I can contribute to this as well, as I have just come through the other side, having finished treatment a month ago.
I was diagnosed at 39 with a 15mm grade 3 aggressive HER2+ tumour.
For all those who are on the start of your journey, please be assured that it is manageable and you do get there. I worked all the way through my chemo and radiotherapy as I was determined not to let the side effects get the better of me. Yes, the chemo is tough, but it is manageable and you do get through it. I have to be honest and say that as tough as it was, it wasn't as tough as I thought it was going to be beforehand. The first week was the worst, you pick up in week 2 and feel pretty good in week 3. Everyone experiences treatment differently, maybe I was just one of the lucky ones, or maybe it was just sheer determination that got me though it all as I did.
Now that treatment is over I feel amazing and can't stop smiling. Apart from some joint pain, I feel back to my old self and am ready to get out there and live the heck out of life!
Coping with a cancer diagnosis, and going through treatment, takes its toll on us mentally, emotionally, and physically, but, at the same time, it makes us stronger, more determined, and it makes us look at the world through a different pair of eyes.
I send my love to everyone who have either just been diagnosed, or are going through treatment. Keep positive and stay strong - it's half the medicine!
You are so kind Sheba to put this post on. You are a source of inspiration to us all and you have mad me and I am sure many others realise that there really is a life after all this. Hard to imagine while you are going through it all. We will never be the same, of course, but life will become a little more 'normal'
Thanks again, Val x
I thought I'd post this where people recently diagnosed might read as I am now a year on and looking back there are a few things I wish I had known. I hope others will add to this but I hope that people put useful/hopeful and encouraging things rather than any problems as I would love to give all newly diagnosed people something good to hold on to in the first few weeks.
I had a small tumour in my left breast diagnosed at routine mammogram in March 2014. I'm 59 with two grown up children and a 13 year old. I had lumpectomy, Sentinel Node Biopsy, Chemo, Radiotherapy and am taking anastrazole for 5-10years and have just had my 10th Herceptin injection.
Diagnosis is terrifying but you really do hit the road running and all the treatments I have had have been ok and nowhere near as bad as I imagined. There are loads of places on here that will talk you through what to expect. Nearly everyone I have met has said the same. Make sure you do your exercises they really ease the pain and get things back to as near normal as possible.
When I was diagnosed my surgeon said I was one of the lucky ones as I had ER+ PR+ and HER2+. I thought he was mad when he then listed all the treatment I needed. Since then I have been told HER2 is the worst type then that it is the best type. There is no great type whatever type you have you wish you didn't have it but you will get through the treatment.
I wish I had known that when they remove the lump they leave clips behind I thought it was a new lump.
A year on my breast is tender sometimes very tender especially where the SNB was done. The radio therapy added to that. My good breast also plays up that is due to the hormone tabs and the damage to veins from the chemo. This is all normal and expected.
I expected my physical recovery to be over much quicker than it has been. In many ways I feel fine, I have never really felt ill. A little bit poorly when I had the chemo but nothing dreadful. I am able to do everything that I could do before diagnosis but I still have lots of discomfort and minor side effects that I wasn't expecting.
My hair fell out really quickly and very dramatically on the 12th day after my first chemo. It feels like forever without hair and now I have thick curly hair that is about 2.5 inches long. I used to have thin straight hair!!!
Getting used to the post cancer me is hard and living with the worry of it coming back is probably the most difficult. I have found it really helps to tell myself each day that I feel ok and that I am no different to anyone else in the world today who feels ok. Today we are alive so get on with the day.
When the gremlins visit let them in. Have a chat with them and then let them go. Then do something, anything to distract yourself.
Do whatever feels right for you. Cry, swear, rant, laugh there will be times for all of them. In a years time I hope like me you will look back and think that year has flown and you know what it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I've met lots of really kind people and I never realised that my family and friends loved me so much. It's not nice having this but from the moment of diagnosis you and everyone around you is working towards your recovery. I hope it's a short road.