Feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do

Honestly Member Posts: 1
edited October 2022 in Newly diagnosed
Hi Ladies 
I have aggressive ductal carcinoma in my left breast. I have had a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node removal. BCI organised for a endopredict test to be done. I am in the high risk catergory of cancer reoccurring. I will be meeting my medical oncologist next week my first appointment to discuss low dose chemotherapy which I believe will be for 3 months? What is this? Radiation will follow. Hormone blockers for 5-10 years. It’s a journey and so unknown

i hear people talk about cold caps? Do you recommend ?
Dr has given me a letter of support to work from home when feasible . Should I do this now? So many decisions and i
don’t know what to do. 

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. 
Cancer sister x


  • lovemoon
    lovemoon Member Posts: 38
    A big hug to you @Honestly This is a difficult time and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Just take one step at a time. Cold cap is used for chemotherapy which can help with hair loss. I know it works for some people but I still lost quite a lot of hair using the cold cap. I’d recommend taking some time off work if possible, you need time to deal with all these treatments. On the other hand, work may help to distract you from thinking too much, so, it really depends on how you feel about your work. Do you have a breast care nurse? A breast care nurse can be an important source of support during your treatment. Hope your appointment goes well. I’d be thinking of you ❤️
  • Kabee
    Kabee Member Posts: 12
    Hi @Honestly,
    It’s such a whirlwind of emotions with so much happening all at once. Like you, I’m also high risk for recurrence. I had a lumpectomy but I had a re-excision too. I did my chemo before surgery though as my tumour was big, I had lymph node involvement and it was aggressive. Im not sure what low dose chemo is but perhaps someone else might know. 
    I didn’t do cold cap as I knew it doesn’t work for everyone and I really didn’t want to extend my chemo time (it was going to add a couple of extra hours to the total time), I just wanted to do chemo and then get out of there. I got some really great wigs and got heaps of compliments. Most people were shocked to know it wasn’t my real hair. 
    I chose not to work for the 10 mths while I had treatment and surgery as I really didn’t know how I was going to be affected by the whole thing. I had enough leave to do half pay while I was away so financially I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want. For the first time in my life I decided to take some time for me. I’d never done that before. At the time of diagnosis I felt really guilty for getting sick and then deciding to take time away from work as I’m a workaholic but I’m glad I did. I actually enjoyed being home even though it wasn’t under the best circumstances. Looking back, I would have been ok to work for most of my treatment (except during AC chemo). There were quite a few appts along the way with oncology, surgeon, blood tests, scans etc plus daily radiation for 6 weeks and as i live 60 kms from my local cancer centre, it really wasn’t worth it for me to do half days. 
    All the best with everything :-) 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,028
    Hi @Honestly
    Your title says it all - feeling overwhelmed on a diagnosis of breast cancer is perfectly normal
    You have come to the right place this website has lots of helpful information and this forum is particularly good when you want to talk to others who have “ been there”.
    The emotional impacts of breast cancer are just as challenging as the physical ones - I found the podcast referred to above ( about 7 down) - “What you don’t know until you do” by Dr Charlotte Tottman very helpful in that aspect . she was a psychologist specialising in cancer related distress who herself got breast cancer.
    Take care🌺
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,176
    Hi @Honestly, sorry you are going through this. It is such an overwhelming time. I had a lumpectomy and 2 nodes removed. My breast cancer was grade 3 so aggressive and high risk of return. I was diagnosed in 2020 in lockdown. I had surgery, 4 months of chemo and 20 rounds of radium and now hormone blockers for 5 to 10 yrs. I am still here and going well. 

    Chemo doses are weight calculated and also determined by your blood work as to dose required. You could get fatigued from it. I didn't work during treatment. I had only just retired. Not a great retirement start. I didn't use the cold cap because I can't stand the cold and my oncologist said it had mixed results. I shaved my head before it fell out which is usually around 17 days after the first chemo session. 

    I managed treatment rather well I guess. I walked every day, ate well, never got sick but it was an emotional ride and hard sometimes. I had good husband and son support. Some family and friends were ok and others weren't as supportive as I thought they would be.

    This is a time to put yourself first. You must do everything you can for you to recover and some people will support you and others may not understand. Everything from here is about your recovery.

     In terms of working from home now, that's up to you. Is that what you want to do? Is your work place supportive? You may want to work from home during chemo so you aren't exposed to others germs etc as chemo reduces your immunity. 

    Happy to answer more questions. Good luck with your decisions and treatment.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,258
    I’m at the other end of the scale - I finish ten years of hormonal therapy next May, after a mastectomy, six months of chemo and a year of Herceptin. It seems to have gone rather quickly! A decision on continuing work depends so much on how you react to chemo - nausea and fatigue are common. Best to discuss some options.  I didn’t have any bad reactions and preferred to work to keep things as normal as possible. Like @Kabee, I had a couple of wigs and while I told most of my immediate colleagues what was going on, many others had no idea. One of the things I discovered was, surprisingly, how adaptable you can become to circumstances you never imagined. While you will have lots of guidance on healing your body, look after your emotional health too. Do what makes you feel good as often as you can. Best wishes for the next steps.