Hi @Ise. I was 41 when I found out in January. I felt exactly the same. In fact, it triggered my dormant anxiety disorder, and I had to self refer to psychosocial oncology. I got anti depressants and it really helped! (They give you meds that won't interfere with your other treatments!)
I had surgery in February, and had to have CT and bone scans to make sure it hadn't spread (it hadn't.) I met my medical oncologist in April, and we agreed to send my tumour for the Oncotype test.
It came back at 11. No chemo needed. I went onto Tamoxifen right away (no side effects as far as I can tell!) and started radiation shortly after. I had my last of 20 treatments today.
It is terrifying at the beginning. Not knowing the whole picture is the worst, and if you have to cry (or get professional help like I did) do it.
It will get better. The doctors and specialists all know what they are doing, and they will do whatever you need. Try to breathe a little, and know that you can go from here to being done with active treatment in a few months (it might feel like a year though!)
@Beachalog congrats on finishing radiation 🎉🎊
@Ise welcome to the most supportive community you can imagine xx
I know it’s a whirlwind just now and you feel lost. Some time off work may be what you need just now, or maybe the distraction helps you. My anxiety was awful until I knew the plan for treatment after my surgery. As @Beachalog says, getting some psychosocial help is important. Your cancer centre will have social workers you can be referred to, or maybe you have access through your workplace. Also Cancer connection can put you in touch 1-888-939-3333. A psychologist can listen and talk you through what’s happening but also they can help you learn some tools to help you cope xx They will also help you with telling your children what is age appropriate for them xx
I found all I could do was to take one day at a time, one appointment at a time. There’s a lot of hurry up and wait with this game. Dr Google is not your friend - you will scare yourself with what-ifs. The reality is that many breast cancers are treatable and we live cancer free for many many years post treatment. Im 3 years post-treatment and just ran a 10k race this weekend. I’m fitter and stronger than before breast cancer (diagnosed age 49).
There will always be someone on here who can answer your questions - maybe not straight away, but you won’t be waiting long.
best wishes Essjay
good morning and welcome.
you have found a wonderful community here.
I can only imagine how devastating this new diagnosis must be for you AND your family. shocking & scary for sure.
you know your family best…there is no right or wrong way to ‘do’ cancer - tell those around you when you are comfortable with that.
initially, I took a few weeks off to process my new diagnosis, (at that point all I knew was that I had breast cancer - did not know the extent or the treatment options I might be offered---and COVID was just starting…ugh), and purge around the home because I knew I would be useless at work--I could not get images and thoughts out of my head.
now, almost 2 years past my diagnosis&treatments, there are actually whole days that go by when I don't have that ‘pit in my stomach’ dread feelings…..and that says something. I am a first class worrier: I am that person who worries if I'm not worrying enough…ha ha ha.
once you have all the pathology & treatment option information, you can make your plans……then it will be ‘go time’.
I'd love to introduce you to another ON mom - @Sadie12. she is working thru her cancer story with 2 young children and hubby. cancer is truly a family affair….there is lots of support for your caregiver partner here also.
let us know how things move along for you. as you can see by reading thru the posts we offer our lived experiences, our friendship, and sometimes even a laugh or two.
we all ‘get it’ here. we are listening.
cheers & hugs to you all over there
Hi, sorry to hear this. I was diagnosed in April and just had a mastectomy at the beginning of June. I have my follow up appointments this week to see next steps. I was very stressed and emotional at first, but like a lot of people will tell you there is comfort when you know the details and have a plan.This is a great community with wonderful support.
Thanks @supersu for the tag…funny, I somehow missed it in my emails, I will have to recheck but I had noticed the fellow survivor-mom-of-littles in the morning digest.
I had our youngest just home from the hospital as a newborn when I got my diagnosis. My other son was 5 and was home from school for both COVID shutdowns and my fear of infection during COVID for the duration of my 4.5 months of chemo.
We all survived. It wasn't easy. (Mind you, looking back…we have good memories of being shut in the house together for many months, taking each day as it came with Mama in her pajamas and lots of time for cuddles, reading and cartoons)
Having littles made the fight harder. Even though my husband carried the load, and we did have others to support us during the day, I remember being soooooo tired. My husband was still working, albeit from home, and carried most of the baby night routines but I still tried my best to do my part.
Having little ones made me fight harder.
I felt terribly guilty thinking that I might not be able to parent these children to their adulthood. I made the decision that I was going to do everything I could to keep my body and mind healthy as the best chance to get to raise my boys. I do believe in the mind-body connection, yoga, meditation, positive influences on my mind.
I meditated on believing my body to be strong and healthy and living to see my boys become adults.
I agree with the person above who suggested finding a support worker from the cancer centre. They can be a person to counsel you, but also help with paperwork or get answers from the medical team for you. Your husband can also get help from that department.
Take care and keep reaching out.
@Ise, what a shock it is, to be hit with a BC diagnosis.
I can understand the turmoil your mental state is going through. Being under 40, chemo threw me into early menopause, and while it's bad enough dealing with menopause symptoms without any help, I had friends who were pregnant and expecting. You're happy for them but also grieving your own loss of opportunity.
We had a hard time trying to figure out how to tell my son (who was 4 at the time). Constant reassurance was key, that mom is gonna be okay but tired a lot, and that some medicine would make me lose my hair for a bit. I think we completely avoided the word "cancer", although when he came home one day from school talking about Terry Fox, that would have been the perfect segway into it. Oh well.
My partner was amazing and picked up everything I couldn't do (and still is...) so I am very fortunate in that regard.
There is no right or wrong way to tell your family - you know them best.
I attached a link to a document from the CBCN that helped me through the beginning stages of my treatment. In it addresses some suggestions on how to tell children and parents/siblings, among other things:
https://www.cbcn.ca/web/default/files/public/Never Too Young English 2018_COMPLETE_document.pdf
Like @Beachalog said, it's terrifying at the beginning. As you find out more about your treatment plan, it'll get better. Stay off Dr. Google, and remember to breathe. This community is a safe haven for you to ask, vent, scream, cry. I know I've done all of the above and more.
@Ise i am so sorry you find yourself here. First let me acknowledge that the potential loss of fertility is HUGE and should be grieved and probably worth counseling. I say potential because it will depend on your type of cancer and treatment plan. Chemo for sure will end you child bearing years. You can ask to speak to a fertility expert and perhaps save eggs before treatment starts.
It is quite common for younger women who have young children and are over expressing estrogen to get estrogen positive BC.
Stay off Dr Google. Stats are old.
Cancer will teach you to wait. Wait for diagnosis, wait for treatment plan, wait for surgery, wait for treatment to start… and then end, wait for side effects to come and go. Wait to be finished and get on with living your life.
Crying is good. I went for walks to cry alone. My husband cried alone in his car. This is life changing… cry. You had a plan and cancer wasn't frickin part of it.
Treatment is hard but manageable. Tell your parents. They will need to help with the kids. I worked through my treatments but my children were in their early 20s and in Uni. You will be tired and will have to prioritize where your energy goes and my guess it will be to the kids. That means help with cooking and cleaning and any other chore will be required. Put meals in the freezer ahead of surgery and treatment. Hit up your friends for kid play dates and meal drop off. That is what friends are for.
You will get through this. The beginning is the scariest. The mud will settle and the water will clear.
@Mammabear Thank you for the post. I am already grieving for the potential loss of fertility. I thought I was patient but I am seeing waiting in a whole different light now. I even said today I know the hospital moved really fast this past month but why haven't I gotten a call when they said Wednesday… I know they are doing their best and it's just constantly reminding myself, they know what they are doing and I know they are on it. As for crying, all the crying the last few days probably adds up more to what I've had all my life minus the first 5 years. I know things will be hard but I know it will be manageable. I know the mud will settle, just patiently waiting. I feel like my heart is breaking a bit at a time day by day…
@hailo Thank you for the post and the link. I just got invited to one of my best friend's baby shower and I just broke down. I knew it was coming but I just haven't finish grieving my loss opportunity. As for the kids, we aren't quite sure what else to say beyond what you have already. But as you say, breathe… I think about things, I choke up and then I just breathe…Thank you for your words of encouragement.
@Ise Hello and welcome. I am so glad you have heard from our many amazing members who “get it”. I am sorry for the added layer of your diagnosis where fertility is concerned. I cannot imagine.
Just know we are here to support you as best we can.
Wishing you well with your followup appointments this week.