Diagnosed today

Tammy9 Member Posts: 7
Hi all,

I was diagnosed with Invasive breast cancer by my GP this morning. I don't have anymore information shared with me apart from the mass is 2.7cm in my left breast - as detected in a mammogram and ultrasound. The GP said that the specialist will speak with me about my core biopsy result she didn't want to discuss it.

So, I have made two specialist appointments to get an option of what to do next. I intend to go private for surgery and consider the public system for treatment... But I don't know what any of this looks like without speaking to a specialist.

I have been working full-time and now I'm off work for this week, will that likely to continue for some time. I'm starting to think about the costs of living etc. 

I've called family who are all interstate, I have upset everyone, this was not my intention. I don't know what's next...


  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,417
    Hi @Tammy9 Welcome to the most supportive group I have ever found. Every person here understands to some extent what you are going through and as we say we "get it". Your GP would not have been qualified to discuss the findings as treatment is updated so frequently the GP's can't keep up. Once you have your Specialist appt you will feel less stressed, the not knowing is what does our heads in. Spend the time waiting doing something that gives you joy. Art, sport, massage, meditation, whatever you want. Hop on the forum as many times as you want and ask questions or vent, Have a look at the Friday Funnies Posts in the discussions. First and foremost, this is the time to think of what you need and not be concerned if others are upset. You do what is best for you. Sending massive hugs. More of the others will be on here shortly and will add wiser advise.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,390
    edited May 2023
    Dear @Tammy9

    Hard as it is, it’s necessary to take one thing at a time. It may be surgery first, but it might not. You’ve made the critical appointments for qualified advice, and some semblance of a timetable. Whether you continue work or not depends on that timetable, your reaction to
    treatment and your own preferences. Again, it’s very hard to make a decision on very little information.

    Having some support (a good friend, a breast care nurse, whatever seems best) can make things easier. Your family are probably feeling distant and unable to help, but as @Blossom1961 says, you can’t take responsibility for their feelings, you have quite enough to deal with. 

    It’s important to remember that treatment gets better every year, that people can and do get through it all, and that the immediate whirl of confusion and alarm will actually pass. Best wishes. 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
    edited May 2023
    So sorry to see you join our rather exclusive group, @Tammy9 ... the one we never really wanted to join xx

    I was already retired when I was diagnosed 5 years ago, so didn't have to worry about the work thing - but we've got lots of members who basically only took time off for the surgery & recovery. Your surgeon will be able to give you a better idea - if a lumpectomy, initial recovery may often be a matter of days to a week - I was surprised how quickly I bounced back .... (but take off as much time as you think you'll need - better to have more, than not enough.)

    If you have more extensive surgery, you may need longer off - but it may not be immediately that you need the time off - only time will tell. Some (who needed chemo) have also worked thru chemo with just the odd day off, depending on side effects!   Ask your surgeon about a Breast Care Nurse being assigned to you - then you can also contact them with any questions you may have - they can become your best friend, during your treatment & recovery.

    Get a buddy to go with you to your appointments and also record them on your phone - as it is too easy to miss important bits that they are saying, when you are under a bit of stress.  Even better if they do the driving - as you can become a tad distracted after your appointments.  Your buddy will be good physical support for you too, as well as mental xx

    In the mean time, as @Blossom1961 says - just keep busy, doing things you LOVE - I basically went fishing every day in my kayak until the day or two before surgery - getting exercise as well as catching dinner! You might even like to start cooking up some meals & freezing them, for easy dinners once you are home again.   If anyone OFFERS you meals, take them up on it!! Some people will step up to the plate & support you from Day 1 - others may get 'scared' & not know what to do, so do nothing :(  It is weird, but happens. :(  

    Re your family - think about sending out a group email on a regular basis, maybe every week or fortnight - informing them of what is going on - it is MUCH easier than ringing everyone and less stressful for you too.  Let them know that you may take a few days (even a week) to reply (so they don't ring you the next day asking why you haven't contacted them) as you are on a bit of a roller coaster just now with many appointments coming up, as well as your surgery.  With a bit of luck, you'll see your surgeon soon & get your surgery date too.   

    I went private for surgery (ask about out of pocket expenses, so it isn't a shock, and feel free to negotiate with them to - but most of us don't!!)  I went public for radiation & my Oncologist for hormone meds and have paid nothing other than accommodation for the Rads, as I am in a regional town & had to travel for treatment.  (I was lucky & didn't need chemo, but you'll still need to see the Medical Oncologist at least once or twice, if not more often, depending on your treatment plan.)

    Jump onto this thread & you can read up on other areas of the forum - where you can discuss off topic stuff, like your pets, gardens, art & craft & other subjects - even some funny stuff (God knows we all need a laugh!).  Feel free to add pics of your own pets/garden etc.

    There are also 'tick sheets' down the bottom where you can 'self assess' in between appointments - take them along with you to your upcoming appointments xx. 

    Take care, take deep breaths, take one day at a time - keep a diary on how you are feeling & maybe read this article too ..... some good info there, from an Oncologist! https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/25534/newly-diagnosed-5-tips-from-an-onc-to-remember-do-at-the-start#latest

    All the best for your ongoing appointments & I hope you get your dates lined up soon xx
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,159
    Hi @Tammy9
    I was diagnosed almost 3 years ago ( mastectomy , radiotherapy, hormone therapy , reconstruction)  bur I still remember the day I received the diagnosis very clearly.
    It was my GP who delivered the news and I felt like I was having an out of body experience.
    She had actually booked me in to see a specialist she recommended two days later so I didn’t have to wait long which was a small blessing.
    Because the practice she was in was not a bulk billing practice she guessed I would want to go private but she said it was up to me and I didn’t have to go to the Doctor she suggested.
    I had the money so went private for the surgery and the specialist was amazing.
    But my local public hospital is great too do these are personal choices.
    As well as this forum there is a wealth of information on this website - I am not too good at posting links but if you click on the menu to the website there is a section under resources for those newly diagnosed that is very helpful.
    The best advice my GP gave me ( apart from the advice about which specialist to go to ) was to take someone to all my initial consults as I would be in shock and not taking everything in .
    I took my husband and he was great - he took notes and asked lots of good questions while I mainly sat there like a stunned mullet ( or a cry baby).
    As you get more info you can post on here any questions and other resources on the website will make more sense.
    Take care and it’s true at this time you need to think about yourself first and foremost .🌺
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
    edited May 2023
    I'm sorry for your news. You really do need to take it one step at a time.
    After your biopsy results, and I guess some scans. Your specialist will decide the types of treatment you will need. Surgery can be before Chemo or After, ie if Chemo is needed.
    Things will probably move very fast from now.
    I always like to mention for new ladies, you may like to claim Income Protection Insurance, if you have it.
    Whether or not you want to try to work or not, will depend on the type of work that you do. And how flexible that may be.
    If you are working and have a superannuation account, you may have IP included in it.
    There is often a waiting period, so put a claim in as early as you can. That is if you want time off.
    I had Mastectomy with Axillary Clearance, Chemo 20 weeks, and Radiotherapy 5 weeks.
    From start to finish that took 9 months. I also had a couple more months to recover.
    You may not need all of that. Just putting it out there.
    You will get plenty more advice here as you go forward.
    Find out what you need first.
    Take some one with you if possible, for a second pair of ears.
    Write down any questions as you think of them.
    All the best with any news and treatment. Thinking of you.
  • Stone90
    Stone90 Member Posts: 17
    Hi @Tammy9 wish I could give you a big hug (if you're a hugger!)

    I found it so so overwhelming at the start but I'm here to say it does get better and you will get through it. 

    I kept working as I could through the specialist appointments- only taking time off work for when I had surgery (one week) and when I had to go away for radiation treatment (I live regionally), but if I lived closer to the treatment centre I would have worked through that also. 

    Try not to run away with all the what-ifs (easier said than done!). I started a private blog to get all my thoughts down out my head - keeping busy helped me too. So far everything has been much easier than I anticipated.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,336
    Hi @Tammy9, everyone has given you great advice. The main thing now is to put yourself first.

     Don't worry about other's feelings as they can manage that. This time is all about you and you can't be responsible for everyone else. One step at a time, one day at a time.

    Surgery and treatment are all in stages and in a way this is best to get through it all. Take someone to your appointments. Ask all the questions you need to. Stay away from Google as it just causes stress and you don't need that. Treatment is great these days and there is so much success. 

    Do all the things you like to do and take in a bit of exercise as it helps prep you for surgery and  helps clear the head too. Breathe deeply and know we are all here to help you through this. Sending you a big hug xx
  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 123
    Welcome to the group @Tammy9.  Sorry you’ve had to join us but you will get lots of support here, and you can ask anything: there are no silly questions. In addition to all the good advice above, I would just add that I found it extremely helpful to write everything down: so much is going on it can be very hard to keep tabs on it all.
    I can understand that you are shocked and bewildered at the moment, but things will become clearer.  One step at a time.  And time to put yourself first.