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Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Livelife on Nov 7, 2019 1:09 pm

Hi Everyone, 
I am 43 and newly diagnose with breast cancer. I don't know all the details yet. Things are moving too fast and I am SCARED!!!! 
More so for my young family (husband and 2 young kids). How will this affect my family? Should I get a second opinion? I don't have much support to weather this storm, aside from my husband 😭.
My CT scan is tomorrow and surgery in 2 weeks time. 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Nov 7, 2019 1:57 pm

Livelife‍ Welcome!!! So glad you posted.  You are not alone here and boy, can i relate to those feelings.

I was diagnosed in 2017 - on my 56th birthday - with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  I felt physically well, no history of breast cancer - so a complete shock.  I would say , looking back, this part of the journey is very difficult - so your feelings are rational!

Some things I found helpful:
1. Calming breaths - you've got this - you are in good hands.  The "good" news with BC is that there is alot of research, protocols for treatment and information out there.

2. This website , the pamphlets, peer support and information specialist are SO helpful.  Feel free to look at the info, ask questions, vent - there is no dumb question.

3. Build your supports - great you have your husband.  Know any family/friends that have gone through this?  You can check in your community if there are any support groups as well.

4. Start a journal/notebook of your concerns/questions and bring with you to each appt.

5. Distraction techniques can help manage this "limbo" time of what's next?  Great to binge on Netflix, sort out that junk drawer - EXERCISE!   The woods were my therapy.

Do you mind if i ask what type of surgery you are having?  Have you met with an oncologist yet?  

Your treatment plan can be the same or very different from others - that's the beauty of it - somewhat individualized.

Keep asking questions..we are here !  Kim

Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by BonnieC on Nov 25, 2019 9:39 am

Hi there! I’m am also recently diagnosed. I found my lump on oct 2 and I’ve just recently had my lumpectomy. It’s been a whirlwind for me in the past 7 weeks. I just had my 49 birthday. And there is no history of BC anywhere in my family. So I’m am right there with you on this journey of uncertainty. 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by ashcon on Nov 25, 2019 11:14 am

Hi BonnieC‍ 
Welcome to this site - so glad you posted and introduced yourself.  Congratulations on getting through your lumpectomy surgery. 
There are great discussions and resources on this site, as well as on the main cancer.ca site.  I particularly liked the Publications found under "Support & Services - Resources"

How is recovery going for you?  What's happening next for you - did you have your post-surgery follow up appointment?

Ann (ashcon)
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 25, 2019 11:17 am

Hi there, I am 47 years old and I have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I am so overwhelmed but trying to keep busy and stay positive but its tough.

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by BonnieC on Nov 25, 2019 11:33 am

Hi Ann .... still trying to figure out using a forum as I haven’t done this before. Didn’t know how to tag you to reply directly. I had surgery on Friday and just got my bandages off and showered today. I was quite shocked at the size of my incisions. I had a 1.8 cm lump at the top on my breastbone and then also had 4-5 lymph nodes removed. I am doing ok - I guess as best as can be expected. I’m still having those really sad moments that I had before but I am relieved that the lump is gone.  It felt like this alien being was inside me and I just felt like my body had betrayed me somehow. It was hard to explain. I have a follow up in a few weeks with my surgeon. I am having radiation but not sure about the rest of my treatment plan. 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by LPPK on Nov 25, 2019 11:41 am

Hello Charper‍ and welcome to this informative, supportive site.  I was diagnosed with Invasive ductal carcinoma in Aug. 2017 and am now 22 months post treatment with 2 NED (No Evidence of Disease mammograms under my belt).  When I first was diagnosed I wanted to know everything about breast cancer but had been cautioned about Googling.  The Canadian Cancer Society has many wonderful on line booklets that I found helpful when I was first diagnosed;  Breast Cancer understanding your diagnosis,     Coping when you have cancer,   Exercises after breast surgery
Talking to others who have had or currently have breast cancer really helped me. On the top bar under Forums, Cancer, Breast you can join in conversations or start your own. 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by ashcon on Nov 25, 2019 12:05 pm

Hi BonnieC‍ 
I was new to the world of online chat communities as well before I got cancer and then got inaugurated here!  I've been a member here for 2 years and have gotten so much help and support here. Our doctors are great, but many don't have the personal insights that only only come from personal shared experience, as you will find here.
To tag someone, simply type the "@" symbol then the first 3-4 letters of the person's username. A list of matches will appear, and you simply select the person you want to tag from that list.  If successful, the name appears in blue hyperlink font.

Congratulations on the shower. A true sign of progress in recovery! Take these signs of recovery as victories.  I hope you sang long and out loud in the shower!
I had a 2.4cm lump (at 11 o'clock on R breast), and 8 lymph nodes removed.  Yes, the feeling of relief of getting the cancer "out" was great, though the pain in the underarm area from the node removal was far worse than the incision on the breast. 
The main thing at helped me in my post-surgery recovery was exercise.  Do the exercises recommended to regain your range of motion. The first few days are tough, but if you stick with them (2 or 3 x /day) your recovery will go very well. 
I was 53 when diagnosed and have fared through 2 surgeries, chemo, and radiation pretty well.  You are younger than I am, so I'm sure you'll fare even better than I did!

Final tip: Get a copy of your pathology report from the doctor when you go for your follow up.  There are many types and characteristics of breast cancer, out there (ductal, lobular. In Situ, Invasive.  Hormone receptor positive/negative. Her2 positive/negative. Clear margins/unclear margins, etc, etc.) 
For me, I had clear margins, but 4 of the 8 removed were positive for cancer. And my cancer was aggressive triple negative, so the doctors pulled all the big guns out for me.  Despite being Stage 3, they told me their goal for me was "curative" and I was so happy to hear that, and embrace that goal as well.  
For you, your pathology report will provide all the details about YOUR breast cancer, and (thus) provide the roadmap for treatment based on well-researched standards of care that will be unique to YOU.

Enjoy your week and pamper yourself. You deserve it!
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by ashcon on Nov 25, 2019 12:25 pm

Hi Charper‍ 

So true! A diagnosis of breast cancer is so overwhelming!  I'm glad you are reaching out here.  I didn't join this community till more than one month after my diagnosis, but I wish I had joined sooner. 
Like LPPK‍  I wanted to know everything about this stupid disease, so I researched like crazy.  And drove myself crazy.  Till I learned: one day at a time. One test at a time. One doctor's appointment at a time.  I taught myself to take 1-2 "vacation" days per week from cancer in those first few weeks. I told myself the cancer would still be there the next day when I was ready to think about it again.  It's hard to do this, but I recommend you try.
Staying positive is a mindset that comes and goes when you've been told you have cancer, isn't it? . Some days you feel like "I got this", and other days may be more fatalistic, doom and gloom.  As Kims1961‍ says, allow yourself to have those dark moments.  They are real, and the thoughts around those dark moments are real.  Talk about it with someone who has your back (a loved one, your cancer centre's social worker).  But don't stay there.  Come up into the light when you can, and as often as you can.   Eventually things WILL calm down as you weather this particular storm.

Who do you have in your corner with you?  Do you have kids?
How was your cancer discovered?
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 25, 2019 1:11 pm

I went for my normal mammogram Nov 1 and they said I need to come for a biopsy on Nov 8.  They said it was approximately 1cm and you know you look at all the posters on the wall and you try and convince yourself that its nothing.  Well I waited a week to the day Nov 15 when my GP called and said you need to come in and bring someone with you....instant tears, I couldn't believe it. All I kept thinking about is how am I going to tell my son (13 years old).  My family doctor really could not tell me much so she sent a referral to breast cancer supportive care. I went to talk with them and they explained that it is invasive ductal and that it was very small and treatable...all the details are still a bit of a blur, my girlfriend has the paperwork.  I have an appointment on Wed with the surgeon but all I keep thinking about is if its in my lymph nodes...crazy thinking about something that has not even happened yet.  My husband was pretty supportive the first three days but now hes like "we will just get it taken out" "try to be positive" and really does not want to talk about it.  My girlfriend is very supportive.  We did finally tell our son on Thursday and it went better than expected but he really did not want to cry (especially in front of his dad).  So I let him go watch tv and then went in to check and he shed some tears and ask "whats the survival rate".  I hate feeling this way all the time, I try to keep busy but it feels like I am alone.

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by BonnieC on Nov 25, 2019 1:26 pm

Thanks for the words of encouragement and support ashcon‍.  It has been a lot of learning in a very short time. Words have entered my vocabulary that I never imagined knowing. I am wondering about next steps and success/challenges of working during treatments. I have a supportive workplace but I also realize the benefits of keeping my mind busy with other thoughts ... work allows me to almost forget about cancer. I live very close to a regional cancer centre - so I will be able to do my treatments as part of my day with no trouble. 
As for post recovery ... I have been doing small walks and doing some of the exercises.  Pain has been manageable but you are right the lymph node incision is way more sore. I have a lot of numbness too under the arm. I read that’s normal tho. 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by BonnieC on Nov 25, 2019 1:41 pm

Hi Charper‍ 
Telling my kids and husband was hard for me too. I’m the one who looks after them so it was difficult to let them see me cry and be vulnerable. My kids are older at 22 and 24 but they each had such a different reaction to the news. But they have both been super supportive and helped me with humour! That’s a strength I realized has helped me immensely. Laughter is truly a good medicine. It sounds like you have some supports with your girlfriend and it was hard for my husband too. He doesn’t talk much as he wants to be my strength and protector. 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 25, 2019 7:52 pm

Thank you BonnieC‍ , ashcon‍ and LPPK‍ ...I have been driving myself crazy trying the overcome the though train....trying to keep my fears in check.  I am also listening to some podcasts and it seems to help sometimes.  My husband is a different kinda fella, he wishes he could take this from me but he has never really been an emotional soul...me on the other hand, I am a emotional soul but as BonnieC‍ said I have always been the one to take care of them and I really do not feel like breaking down, I feel stronger if I just keeping going and thinking happy thoughts as much as my brain lets me.  I have not had really good outcomes with cancer, I lost my dad in 98 to a brain tumor, my sister in 2016 to lung cancer and my mom in 2017 to the same thing.  They all suffered greatly...I know that mine is not even close to being the same but...anyways I am glad I found this group.

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by ashcon on Nov 25, 2019 8:34 pm

Hi Charper‍ and BonnieC‍ 
​​​​​​I know what you mean about being the strong one - the one that keeps it together for everyone else. 
Like you, BonnieC, my children (2 daughters) were 24 and 22 when I was diagnosed. I've been a single mom since they were 8 and 10, so it was hard to let my guard down and be the vulnerable one.
But I'm so proud of them. . They leaned on each other for support and it was their strength and continued (and sometimes crazy) sense of humour that kept me afloat. 
Whenever tears and fears started to surface, I used to shout out,  "I'm not dead yet!"  until it became a running joke! 

I also made sure they had access to the social worker at the cancer centre that I was being treated at (a free service for cancer patients and their families, so check it out!). They never used the service, but I think they were comforted to know it was there in case they wanted to use it. 

Charper, I'm sorry to hear that cancer has touched your family so many times. But you're right. Everyone's cancer is unique to them, even if/when the diagnosis is the exact same.

Also, it's very brave and very normal for your son to ask such a question.  You may find some helpful information in this link, Talking to Children About Cancer

Keep talking and sharing here. Your stories will help so many others who are going down this path as well. 
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Mare2062 on Nov 26, 2019 5:54 am

Hi Charper
I know it's scary at the beginning of this whole thing. I've been there. My friend a nurse told me something that helped. She said they've made so many advances in breast cancer treatment and it's so true. You'll be okay. You'll get through this. The medical community know what they're doing with this stuff.

Thinking of you and wishing you health, healing and peace.

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by mc2 on Nov 26, 2019 8:32 am

CharperMare2062‍ and other newbies ;)

Welcome to the club that I wish we were not in...  I joined last June.    1.7cm tumour, invadive ductal carcinoma (IDC), no family history, I am 47yo with a 5 year old and limited support where I live.  I had mamograms(end June & July), ultrasound, biopsy, dye injection, lumpectomy (sept 12h- my first hospitalization beside giving birth) with  sentinel nodes removed and I am now half way through radiation (10/20) and started Tamoxifen (anti-hormone).  I also feel like I have done the equivalent of an undergrad thesis on IDC since June...  This forum is a wealth of information and support (i wont tag all of those that I have met and appreciated virtually since June - but take this opportunity to thank you all for your support in my journey).  Here are some of the "lifeboats"/lessons that I found a the way.  

1- Dr. Google is not your friend.  After nearly lossing myself (and nights) in googleland and the fear that it generates, I stuck with 2 reliable sources: Canadian Cancer Society Website (and this forum) and the American Cancer Society Website.  And no more internet a night....

2- i am not great at asking for help but I found a few people along the way, unexpected acquaintances, that i now ask help from it needed (eg picking up my daughter at school because of the treatment schedule).  I personally have not required much help beside my husband who has done more of everything. Physically, this journey has been much easier on me than I would have expected.  I am not done but so far so good!

3- FEAR monster.  i dont know how else to call it. The fear and waiting have been worse than the treatments for me.  When I get treatments, I feel like I am slowly putting this behind me.  When I wait, my brain just goes into "what if?"...  What if I don't see my daughter graduate? What if I die before my mom? what?? I thought I was imortal?? What if my boobs are so uneven that it bugs me?  Will this change me?  Can i get back to "norma" when I am done treatments? Fear.  To manage this, three things helped me 1)stay distracted e.g. i worked until my operation 2) manage my goals/expectations i.e. have less and it is ok and 3) find someone to talk to - with the Match program offered here, a weekly phone call to someone who has been through her own journey is helpful.  i can talk about it without  feeling like I am the "cancer-girl" or "kill the mood" (thank you also!) and I also used EAP from work.

I guess I am writing this to say: i am glad you found this forum.  Ask away!  And although it is not the most user friendly, with the search feature you cna find older posts that have very valuable information (e.g. rafiation side effects).

Hang in there.  The storm will pass.  You got this!  Even if/when you feel like  you don't. 


Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 26, 2019 10:47 am

Hi all, thank you for the words of encouragement BonnieC ashconmc2Mare2062‍ Today seems to be better still woke up three times last night.  I really feel that my husband is becoming less and less attached, I guess I should tell you guys that I was in perimenopause since April but I just got my period again, normal I guess. I have zero libido and it is very hard to talk to him. I feel terrible for him because I know he is struggling also but I really have know idea how to work through this with him, he says he is with me but it certainly doesn't feel that way, it is almost like I have to fix it. Stupid. I have been staying busy with work and talking with my friend but I really hate this feeling...tomorrow I see the surgeon and I am already fearful of what she is going to say and I feel I cannot express myself to my husband hate it 

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 26, 2019 10:58 am

‍ ‍ Charper‍ , I am sorry you are facing this and feeling alone. Are you able to take a friend with you to your appointment tomorrow?  Take your questions, see if you can record the discussion or take notes. We can support you. Please let us know how we can help. If possible be explicit with your husband to tell him how he can help. 
Let us know what happens please.
Best wishes 
Wendy Tea 
I am a survivor. Wendy Tea

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 26, 2019 11:21 am

Hi Wendy Tea‍, my friend will be coming and my husband, I think I feel alone because he just doesn't want to talk about. He seems to be very methodical, almost like it's like a script, diagnosis "check", surgeon "check", surgery "check", I don't know.  This is all so crazy

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by ashcon on Nov 26, 2019 12:08 pm

Hi Charper‍ , and all else who may be feeling "alone" in this despite having a spouse or partner,

It doesn't sound crazy at all that your husband is becoming less and less attached. It's actually quite common for relationships to get strained during a cancer diagnosis. Runner Girl‍ has experience with this.
It's also possible that as a fellow, he wants to "fix this" (as that is what guys do!), but he can't fix this and he knows it. 
He may also feel guilty for not being there as much as he should be or in the right way that will help you.  He may be thinking "I have no right to complain - I'm not the one with cancer!" 
FYI  - The sex drive also goes WAAAAY down when you are in treatment, so it's best to talk about that, and other aspects of your relationship, now.    Many partners are just glad to know that their partner/spouse will survive this, and intimate moments are achieved without sex.  Cuddling in front of the TV, long walks & holding hands, date nights out at a restaurant, etc.
Maybe he needs to hear you say that you are aware that he is probably just as lost and afraid as you are, but you would like to work through this together.
Also...The good news is that there is (or seems to be) an equal number of resources for family members and caregivers of someone going through cancer, as there are for those of us actually going through cancer!

Your Relationships and Cancer
You can join this discussion group: Sexuality and Cancer

Having your husband at the appointment is important, I believe.  To not include him may make him feel like he's being "pushed out" and may cause him to become more detached.
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 26, 2019 12:15 pm

Charper‍ , I found your post this morning when I was looking for new members.

I’m sorry that you are struggling with your husband’s reaction to your situation. As you’ve learned, men tend to handle such situations so much differently than women would expect.

I cannot impress upon you the importance of communication right now. Even if you have to do it with a counsellor in the room, it’s important for you each to at least try to understand what’s going on in the other’s mind. It has been my experience that turning toward will get you through, where turning away can start a breech that gets harder and harder to bridge.

You know your hubby better than anyone, so you’ll know when to talk and when to let things be, but I hope for your own sake that you’ll be able to get those communication lines working effectively.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Runner Girl on Nov 26, 2019 1:08 pm

Hello Charper‍ ,

I'm sorry for your situation and I'm sorry your husband is being distant.  I would suggest the two of you need to meet with a counsellor to see if you can learn to communicate thru this difficult time.  Living in silos will solve nothing.  

That being said, my relationship ended due to my now ex fiance not being able to handle me having breast cancer.  Initially he told me he was Team Gayle and we'd fight this together.  But when he moved me into the spare room the weekend before my first chemo I started to see things differently.  He took me to the appointments and attended many of the oncologist appointments, then he took exception to me being examined by the radiation doctor and a student doctor and he told me he was done attending any appointments with me.  I did my radiation treatments by myself, the remainder of my Herceptin treatments by myself, and I moved out of his house when he stated that our relationship was over.  

Best of luck with your surgeon appointment, please let us know how it went.

Runner Girl - Gayle
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by mc2 on Nov 26, 2019 2:10 pm

Charper‍ some people are happy with knowing less and some feel better when they have the most information possible.  I fall in the later category.  So I asked my family Md for copies of my mamograms, ultrasound, biopsy pathology results and asked the surgeon for a copy of the pathology report (i would have taken a picture if photocopying made him reluctant).   

I will be thinking of you tomorrow. You can also task your husband or your friend with the "duty" to repeat what he/she have heard before you leave to validate what was heard. Much like assigning one person to be the designated driver. ;)

Keep us posted.

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 26, 2019 4:33 pm

Thank you all, I know this is tough for him too, he is always the fixer and he cant fix this. I guess the fear of the unknown is felt by all. I am sorry to hear Runner Girl‍ about the break down while you were going through your journey, I can say if I was there you would not have been alone.  My husband and my friend will both be with me tomorrow and i am praying for a good outcome, if good can be the word I use.  
I am kinda the person who needs to know but at the same time i wish i had never heard any @mc2 I feel like information over load but not really feeling better, which I know if normal

Re: Hi Everyone - Newly diagnosed breast cancer

Posted by Charper on Nov 26, 2019 6:59 pm

Hi all, getting kinda nervous about meeting with the surgeon tomorrow, trying to stay on the positive side. Hope I can sleep tonight