My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Highlighted
New Contributor

My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Feeling like this is the end of the world... I know I have to try and be strong for my wife and 2 young children but its so hard. I don't want to loose my life partner and their mother...what do I tell the kids? How long does it take from diagnosis to get on with the treatment? Any advice to help me and my wife get through these early days? Thanks
Reply
0 Kudos
9 REPLIES 9
Highlighted
Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Hi BobH, My wife was diagnosed with cancer late 2009, she had been retired for 1 year, retiring at the age of 55. The news is devastating, that moment when you are told, the world goes from one of colour to one of grey and dark. I have heard the saying that life is a journey, I felt that my wife and I had gone to sleep one night, and somehow had switched tracks from one of sunshine to one of brambles, prickles and undergrowth that was difficult to get through. How the hell did we end up here ?, here I used to think. But you are not alone BobH. This site is a good supportive site with people going through what your family are going through. Contact the Cancer Council for more support for you and your family, they offer a range of practical and emotional support in the form of counselling When you go to see the health professionals take a note book and pen, you and your wife will not be able to remember everything you are told, so write it down, names of treatment, medication, get handouts, become involved in your wifes treatment, learn the side effects ( if any ) and put in place anything you can to lessen them,gentle reflexology is calming.Work as part of the team looking after your wife. Understand that your wife may get tired from the treatment, learn to cook, if you cannot already, do the washing, housework,pay the bills on time, etc. I gave up my part time jobs to look after my wife, but our kids had already left home so, it was probably easier. Above all be supportive, and be there for her, she does not deserve this, nobody does. Be strong I wish your family well. wombat4
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Frequent Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

I think that is good advice. I would add, though, that it is likely to be a different process for each of you. You need some support too - and she may not be able to give it. Just be aware of the different roles of patient and carer and how each of you will want to get outside those roles. Realising that can be invigorating over time. But at the moment yes, take a notebook. Get someone else to send out a group email with the updates as they come in from the doctors. That way you will not be under so much pressure as a couple. Create some space so you can work out how to deal with it. There will be plenty of advice available from very skilled people about talking to the kids. Cheers. H
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Hi Bob h, Sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis, I have thyroid cancer (no experience with breast cancer) but treatment started very quick for me and I hope the same for your wife- to give u an idea, I was diagnosed on 22nd nov and had an appt to meet the surgeon (concord hospital) the next day, I was in for surgery on 6th December - it all happened so fast I literally didn't have my head around the idea of having cancer until I woke up in recovery after a 6 hour surgery! I have 3 young children, 6, 4 & 8 months. I chose to not mention the C word, I just told them that mummy was sick and would be going into hospital to have a naughty sore cut out of my neck (having two large cuts across my throat I had no choice to share that part!) I am going in for RAI on 3rd feb and am dreading the time away from them very much, I am making them mummy advent calendars with little presents to count down the days until my isolation ends.. Everyone is different in wether They choose to tell their children or not, I think it depends on age and personally type - my eldest is quite intuitive & would worry if I didn't down play it! As for yourself, please talk to your wife about how your feeling and make sure to check in on how she's feeling.. I know I was having pure panic moments but telling my husband I was fine fine fine, no big deal (even making Frankenstein jokes pre surgery!!) I did that so he would be fine and when he appeared to be fine I got cranky at him for being so fine! 😉 women hey!! Best of luck to you, allow yourself some time To fall apart but then get your fighting spirit up!
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
New Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Thanks for you kind words and advice, and taking the time to reply. wombat4, hacker & shorty_shell. I'm coping a little better today after the weekend from hell. My wife is stronger than me and instead of focusing on all the bad things that could happen like her I'm managing to think just about the next step and not worry about possible future bridges that we (hopefully) don't need to cross. I have decided not to tell the kids anything yet until we have met with the specialist /surgeon and know what the next step will be. worst bit of the day today was waking up after a couple of hours sleep and for that split second thinking everything was alright. but its not. hopefully i'll get more sleep tonight if I can stop thinking... After spending most of last night trying to read stuff on the internet about breast cancer, treatments, survival rates etc ... I found some info helped me and some depressed me so I've stop that and will now wait for the appointment with the specialist. I understand every case is different and tying to seek reassurance from the web wasn't working for me... After a run of bad news ending on saturday with confirmation that the breast lump was cancer, I desperately need some good news to try and turn this around.
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Hi BobH, I am sorry to hear about your wife and her cancer and agree with the advice that the others have given you. It seems that you did what most people do and turn to he internet for information. It was good to read that you stopped. My wife did that with my cancer (panreatic) and it almost destroyed her. There is far too much negative information out there and it outweighs any positive information that you may find. The only advice that I could give you which would be useful, is make time for yourself. You are going to need it and I say this after having watched my wife begin to burn herself out trying to do everything and find out everything. You may also want to consider a counseling session or two so that you can talk freely with someone who is there simply to listen. From personal experience, let her do things around the house when she is up to it. I have had a short spell where I was stopped from doing things. This was very, very frustrating as it took away some of my self identity and self worth. After all, life is not over, it's just different. When she is not up to it, she will appreciate everything that you are doing for her. Other than that, let yourself be sad, angry, overwhelmed when you need to. It helps to empty the negative emotions so that you can get up and fight again.
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
New Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

We have the appointment with the specialist tomorrow...hopefully some of the outstanding questions regarding next steps will be answered...I don't know whether expecting the worst or hoping for the best is the best attitude. I feel like I'm being ripped apart. we are desperate to find out but scared stiff that it will be bad news... I feel so sad that I can't function...
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Hi BobH, Its good that things are moving quickly for you, its better than waiting for weeks before you know anything. I have been to the place you are in now, it is a place we have never dreamed existed our worst nightmare, but we are there. I sincerely hope it is good news for you both. If it is not as good as you wished for, take it, do your very best and work with it. Dont forget the note book and pen, get the specialists business card as well, it usually has an a/h No and their mobile No, and email. If you have questions you forgot to ask, you can always email It is difficult if you need to contact them and all you have is the office No. The numbness you are feeling is normal, Those touched by this have all been there, and many like myself are still there. Stay as a major part of the team that will take on the treatment of your wife. You will be with her for more time more than the rest of the team. Your wife needs to be able to depend on you. It is difficult, but be strong. wombat4
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Super Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Hi Bob, this is such a traumatic time. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. My mantra after my husband was diagnosed with NHL was 'just keep moving forward', basically 'one day at a time'. I'm hoping good things for you. Emily
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
New Contributor

Re: My wife (40's) diagnosed with breast cancer today...

Thanks for your kind words and hope Emily... My wife's treatment is progressing and we do take one day at a time. There have been some lows & highs so far, we just need to stay positive. Bob
Reply
0 Kudos
Post new topic
Talk to a health professional
Cancer Council support and information 13 11 20Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Cancer Information and Support

Online resources and support

Access information about support services, online resources and a range of other materials.

Caring for someone with cancer?

Find out what resources and support services are available to assist you.