Tips for coping please x



After my pathology results with three bits of bad news I am finding it hard to cope and come to terms with the new information.  I am now Stage 2 Grade 1 because one node from the SNB turned out to be positive with a macro, even though I am Grade 1. The tumour which was 17mm had gone vascular and there was not clear margins. 


I have been advised that I will probably need Chemo and not Auxillary clearance. Radiotheraphy to the breast and armpit and then Tamoxifen for 10 years as I am 47 and premenopausal.


I am dreading the second surgery which is possibly 3 weeks away and also feel like I’m in limbo still as clear margins still have to be achieved.


Chemo won’t probably start until after Christmas now and I am petrified of spread around the body due to my lymph node involvment and the time delay.


My question is… How do you manage this fear. What coping mechanisms do you use? I am a natural worrier and am finding it impossible to switch off. I am trying walking and meditation but feel I need a total change of personality. Thank you xx

I don’t think there are any easy answers for coping - we all react differently. I’m coping by obsessing about learning everything I can and reading up and planning for treatments. I haven’t done so much reading since I was in full time education!!! Part of the issue for me is the lack of control and I feel that the more I understand and whatever tips I can get on chemo or RT or anything BC related then I pull back a tiny, tiny bit of control back to me. I’ve got lists for everything - Onc questions, surgeon questions, lists for chemo. Completely barmy - but it also keeps me very busy!


One thing that cheered me up today was looking at some very old posts (2010) on an American forum - talking about different chemo regimens and trials. The comforting thing was that what was being tested in 2010 is mainstream in 2017! Treatments are improving and your prognosis on Tamoxifen must be good?


I’ve also set myself small health goals - given up smoking, trying to improve my diet, bit of excercise - nothing fancy and all achieveable and all ways I can try and do the best I can to help myself. Trying to get back some control.


This is the time to put yourself first and do whatever you need to do to get through it. And you will get through it! 


My margins weren’t clear enough and I’ve just had my re-excision and get results tomorrow. 2nd surgery was much much easier and I got a little to cocky and went back to work 6 days after surgery and regretted it… didn’t take my own advice and I didn’t put me first!


Remember you are still stage 2 (and I think this is still classed as Early BC - the BCN will advise) - so although it isn’t what you hoped to hear - it isn’t the worst. I felt much the same when I had my full Path report - TNBC and not clear margins. I have now accepted it for what it is… still have the occassional session of balling my eyes out at 3am when I won’t disturb anyone, but I do get up the next day and carry on… the dog needs me if everyone else is fed up with my obsessing!


Final tip - if you can’t find someone to talk to when needed or your BCN is not avilable - use the helplines - I’ve always had a good experience.  


best wishes and don’t despair xxx



I had Stage 3 BC and still made it through. Concentrate on the small comforts to ease the side effects. If you look at it like a journey when you will learn things along the way it helps. Stage 2 is not wonderful but it beats Stage 3 anyday. I had Chemo at the start and the breast surgery later but you see each case in cancer is different Good luck 

Hello I just stumbled across your post this evening. I agree with what the other lovely ladies say but like you I have found the anxiety side of my diagnosis very hard to deal with. I am post surgery now - I had a small but very aggressive TN tumour, so although the surgery went well chemo is essential - I am also undergoing genetics now so there may be more surgery for me rather than radio.
I think we all eventually find our ways to cope but I cannot recommend more the value of some of the treatment forums on here when the time comes. I am 15 days into my first chemo and the ladies on my chemo treatment thread have carried me through. We have shared fears and side effects, laughed at small moments and cared for each other.
I wish you all the luck and support for your continued journey. X