On 8th July I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer and after a week of being sent off to have scans and x-rays, last Thursday I underwent a biopsy where I was reduced to a slab of meat. Today is the day I return to my specialist to be informed exactly what kind of breast cancer I have and what they propose will be the best course of action. However from last Thursday, I have felt as if I have been stranded in limbo land and it hasn't been a pleasant feeling at all. Yesterday I decided to revisit my GP to ascertain at least just what stage of breast cancer I have in what seems to be a somewhat feeble attempt to prepare myself for today's possible outcome. He seems to think that I am Stage 2 - with the tumour being 2-2.5cm. They haven't tested to see whether there are any connected lymph nodes I thought they had and that the lump was isolated. This depressed me. Then I started to beat myself up over the self pity as Stage 2 isn't as bad as Stage 3 or 4 and where the tumour is, it is likely that a partial mastectomy will be undertaken. Or at least I hope. Having recently been made redundant the day after my diagnosis (attempting not to link the two), I am trying to focus on the positive - no need to awkwardly arrange time off between appointments - but that doesn't pay the bills. One application asked if there was any reason that I might not be able to fulfil the position and I had to put "Maybe". I have (re)registered as a contract worker however have had to turn down work for next week due to the uncertainly of today's outcome - that meant breaking the news to the agency that I have breast cancer. Yesterday I applied to access my "disability" insurance that I have over my mortgage - luckily I have some. However my policy is about to end in November and the bank told me that the insurer may not renew it or if they did, as I now have a "pre-existing condition", I may have to pay higher premiums. Joy. Breaking the news to friends has been hard - what will be the hardest however is breaking the news to my family. My sister who lives in Spain knows and has been very supportive. My parents (who are in their 70s) also live overseas and I have been resisting letting them know until I know all the facts. I know that when I tell them it will break their hearts and this prospect is more painful for me to face than the fact that I have to deal with cancer. All my friends tell me that I am a "strong" person with a "positive outlook". Last year a close friend went through bowel cancer and her treatment was aggressive so why should I be getting so upset about Stage 2 breast cancer. I'm getting upset because this totally sucks. Regardless of what stage, the fear, anxiety and uncertainly remains the same. I took part in this year's Mother's Day Classic which raised some $3.1 million for breast cancer research and was intending to take part in The Color Run (again nominating a cancer charity). Ironically now I have breast cancer. Life has just thrown me a bunch of lemons expecting me to make lemonade (or margaritas) and at the moment I don't want to play ball.
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Hi LunaNoire Its so frightening when you are diagnosed with cancer. I think your mind goes into shock which I think is a way of protecting you as it prevents you from thinking straight. No cancer is a good one to have but as you say stage 2 is better than 3 or 4. My family except for one brother lives overseas and it is the hardest thing to have to tell your parents because at the end of the day you are still one of their children and no parent wants to see a child suffer. I kept it from my mother as long as possible too as I knew how upset she would be. With regard to your disability insurance for your mortgage, contact the insurer direct as the bank only issues the policy, the insurance company is the one who will pay the claim. Something else I didn't know when diagnosed was you can also access your super for medical bills or mortgage arrears which might give you some peace of mind. The cancer council also have financial advisors available to help you. Cancer does make you realise how strong you are as a person and your friends already see this in you, right now this isn't much comfort to you but you will come out the other side. Wishing you all the best in your journey.
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I think that feelings of being stuck in limbo is a pretty common experience. I remember feeling like that after my diagnosis. Waiting for results is the absolute worst. I had a good prognosis. I counted myself lucky because I had a friend who had terminal cancer. My doctor reckoned I was entitled to feel sorry for myself... which I did and still do at times. I now pass this advice on to you. You are totally right that it doesn't matter what type of cancer or what stage you have, everyone (or at least most people) experiences anxiety. Don't ever feel like feeling upset isn't validated because you're not as sick as some other people. Cancer turns your life upside down and inside out, whatever the type/stage. You would have seen the specialist by now so I hope you got some good news. Sending good vibes and healing thoughts. x
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