scared s***less

Posted by poppy7 on 15 Dec 2012, 11:09AM

Hi all, I am 40 yearrs old and have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  On the 10 December I had a lumpectomy and axillary node clearance.  The pathology came back: 8cm tumour , her+, and 12 out of 15 nodes cancerous.

Yesterday I had bone scans and ct scans done to see if the cancer had spread.  I am booked for a mastectomy on Monday (17 December). I am freaking out that the cancer is spreading.  I dont know if I can do this.  Is there anyone out there who has gone through similar and seen the light at the end of the tunnel?

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Hi Poppy

TonyaM's picture

I am so sorry to hear about your bc diagnosis but welcome to this network. There are lots of us here who are having treatment or ,like me,finished and out the other end of that dark tunnel.It's very scary at first and quite normal to worry that cancer has spread.Hopefully your body scans will show otherwise and then you can go forward with a plan.As operations go,a mastectomy is the same as a lumpectomy-painwise,drainwise,recoverywise.I've had both. I had a lumpectomy,full node clearance and radiation back in 2003. 7years later bc came back in the same breast,same spot so had to have a mastectomy then chemo. Each time it was classed as early breast cancer,lymph nodes clear, eostrogen+ve,hercept -ve. So I was "lucky"in that respect. I had to have all those body scans when I got bc again and waiting on those results was terrible.Waiting and not knowing are the worst bits of this journey.Once you know what you are dealing with and you have a plan,it's amazing what the body can cope with and how brave you can be.I was 47 yrs old the first time with a daughter doing the HSC -somehow we all got through that year.I had lots of love and support and that helps.I found this network the second time around and the info,support and friendship here is wonderful. It's been over 2 years now since finishing treatment and I'm fine now,enjoying life more than ever.Blog back here for support -you won't feel so alone cos we know what you are going through.Sending hugs - Tonya xx

poppy7's picture

Thanks Tonya.  I can handle the baby steps, but worrying about the big picture is making me sick.  I know this is silly as there is nothing I can do to change it.  I hate being out of control!


Tanya's picture

Hi Poppy

I was diagnosed on the 8th December in 2007 when I was 36 and it is a scary time and waiting for results is the worst, your head plays games and like you I thought I could actually feel the cancer spreading, but you will have your results soon and your surgery today (if I read that right). I am out the other side and doing well and it feels like something that happened to someone else now.  I do get a little "funny" around the time that I was diagnosed, but other than that I am a new improved (if not surgically modified lol) version of my former self.  One step in front of the other, one day at a time, and you will get there hon.


Good luck for your surgery.


poppy7's picture

thanks all for the kind thoughts.  it is 5am on day 2. surgery went well and i was in high spirits cos those drugs are goooood, but now it feels like a truck has run over my chest! i spent the night trying to get my head around the big gap on my chest.  i dont know if i succeeded, and i dont think i will be able to look at my scars for a while, but if it helps save my life then i can deal with it. i will have my other breast removed when i am ready for reconstruction as i have a very strong family history, so i guess that is something to look forward to in the future.  just think, most women will end up with their boobs around their stomach - i will have my stomach around my boobs!    love v

Hi Poppy

TonyaM's picture

I'm glad you have come through surgery ok.I was high on pain killers when I  first looked at my chest.I was surprisingly ok with it. With this bc journey,it's often hard to predict how you are going to react. Sometimes you are so brave and then other times you'll break down over a little thing. After 4-6 weeks you can be fitted with a prosthesis which I found really helped. I do alot of altering of my tops and swimwear if the neckline is too low- bit of a pain. I can't say I'm 100% ok living with one boob but then I'm not ready to face any more surgery. I hope you continue to recover and feel well in time for Christmas.

                                Tonya xx

poppy7's picture

Hi Tonya,  thank you for your wishes.  I cant even think of christmas at the moment! Hopefully one day we will get to the shops at 3am!   I think I will have to invest in an entire new wardrobe, how annoying.  My berlie soft bra came in the mail yesterday, but without any padding?!  I have my first cancer clinic this morning to find out the latest results and plot a course of treatment...   Best wishes to everyone    v

Hi Poppy

TonyaM's picture

You should have 2 soft forms in with your Berlei bra.Ring BCNA and they will hopefully,post them out to you.I think they close over the Xmas break.I hope your visit to the cancer clinic went ok today.Did you get your results?

                                           Tonya xx

Hi Tonya

poppy7's picture

My nurse is going to order me another one so hopefully this one will have fillers!  The clinic went well, they want to put me in a trial so that is great as you get extra follow ups.  My scans are clear except for a small spot on my pelvis which the doctors are pretty sure is nothing but getting mri done just in case. Chemo should start early January.  All in all, I think I had a win today.  Hope you are well,   v

louiseg's picture

Good news Poppy! 

Like Tonya, I have been through BC twice - once in 2003 at age 35 and then again in 2010 at 42.  The waiting and not knowing is definitely the hardest part.  Once you have a plan in place, you know what is happening and just take one step at a time.

I'm glad your surgery is out of the way before Christmas and hopefully you will feel well enough to have a nice day with your family.

Best of luck with the MRI on your pelvis.  I had to have an MRI on my liver as there was a small spot showing up there but it was nothing (they think I was probably born with it!).  Hopefully you will have a similar outcome.

Have a great Christmas and stay positive,

Louise x

poppy7's picture

Hi Louise, I cant believe you've gone through this twice!  You must be incredibly strong.  When i get over the chemo i am going to have my other breast removed and do both reconstructions.  I agree, the waiting is definately the hardest. Ive never been big on self medicating (except wine) but was very glad i had a valium prescription!  Hope you have a great christmas and new year, love V

HelenD's picture

I was diagnosed in June this year, after a large cancer was found. Had a mastectomy and removal of sentinel lymph nodes. Pathology came back saying a 9cm tumour and cancer in both nodes removed. So back I went for removal of 10 more nodes and some clean up on my chest. Tests revealed the cancer was in four of the twelve nodes removed. Seriously I understand how you are feeling, I was terrified. I just kept telling myself that the cancer was the enemy and it had to be removed.

Looking at my scar and missing breast wasn't as confronting as I thought it would be. And surprisingly there wasn't much pain from the actual breast removal. The surgeon told me it would be like that but I didn't believe it could be true.

I was also very fearful after my bone and CT scan, worried it had spread in my body. I'd had a nagging cough for about 6 months and I was sure I had cancer in my lungs! I'm nearly finished chemo and start radiation on the 14th of January 13. Life is like a bit of a roller coaster. Most days I feel okay then I'll crash and it will all seem too much. But I am at peace with what has happened to me. It's the lack of mobility and not being able to do what I normally do that frustrates the hell out of me! I'm a golfer and I haven't played since just before my diagnosis. It's made worse by the fact I work at my golf club and see the ladies go out to play. I can't wait to get back into it.

I keep telling myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My friends and family say how positive I am. If only they knew how hard it is to keep up the outward facade some days. But I'm not in this alone, my husband and stepson are going through it with me as well. I feel I owe it to them to keep fighting and remain positive, though I know they will be there for me when I fall.

I wish you only the best in your journey towards better health. Just remember you aren't alone.

Helen xoxo

poppy7's picture

Aw, Helend I can understand your frustration: I was watching the golf on tv and thought "that is one activity I definately won't be doing"(not that I play...) It is so reassuring knowing that there are other people going through the same fears (and triumphs!) 



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