You poor thing Welsh girl. I have sent you a pm. My mother had to have rads for her lumpectomy and as I'm a teacher and live 18 miles away from her she had to attend her daily radiotheraphy sessions on her own. My father had died 3 months before and she felt terribly lonely. This was highlighted by her having to attend her sessions alone. She was 76 at the time and had to travel in an ambulance first thing in the morning and wait until late in the afternoon for the return lift, even though her rads lasted for only a 15 mins or so. She felt that time of her life was the hardest to bear. even more than hearing she had the cancer because she missed having my father accompany her. Both my sister and I felt dreadful but couldn't help her out because being teachers we couldn't take time off work every day for 6 weeks. I understand her plight even more now.
I know you must be feeling vulnerable and fragile but I detect an inner strength that has carried you this far. Believe in yourself and you'll get the strength to carry you through your rad sessions. If a daily bus journey seems too much, ask for the ambulance service. My mum woudl take sandwiches and books and puzzles to do all day, supplemented by tea from the WRVS counter. She survived it. Also, although I am lucky to have a very supportive partner I know that if I had to have rads he could not give up that amount of daily time at the moment because of pressures in work and I would be using that ambulance service myself - I don't drive- and I wouldn't have any friends or neighbours who could give up work time to accompany me. If you read my pm, I also mention a local breast cancer support group who might be able to help.
I could witter on endlessly but I feel for you being so lonely at such an emotionally vulnerable time. Take care.
Glad your results showed no nodes were affected.
You and me both, eh?
I have to have radiotherapy because of problems on the chest wall so they want to zap every last cancer cell there,and now I'm over the shock of it all I want that extra reassurance too.
I never had a reconstruction as I had an infection after second op so have to wait 6 months or so... or maybe it's 12! Either way I'm not sure I want to enter a hospital theatre again...
Still having problems with soreness and seroma swelling and cannot wear a bra at all! I think 30 minutes is my record! How about you?
Consequently, being lop-sided does nothing for your self confidence.
Feeling really low now, as going to result meeting on Wed on my own showed just how alone I am! Not sure how strong I'm going to be in the future when I have to for rads on my own.
These low patches are awful aren't they?
Do hope your tears are ceasing now. It's such a rocky road...
Horrified to hear you only had 4 minutes for consultation, that seems so unfair! No wonder you feel dismayed. Well done for bouncing back and focussing on your good news. Really wish I could bounce back too!
I was really pleased to read that your nodes were clear Welsh Girl– so no chemo? If so, wow! That’s really great news! A real bummer, however, about the rads but as each one gets done you’ll be that much nearer to being clear of this horrible business. Just one question, why do you need rads if you’ve had an mx? Sorry to sound ignorant.
I was so sorry to hear you were on your own having the results. I quite understand the brain turning to mush scenario. That’s why I write all my points down on paper now before I go. That really helps, and on my first post op appt I didn’t even ask the questions, I just handed him the paper! My OH hasn’t always been much help, bless him. When I was given the dx, he felt so upset the BCN had to hand him paper towels because she thought he was going to be sick! I had my head down wailing and couldn’t work out why the nurse was fussing with him. The second time I needed him to listen properly was when the bcn called at home with details of the op and he was fussing with his phone, as someone important from work had called just at that moment and wanted info asap. He hadn’t listened to much she had said and I, of course, was too busy wailing!! So, the third time round I gave him the duplicate questions I gave the surgeoen and it kept him busy scribbling down the answers because once again, I was busy starting to wail. Yesterday, he proved himself, however, because I forgot to ask for a copy of my path report and, prompted by the piece of paper I had given him , he asked the surgeon for me. I would have been mad mad if I hadn’t asked for that.
My results were good. No nodes involvement was confirmed, so no chemo. I still don’t know why they felt they had to recheck the results, making me wait an extra month for confirmation, but at least when I get a copy of my path report I can see it all there in black and white. Despite my good news, I spent the entire evening crying my eyes out. It wasn’t just the relief; yesterday’s appt brought back all the trauma of my first appt, when I was told unequivocally I needed a mx. The past 3 months’ worry, despair, fear, all broke over my head and I started to mourn all over again for losing my breast. My OH just couldn’t understand it.
Like you, I’m not happy with my recon, tried to say something yesterday but told to return in 3 months when it has settled down to discuss nipple recon. He seemed really pleased with the implant, even though I’m now totally unbalanced, it’s rock hard, with dents in one side and an unsightly overhanging piece of flesh over my affected armpit. All he could suggest was an overhaul of my healthy breast to make them more balanced. As the clinic was running late, I only had 4 minutes consultation with him and no bcn present to consult with after. As I was half naked for the entire consultation it was very difficult to hold him there with my questions. How can one be assertive in these circumstances? Now I have to wait 3 months before I see him again. I really envy hearing others having a good rapport with their surgical team. Still, I’ve had good news and have to put all my experiences into perspective, especially when I read what others are going through.
Take care of yourselves everyone.
Lovely to meet you Daisy and Esme too, and of couse Annys.
Your interest is just so kind.
Results were nodes clear, mastectomy was definitely needed as two new lesions found in top half so total measurement of 115mm was really extensive! Felt glad that mastectomy was necessary after all.
18 sessions of radiotherapy needed now. Next appointment with oncologist,who is a woman and supposed to be very approachable so I will learn more about it then.
During my meeting with surgeon my mind went to mush and I couldn't remember any responses nor even ask the questions. I was really hopeless because I kept on supporting the surgeon as he has to give out so much bad news and he was so pleased with my scar. He kept saying it was a good outcome and behind my false smile I was so unhappy with all the lumps and bumps and discolouration of my wound. The seroma had to be drained again and I still ache, am very sore with a totally dead weak right arm that he can't explain away so he has directed me to my GP to be referred on....
And so it goes on....
My BCN recognised I was 'pretending' so I had a good cry with her later. It didn't help that I was all on my own to receive my results as my friend couldn't attend and I have no one else to call upon. No one in my family remembered that it was my result day so I felt very alone indeed! E-mailed a couple of people today but not spoken to anyone. Tomorrow I will see GP and know that I'll start crying again...I just hope she 'sees' beyond the tears and hears my plight.
Hope your results were ok today Annys and that you're feeling they were what you were expecting. Get in touch when you can. I'm thinking of you.
Thanks again for listening, I really appreciate your concern. It's good to have you as cyber pals.
Take care tonight, Welsh girl x
Thanks again Daisy. I'm penning my questions for my surgeon as I'm browsing through the forum. Let's hope alll goes well tomorrow!
annys, I was reading of all you have managed to do and so pleased for you even the chicken portion had me thinking that there is a reason for everything and that you deserved an expensive salmon fillet and a lovely desert.
Well done so far its a fantastic start and more good things to come. When you talk to the consultant just think "I deserve" and tell him your issues - he may just have the solution to the problem as its his job. This disease knocks the confidence out of us - but not for long.
Look in the mirror - what an amazing sight and I dont know you but hey to come this far needs appreciating.
God bless everyone and heres hoping welshgirl is ok and with good news.
Thanks for your lovely post Daisy, it did me the power of good reading it. That's one of the great benefits of this forum, reading how others further down the line manage to pull through, whilst understanding what we're experiencing at the moment.
Welsh girl, I'm so so sorry to hear about you having to have rads after all you've been through. I hope your results were ok? Pm me if you want to as I'd like to give suppport if I can. Take care.
Hello everyone - had mastectomy, SN and Tamoxifen since June 2009. I just wanted to say its OK to cry and yes it does ease up once the treatment is under way and you know that your coming through the darkness.
I admire you ladies, Welsh girl, Anys and others as you are going through the most terrible days but are so strong. Can we just remember we are not superwoman and that it is ok to cry, get angry, laugh and have fun even - life is exactly that. I was frowned upon for having a laugh with my son - he caught me trying to hide the crying and just sat with me and he just tried to make me smile and it helped. He doesnt get the fear and is ignorant about the facts (his own fears)but he is trying and always there. I have joint pain and cannot walk in the mornings and the tiredness I had at the beginning of all this did not compare to the tiredness I felt on taking Tamoxifen at the start. I seemed to be exhausted just going to the bathroom but I did combat that with daily walks - first I went for 10 mins ha end of the road and when I got back I slept for and hour haha but I kept going and now I have a part time job in the afternoons (couldnt go back to teaching) and although I still get tired it is a normal tired.
The sun will shine again and its just that you have to go through this now. It doesnt just go but you learn how to deal with it and everyone is different. My consultant says Tamoxifen has a common SE of joint pain and my GP says none of his Tam patients has any joint pain - making me feel silly for mentioning it - do I care - no I deal with it myself thinking how inadequate he must feel not having knowledge about this drug and remember that I have a patient survey to fill in haha
I wish you all peace and hope that treatment goes well with you all and allow yourselves to grieve for the person you were, the breast you had and allow the natural full recovery of all the emotions with a positive thought for the future.
I aim to get there and have the all clear in 4 1/2 years time!
Thanks Esme, How lovely to hear from you.
I know what you're saying about the oven incident, mine was the pot of cheese sauce that splattered everywhere as it fell out of the fridge! I just balled as I knew I couldn't do the scrubbing action with my dead arm and the left one just doesn't do the right sort of job!!! Luckily a friend called and found me crying about the stained carpet and took over! She's a good pal!
Great to have your good wishes for tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes. Must get to bed now but it was so kind of you to respond.
Goodnight, Welsh girl x
I did speak to my BCN today to rehearse one area of concern, to check whether it was appropriate to raise with surgeon. She was very supportive so know she's on my side. Good advice though!
Hi Welsh Girl,
I don't think I've 'spoken' to you before, but just want to wish you all the best for tomorrow. I know what you mean about the weepiness, I coped really well with all my treatment last year and then two days before Christmas my oven blew up and I completely fell apart. Since then I've done so much crying I could fill a bath tub! I realize now that it was not the oven that really got to me, (A kind friend fixed it for me the same day), but just the whole reality of everything hitting me. It was just the straw that broke the camels back!
Re. your painful arm, I had a MX and ANC in Aug. and couldn't believe how weak my arm was, but 6 months on I've regained a lot of movement and strength, so be patient and do the exercises they give you as this helps a lot. I think perhaps we have to accept that it will never be quite what it was, but it certainly does improve.
It's a pain about your rads but you will get thru it. Thank heaven for this forum! I only discovered it a week or two ago but it's so good to get such a lot of support from others in same situation. Be firm with your surgeon. Will your BCN be there? I always find it easier to let mine know if I have any worries as she is a good backup! Perhaps you could speak to her before you see the surgeon?
Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
Going to get my results tomorrow from surgeon, although I have been told I will have to have radiotherapy sessions which was extremely disappointing! Previously told, mx was the last hurdle!!!
After 7 months of:surgery,waiting for results,bad news,more surgery, more waiting,bad news and then the wait of 3 months for mastectomy I am emotionally worn out. So to be facing more unexpected treatment is a bombshell for me.
Got to write up my questions tonight so I think the anxiety is responsible for my current weepiness.
Also my arm still doesn't work and is so weak that I really feel worried about ever returning to a 'normal' independence!
I have ME/chronic fatigue so hope surgeon won't dismiss me and my painful arm as NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.....
Sorry but I am very worried.
Welsh girl x
Glad your days are going well
Hi Welsh girl
Had another good day today, I really beieve it's the sunshine. Don't push yourself too hard, remember you're a few weeks behind me so you're entitled to a few more days/weeks on the sofa!!!
Your positive progress with your chores is going to spur me on to do the washing up right now!!!
Who needs Olympic games we have just as courageous trials to complete! Pity there aren't any medals though!!?!
Congratulations on your achievements today. Well done you!
You deserve a chocolate medal or some sort of treat anyhow,maybe a glass of vino???
My seroma says thank you for your kind wishes!!!
Welsh girl x
Hi Welsh girl
How nice for you to get away for the weekend. But I'm full of admiration because going away involves some planning and packing etc so no wonder you've felt so tired.
First day of March with the sun shining has done me the power of good. Carried out my plan to start cleaning up and felt better that the kitchen looked clean for the first time in 5 weeks!! Even cooked dinner tonight but put an extra chicken portion in the oven for lunch tomorrow and forgot about it, so could have done better. Rang a colleague from work as well tonight so I feel pleased with my achievements to day.
Good luck with results. Have you seen the leaflet Understanding your pathology report? It can be downloaded from the breast cancer care but I asked to have it sent to me and I wish I'd had it to hand when I went to get my reuslts. I shall be thinking of you on Weds.
Take care of yourself and your seroma!!
Been away at the weekend staying with good friends who look after me very well but I still feel really knackered all the time - whatever I do!
Even social company tires me out!
Seroma filling up nicely again so I'm presuming that contributes to the discomfort! Seeing surgeon for results this Wed so I'll have it drained again then. I only had mx because previous infection from last lumpectomy prevented imm reconstruction. Upset at the time but thought I will have it in future sometime but this surgery experience has put me right off! Don't want any more operations or anaesthetics ever again.... Obviously I may change my mind in the future.
Sorry to hear your recon is so uncomfortable. I think you're really courageous putting up with it! You will have to be very strong and tell your surgeon exactly how you feel and I really hope he listens kindly and is able to reassure you. I'll be thinking of you on Thursday.
Like you my body is really feeling wobbly. I'm full of aches and pains and I'm not even on the cancer drugs however I do suffer from ME/chronic fatigue! (I keep wanting to put up a new post about ME and cancer but I don't know how to set it up!!) Housework is pretty minimal and some areas are really in chaos but I don't have the energy to sort it! It's so very frustrating and sometimes I just get overcome by how difficult this situation is. Also responding to phonecalls is just too tiring for words! Afterwards,rather than prepare meals for supper I just have to lie down and recover and then I'm too weary to cook a meal and just rely on snack meals! I worry that my body is not receiving the correct amounts of nutrients and then I'm even more worried...
Sorry to moan but living on my own I do go round in circles and it is good to put it into words at last. However I am delighted that my mood is still good so that indeed is a plus.
Good luck for your week ahead.
Welsh girl x
Hi Welsh Girl
Sorry to hear the seroma is starting to build up again. It must be very uncomfortable? How's your recon coming along? Are you pleased with it? Mine looks awful now. Its moved up and sunk a little and just makes me hate looking at myself. I'm due to see the surgeon on Thurs - scared at telling him I'm not happy. He's not someone you can chat to easily. I've also been out for a few walks this weekend and found that my knees start to hurt really badly about half a hour's steady walking. Thsi has happened three times now and I'm a bit concerned as walking is the only form of exercise I will commit to, being a natural couch potato. My OH is sure it's not the tamoxifen as he doesn't think it could act that quickly on the joints - been on it for 3 weeks. So that will be another question to add to the list on Thurs. Also getting the last results in for my pathology - they were re checking them. So plenty to think about this week. Am going to start being 'normal again' as in housework, cooking etc as I've let the house go to pot, although I'm nervouse about hoovering, my hoover is very heavy, and ironing. Paranoid about getting lymphoedema so don't know when it's ok to pick up heavy things again.
Hope you have a good week too. Take care.
I'm sorry you are feeling too quiet and lonely.
That's a really horrid feeling when you can't find any distraction...
I've been through a major illness before and had to take ill health retirement from my job in teaching so I suppose I've had years of practice to get used to my own company but it wasn't easy!
Life without routine of whatever nature can be very very difficult.
I must admit I sleep a lot because I feel so uncomfortable still, 3 weeks after mx,watch TV, do crosswords and make food. I achieve so little and yet feel so weary so I do 'waste' a lot of time on the sofa! Sometimes I feel guilty when others come into my home and see I haven't done the washing up etc but other days I just do exactly what I feel like and I always run out of time...
I think you have to do what feels right for you.
We shouldn't beat ourselves up so much.
I know people hear my voice being strong and 'normal' again and they think I'm ok whereas in fact I'm still really sore and achey and this seroma is building up again so that makes matters worse.
I'm not sure if any of this is making sense Annys but maybe you need to be quiet at the moment or you need to plan some different types of distraction for yourself. Either way make sure you can contact people too.
Looking forward to hearing how you've been today. I trust it was ok but as you say the rain and gloom doesn't help!
This is a really tricky journey isn't it?
Hi welsh girl
Just glad that for once my computer skills have worked. Hope you enjoyed your trip out even if you do feel wiped out. I went out for a lunch time meal on Mon with my OH and really enjoyed myself. Felt human again although this week has been very quiet and lonely. My sister's daily visits after work have finished now and I suppose its up to me to be more active now. The weather doesn't help as I'm not inclined to go out for a walk if its cold, damp and wet.Must make a bigger effort. Take care.
Your PM certainly arrived! Thanks Annys.
I WILL respond but I went out today for the first time and feel quite wrecked! Think I overdid it!!!!
Will be back after a long lie-down...
Great to hear from you again Welsh girl. Sorry to hear about the seroma. Sounds nasty! I sent you a pm but I'm not sure if it has arrived because nothing flashed up on the computer to tell me it had gone. Apologies for not replying to your pm as I didn't know it was there, only discovered it yesterday. Hope you're still feeling good today. Take care.
Had an awful painful seroma sloshing around my chest which made me feel so rubbish. Couldn't use my right arm at all!
Consequently couldn't e-mail so have been absent for a while now.
Yesterday had seroma drained and it felt worse last night but today I have arm movement back so I can restart my exercises and begin e-mailing again! Hoorah!
Mood still good since mx.
Awaiting results next week...don't know what to expect!
Just hoping the mx was the last step before I can look forward again.
Been reading the forums throughout time away but it's great to be able to write again and be back in touch. However I have 'lost' this contribution 3 times now so feeling pretty exhausted now!!!
Goodnight to you all and thank you again for your support, especially Annys and Lynn.
Hi Welsh girl
Nice to hear from you again and that your surgery went well. I hope this catches you before you see your surgeon on fri. I had so many questions to ask my surgeon. I knew I'd never remember them or if I did I wouldn't remember the answers! I listed the 6 most important questions I wanted to know the answers to and wrote them down on two separate pieces of paper. I gave him one and as he answered each question I wrote down his answers on mine. I found this very helpful because even though I was much calmer this time round I still didn't remember everything and found it really useful to read his answers hours later.
I asked questions about my original dx because if you remember he was quite horrible to me and I only had a hazy understanding of what was wrong with me. He then elaborated on what he found.I asked questions about my lymph nodes. I also had to ask questions about why my full results are still not back and he said it was to check up again but he was so up beat about the whole operation and how mx was absolutely right for me given the fact that 8mm turned out to be invasive. I'm due to go back in march for the rest of my results but he seemed to think it was only a case of dotting the i's and crossing the ts and that I don't need chemo.I also asked if my cancer was oestrogen positive and it was so I've now started on tamoxifen.
I was determined he was going to answer my questions, given his previous treatment of me and I had rehearsed a few sentences if he was going to brush my question sheet aside. But he didn't and in fairness to him he did give me all the time I needed.In fact he was so admiring of his handiwork (and so far it looks good)he was very nice to me and spoke to me as a person rather than an object.
Good luck with your results. I agree with your comment about the mental aspects during the waiting period and the lack of support. I went to a breast cancer support group in my area 2 weeks after my surgery and found it really helpful to speak to others like me. An ex pychiatric nurse gave a talk about depression and stress,and she was so sympathetic about anxiety attacks I felt really comforted. If only she had been around before my op! She made me realise that I have spent all my life dogged by anxiety, as I worry about everything. I even had a day of hysteria about taking tamoxifen because of the side effects. I have started it now , one week on and so far have had no side effects at all.
I have had some inflammation in my implant site but am treating it with anit-imflammatories. Otherwise I'm recovering well. Hope you are too. Good luck and let us know how you got on.
Hi there, welcome back (if you know what I mean ) - you're sounding very calm now. Well done for everything you've been through. I hope your results are good too.
Re pain from lymph node removal - unfortunately I can only agree, I had 9 removed at MX on 28th January and still find it v painful 2 and half weeks on. Only advice I've been given is to keep taking the pain meds and not to "go light" on them.
Wishing you all the best with your recovery
Hi Welsh girl
Here's a BCC publication called 'Understanding your pathology report' which may be helpful when you get your results:
To read about lymph node removal and recovery information following surgery follow these links:
Please call our helpline to talk through any concerns or for any further information on 0808 800 6000, weekdays 9-5 and Sat 9-2.
It's me again...
Going for results on Friday 19th. As I've lost my right breast with mx should I be worried? Or am I being too naive?
Nobody really explained about the node removal beforehand and I didn't ask surgeon as I was too busy enquiring about his needlework skills...
What questions should I be asking this time?
Welsh girl (again)
Had mx on Thursday 4th Feb and had the most kindness offered before surgery and afterwards at William Harvey hospital, Ashford.
What was I worrying about?
But the weeks of severe depression before were so unbearable!
Once new date set up by BCN the tears stopped and the awful body pains and a real calmness descended over me...
The waiting, the worry and the fear were just unbearable and it seemed no one understood until the depressive symptoms became hysterical in nature! I hope other sufferers are recognised earlier than myself. The support found for cancer is just not evident for mental health patients! They have two hideous conditions to deal with and only the cancer symptoms are recognised and understood. I am very angry and it doesn't help now to be told that the 'system' failed me.
I don't want anyone else to go through what I did and when eventually I am stronger I will have to try and effect change for others who follow...
Felt very safe in hospital and didn't want to leave... Been out a week now and had loads of practical support from friends and family which with my jelly legs, memory loss, confused brain and dead breast I really needed as I live on my own.
Still very uncomfortable despite pain relief and area of node removal is so very very sore.
Is this 'normal'?
Emotionally, I'm coping with a wound not a loss of breast! Anyone else had this cancer block after mx?
I'm calm,relieved that op went well and have just about got enough brain cells to write this.... with left hand only! I'm very slow!
Thank you to all of you who wrote to me and wished me well that week before. I can never explain what a great comfort you all were. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness is immeasureable... I will stop rambling now!!!
A very big hug to you all, from Welsh girl xxx
PS Surgeon and I actually laughed together before op as I instructed him to do very tiny neat stitching and leave me with no dog-ear!!!
He was great and has indeed stitched me up very neatly! 10/10 Doc!
Thanks for you post. Today went well for me - at last some good news. My surgeon was actually quite pleasant. He told me that I did have invasive cancer, when previously he thought it was non-invasive so the decision to have the mx was the right one as the cancer has now all gone. It was 8mm grade 1. He is 90% certain there is no lymph node involvement so no chemo thank goodness. He'll know completely when I see him in one month as pathology are checking again. I handed him 6 written questions I wanted answering and he answered them all. He even called me by my name and made me feel human. He was also very admiring of his work, my new reconsruction, and I have to admit it's much better than I thought.So for the first time in 3 months I feel quiet light hearted!!
I hope Welsh girl is coping well tonight. My thoughts are with her.
Nice to her from you . Annys x
Hi Welsh girl and annys - so sorry you are having such a difficult time - I'm thinking of you both to-day.
I wasn't sure whether to chip in here. I had my mx 6 months ago after 6 months of chemo. I very nearly refused the surgery, but kept telling myself it was necessary. Did a lot of crying afterwards for my lost breast, but slowly I have got used to my new body. I had 3 weeks of rads after recovering from surgery and now I'm back at work on pahsed return.
If you have any questions please ask.
Love to you both
Thank you for your support.
Yesterday was quite a struggle but calmer after speaking to counsellor. However, she must have conveyed what a dreadful state I am in because my BCN phoned me with an offer to go in one day earlier...
So I'm first in the queue Thursday morning at William Harvey hospital, Ashford. My BCN at Canterbury has liaised with Ashford so that there will be a BCN waiting for me to help me through the registration part and then the deed is done.
My BCN Penny has been wonderful and although I'm worried I appear as a difficult child, she has recognised my depressive behaviour and sorted me out some very thoughtful BCN support.
These BCNs are to be respected and gloried for their efforts. Now maybe I can cope better with my 'distant yet efficient' surgeon because I will have the 'warmth' from elsewhere. A little tenderness goes an awful long way!
Thanks Annys for your 3 posts. I will be in touch asap. Thanks for your practical info about Mx - very useful.
Good luck for tomorrow when you get your test results.
I really really hope this surgeon is more empathetic tomorrow and will not behave in such a misogynist way.
His words have really broken your self image and left you so fragile.
I do hope that there are others in your world who can help you talk and share these feelings.
Remember you can always tell me... very soon.
Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day for both of us.
Hi welsh girl
Trying again to wish you all the best for Friday.I'm sure you'll be fine, believe me. Our pre op experiences seem to be very similar. I too viewed my surgeon as a 'butcher' and that my mx would be a mutilation instead of a life saving procedure. Now I'm post op and I'm on the other side now. Medically my mx went well. My drain fell out on its own so I was allowed home 4 days after surgery. The pain was definitely bearable. I wanted to reduce my analgesia 2 days after coming home but my bcn advised me to keep taking the full dose just in case the pain became bad and would be difficult to keep under control.I need prodding to do my exercises because they add to my discomfort but that's the only annoyance. I'm sure your mx will be as successful as mine.
Emotionally I've not been as brave. I'm having my staples removed tomorrow as well as receiving my test results. Another worrying wait. But more than anything I'm dreading meeting my surgeon again.I'm worried he'll make insulting comments about my breasts again like he did when I was in hospital.He has adversely affected how I feel about my body image. This time last year I felt confident about how I looked. I had changed my hair colour, I am slim and people comment that I look younger than my 50 years. Now I dont feel confident about my body image anymore. I have one gel implant, another breast that I no longer feel is attractive and the prospect of a false nipple, which will have no feeling. I tossed and turned in bed last night, albeit quite painfully, and decided I needed counselling to help me come to terms with my lack of confidence. I rang my bcn to find out how I could get this but she told me there in none available in my area, not unless I go to my GP and wait 9 months to see an NHS psychologist. I need a breast care expert ... dare I say like a bcn... rather than a psychologist, but she doesn't see that as her role. She has seen me once to hand me a wad of leaflets and to show me photos of some well endowed ladies with their reconstructions, knowing full well mine could never look like those.Although your name is Welsh girl I hope you don't live in my area of South Wales because there are no facilities available for us.
Anyway, back to you. Stay strong and believe in yourself. You will come through this and I look forward to hearing about your experiences when you are recovering.Yes, It would be nice to continue chatting. In the meantime I'll be thinking of you on Friday. Love Annys xx
Hi Welsh Girl
I have tried three times to post a message of support for you for Friday. I don't know why my posts are not appearing. I have so much to say but don't want to repeat my posts if theyre not going to appear. I'll be thinking of you and I will try again tomorrow.'
Hi Welsh girl
I've posted two comments gto you today and neither have come up. Don't want to waste time doing it again if it's not going to work. Just checking to see if this post appears.
I just wanted to remind you about the 'live chat' session which breast cancer care run every Thursday evening from 9 to 10pm. This session is run by a trained facilitator and a specialist nurse and means you are able to talk on-line in real time with each other about how you are feeling. To join just click on the live chat link on the front page of the forums.
I hope this is helpful.
Sam (BCC Facilitator)
I met my surgeon on the 1 feb and i have to say she really made me feel at ease,good eye contact and empathy.As we'll all probably spend quite a lot of time in their company, you at least have to feel at ease with them. Lesleyxx
Hi Lesley- really do sympathise with you at this hard time but I'm afraid I can't agree with finty re surgeons and their coping mechanisms. If they aren't able to empathise with their patients they should have gone into another profession- or into pathology.
I was lucky; my surgeon was allocated to me on the taxi rank principle- but proved to be excellent both technically and in his dealings with his patients. For me, his personal kindness and his perception of me as an individual made a bad situation, much less bad. I still think of him fondly though he is no longer in my area.
My daughter has just the opposite, ongoing experience - her surgeon is technically excellent but hopeless with her patients (yes, unfortunately it's a woman- which make it worse!) She is notorious for her lack of empathy and her poor communication skills: her patients inevitably feel worse after they have seen her than they did when they went in .....and they are frightened of her. This just can't be right, can it?
I'm finding i'm having a few good days,rather than all bad but i've also noticed that i feel that i'm distancing myself from my old life before bc.It's as though i'm on the outside looking in at there life carrying on as normal like i've stood still in time.(sorry to ramble but it's hard to explain)i'm fine with my hubby and children, but anybody else i feel i want to avoid,some have made tackless comments in the past or have been flip, where as others have not been as supportive - as i have to them over the years. i've just realised that i'm protecting myself from further hurt. anybody else felt the same.Lesleyxx
I just wanted to put in a little word on behalf of surgeons and doctors. I am not a doctor myself, but most of my family are - and I know sometimes for them it is a coping mechanism too. I know this is particularly the case for surgeons who sometimes feel the need to be a lttle distant form the person they are operating on in order to be really focussed and do the best job. I don't know if this is the case for your doctors, but it might help a little if that is what s happening.
I'm really sorry to hear about the coldness of your surgeon. Mine is ok but not great! Everyone says he's a good surgeon but I really wish like you, that he was more supportive and kindly. He never ever smiles or shows any empathy...
The next time I see him will be on Friday when he's about to do my mastectomy! To me he represents 'a butcher' who is going to slice away my breast for I know not why... When I was first diagnosed with a small area of DCIS back in August I agreed to op fairly willingly as a sensible action. But now after 2 operations it has become extensive and the only option is a mastectomy because I am small breasted. It just seems so awful and when you sob and sob it would be wonderful to have some real empathy from your surgeon.
Yours does sound horrendous. Was your BCN with you?
Was she supportive?
She surely should have intervened to prevent his callous remarks. He doesn't sound professional at all, making personal comments like that.
As you say the fear,the waiting and a cold hearted surgeon does nothing to help you feel you've taken the right route...
How dreadful all this is...
CBT can be a very powerful tool. I had it years ago for a very different reason and it was effective for a good while as it changes your perception of yourself. However, I believe it needs to be topped up fairly regularly to remind you of those successful steps. With depression it's so easy to forget and lapse into old habits of negative thinking. So get onto that waiting list asap.
Good luck with your recovery and healing. I'll be in the same situation as you next week. Maybe we could chat then...???
Hi Welsh girl
Have just read all your posts. I was feeling very depressed too about my diagnosis and mx op. I have just had it 8 days ago and realsied that my depression was fuelled by fear, a lack of information and a cold heartless surgeon, who makes insulting comments about my breasts. How I envy you ladies with big boobs.
Counselling is very important and I'm glad that you've taken steps to start this up. I've asked my doctor for cognitive behaviour therapy when this is all over as I'm a perfectionist and I allow stress and strain to swallow my life up. I'll fret and fret about things e.g. my surgeon's cold and clinical manner when most people will say to hell with him, he's a good surgeon and that's the most important thing. But I want a kind reassuring doctor so I need help not to let small things crowd in on me and take over my life. Unfortunately, there's a long waiitng list for CBT so I too will be seeking help from breast cancer care counselling to tide me over. I don't want my depression to affect my recovery when everyone says a positive attitude is so important. Good luck with your surgery. I'll be thinking of you. Annys x
Thank you for your advice yesterday,(wow yesterday was a long day!) I got through to a counselling service at the hospital and today had a long soothing and supportive chat with a counsellor over the phone.
At last someone who is not repelled by my depression! She was great and told me to phone her again after the op when I'm recovering at home. I thought I would have to physically visit her (miles away...) but she said phone contact was ok. I feel more reassured now.
Thanks to you all who recommended this.
Just want to wish you all the best Welsh girl. I've had post natal depression and know how absolutely hellish depression is. I found it was a disappointment in the morning to wake up and still find yourself alive. And the constant crying is awful. I found when I was put on Prozac, it dried the crying up and helped me to cope day to day.
I went out with a work colleague last week and found it a strain after 3 hours to listen to her happily going on about her love life with a smile on my face so I can relate to what you said about people expecting you to be interested in their positive lives.
I hope you soon get the help you need.
Thanks Aqua, sorry to hear what you are going towards...
Hope your time can include lots of talking to women in the same situation here. Just wish I'd found this site earlier!
It took me a week and so many attempts to understand how to send a post...!!!
I'm hoping it was my depression preventing me from working it out but I fear it was my complete lack of expertise with the laptop!
Still, now I know. Thanks BCC and all the wonderful women on line.
Maybe after my mastectomy I can support you some?
Hi Welsh girl
So sorry you are feeling so down, this site is a godsend because we are all going through or have gone through this horrible disease and hence understand that it's not easy. I am also having a Mastectomy with immediate recon soon and I am very much dreading it but hey ho.
I am divorced but have my adult son who lives with me, but still I suppose no-one really understands how difficult it is unless you are in the same situation as the ladies on this forum are. Coming on here helps me and hopefully, it will help you too.
I think anyone who has to go down this path will have their good days and the bad days.
You will get support on here as we all understand.
All the best
Thank you all for responding. It makes such a difference, thank you so much.
I am already on anti-depressants but coped really quite well throughout the first two operations even when the bad news came! But the news of the mastectomy really tipped me over the edge!
Tried to keep going but not able to cope at home; life was disintegrating fast although ok when I was invited out!!! At that time there were a few Christmas events but since,family and friends have almost 'disappeared'. Consequently, without any emotional support I really did sink.....and sink.... Contacted BCC helpline in Dec and they told me about peer support scheme, however when I explained my situation to them they warned me not use 'peer support' for depression. So now, I feel I have spoken to someone who's experienced a mastectomy but have to hide the depressed part of me! Unfortunately the two areas are intertwined!
I haven't come across anyone with BC since diagnosis so it would be so helpful to talk to you guys out there. However I do know alot about it because I nursed my Mum with BC for several years. I gave up working in London to look after her so I remember how lonely she felt but I was there for her and she could express her fears,but as you say someone who has experienced BC is better equipped to understand the whole issue.
Did anyone just sob when they had to sign the consent form?
I just can't imagine stopping crying from then on...
Welsh girl says thanks again.
Hi welsh girl
Lesley is right - only other people with BC can really understand. I think the advice re Psyco-onc sounds good too, though I have no experience of this. Can you talk to your GP? I'm on anti depressants - already was when I was diagnosed so I've really used them to my advantage in the last 6 months. Ignore any battles in your head to avoid them - they really can help.
Thinking of you