation.  Do I bring deodorant as I might not be able to lift my arms?  Shampoo???  I can’t shower soooo…Who cares and who will see me anyways except my husband of 20 years who won’t care.  Button up blouses…bought 4 second hand.  I intend to burn those suckers when this is all over!  What are the chances I can walk out of the hospital the same day???  Trying to be positive but panicking somewhat!    Also retired to a Spanish speaking country and have discovered that although I can do general conversation quite well, my medical Spanish is at ground 0.  When panicked and nervous even general conversational words escape me.  I went for a 72 hour covid test and didn’t even understand when they called my name! ?‍ :female_sign: ?‍ :female_sign:

You are not asking silly questions at all and your panic is absolutely understandable, especially living in a country where you don’t always understand the language. 

I was diagnosed in April and it was a big shock - my mind went into overdrive with worry and questions. Every situation is different but my experience was that I was in and out of hospital on the same day, and a woman going in at the same time as me had a mastectomy and went home on the same day. However a friend was kept in for a night because she was relying on public transport to get home. Hopefully all will be well for you and your husband will be able to take you to the hotel. 

like you I was worried about being able to raise my arm, especially as I have arthritis in my shoulder and my scar is very near my armpit but the reality was that movement was fine afterwards and they gave me exercises to do. I hope it is the same for you. 

Do you have access to a breast care nurse?  In the UK they are brilliant for support and to answer your questions, but if you don’t, the helpline on this website is fantastic and I think you can email them as well as phone. 

I hope it goes well for you. Try not to panic too much x

Dear Vivi, thinking of you and wishing you lots of luck for your surgery tomorrow, don’t worry about taking to much into hospital, just thinking about yourself, hopefully all will be over very soon. Take one day at a time, so much to come to terms with in such a short time the brain does overtime.

Wishing you well, keep posting and let us know how you are feeling, this site is outstanding, take all the help and love around you.

Big hugs Tili :rainbow:

Hi Vivi

I had a mastectomy and full axillary clearance (that’s removing the lymph nodes under your arm if they are infected) and went home that evening, armed with a sheet of advice and lots of exercises. Those exercises are crucial to keep the breast muscle and armpit (axilla) flexible and you may have to do them indefinitely, depending on how you heal.

You won’t need deodorant if you have FAC -  your armpit will be under a dressing. Make sure you ask for a waterproof dressing so you can shower. If they say no, then a daily wash down is enough till your scar has healed. Hospitals tend to leave on the one dressing so you don’t want to get it soggy and slow down healing.

Ask if you will have a drain. This was something I was unprepared for and it was a couple of days before I worked out how to carry it round (a scarf sling works if they don’t provide a carry-bag). You’d only need a drain if you have FAC, which they can’t know until they investigate. If it is a small lesion, they are just taking precautionary measures. Sometimes scans don’t show up everything but during surgery they might observe something suspicious which needs removing. You need your surgery to have clear margins (ie no spread around the lesion) so trust them to do what’s necessary.

Next day, you might feel bright as a button or down in the dumps. People react differently to general anaesthetics. Listen to your body, take good care of yourself and you’ll be ok. This includes your emotions which sound like they are all over the place. Listen to them, deal with the irrational fears and accept the real fears. Be kind to them!  Good luck x