Help, i don't know how to handle the sadness thats coming.

Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
edited March 12 in Health and wellbeing
i have to see a very special doctor of my care team tomorrow for an appointment, and it’s the first time I will be seeing her after I heard she has recently been through breast cancer herself. 

Im terrified. I am so scared of how emotional it might be. I don’t know what I’ll say to her. I feel like a total selfish idiot for making this about me, but I am just so scared I’ll have to face all this grief I’ve been running away from, because I won’t be able to handle knowing she had to go through it all too 😥 I don’t think I can handle the f*#!king INJUSTICE of this disease hurting the Carers who got ME through it. My brain can’t process that. It’s just too unfair. 

please help me find some kind of strategy to go and be in this appointment without bawling and panicking. I don’t know what I’ll say, or how to be! It’s at 10.30am. And I’m here having a mad worry about it tonight. Shit. 



  • AnnskiAnnski Blue Mountains, NSWMember Posts: 100
    @Summer Prevails maybe if you think about how you can make it easier for her - it must be difficult enough for her to process but she is a professional and she must want to go on in her occupation. Perhaps you can both just be together in your respective roles while offering some sense of kindness and compassion to each other, recognizing what you are going through together as companions on a very hard journey. You will need to face up to your grief and anger but tomorrow's appointment probably isn't the best time for it. Best wishes and here's hoping you can find the strength to make it easy for you both.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,017
    edited March 12
    Number 1...don't overthink it.
    You are trying to guess what will happen, guess what she'll say...guess what you will feel.
    She might just want  to get on with business and not discuss her treatment.
    I know laying on the gurney waiting for my port to be put in and my pre op nurse...secretly showing me her scar and telling's going to be okay...I'm 6 years on...was the best thing that happened. I've met many people over the years..and counselled people myself who have cancer. What it does they will get it...they'll get the fear...the will understsnd side effects and the no other Dr might.  

    So just go any other day ...and try not to tilt your head and do the "how are you" thing we hate. Just say good morning...and  see where it goes. Kath x
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,347
    edited March 12
    Hi Summer. If you haven't already, spend some time reading Liz O'Riordan's blog. She's a breast surgeon who got breast cancer. It's a cracking good read. She's a good writer and her insights from both sides of the fence are excellent.

    @Sazbe @JoeyLiz and @kezmusc may have some thoughts on this that could assist.

    My feeling is that if she's at work she must want to be. So like @Annski says, give her the emotional space to be a doctor for you. Depending on your relationship you could tell her that you are upset and struggling with the brutal unfairness of her situation.

    I understand that you don't want to load her up with it. Maybe ask someone who works with her if she's understanding of how her news affects her patients? Either way, some deep breaths before you enter the room.

    It's a very difficult situation. I'm tremendously fond of my BS. If I found out he had cancer I'd be very upset.

    Don't panic. Try to get a good night's sleep so you've got some reserves to draw on tomorrow. K xox
  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    Thank you wondrous ladies for these articulate helpful words. I’m going to read them as I tremble in the waiting room in the morning. I have gotten way way way too good at shoving my emotions down and surviving and being in a fair bit of denial about things for a while now. So my fear is that I’ll just completely come undone and she will be upset, and I’ll feel guilty and’re right @primek I am trying to predict everything aren’t I?! Brain is doing a number on me big time. 

    She must be just even more extraordinary than I already knew - to be a doctor to women with the same illness, and be strong enough to face up to that, in a professional setting....I am just in awe of that. And the more I am blown away by that strength, the more sadness I feel at how shit it is that someone so awesome has to suffer. I don’t know if I’m explaining it right 😕 but it’s a biiiiiig basket of mixed emotions tonight, and going in will be bloody hard. I hope I can be as strong as she taught me to be. 

  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,582

    Your comment was that you had heard that she has Breast Cancer.
    Agree with @primek unless she shares that information with you it is not for discussion about her condition.  
    She is there, at this appointment, in her professional capacity and there for you.  
    Concentrate on yourself and perhaps look at her with admiration in that she is able to put her diagnosis to one side to concentrate on you and her other patients.  Try and hone in on what the appointment is about, you and why you are there, she is there to help you

    Take care of yourself 

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 2,841
    All the best for your appointment today xx

    If/when she does share that info with you ..... a big hug might be in order, (if you think she is a huggy person) as a show of support and respect xx
  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    @iserbrown Well we were close enough that she and I would text each other regarding the odd thing here or there, and she mentioned it in a text. But I respected privacy and didn’t bring it up or anything since. So I think she knows I know. But I will maybe have the approach of honesty and respect, and admiration, and if it’s not weird or crossing lines, I’ll give her a big hug. 
  • kitkatbkitkatb Member Posts: 422
    @Summer Prevails  I hope your appointment went well today and better than you expected.  ( and she got a big hug from you )    xo
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 2,841
    Well Done @Summer Prevails .... better luck with your next appointment xx
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,347
    Good on you! Well done. K xox
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,173
    strength can be there when you need it.
  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    You’re right @Sister - it’s like a switch that gets flipped and all of a sudden you’re in competent mode. Just when you least expect it. I’m so relieved I had that small interaction with her though. Now I can see that she’s in her professional capacity again and I don’t feel the fear of breaking down so much. 

    Why is it that we allow ourselves to cry sometimes but not other times. I was so free to do that when I was in active treatment. Now I can’t. 
  • SazbeSazbe Member Posts: 19
    @Summer Prevails I'm glad you are feeling better about things now. 

    I agree with kmakm, that she would not be back at work unless she wanted to be and felt up to it. I was back at work a couple of days after my diagnosis (I'm a GP) and I think my 4th patient of the day was concerned about a breast lump. The professional side just kicks in. As doctors we are usually good at compartmentalising. It sounds like you have a good relationship with this doctor and that she is very caring, so I suspect she would handle it well even if you were to have a good cry. It also sounds like maybe you still have some grieving that you need to get out, have you got a good councillor or friend you  could speak to?

  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    edited March 16
    @Sazbe I know she’s an amazing woman and obviously she has the courage to just get back up and go to work - as you did. She must have the superpower of compartmentalising too! Wish I did. 

    I do do still have a lot of grief that I try to work through with psychotherapists of various sorts - takes 3 of them to keep me standing up! I think I hide my grief and trauma from friends and family now though because I simply cannot trust the world anymore* after all I’ve gone through. It’s less painful to just be sort of dead inside and not lose any more people by expressing myself to them.

    *edited to say: apart from you guys! This community is a sanctuary of trust and I don’t have anywhere else quite like it. 
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