What happens now?

Just got back from the hospital, absolutely gutted cos I’m about to lose one of my breasts (which I have always been very proud of) and I think that hurts more than knowing I have cancer. Where are my priorities at & how can I be so vain at a time like this? You all sound so brave and positive, when will that happen to me?

Hi wattsit

I am sorry to read you are finding things hard at the moment, I just wanted to reassure you that the way you are feeling is completely normal and many people contact us at Breast Cancer Care saying they feel the same way about losing their breast and it can be very difficult to cope with. Please remember that everyone reacts differently to this kind of news and it will take time for you to come to terms with what is happening.

Breast Cancer Care have written a ‘Resources Pack’ for anyone newly diagnosed with breast cancer which you may find helpful to read, it is filled with information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available. You can download it from the following link or you can ask for a copy to be sent to you via the helpline:


There is information in the pack about our other support services including our helpline which you may find useful to use at some point if you need to talk anything through or just need someone to lend an understanding ear.

I hope you find this helpful.

Kind Regards

Breast Cancer Care

Hi Wattsit

Sorry to hear of your diagnosis - its an awful time and hard to believe you will get through it but you will!!.

I finished chemo last week and was starting to be quite upbeat and positive - and chuffed that chemo was over. However I saw the surgeon today and have to have a mastectomy - I am absolutely gutted, and like you am finding it very hard to take (was hoping for wle). I havent stopped crying all day but I know I will pick myself up again and get through it - as will you. At the end of the day we have to go through this journey - hard as it is!!! This is such a supportive site as you will find out.

At the end of the day - we cannot let this horrible disease beat us - mentally and physically - what it does do is make you re prioritise your life if it needs it.

And you are not being vain - you are being perfectly normal.

Take care
Sending hugs
Fiona xx
p.s. - do you know when your surgery is - mine is 10th Dec


Your head will be all over the place right now and that’s completely normal. Don’t beat yourself up, you’ve had some devastating news and it will take time to sink in, be gentle with yourself. As for being strong and positive, that will come I promise. I was the biggest wimp ever and when I was diagnosed last December it felt like the end of the world and I was convinced I would never see another Christmas. Once I got to know what lay ahead re surgery, results, treatments etc. I suddenly became very strong and positive and remained that way ever since. I’ve had a lumpectomy, 6 months chemo followed by 17 sessions of radiotherapy and am now getting back to normal. I won’t lie to you, it’s a looooong journey but you can do it. I coped extremely well with the chemo (no sickness) and radiotherapy (no sore skin), but as I’m triple negative there’s no treatment left. I was absolutely dreading losing my hair, but when the time came it wasn’t that bad and I didn’t bawl my eyes out like I thought I would. I don’t know where the inner strength comes from, but it does and it will come to you. I bought a fridge magnet that said ‘A woman is like a teabag, doesn’t know how strong she is until she’s in hot water’ - I thought it was fab and so true.

You need time to take in the news and, as I said before, be gentle with yourself. Do whatever makes you feel better, eat chocolate, drink wine (I think I drank my body weight in wine when I was first diagnosed lol), have long soaks in bubble baths, laugh, cry, just do whatever gets you through it and you WILL get through it.

There are some truly amazing ladies on here who will be there for you whenever you need it. Just yell when you need us.

Big gentle hugs darling.

Julie xxx

I’m sorry to say that I still feel mutilated by surgery four years on and I don’t think I shall ever come to terms with it. and I had a partial mastectomy. They sell you the idea in the media that people don’t need to have mastectomies if they catch it early enough. That isn’t true in my experience, it’s more down to where the lump is, breast size and how widespread they find abnormal cells. My breasts looked a lot better before and I still think they need to come up with better treatment.It’s a shame it didn’t come in my lifetime. I kept asking about alternatives and was told the best treatment is still removing the cancer with a wide enough margin of normal cells around it to be safe

I don’t think it’s vain not to want to keep your body - it’s not normal to have it cut off


I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 11th October. Had a mastectomy on 1st November. Emotionally I was all over the place. Trying to work and hold it all together. Everything you are feeling is normal. Sometimes I forget what has happened and then it all comes back (usually in the early hours of the morning). I am waiting for chemo to start and scared.

Just wish and hope I can be as brave as you lot.


Hi Wattsit

How you are feeling is perfectly normal - you will find that you go through all kinds of emotions and feelings - and yes, as others have said, you will find an inner strength that you didn’t know you had.

I was diagnosed on 1st Nov, had further scans and then mastectomy on 13th Nov - everything has happened so quick for me I haven’t really had time to think. I have a mugga scan for my heart on Monday then start chemo on Wednesday.

You don’t say how old you are - this can make a difference to how you feel. I have to say that in the ‘big picture’ - in my mind at least, losing my breast was the least of my worries. That said, I am a very pragmatic person - if it had to be done it had to done. I’m 46 and take the view that, other than for hubby’s amusement lol, I have no need for the breast - it was serving no other useful purpose. Even with just the ‘comfie’ in that the hospital give you, people who don’t know I’ve had surgery can’t tell.

Please don’t beat yourself up about how you are feeling - if you read through some of the threads on here you will see that, while it is a very frightening and worrying time, people get through it. I’m not even sure we know how - we just do. Certainly you will get a lot of support and reassurance from people on here - i know I have.

Please let us know how you are getting on

Take care
Margaret x

Hi wattsit

I can totally understand where you’re coming from but I promise you, it will get better. I was diagnosed with bc on 4th April this year, at the age of 41. Due to the large size of my tumour, it was recommended that I have eight courses of chemo first, followed by a mastectomy - which I had, along with my lymph nodes removed, on 3rd October. Obviously, I was absolutely devastated, and like everyone else, didn’t want to lose my breast BUT I also wanted every chance of surviving and if that is what my Consultant thought was best, then who was I to argue? Personally, I think having chemo first gave me six months to get used to the idea of losing my breast so that when the day came, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I am having a reconstruction, and have a tissue expander in place at the moment, so its not exactly flat on that side. My reconstruction will be about February next year, and I’m going up a size in both breasts (every cloud and all that - lol !).

Like the other Julie has said, you will suddenly find strength that you’ve never had before - I know I did. I thought I would never ever come to terms with having this dreaded disease, but I did and before I knew it, my good days were outnumbering the bad. I found my sense of humour has helped me through too !

I wish you all the very best with your treatment, and believe me, your positive days will come.

Take care

Lots of love

Julie xx

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• Thank you all so much for your comments and kind thoughts reading them today has given me quite a boost. Its now Sunday and I have to say I am now laughing more often than I’m crying. I have found that talking about it definately helps a lot. My family are being brilliant, making me laugh at every opportunity. Fiona & Julie, I can’t say how bad I feel for you both, the thought of the Chemo is terrifying me, but to go through all that and then be told you need a mastectomy has to be the pits. As for the age thing, I guess I’m luckier than some, as I’m 51 and if I have to wear polo necks for the rest of my life, so be it! I actually go in This coming Tuesday & have the op on Wednesday, sounds all to quick compared to the dates you’ve said, but I am grateful, if its got to come off, do it now. It’s not suddenly going to disappear over night is it! I had a stroke 3 years ago and managed to make a full recovery from that & I fully intend to do the same this time. On a lighter note, I took a sleeping pill last night and gave my family the biggest laught possible when it suddenly kicked in after aout 1/2 hour and my husband had to put me to bed! I never expected that. Just one last thought does anybody have any thoughts on mastectomy bras?

Thank you all so much, Hugs & XX. Thelma

Hi Thelma

I went to M & S yesterday and bought a bra - they recommend a soft bra, non underwired to start with or even non underwired sports bra until the scar heals. I am use to wearing balcony style bras so this thing I bought is HUGE compared to what I’m used to - but of course they have to be like this to hold the prosthesis. Have seen other women on here talking about good websites for post mastectomy bras and swimwear. I am meeting with my bc nurse again on Friday so she will have more info for me then. Still trying to get my head round it all tho - it aint easy - being a young 39 and single it is such a thought - but at the same time - I just want rid and for this never to come back!.
Chemo for me really wastnt as bad as I thought and really I had quite an easy time - altho I have had a REALLY sore mouth with ulcers last couple of days - its making me miserable - never suffered from them till 5th chemo and not everyone does!

Wishing you loads of luck and sending hugs to you for Wednesday


Thanks Fiona its nice to hear any comments on the Chemo, which is the scariest bit at the moment, I know the surgery will be painful, but hopefully, controlable. As far as the age thing goes, when you meet the right person, it really won’t matter cos they will love you for the person you are. That’s what my husband has been contantly telling me. I know how you feel because I am dreading the day that my husband sees me for the first time, but like everything else, we’ll take it on the chin (I hope). I hope the ulcers clear up soon and sorry I have no advice to give.

Thelma x

Hi Thelma,

I am 45 and to be honest i have no fear of losing my breast (just a fear of being in hospital), i am having chemo first as you may have read in my other posts and to be really honest i have had no really bad side effects (appart from hair loss) the chemo is to shrink the tumours but have been told that it will be a mastectomy no matter how small the tumours are after chemo due to where the tumours are situated.

Treatment is different for everyone, so it is best not to compare your treatment with others, i am sure your team will be doing what is best for you, i have every faith in my oncologist and the surgeon who will do my op.

Take care and keep in touch.

Thanks Val, I have every confidence in my Consutant, which is why i delayed the op till next week when he can do it. It seems wierd that there are so many different ways of doing things.

I went in to town today for a bra & they managed to talk me into buying a sloggi top, no seams & nice & soft. Now I’ve got it home i’m wandering if i’ll have the mobility to get it over my head! Can any of you ‘old hands’ advise?

Luv & hugs Thelma

Hi Thelma,

I’m so sorry you’ve had to join us but I wanted to welcome you to this most awesome site. I was diagnosed in March, age 34, and had a right mastectomy and total axillary clearance a week after diagnosis. Initially the thought of losing one of my beloved breasts horrified me. Trouble was, I had very little time to get my head round it all prior to the surgery. When I went down for my op my darling boyfriend held my hand until we had to sya goodbye. I was in tears, telling him how I was gonna be a completely different person when I woke up and how he wouldn’t bear to look at me. I said I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to finish with me. Thankfully he didn’t!

Anyway, I really found I handled the op a million times better than I imagined I would. I thought I would never be able to look at myself again, and certainly would not want to look at the scar. However I actually found I was able to look at the scar pretty soon after my op. Obviously I was sad that I had lost a boob, but to be honest the overwhelming feeling I got was one of relief. I was just so glad that the cancer had been ‘removed’. I was given a ‘softie’ to wear before I went home, and soon as I was properly healed I was able to be fitted for a proper prosthesis. Obviously this is not ideal but I am quite happy til I get my recon at the end of next year.

My boyfriend has been wonderful throughout, he even helped change my dressings when I got home from hospital. He was totally unfazed by it all, which I was so relieved about, especially as he is only 27! Bless him!!

I wish you well for your forthcoming op, and hope you have a very speedy recovery.

Take care,


Hi Thelma

I had to step into my sloggi type top after my op could’nt work out how to get it over my head without it hurting. To be honest in hospital I didn’t bother just wore my front opening jim jams, then when I was going home thought I’d better put something on and thats when I found I couldn’t do it!!! I think it depends on how much pain you are in and everyone is different, daughter bought me a bra from Debenhams really soft, no seams and no underwire only comes in white about a tenner could put softie in it and put it on on my own. Hope this helps


Hi ladies.
Kelly - it sound like you’ve got a pretty special boyfriend there, we’re both very lucky - my hubby is amazing too.

Heather - I had my pre-op today & the nurse said exactly the same thing about steppping into it. Just goes to show where my head is at the moment, I’m normally the most practical person & would have thought of that straight away.

All my questions were answered by the nurse so i’m as clear on stuff as I can be now. I’ve come to terms with the surgery part of it now, but still dreading the chemo/radio. Whatever, I am woman and I am strong!!!
Love to all