Do I have cancer or not?

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I have had surgery and I’m awaiting radiotherapy.  I’m still in a bit of a state of disbelief if I’m honest.  However, someone (who I’m sure was trying to be helpful) said that I don’t have cancer as I’ve had surgery and that I was lucky I’d only had it for a few weeks. 
I am lucky. It was Stage 2 and surgery was successful. I’m getting radiotherapy shortly and taking Letrozole for 5 years.

Why do I feel so upset? Is cancer “over and done with” in a few weeks?  I feel maybe I’ve over-reacted and a bit fraudulent.  

  • Hi Megansgran,

    I am in exactly the same boat as yourself. I had a lumpectomy just over two months ago and two lymph nodes removed, like you I am awaiting radiotherapy and on Letrozole for five years. It is a shock when you are told, but is important you take a bit of time to let it register and sink in. You are not over reacting or in anyway fraudulent, these are all very normal reactions so do not feel guilty.

    You have made the first big step by finding the Macmillan site, also do visit your nearest Macmillan centre, a list is on here, or ring them on 0808 808 0000, they are superbly helpful and give you lots of great info, do walks, talks and lots more. Please also get a good support structure in place, family, friends, good work colleagues, I’ve lived on my own for nigh on forty years, but realised you can’t do this on your own. I also go for a short walk every day (British weather permitting) and do a daily diary, this is mega helpful, as it gets everything off your chest and out of your system. It is important during the day to keep yourself occupied, hobbies, interests etc., it stops you from dwelling on what is going on. You may also find it beneficial to listen to a meditation podcast, they really help you to relax especially when you are trying to get to sleep. I use one called ‘Go Gently’ by Christine Elizabeth Smith, it does a lot for me.

    I know it’s hard sometimes, but try and keep as positive as you possibly can, have positive people around you and dump the negativity, above all, be kind to yourself - I promise you, you will get through this. You are never alone and can always come and chat to us shower in here at anytime.

    Take care and big hugs.xxx

  • You didn't only have cancer for a few weeks,  as even grade 3 (faster growing cancer) would have taken many months/ more than a year to reach 2cm, which is the size stage 2 starts. I'm sure that she was trying to comfort you,  but people don't always have the effect they intend,  lol. Please don't feel fraudulent,  as the cancer you had was real.  Congratulations on a successful surgery and good luck with the radiotherapy!

    “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Stephen Hawking,
  • Hello megansgran.      No you are no fraud. You may have had the tumor removed but now have a long time to take hormone treatment and hope to keep it away.  During that journey there are going to be ups and downs ,so over and done with it’s not.    There is a mistaken idea that if you don’t have chemo,upchucking every min and lose all your hair you have only had a little cancer,we have all seen films like that. Until women and the public in general are more educated about cancer it will continue to make you and me feel we are frauds ,rotten feeling.     Good luck with the radiotherapy and your forward journey with this rotten disease x

  • Aww thank you. You are so lovely. I’m going to have a listen to Go Gently as you have so helpfully suggested. I appreciate your response. Take care - and thank you again xxx

  • Thank you for taking time to respond.  I really appreciate your support. Xx

  • Thank you. You are so correct in the image people have of cancer.  I suppose people have perceptions of old, but thankfully progress in treatments etc has been rapid. I appreciate you taking time to respond so - again - thank you xx

  • No worries, chat anytime - we’re all in this together.xxx

  • Hi Megansgran

    Good to hear your surgery is done and you're getting ready for the next step forward, onwards and upwards. I'm stage 2 invasive ductal cancer and having my lumpectomy and node removal Tuesday. It's so scary but I'm trying to stay positive but it's so hard at times. I too have been told radiotherapy and 5 years hormone therapy. Please don't feel fraudulent, you have been through so much already with the diagnosis and waiting for results and surgery. I know on the road ahead there will be ups and downs but I feel reassured that there is always support from this group for which I am so grateful. Take care 

  • Aww thank you!  We’re on a very similar path and I feel so grateful for your support. Xx

  • Hi Megansgran, I can only underline what the others have said. You are definitely not a fraud. Some people open their mouths and mean well but if they've never been confronted with this disease themselves they haven't got a clue about what it does to your psyche.  Apart from that the treatment is not exactly a picnic. You will always be a cancer survivor and that makes a difference. It maybe makes you realise how fragile our lives can be and teaches us to concentrate on the things that really matter.  The experience will never leave you but you can tuck it away at the back of your mind and enjoy your life. So, on with the show! All the best. Ulla xx