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Hi, I'm new to this, my sister in law was diagnosed with 2 large secondary brain tumours and 40+ small ones this week after an MRI for a headache she's had for 3 weeks. She is 40 with 2 young kids. She has shut down completely, which we all understand, and my brother is in bits, and has aske me to get as much information and help as I can for them. She had a CT scan yesterday to try and find the primary, but has heard nothing. Is this normal, it took 3 hours from her MRI to them ringing her on Tuesday. They just want some support and contact, and are wondering about how long this takes and what happens next, everything just seems to go quiet at the weekend. Wow, this is hard, where do you even start? So grateful for groups like this, thank you.

  • Hi

    I'm so sorry you find yourselves dealing with this. It is hard and I imagine your sister in law feels hit by a brick, I did. It is hard to know where to start but the team will lead you through it.

    I'm 40 too, with young children and had the shock of my life when I was told I had secondaries on my brain. I too had headaches and was initially told it was stress from dealing with the cancer treatment for my primary. 

    Yes, it is normal to wait a few days (or a couple of weeks) for scan results. It's one of the most difficult parts of cancer treatment, we call it scanxiety. You won't wait long now they know what's there. 

    Your sister in law will have a team of people looking at all scans, there's normally an MDT, (multi-disciplinary team meet) a treatment plan will be decided by the group  of medics and then it'll all be fully explained to your sister in law. Each person is unique so treatment does vary, we all have different experiences from surgery to radiotherapy to drugs so it's hard to guess what will be best in your situation.

    I had steroids for a while to reduce brain swelling (causes headaches) but I was able to wean off them when treatment started working. The steroids really helped, really quickly although they're not pleasant in some ways. Cancer treatment isn't much fun. Treatment has pushed my brain mets back but it's taken a while. 

    Try not to panic, which is easier said than done as it is hard, but a day at a time initially helps to cope with it all. Cancer is more of a marathon than a sprint and it's easier to deal with today as too much dwelling on what might be can be really overwhelming. 

    Please only read information initially on Macmillan or the Cancer Research sites as there's a huge amount on the internet that is out of date and scary. There's some good stuff on Macmillan about dealing with talking about this to children, that might be worth a look at but don't rush into anything yet, your sister in law needs to be in charge of all this, she will come out of the initial shock. She'll need lots of support but she'll need a sense of control too. 

    I'm so sorry this is happening to your family, please know there's lots of support on this site. Lots of people in a similar boat she can reach out to too when she's ready. 

    I hope you get that treatment plan soon.