Worried for my dear wife...

Posted on behalf of new user Charlie:

My wife has breast cancer and has been told she must have a mastectomy asap, and as soon as its appropriate a 2nd preventative mastecotomy as she is the 4th direct generation for this condition. To significantly complicate matters she has had a very severe cancer phobia for 30+ years where she has been suicidal with the condition, has had significant treatment and in previous “scares” she has both deliberately and accidentally overdosed. Now its for “real” and she has already started taking way too many pills “to help her sleep and to cope”. I really don’t know how to support her anymore and to personally cope going forward. There are no easy answwers I know, but any words and support much appreciated.

Dear Charlie,
My thoughts are with you and your wife, it sounds like you are having a tough time.
I don’t feel qualified to give you any answers but will bump up your message as you haven’t had a reply yet. I’m sure the other users on here would agree that a Breast Cancer diagnosis is initially terrifying whether you have a phobia or not. However as the prognosis and possible treatment route, options and choices become clearer, things do get somewhat easier.
My main advice would be to enrol as much support for yourself and your wife from wherever you can. Perhaps try to get some information on counselling including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, which may be beneficial to your wife. Get as much help from your GP and Hospital and don’t ever think that you are being a nuisance to them.
I wish you and your wife all the very best and am sending positive thoughts your way.
lots of love

Hi Charlie,

Just a word to try and be positive, although i feel a bit in the same boat as yourself.

We are back in for 2nd chemo tomorrow (exactly 2 months after MX) and i feel awfuly guilty as Sue is trying to work between sessions while she can and i am off as due to the nature of my work they will not let me back in until things are settled, all i know is i’ll be sat at the hospital over 6 hrs tomorrow pottering round, holding S’s hand grabbing brew’s/chocolate or whatever is needed. But just by being around cooking the meals, sorting out the kids, doing whatever needs doing to relieve any pressure is being a really big support for my wife hopefully you doing the same will play a big part, a little while ago we both needed a little help sleeping/coping but hopefully that phase will pass. i know going back to work and being occupied is keeping S from worrying too much, hopefully MRS C will be able to settle .

Hope you get it all sorted and good luck with it :slight_smile:

Oh Charlie,

I just wish I could physically give you both a big hug right now. It’s at times like this that I wish there really was a magic wand - I’d freely give it to your wife if so!

I agree with Tanya - please, please take all the support you need from WHEREVER. If anyone has told you you can phone them in the middle of the night, and you need to do so, then please do it if necessary - they really mean it. The Samaritans are always there 24/7, and do you have a local cancer support centre, maybe attached to your hospital etc? I live in a big city, and we have a dedicated cancer hospital here with a cancer support centre attached to it. We’re also lucky to have another centre which is a charity. They do all sorts of things like aromatherapy, counselling, reiki, etc.

Your wife’s very worst fears have come to life - but for so many of us there is hope and really good prognoses after a cancer diagnosis - your wife has had huge issues to deal with over the last 30 yrs, and that’s awful - if you can think of anything that’s helped her over the years to cope, then remind her of that, cos she’ll not remember anything like that right now cos of all the dark thoughts she’ll be having.

Tanya’s idea of the cognitive behaviour therapy is a really good one - counselling has helped me enormously with life issues over the years, and with my present new breast cancer diagnosis.

Hospital staff are absolutely brilliant - they won’t mind you contacting them!

Take care of both of you, and please keep posting here if you feel you want to!

Love to you both! xx

Hi Charlie,

I am a mental health nurse and i also have had breast cancer and can i just add that your wife can also go and see her GP about how she is feeling and can also attend the adult A and E department in her area and ask to see the mental health crisis team and a mental health assessment can be completed and your wife can be signposted to the correct services to meet her needs.

I work in one of these mental health teams and we deal with people who are suicidal for various reasons and the team will know what to do and how and who can help.

Best wishes to you both Deb

My sincere thanks to everyone for the quick and supporting thoughts and comments. I discovered a few days ago that my wife has been taking a large number of “comforting” painkillers and sleeping pills to help her, and we’ve been there before. But hopefully we are back in control and yes things have calmed down a little bit. The hospital staff are amazing, and our GP is brilliant and hope to see aa counsellor early next week.
I am surprised at how some people seem all of a sudden to stay away and not be in contact as its almost a catching illness but sdaly perhaps they just don’t know how to respond!
One of the difficulties is the apparent waiting time for the first mastectomy, another two weeks, which makes almost seven weeks since finding the lump and seeing the GP, is this normal? The second preventative mastectomy is suggested sometime next year?
She is so frightened as great grandma, grandma, mum, mums sister (auntie) and now her has the condition.
She just sits or attempts to sleep all day long, and I’ve stopped my part time work to be at home as she cannot be trusted not to take more “comforting” medication.
Every day is so stressful, and I’m not sure I’m doing the right things to help or to try and re-assure.
Sorry rambling on a bit now so I’ll stop.
Thanks again to you all.

Dear Charlie, I am so sorry to hear of your predicament. I also had a 7 week gap between finding the lump and having my mastectomy, it seems longer than normal, and I felt the most appalling terror. However the minute I came round after the op I felt relief. That was over 2 years ago and I am now fit and healthy. My experience was that the waiting period is the worst and nothing will be as bad again. I cannot really express how I feel for you both, I hope you get as much support as you both need, and send you both my very best wishes, Jane x


Keep on using thing this site even if it not your post you gain so much support and understanding about what you and your wife are having to go through by seeing everyone elses experiences.

It is hard for our partners as they are in many ways a bystander and often can’t actually influence things which is a difficult thing to deal with. But believe me I love and adore my wonderful man more then I ever did for his support and unconditional love over the last year. I am guilty of not always telling him that though, so will go and spread hugs now. Love and best wishes to both of you, Alx