Anxiety about cancer returning..

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Occasional Contributor

Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi. I'm a single mother of a 16 year old.

In March 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I started chemo soon after, then had a bilateral mastectomy with axillary clearance of the lymph nodes, then radiotherapy and I am now taking Tamoxifen daily. None of it was easy but physically I coped pretty well with the treatments. 

Not long after my diagnosis my mother had a stroke. While being treated for that it was discovered that she had tumors in her bowel. They were removed and we thought she was okay but then a few months later she got kidney stones and wile being treated for that it was discovered that there were now even more tumors. By this time she was so weak that they couldn't operate again and, though they tried, she couldn't tolerate chemo so in the end there was nothing to be done. She was in so much pain all the time and after a long hospital stay she went into palliative care. Officially she died of bowel cancer but we actually watched her starve to death. It was so brutal and completely terrifying.  

Now, as I wait the long months until January when I have my first follow up scans I am finding myself thinking about it ALL THE TIME and I'm starting to have panic attacks about what they might find. Whenever I think about doing anything in the future (I'm hoping to buy a house next year) my mind whispers "if you're still here then" and I lose hope again.

I'm thinking of asking them to do the scans earlier because I might just be a basket case by January. 

9 REPLIES 9
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Super Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi Jill22,
You've been thru alot lately, & if having the scans early will put your mind at rest, then that's a great idea. If your oncologist doesn't want to do them early, then ask your GP to do the referral. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
I wish you all the best for clear results.

Budgie
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi Budgie. 

Thanks for your reply.  While I know I should be reaching out for all the help available to me I'm just not ready to actually speak to someone about it yet which is why I'm here. Working up the courage, you might say.  I'm normally a very private person - an introvert - so it's just not easy for me to open up.  But I'm also normally a very optimistic person so feeling like I have been is a little scary.  My mum only passed at the end of June so I know most of this isn't really about my health. 

Thank you for your well wishes xx

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Just an update.

I finally found the courage to discuss this with my breast care nurse (THANK YOU McGRATH FOUNDATION!) and she agreed that it might be better to have my scans done earlier. Every little ache and pain is freaking me out right now and I can't go on not knowing if it's all just in my mind. I'm still really scared but I do feel a bit better now that I am facing it. 

So I'm off for a CT, Ultrasound and bone scan tomorrow. Fingers crossed x x

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Super Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Please let us know the results of your scans @Jill22.
I've recently had more scans (CT & bone) done because I had pain in my chest & back. Turns out that I do have another metastasis in one of my ribs, but that's not where the pain was. I actually had pain in that spot 18 months ago. Go figure! I suppose, in 18 more months time I'll have new mets where I had the pain this time. 🤷‍♀️
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Super Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi,

 

Good luck with the scan.

It's not unusual to have test anxiety. It's quite normal.

I really don't like taking anaesthetics to make me unconscious. I get very on edge.

A couple of months ago I had a light anaesthetic for a scope. The fear must have been written all over my face because I had multiple medical staff ask me if I was OK.

It's never comfortable for me, but each year and another clean scan/scope, the risks reduce.

I hope it's the same for you.

 

-s 

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi Budgie, 

I had the scans last Thursday and apart from some signs of arthritis in my knees and feet they said they found nothing unusual in the scans. I was told the test results would be sent to my oncologist and the breast care nurse was going to follow it up for me.  It's now Tuesday and no one has contacted me so I just left a message for her. I want to believe that no news is good news but I'll wait for confirmation. 

I'm so sorry to hear they found something in your scans. It must be like a kick in the guts.

Wishing only good things for you xx

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi sch, 

Thank you for your well wishes. 

Luckily there was no anaesthetics required for my scans. I have only been under once in my whole life (when I had the mastectomies) and it was terrifying. The response I had from the technicians doing the scans was positive but I'm just waiting for confirmation of that from my oncologist before I breathe any sigh of relief.

All the best to you xx 

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Super Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Hi @Jill22,

No news is good news😁. I'm very glad nothing nasty was found, although I know arthritis can be nasty too, as I suffer from it also.
Re my new spot - it is what it is, & I expect it to only get worse for me. But, its not too bad for me right now, so I'm happy.

Take care Jill

Budgie
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Anxiety about cancer returning..

Being positive helps and it is good to know that you are a positive person. A lot of things happened to your family lately and no enough space to really breath in between and this caused panic attacks, anxiety. Take time to talk with a counselor - this will help.
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