Breast cancer for the under-50s

Breast cancer is far less common in the under-50s, but this can leave younger people with a diagnosis feeling isolated. This group is a place for them to come together, share experiences and support each other.

Struggling

Woody47
Posted by

Hello. I've just turned 47 and was diagnosed last week with Breast cancer. Naturally I'm overwhelmed and have tried really hard to carry on as normal. I have two boys who are 6 and 10yrs old. Christmas has to be special for them. I've started to tell my friends but it's hard. I'm making the people i care about cry. I'm really worried about my husband. Men are not very good at opening up. I think he needs support. Do you know if there are groups that support partners?

I'm so tired too. Is this normal? A friend has suggested I try using Kalms, to release a little tension. Has anyone tried herbal medication at all? Thanks.

Sunnyone
Posted by

Hi,

You have my full sympathy. I was diagnosed in Nov and had a mastectomy in Dec. I was exhausted when I found out - to be honest the biopsies knocked me about a fair bit and I felt rubbish for weeks after the mammogram and biopsy, there are a lot of bugs around now and that didnt help. I found walking outdoors helped me a lot.

I found telling people so hard, as you say, it makes them sad. But it is early days and they will get used to it and will come to understand how good the treatments are now - I think I cited Kylie Minogue about 20 times. I have used a charity called The Breast Cancer Haven and they have offered my hubby counselling if he wants it. Also my Macmillan nurse has said she will try to access him some help if he needs it. My husband has calmed down considerably after the initial struggle (internalised) as time has gone by it really has got easier - we have known the news avout 6 weeks now.

I also felt a lot better after I had had the mastectomy because I felt like that I had won the first battle. What is the first treatment they are planning for you? Hope your weekend gets easier.

Counting my blessings.
Optimistic
Posted by

Hi a big welcome to the site .I was diagnosed two years ago and still here doing well sorry you find yourself here it's a massive shock at first and I was so tired from emotion at diagnosis. Just to say the main breast cancer forum is usually busier than the under 50 so maybe worth posting there as well. I rang Breast Cancer care a lot at diagnosis they have lots of advice and people to talk to  .once you have a proper treatment plan it gets easier  Be kind to yourself at the moment and take if a step at a time xxx This forum has supported me so much and you will find people to chat to going through the same stages to support each other so keep posting xxxx





Woody47
Posted by

Sunnyone thank you for your reply. I have 2 lumps that are cancerous but only the results for one are currently  available. I know one is grade 2, ER+, HER-2. I had an MRI last week to rule out contralateral disease as my tissue is dense. I'm seeing my consultant on Monday for these results. So far I don't know if I'll need Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy. I do know I'll need a mastectomy sometime in January. It's so sudden! There's hardly any time to adjust but I guess that means less time to worry. 

How are you coping after surgery? Did you opt for reconstruction? I hope you are not in too much physical pain x 

Woody47
Posted by

Thank you Optimistic.  I have also joined the main group. Do you know if it's possible to post in both groups at the same time? 

Sunnyone
Posted by

Hi, I have a similar story to you. Two lumps, grade 2 lumps, ER+ve, mastectomy and I dont know the full plan yet but will once the sentinel node biopsy results come back. It will be either chemo or radiotherapy and then Tamoxifen as a hormone suppressant for 10 yrs. The consultant said when he did my op that he is thinking radiotherapy at this point but we will not know yet.

I did not opt for reconstruction- I will wait till the treatments are done. Regarding post op pain, it has not been bad but it has lasted longer than I expected. I have mostly been on paracetamol and ibuprofen only but I take a half of the codeine they gave me if Im having a day which doesnt feel comfortable and I take the second half if the pain doesnt go. I have taken 6 codeine tablets over 16 days so that gives you a sense of things not being too bad. Maybe I should have taken one at bedtime a few more times to sleep better. Little things are worth knowing. Washing up and cooking, even crochet has been hard and still is. Little repeated movements have been more of a problem than I thought. And doing things like a jigsaw has bothered me. However I have been able to go for walks from the first day. Only 20 mins at a time for the first few days but longer now. Walking has helped me with stress management. A couple of tines I havent taken enough pain relief and the result has been that I have got very anxious and worried when that has happened. I think that that has been anxiety prompted by pain and I recommend keeping ahead of the pain as the nurses put it. You will be fine with the mastectomy. It isnt too bad. I had more acute pain from having my gallbladder out laparoscopically.

With the kids, it has helped me to give my son specific things to do to help me. Like make me a cuppa or pass me something. It has helped us both. 

Pleaee stay in touch it is really nice to meet someone in the same process. Best wishes,

Counting my blessings.
Optimistic
Posted by

Hi i don't think you can post in both at the same time but I'm not really a tech wizz  plus I'm on a trusty old kindle so a bit  Basic xxx





Woody47
Posted by

I will definitely stay in touch. 

Thank you for sharing. I do wonder how as a family, life will change whilst I recover. Do you work, if so how long do you think it will be before you can go back?

I'm a TA at a local primary school, I haven't spoken to my Head yet about time off. I just don't know what I'll need. I'm hoping to have immediate reconstruction, I imagine that will add to the time. So many questions!!

I will definitely getting out when I can. I love gardening . I've been to school today and weeded and have been out in my garden. Soothes my soul. I'm guessing I won't be able to tackle the weeds for a while after though.

Stay strong. Always happy to chat and share our challenge x 

Sunnyone
Posted by

I'm thinking that the family balance might be better for my being less able and inclined to accomodate everyone! 

I'm a teacher! - I think any time between Feb half term and Sept is possible.for full return, it depends on so many things. I dont know how full time will be after I'm on Tamoxifen.

By the way, I would see your gp. You can get a certificate so that all your prescrptions are free now that you have a Ca diagnosis. Also, talk about whether the stress of this diagnosis means you should go off earlier than the op. I did with the schools blessing - I wasnt fit to do my job to be honest and they were wonderful.

I am also a mad keen gardener and have been managing to plant my pots with.winter flowers (with help) since the ol.  it has been a huge boon. My next project is the planning for growing some veg with black plastic as weed suppressant - weeding is a bit of a nono so strategy may be required.

Lovely to meet you by the way!

Counting my blessings.
Woody47
Posted by

A teacher! We do seem to have quite a bit in common. Can I ask how you told the other staff? I'm dreading it. More people worrying about me. More shocked and scared faces. They are such a lovely team and SLT have already been amazing. My problem is complicated as both of my boys go to the school I work at. I've told their teachers but asked for it to be kept quiet for now. I too am wondering if I'll manage as my surgery date gets nearer. I kind of hoped I would have my date, I would skip INSET day and not return until it's all done. I'm supposed to have the op by the 20th anyway - i'd only be in class for a week or two.

I hope I can still potter around in the garden after. I run the school gardening club but may have to find a green fingered friend to help out.

It's so nice to chat to you. I feel so much better, thank you.

Sunnyone
Posted by

It makes me feel better too. Amazingly my son also goes to my school! That is why I went off work in part, he was finding it hard not to talk to his friends about it but he didn't want to tell my secrets. He is a teen so the tensions were different than for younger ones. He and I chatted it through and decided that we were happy for everyone to know everything as long as they also knew that the hospital were fixing me. That was when I stopped going to.work.so he could have a simpler process than worrying about me and who.was saying what while he was at school- it enabled me to focus on the family which helped me immeasurably. I lined up a lot of ducks at that point. And I came to.see how shocked I was over time.

I think that having the surgery you are choosing does have longer recovery but then you dont need another op. My surgery was less than 2 weeks before Christmas and I wanted Christmas to work so it factored in my thinking. I dont regret it though - advantages both ways I think.

I hated telling school - I got my line managers to tell the department and I was really clear with SLT that I was happy for anyone to know. I absolutely hated and still hate telling people but they are getting used to the news now. I dont have the phone constantly beeping (much!).

The garden is an absolute joy and planning this year's growing us a serious distraction! 

Let me know how you go on Monday. Xx

Counting my blessings.
Woody47
Posted by

Hi there, happy New Year. Just thought I'd let you know my MRI results were all ok. I'm 'green for go' on the 21st. Single mastectomy with intermediate reconstruction. I feel so much better knowing what the plan is. 20 days to get myself ready. How are you? 

Sunnyone
Posted by

Happy new year to you too! Great news. I totally agree that knowing what is next helps- I get my results from my sentinal node biopsy at the end of this week and then I will know the next stage of the treatment.

Im well thanks, had a breakthrough this week once the nurse said it was ok to switch to a sports bra from the one that they give you at the hospital. I feel much more comfortable! 

Had a lovely walk today and the sun has been shining here so for today, all is well!

Are you going to inset?

Counting my blessings.
Woody47
Posted by

It's great that you're feeling better. I went for a walk with a friend today, that's everyone told who i want to tell personally. I'm feeling more confident talking about it.

Yes I'm going to inset. I need to talk to my Head about possibly letting the staff know then. It's the only time that we're all together. 

Did you have to wear the bra day and night? I need to buy some new ones for after. Have you started taking Tamoxifen yet or will that also come after your biopsy results. 

Sunnyone
Posted by

I completely remember thinking- that's everyone told that I need to tell now. Some other people on Facebook still dont know but almost everyone. It was a relief. 

I didnt wear the bra at night but from the second I got up for my son's sake ie with a dressing gown. It might be different as you are having some reconstruction included (I didn't recognise the term you used?) I went to a shop called Bravissimo which I've used before - they do bigger cup sizes which is me and told them that I wanted their help. The woman who helped me was amazing and gave me so much help and a hug! The one that the hospital gave me did up at the front and was super soft ie very little support but easy on the wound. My best buy was the super supportive sports bra because the band is lower than a normal bra so it didnt touch the same place as the other bra which had started to rub on the skin which had reacted a tiny bit to the glue on the dressing. I dont know if that all made sense! The dressing needs to be watertight so it is very firmy attached and my skin was a bit irritated by 2 weeks of the glue.

No Tamoxifen yet - at the end of all treatment apparently. Ive researched a low level antidepressant which I can take with it if I get the side effect of lowered mood, so I feel a bit more armed against it than I did. Not looking forward to rapid menopause which is basically what it does but will deal with that when it happens and some people have v few symptoms so no point in second guessing too much!

Hope inset goes well.

Counting my blessings.