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Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

8 REPLIES 8
Jaybro
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi Luna

 

I think I have to consign the failed mammogram to history. I keep being told the mammogram is the most reliable way of early identification of cancer, often before a woman could spot any signs, but also that it’s dependent on the radiographer and how they interpret what they see. Hmm, can’t say that reassured me (did I get a radiographer having a bad day?). I swore after I’d recovered that I would follow it up but now I kind of think it’s time to let it go - s*** happens. After my anniversary torture - sorry - mammogram, I’m no less fearful of the damned things. However, I did have a smile to myself when a woman summoned to go in before me came out after me and it registered that the poor thing had had to have FOUR done, when I only needed two. At last a bonus!

 

I’m now on tenterhooks waiting for the all-clear. Almost a week and no recall is good but my heart lurches every time the phone rings and my husband is watching the letter box daily - he’s as anxious as I am, poor thing. Neither of us is quite up to hyperventilating but I know what you mean. My rational mind tells me they don't need to give us the results there and then as we have had chemo and hormone therapy so they are not expecting to find anything. Hmm again. I think I’m with you. Why can’t they do an ultrasound and give us the results or run a service especially for us where we have the mammogram and go off for coffee, come back for the results. Now that would be great service. I’d even pay for it.

 

As regards the anxiety thing, why not consider going back on the SSRI if it helped. I have pregabalin prescribed for the neuropathic pain caused by chemo - it’s useless but it’s brilliant for my anxiety so I’m staying on it! I know there are loads of pills but mental wellbeing is as important as physical wellbeing and you’d have a great Christmas! Maybe by now you’ve found out when yours is due? Good luck.

 

Meantime, have a read of this if you haven’t. I’m trying to get it out there as I think it’s brilliant - he can read my state of mind : http://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what...

 

Jan x

Evie-S
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

LunaMuna - just wondering how you are getting on? How is the cycling?

Evie xx

LunaMuna
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi Evie

 

Thank you 😘  I am going to  buy that book, I need coping mechanisms or I start to ruminate so that sounds like a good start. 

 

I also have had some counselling and have been told the same, that I have to live in the present but when I look at my children I feel scared about what my future holds. 

I was given a good prognosis I suppose as after my chemotherapy I had a complete response but nobody has ever said the words I am so desperate to hear, "you are cured and it's never coming back". That's how it plays out in my head but in reality, it's not quite the same!

 

I'm glad to hear you are managing a new kind of normal. I watched a discussion on YouTube about the importance of allowing yourself to grieve about the person you once were as we won't be the same again. As long as I can get myself, like you, into a routine that feels familiar I will be happy but at the moment I am so weepy and moody (poor husband) and mostly just frightened. Like you say, I'm still wondering where that truck came from!

 

Thank you for your lovely words about my boys. My youngest always wants to know why hugging him makes mummy cry. 

 

Ive just bought a bicycle and I'm hoping that I can cycle some of my worries away, and losing a stone wouldn't be bad either! 

 

Lots of hugs xxxxx

LunaMuna
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi Jaybro

 

Sorry to hear that about your mammogram, were you ever given an explanation as to why you were given a clear mammogram? 

The thought of getting a recall is very scary, but thank you for the heads up regarding what to possibly expect. I think that considering the circumstances, women should be told the outcome of the mammogram there and then. I can feel myself almost hyperventilating thinking about having to wait for results in the post 

 

Hopefully we can all have a better Christmas this year, I don't want it to be dominated by everything cancer again. Somehow though, I've got a feeling Christmas won't be quite the same for me for a long time.

 

Good luck with your mammogram and big hugs xxx

 

Evie-S
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi Luna

That’s interesting to read what Jaybro says about mammogram timing - I thought it was anniversary of diagnosis, but must depend on whether you have surgery or chemo first. I was like you and had chemo first. Best check with your team to find out when they do it. Some good advice from Jaybro

 

Thank you for your kind words. For me the worry has changed over time, it comes and goes, but as I come round to the anniversary it hits hardest. Everyone handles it differently though, you may well find that you lock up that goblin way sooner than you expect. I don’t know if the worry ever totally goes, but I have settled into a new normal and you will too. This year I am planning to do something nice on my diagnosis date to try to change it into a positive date again - that’s the plan anyway, always easier to say than do! I’ve moved house this year so had something else to focus on. I wouldn’t recommend that as a distraction though - it had its own stresses!

 

It is early days for you, you’ve been on a rollercoaster of treatment, not quite sure where that truck that hit you came from. For a while you are under the constant care of doctors then suddenly you are set free, and feel very vulnerable. I was warned about that and it was very true. I had some counselling afterwards which helped a lot. She advised me to try to stay in the moment and not try to guess what will happen in the future. Try to think about what you would say to a friend in your situation - you wouldn’t tell her she was a part time mummy, you would reassure her that she was doing a great job and very much loved by her boys. Then tell that to yourself. Does that make any sense? It’s all about being kind and gentle to ourselves.

 

Oh yes, I’ve just thought of a very good book that you might like that was recommended by OldSpice on here - called The Cancer Survivor’s Companion by Frances Goodhart and Lucy Atkins. It has really good advice and tells you that “thoughts aren’t facts. A worried thought is just your interpretation: it is not a fact”. I try to remember that when the fear goblin strikes.

 

Sorry, that was a bit of a long one.

 

I wish you both a much happier Christmas this year (I know it’s a bit early!) 

Hugs Evie xx

 

Jaybro
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi Luna

 

I’m in a similar position and have had some wobbles about it. I was diagnosed late-September 2018 and had my surgery mid-October. My oncologist said they time it from the surgery (when they get the full diagnosis) and so I’m having my first follow up mammogram on the 25th, a year and two weeks since my surgery. However, since you had chemo before surgery, I guess that won’t work for you. 

 

I hate mammograms (crazy when I put myself through chemo and radiotherapy - and it’s only half the agony now). I actually had a clear mammogram 6 months before I was found to have two extensive cancers, so I don’t have much faith in them. However my BCNurse tells me they are the most reliable form of early diagnosis so... I’m going to bite the bullet. Of course I am. She also warned me that the recall rate is higher than for routine mammograms as they check the slightest thing and not to panic as most recalls turn out to be fine. Something to bear in mind?

 

It would be good if you could contact your BCN to ask about timing and to share your fears - you aren’t the first. If it’s December, you can then decide whether to get it over and done with or request a deferral for very good reasons - your children need to make up for last Christmas! I’m guessing your Christmas was a bit like mine last year - I had my first chemo on Christmas Eve! Christmas got cancelled. I hope you get some reassurance x

LunaMuna
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Thank you Evie. I like the idea of putting it back till after christmas. We really need a good one this year. I was crying last year in Santa's grotto!

I like the sound of the goblin in a box! I'm hoping with time that I can keep him locked in the box for good! 

You are doing so well, well done.you 😘

Does it get any easier the worry? I'd like to get some normality back. At the moment I only feel like a part time mummy as sometimes my head is somewhere else.

Thanks again Evie xxxxx

Evie-S
Member

Re: Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi LunaMuna

First of all a big hug coming your way 🤗. You will see from reading this forum that many many people suffer anxiety, so don’t beat yourself up about feeling anxious. It’s very normal and very understandable given what life has thrown at us.

My diagnosis was also early December (2016) and I have my mammograms in November usually, I think they tend to be around the anniversary. So I totally get what you are saying about getting really anxious around this time of year. Why don’t you see if you can delay yours into January if you think that would help? Why don’t you give your BCN a call and get some advice?

There is another thread on here, I can’t remember its name just now, but someone talked about the “fear goblin” striking and then putting the goblin back firmly in its box. I really like that image and the idea of locking our fears away. 

Please do chat away more if it helps, you are not alone with your worries. Please ask if I can help any more.

Hugs, Evie xx

LunaMuna
Member

Terrified of follow-up mammogram.

Hi Ladies

 

I hope you can help. I am having a major wobble. Every day I'm worrying about something new. I've done 7 months of chemo, had a diep flap reconstruction and 3 weeks of radiotherapy. I am continuing on herceptin, perjeta, zoladex and tamoxifen.

 

My anxiety is in overdrive at the moment as I have come off my sertraline I take for anxiety, I have taken this for five years after the birth of my son. Mix this with all the chemicals getting pumped into me and I'm a complete wreck.

 

Today's wobble is when do I expect to have my annual mammogram on opposite breast. My operation was in July and I finished my radiotherapy nearly 4 weeks ago. It'll be a year from my diagnosis at the beginning of December and I'm terrified that I will be asked to attend for a mammogram around the same time. I have 2 young boys and I really wanted it to be a nice Christmas after the completely awful one last year. 

 

My question is when did you get follow up mammogram done on opposite breast.

 

Thank you all so much 

 

Xxx