How do you cope?

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/5/2009 12:39 PM (GMT -7)   

Just wondering how you cope with being high risk women?

 I'm 35 and 3 years ago found a lump, which luckly was not cancer. Last week i found another lump, went to doctors to be told i actually have 3 lumps (2 in one breast i didn't feel). I'm now wanting for a hospital appointment within the next 2 weeks.  I'm just a mess, my husband is in Afgan so i don't want to tell him and worry him, i don't want to tell my family as they went to pieces last time - my mother died at 45 after having breast cancer twice, my gran had breast cancer, and on my mothers side there has been another 5 women with breast cancer. I have had been seen by a genetic consultant and was going to start mammography from 35 anyway.

I have 3 little ones under 6 years and everytime i look at them i just start crying. When my mother died my little brother was only  9 months older than my oldest.

How do you cope?   

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 9/5/2009 4:13 PM (GMT -7)   
RJ, first of all, try to drive yourself crazy before your appointment! I've been just where you are right now. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 7, she was 45. Back then, they didn't necessarily look for the origin of the cancer, so I'm not even sure where hers started. But I was always convinced that I was going to die young of cancer, too. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer at age 36, and I had two young girls at the time. That was almost 15 years ago... and I've been cancer free all that time... long enough to see them graduate from jr high, then high school, then college, and one from her master's program. Right now, the youngest is in her second year of grad school, and the other just started her PhD program. And did I mention that I saw the birth of my first grandbaby? LOL... she will be 8 on October 23, the date of my first mammogram 7 years before that. What a gift! So, you see, cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence. I remember my surgeon telling me after my biopsies that this wasn't the end of the world, and he was right... but I surely didn't believe him at the time. It was just the beginning of looking at life a little differently. Now, that is easy to say. But then... it was just putting one foot in front of the other, putting a smile on my face, laughing as much as possible, and hoping all the while for the best while preparing myself for the worst.

I tell you all this first because I know you need to hear that. I believed from the time I found those lumps that they were cancer. And I'm sure you are feeling the same way. But I'm going to tell you now that almost 80% of all breast biopsies are negative for cancer. You've already had one negative finding. And you could have a three more! So please, try not to cry every time you look at your babies! If the worst happens, then you will cope, and you will do it because you have three beautiful little ones who need their mom.

I'll tell you, too, that I have a strong family history of hormone-related cancers. I had an aunt with ovarian cancer (and then lymphoma), an aunt with adenocarcinoma of the lung, and two cousins with breast cancer, as well a brother with prostate cancer. With that lovely family background, I had genetic testing done at my daughters' request, when they were old enough to make that decision (I didn't want to burden them at a young age with the knowledge that they were genetically pre-disposed to this), and to everyone's surprise, including the genetics clinic staff, I was negative for the breast cancer genes. Negative. So, while my daughters have to be vigilant, because they are at increased risk, they don't carry the genes that make it highly likely they will develop breast cancer.

So take a deep breath, pull it together, and get through one thing at a time here, okay? First the appointment. Let's find out if you really have to worry about all that other stuff first! I know you said your husband is gone, but do you have other family or friends you can share this with? That would really be great if you do. Otherwise, we're here, and we have so many long-time survivors who were diagnosed young. Annette (desertdreaming), had a young baby, Jordan, the first time we met! And her "baby" is turning into quite a grown-up young lady these days!

I hope this helps!

Big hugs to you, RJ!

"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz

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