Wife having surgery today

This is my first post; my wife was diagnosed last Tuesday, Jan 29th and she is in surgery as I type this from home.

She has been lucky as it was discovered early and is small and it is grade 2. She was given the option of lump or mastectomy and has (against all her instincts) elected for the removal of the lump. She will definitely have radio and possible chemo.

She is in her early 40’s and we have 2 young sons. So far she has coped really well and is so positive which has helped us all.

I’m sure that we are going to face some tough times and decisions in the months ahead. Has anyone been through something similar? Any help for me to ensure I can support my wife and keep life normal for the children would be useful. The children do not know it is cancer but they know mum has to have a lump removed otherwise it could make her really poorly. Is there anything else we should tell them now.

Many thanks in advance.

Dear Alan

Welcome to the BCC forums where I am sure you will recieve lots of support and information from your fellow users.

You may find it helpful to look at the Breast Cancer care booklet ‘Talking to your children about breast cancer’. You can find this at the following link:-


I hope you find this useful.

Best wishes

Do you know what chemo regime she is having and whether she has been tested to see if she is HER2 positive ?
Also is the cancer in situ meaning it has not spread to any other part of the breast. The breast care nurse the one who has been allocated to your wife will tell you this or the surgeon. It is important she is tested to see if she is HER2 i was tested straight away. My case is different i have two small grandchildren but am very close and see them everyday. I did contact the nursery school where my grandaughter is to explain the circumstances and spoke to the Head who was very helpful and they have been talking to Sophie about Hospitals etc. Her brother is to young yet for school.
It is going to be tough but your wife needs to know she is beautiful and she is loved, but in a year from now this will be an experience from the past and my daughters have said it has made them more understanding of people with problems and less judgemental.
Laughter is one of the best medicines for all of you, your children will be stronger than you, so please take care of yourself and take each day as it comes do not worry what will happen in the future. Today is a gift thats why they call it the present.
Love and best wishes and the very best of luck to you ,your wife and your sons


I am really sorry you have had to join us, but you will find a lot of support here.
My situation is a little like yours i am 34 two children 9 and 6 years,I had a right mastectomy on 17/01/08 just waiting to see what treatment i am having next,by the way i was grade 2 aswell.
I think everyone handles this differently but i am glad she is staying positive i find the waiting the hardest.
As to telling your children i think its when you feel they are ready to know, i told my children straight away so they could ask me questions and not bottle anything up, but thats how i feel about it and my kids have been great. But we are all different and it may not be practical for your children to know yet.

It sounds like you are very supportive already just let her know she can talk to you.

hope this helps.
Best wishes

Mandy x

The very fact that you have had the insight to seek advice shows that you wife is very lucky to have such a supportive partner! I am sure you will be as supportive as you can although be prepared to make mistakes! My partner found it very hard to deal with me as I was so up and down. But we are good now 1.5 yrs on. from diagnosis. Remember you need support too.

It all seems very good though that she has found it in time- there really is a long road ahead of treatment but if I can do it anyone can. She should feel very optimistic although it is hard to feel confident again for some time. I thought that my time was up and that was it but as time goes on you regain your confidence. I realise now that it is not a death sentence- more like a long term disease.

My FEC chemo was hard, particularly psychologically …the radiotherapy was easy just a nuisance really. So many visits for 1 minutes treatment!

As far as the HER 2 status is concerned this is just an indication of wether she would benefit from herceptin or not- hopefully she won’t need to have it. It’s better really if she does n’t need it. If she does though that’s ok too-herceptin has fewer side effects than chemo. Far less daunting but given in the same way.

She may or may not need tamoxifen ( a drug that effectively reduces the effects of the hormone oestrogen). She may go into an early menopause. I did.

All in all…I wish someone could have answered my questions…you must ask if you need answers. Remember she will be fine although it is hard to think like that now.
The children should probably be told things gradually to let them get used to it but they sound very young and you have to decide what’s best for them. Sometimes their imaginations fill in the gaps with even worse things than reality. She really is going to be fine but you will have ups and downs.

I am sending you my best wishes- take one day at a time.
Love Debbie

Dear Alan
I hope you soon get the phone call from the hospital to say surgery is over and your wife is fine. I do not have any children but the support I have had from my husband has been amazing. Tha thing I found most useful is having with me at each appointment as he could remember the answers when I was too nervous. Try not to put off looking at your wifes op site if she wants you to. It will not look as awful as you are possibly imagining. If you have got time go and buy her a V pillow which is so comfy when trying to get some rest.Sometimes she may need to be on her own, dont feel excluded just look upon it as an excuse to do your own thing for a while.
Take care of yourself and your children and that will help your wife
Love and best wishes to you all

I’m 30 and my wife is 29 and was diagnosed with low grade DCIS.

We were diagnosed on Christmas eve (I say we because my wife and I are in this together and if I could I would transfer this disease to myself in an instant)

The cancer was recorded as low grade, but due to my wifes bust size a full lumpectomy with clear margin would leave her boob quite visibly deformed - and a clear margin could probably not be attained, therefore what would have been a lumptectomy for some has turned into a Mastectomey for my Wife.

My wife is extremely anxious about anything medical oriented (hospitals, dentists etc) and this is having quite an impact on us both.

I find the best way to provide support though is to be there, do as much as you possibly can around the house (includes making cups of tea and massages - no shirking mind back and feet!)
I must admit before this happened to us I was a bit of a layabout, I have already changed my lifestyle to be more fitter and now do my share around the house (and will do much more when my wife goes into hospital for the mastectomy)

At first I wanted to reassure by saying things like “it could be worse” or it’ll all be OK but I find the best thing is to re-assure by hugs and stating that you will tackle this together.

It will be impossible for yourself not to be emotionally immune from the experiance you are going through at the moment so make sure you have someone to talk to (I have a male friend who was unlucky enough to go through the same thing)

Try not to despair
P.S my wife posts on this forum as MelanieLH if any one recognises the diagnosis and predicament

Still not heard that she is safe and out of surgery; thank you so much for all your supportive and positive comments. I know she will be tested for hormones etc - not sure if I fully understand the terminology yet. She has been told she will have termoxifen and she can have herceptin if she needs it. There may also be chance of trials.

I totally disagree with the post code lottery and am just so thankful that we have been referred locally (within 20 miles) to a recognised centre of excellence.

Thanks so much everyone.

Hi Alan

I hope your wife is out of surgery when reading this. My husband and two children 17 & 11 have been their for me giving their support and love. My children handled the situation better than my husband. I had mastectomy anc and recontruction done on the 10th Jan. My husband couldn’t look at the site until a couple of days after coming home. But all | can say is take each hour and day as it comes. Our next hurdle is chemo which is next week and he will be doing all the fetching and carrying that will be needed and we are facing this together.

Your wife is not alone in this as she has you and your family their.

Take care love and best wishes to you all



Good to hear from someone else on “the partners side”

I too would rather have this than my wife - it was her 1 greatest fear and it has happened.

In the space of a week we have learned so much - yes; it could be so much worse; it has brought us closer together and I realise I have to look after myself so that I can be there for her and the children.

In terms of a male friend - a good mate has been through this, we’re going to a pub quiz tonight so that he can help me to recharge the batteries and put the world to rights.

At times like this you do realise how important family and friends are - we are lucky we have both.

Best wished of course to you and your wife.

Its defintley good to have a bit of “ME” time, I like to work out a bit (its hard when you are stressed as everything feels a chore) but I’ve got to keep myself in tip top condition.

I was lucky when my wife went into surgery for the lumpectomy as she was put on normal ward instead of the day care conveyor belt.

This meant I could visit her at normal times (as luck would have it she was ready to go at the first visiting time period)

Hi Alan

I hope all goes well for your Wife today, my Wife had exactly the same thing. She went through radiotherapy after surgery. Everyone has been brilliant. It is now over a year since she finished treatment and all is well. She is 42. Our children were 9, 15 and 17. So we told them exactly what was happening and they, once they got over the shock were fantastic in their support.

All the very best to all of you.



Very best wishes to you and your wife. My husband found it helpful to read the booklet that is on here called “In it together”. The other tip I would give you is that while my husband has been absolutely brilliant, once I had had the surgery he then had the attitude of “you don’t have cancer anymore, they have cut it out” whereas for me, and for a lot of people on this site, it is a case of a lifelong condition, where if you get the all-clear it is NED (no evidence of disease) so I felt very upset when he thought it was done and dusted.

Just explain to the kids as things arise. Wishing you strength in the coming months, look after yourself as well as your lovely wife


HI - i was diagnosed with high grade BC just before Xmas and have a 8 mont old and 3 yr old and am 32 yrs old, my husband has been a rock and especially when I found out it had spread to the lymph nodes and so am undergoing further surgery this Friday and then chemo/radiotherapy then genetic testing followed by possibly a double masectomy for preventative reasons as v.high risk family history. Up until then we lived a very happy carefree life and my husband was also a tad lazy :slight_smile: but he has had to pretty much do nights feeds/day feeds, miss work, do school runs and tidy/hoover/make dinners etc and its stressful but has made us realise the importance of teh most simple things and we refuse to bicker anymore about irrelevant issues so Iguess our relationship is better although we have this added burden. Another good thing is the bond he now has with my 8 month old as before it was very much me doing everything but now they are as tick as thieves!

Be strong and try to appreciate the good that comes out of these trying times as without that you’d go insane!


& Lolabelle,

Thanks both of you; I think my wife will always worry about what could happen; BC has been a major fear of hers for various reasons since 1993 when her mum diagnosed (she was fine) I’ve got to learn to support and help her to face her fears head on.

Lolabelle - your comments are spot on - it’s amazing what can irritate you, but when this happens things take on a whole new perspective.

Good luck everybody.


I see your wife is back on the ward, hope she recovers well, see your poor little mite has a nosebleed as well.

It never rains eh?


I really agree with you on the men involved needing to have some time for themselves. I’m lucky to be on the home strait now, only 3 Herceptins to go and I’ve got my hair back as well. My OH was persuaded to go 10 pin bowling with an acquaintance and he didn’t really want to go on account of me being really tired and ill. However, I told him to give it a go as we were both bowlers years ago. Anyway, he joined a league that plays every Tuesday and it was great for him as it took him away from all the cancer stuff or a few hours every week; I also felt it was good for us both to get a break from each other one evening a week. He also plays with a guy who has had cancer 4 times - I’ve met him and felt very inspired at the way he has picked up his life every time.

I sometimes think the men get a bit forgotten about and used to wish people would ask him how he was feeling for a change instead of me.

We have a lot to be thankful for; my wife has come through the operation well and is in really good spirits. She looked really well and hopefully she will be home tomorrow.

There’s a long way to go but we’re being positive!

Great to hear Alan, stick in there