Waiting for mastectomy

Hi. I am new to this forum. I am getting very anxious waiting for my surgery at the end of the month - mastectomy with immediate implant. The tension has been building up since first mammogram showed a small lump. I thought that I was managing that,  then an MRI showed more and biopsies showed a mammary lymph node to be malignant too. I am constantly worrying about spread, and what post surgery tests might show. I am upset with myself for getting to my 50s and not realising that all I want to be is me - normal me. I am still at work because the rest of me is perfectly healthy. My skin and hair look healthy, and that makes it all hard to understand. I am trying to keep calm,  hydrated, active, eat well, but I feel anxious and not sleeping well makes me feel worse. I even wake up imagining symptoms of spread. I went to gp this morning for reassurance.  I even got some diazipam for in case. Just wondered if anyone else out there feels the same because when I look around I feel like everything is going on around me as normal and I am stuck in the C word.

Dear Catalina, 

So sorry you are find yourself in this position, however this site is amazing, so many lovely ladies, and wonderful nurses all waiting to help and listen to you.

Cancer is not like breaking your arm, when everyone you pass will notice that you have something wrong because you have a plaster to show, 

As you say you want to be you, I know exactly were your coming from, and you will be you again, at the moment you have a problem that needs fixing and will be fixed, be kind to yourself with lots of TLC and some very well deserved happiness. Wishing you lots of luck with your upcoming treatment.

Please let me know how you are doing. Big hugs Tili.

It is very worrying. Take advantage of the amazing care from the NHS while you wait. I had a double mastectomy two weeks ago and was most scared about not waking up as I have things I need to do. I woke up, I’m very happy, the nurses could not have been kinder to me, they treated me like a baby. I feel very blessed it’s Breast Cancer and not another type. There are a couple of types of cancer I wouldn’t deal well with at all. The operation will come around and you will be asleep then awake before you know it. It’s natural to worry. Getting past the surgery is a major hurdle and once you’ve got through it you’ll feel a lot better. 

I got some Valium as well. I found it helpful thinking I could take a tablet if I had a panic attack while having mammograms or the biopsies and it worked. Only had 4 tablets but they gave me reassurance

Dear Catalina

How are you getting on? I am now waiting for mastectomy myself and am trying to keep myself busy as I am very anxious. Such is life


I feel very similar apart from being retired. I am keeping as busy as I can by gardening, cleaning, walking the dog and cleaning as like you I am not in any obvious pain, a bit of a stinging sensation from my tumours but nothing much. I look as healthy as anything especially for a 67 year old. I did have rather high blood pressure at my appointment yesterday morning not helped by driving from 60 miles outside London to the appointment at 5 am as there were no trains from near where I live due to the train strike and I needed to be at London Bridge as early as possible to find the carpark I had precooked. My husband wanted to take our electric car and kept saying it was only 50 odd miles from our house to the destination. Of course lecky cars don’ t work like that, so we couldn’t find the carpark he was getting very annoyed and eventually we had to try google maps and it turned out to be in a Southwark council estate JustPark app uses. Very cheap though at £20 for 7 hours. By 12.50 pm we were on our way to the charging station I’d picked to fast charge the car back up again.

That was a nightmare as you have to register the car reg number at the payment booth in the shop next to the charging station, then read the instructions before putting the charging plug into the car (my husband didn’t do this), then wait half an hour until the charge finishes, before using a contactless debit or credit card to pay.

All this time I was thinking about having a mastectomy in three weeks with an immediate reconstruction using a diep flap from my fat tum and then how painful it might or might not be. While my husband was having his usual hissy fits. At least we learnt that the car has a limited range and you need a good charging place like a petrol station. It had 7 charging places and it really only took half an hour to recharge the battery completely. During this time we sat and drank costa coffee and ate a brownie each, that was the first food since breakfast at 9 am near London Bridge. That wasn’t bad, a small local caff not one of the the arty farty ones up Bermondsey Street which are fun but not such good value.

I was really knackered by the time we got home but once again we were down to 12 miles and the warning light was flashing. We have a charging point at our house and normally only go down the road to Hastings and back with plenty of spare capacity.

I am dreading another strike as I was relying on using the train to get me to and fro for hospital appointments. It’s a very easy going journey, never packed and so convenient to go from London Bridge straight to the breast clinic for tests. I was so tired I went to bed by 10 pm and still feel tired. I got a dizzy spell as we walked from the car to the pub at 7 pm for a meal to save cooking and I realised I hadn’t had a proper meal since 9 am when I had the greasy fry up.

I keep reading that cancer is caused by bad eating and lack of exercise but I am normally so good about long walks, fresh food, I have lost weight, I am an aged 67 but I don’t smoke, I am 10 st 06 lb and 5 ft 8 tall. We did the South Downs Way in 9 days last August it’s just under 100 miles I think, we slept in a tent for 8 nights. My husband is very good at putting up tents so we didn’t use the car all week. We went by train to Winchester and then walked back to Eastbourne and got a train home.

As you can see I am obsessed with public transport and keeping fit but none of it has prepared me for the idea of having a new breast fashioned out of my fat tum. If only the ordeal was over. I worked last time I had breast cancer in 2003 and during treatment and it was the only thing that kept me sane apart from tramadol. I was given enough tablets to have killed myself twice over. I took them out of the blister packs to make this easier and then didn’t take an overdose so goodness knows what I did with them, I had hundreds. this time I am hoping for liquid morphine. I haven’t had diazepam for at least forty years.

I am not surprised no one wants breast cancer as almost everyone who gets diagnosed with it has an operation to remove at least part of their breasts. The next cancer I would like is one that isn’t disfiguring like a nice blood cancer. I don’t mean that - honestly. I would rather not have anything wrong with me but the grim reaper seems intent on picking on me. I know everyone has to die of something but why can’t I just have a sudden stroke and be dead a few minutes later? Not knowing a thing? I have been taking part in the Generations Breast Cancer study since 2006 so maybe the scientists will come up with a solution that leads to better treatments which do not involve amputation. But we aren’t near there yet.

I feel like that now, but the nearer I get to having my breast off and reconstruction the more busy I am becoming, cleaning, tidying, reading Sinead O’Connor’s book rememberings and other books. Going on long walks at least 7 miles once a week and a shorter dog walk every other day. I have watched Jazz at Rye Muds Morgenfield and Imelda May. I have planted a fig and a honeysuckle. Proving I don’t give a fig and I do like a nice smell wafting over my neighbours’ cars. I would rather have two matching breasts but I will be able to compare and contrast once I have had my operation. Meantime I am going out most days. On Sunday I need to write an article as I am a gardening correspondent for my Parish Magazine. I also have to stay in to wait for a courier who is bringing a pcr Test for covid, he will wait for me to take the test, then take it away to the hospital. I live in a beautiful part of East Sussex so I’d like to be that courier going through the lanes on a mission to help prove that I don’t have covid. Thank you to Guy’s for sending him or her to me…