42 years old newly diagnosed

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I'm 42 and just had 2 x 13mm lumps in my left breast confirmed as grade 3 cancer.

The next step is seeing if it's spread, then they can give me a treatment plan.

I'm floored, frightened and heartbroken. I have a 4 year-old son. Every time I see him I want to cry, I love him so much and know that this will shatter his world.

At the moment I feel there is no hope and i have a horrible feeling it's spread. I don't know why I just have this feeling. I don't know if there is any hope for me and I'm feeling like I need to prepare for the worst. I desperately want to be hopeful but something is telling me not to get my hopes up. 

Does anyone have an inspirational story that will help me see a chink of light in this situation. 

I'm sorry to be so down but I'm newly in limbo and desperately sad.

Thank you.

X X X 

  • Hi, I’m so sorry for your diagnosis. They are such hard and heartbreaking words to hear. I think having young children just adds to the sadness, confusion and fear. My daughter is 12 so not as young as your son so she’s been able to understand what is happening. She was just finishing primary school last year when I was diagnosed and a week after she started secondary I had my mastectomy so it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for her also. Our children though are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for, are a great source of comfort and I’ve found that because I want to keep everything as ‘normal’ as possible for her it tends to keep me fairly upbeat - because I have to be!

    I can’t share with you an inspirational story I’m afraid as I’m only at the beginning of my journey really. I had quite a long pathway to get to my treatment plan because they wanted to the 100% sure they knew what they were dealing with. This was very frustrating as everything seems to take ‘two weeks’… They kept finding different things and to be honest it felt like it just was getting worse. But I’ve now had my mastectomy, I was lucky to be able to have reconstruction at the same time and I’ve just had my 3rd of 8 rounds of chemo. I’ve been lucky with that really in the grand scheme of things as I’ve tolerated everything fairly well. It feels horribly unfair to be diagnosed at such a young age (I’d just turned 46) but actually it does go some way in our favour - our bodies are tougher and stronger so in theory we manage better. I had chemo yesterday and walked on the beach for an hour and half today without too many problems!

    Personally I’m a glass half full kind of girl but it gets me mainly at night. But I’ve found the best way for me to deal with it is to not worry about too far in the future. I just deal with the here and now, one thing at time, baby steps. For me it’s easier just to process one thing at a time, deal with that particular scan/biopsy/operation before thinking about the next… I’ve also chosen not to know the full ins and outs, I know I have breast cancer, I know it was in my lymph’s, but I also know that it’s not aggressive, they’ve now removed it and the chemo, radiotherapy and drugs are to keep it away. I asked my oncologist if I was going to fall off my perch anytime soon and he said as long as I stay away from buses I should be okay! That’s enough information for me right now. There is so much information to process I don’t want to muddle my brain with words, terminology, names of things that mean nothing to me. Just tell me what I have to do, where I have to be and when and I’ll deal with that.

    Try not to terrify yourself until you have a clearer understanding of what is happening. At the end of the day we actually have very little control over our breast cancer journey. We have to put our lives in our oncology team hands and know that all they want are the very best outcomes for us. They do everything in their power to make it the best it can be for us. Physically and mentally this is tough, but so are you! You’re stronger than you know and will find strength and courage you didn’t know you possessed, you’ll do this because we have to for our beautiful children. 

    Keep talking on here, ask any questions you think of (and there will be many) no matter how big or small the questions are ask - I guarantee they will be things that all of us have thought about along the way. This is a great place for like minded people who know exactly where you are coming from. The cancer journey can feel lonely, overwhelming and isolating but this forum is a great outlet for anything you need to ‘let out’. Keep talking.

    We’ve got this, one step at a time, breathe…. xxxx

  • Hi, I have been thinking about you since I read your post. How are you feeling today? Are you ok? x

  • Thank you for all your advice and sharing your story. I am awaiting scans to find out if it has spread. I know my tumors are grade 3 which means it's aggressive and I think that's what's scaring me the most. 

    I just about feel calm enough to function at the moment because I'm telling myself it hasn't spread but as soon as I get the results from the scans I'm not sure how I'm going to cope if it has.

    I'm scared I will have so little time to feel I have put everything in order before I go.

    I'm sorry I'm so negative.

    X X X 

  • Hey Georgiegirl,

    Everything you feel is valid.  Albeit they may not all be true.  Take it from me that there is hope. Not at the end of the tunnel, nay, hope along your journey. 

    My son was 9 when I was diagnosed 2 years ago.  We had just relocated cross continents at the tailend of a pandemic and lots of other stuff I would spare you.  Had a double mastectomy and all that drama.    I would leave you with these 2 nuggets I gleaned as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death:

    1.  Children are more resilient than we presume.

    2.  On this journey, people will exit and enter your life.  Do not be so focused on those leaving that you miss out on those entering because they have been equipped to walk this path with you.

  • It’s perfectly fine to feel the way you do, don’t use it as something else to beat yourself up with.

    But if you can, try to put the ‘what ifs’ to one side. Try to function as you normally would, it’s hard I know but this is a long journey and there is no point tormenting yourself with stories that might not have even been written for you. I firmly believe that our stories are already written and we’re just here for the ride. Your oncology team will be working super hard for you in the background (although it may not always feel like it) so put all your trust and faith in them. 

    It all takes a what feels like a horrible amount of time to get to a point where actual plans are put in place but it takes time for a reason. Once you know where you’re actually at, bizarrely it becomes a bit easier because you know exactly what you’re facing and what you have to do to make the very best of what is being presented to you.

    If you have a ‘happy place’ that you can visit, go. Or bake, sew, paint whatever makes you feel happy - do it! Light all the candles you’re saving, use all the ‘best stuff’ All things that make you smile and feel alive!

    Take care and keep talking xxx