I’m new and scared

Artangel Member Posts: 6
Hi everyone 

I’ve been reading through posts and I’m just so thankful I’ve found such a supportive group. I hate the words breast cancer so I’ve been calling this a booby disco!

I’m 54 yrs old and just this week been diagnosed with invasive BC. I didn’t get a lot of information from the GP, but I did get a copy of the pathology report. From what I can interpret and from reading online tumour is stage IIA (2.8 cm, no evidence so far it’s in lymph nodes), Nottingham Grade 2 (7 out of 9).

I’ve got my specialist appointment at the RAH on Thursday. I’m both relieved and overwhelmed at the speed this is moving. 

I’m a fiercely independent single mum to three adult boys, but jeeze it’s times like these I miss a supportive partner. 

I sold my house and went back to uni in my 40’s and I’ve only just paid off HECS a couple months ago and started saving for a house deposit. So while I have a decent income and a secure job the financial impact is so scary to me (second only to the health fears really). I just don’t have a financial safety net and I’m scared. 

I can get income protection through my super, but I didn’t realise I had to keep increasing it as my income increased over the past decade, and it’s set at around 40% of my income. I can only manage on that if I cash out my LSL and spend my savings. 

The other option is to keep working. I’m lucky I have a supportive employer and I can WFH. 

I know I should be thankful I have options, I feel ashamed that this is what I’m worried about when I’m sure there are others much worse off. I’m just so scared of being 65 and homeless! 

I guess I’ll know more after the first appointment when I understand the treatment plan. 

Is it difficult to get income protection approved for BC if I go down that route?

The other thing I’m worried about is my weight and how that will impact treatment and recovery. I’ve lost and kept off 30kg for five years through keto and intermittent fasting, so while my blood markers are all very good I still am obese (I hate that word as much as cancer lol). I had buckled down again with the goal of losing another 20kg this year, and have lost 6kg in the past few weeks. So hopefully I can keep that up. I do carry my weight evenly over my body, so that may improve things as my boobs are cup D (I’ve read that very large boobs can make surgery tricky). Any advice from other larger women would be much appreciated.

I know I read too much, but it’s what I do, it both calms me and scares me!

thanks so much again to you all xxx


  • Tarma
    Tarma Member Posts: 73
    Hey, howdy, hello
    I'm not the girl you need to hear from lol 
    I've no idea about income insurance etc 
    But I am new and scared, a single mum, on the chunky side of chunky lol and  trying to get through this pretty much on my own .. 

     I love the honest of this group,, no bullshit works well in our situation.. I'm sure the lovely ladies here will bring u the same comfort they bring me,, 

    Take care 
  • Artangel
    Artangel Member Posts: 6
    Thanks Tarma, you made me laugh, chunky side of chunky, I love it!

    all the best x
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
    Hi @Artangel

    Welcome! Others can better answer some of your questions about finance but a couple of points that may help.

    I worked throughout chemo, without any real
    problem, some can, some can’t. But work was good for me, stopped me dwelling too
    much on cancer and of course kept my income steady. 

    I am a size E cup and had no problem with surgery, other than a rather persistent seroma, which was my over zealous body working to heal rather than a surgical or body size issue.  I chose no reconstruction and had a very slight spinal ache (for a week) when I finally got a proper prosthesis. 

    I lost weight during chemo, partly due to
    losing my taste buds on chemo two (annoying but useful!!) but also because what I could taste was healthy and not fattening. You got to be lucky sometimes. 

    I tend to agree - if you’ve got this, you may as well learn about it. Ignorance is rarely bliss. Keep smiling as often as you can, walk, spend time in nature. Remember your brain and feelings need some good medicine too at this time. Best wishes. 

  • Artangel
    Artangel Member Posts: 6
    Thank you Afraser for sharing your personal experience I really appreciate it. I will definitely keep in mind that work is an option. And the boob recovery and weight loss is encouraging. 

    Take care x
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,177
    Hi @Artangel
    Welcome to the club you didn’t want to join!
    Everyone’s experience and situation is different but also similar - you will  find this website a wealth of information and this online network full of supportive and helpful people.
    As things progress you will get more info and have more questions .
    My situation was I was diagnosed at 62 and had a.mastectomy followed by radiotherapy then I decided to have the other one lopped  off and a DIEP flap reconstruction.
    I was lucky I was financially secure and semi retired working for myself so I took as much time off work as I needed.
    I think I read that the Cancer Council has free financial advisors so that might be a help .
    In terms of breast size I was an E cup which had gone up from a D as a result of putting on weight over the years.
    I went down to C cups and was very happy with that.
    I had time between the original mastectomy and reconstruction ( 10 months) to go on a diet and exercise programme and lost the 10 kilos I had put on over 30 years.
    I saw an exercise physiologist and cut out most of the “ empty” kilojoules in my diet - alcohol, sugary drinks, cakes, sweet biscuits junk food etc.
    I have kept the weight off 3 years on but it takes effort that’s for sure.
    Take deep breaths, stay away from “Dr Google “ and remember we have one of the best medical systems n the world.

  • Artangel
    Artangel Member Posts: 6
    Thanks Julez1958, that’s good advice, I hadn’t thought of getting financial advice, I might do that when I know more. Thank you for sharing. 

    Take care xxx
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 492
    Dear Artangel,
    I'm sorry for your recent diagnosis. I understand your stresses. You certainly have tried to cover lots of issues in your life and this is certainly an interruption to good plans. A big pat on the back for your weight losses, you've done well. It is not easy. Your essential treatments should all go ahead. Increased BMI is often factored in. Hopefully Thursday answers many questions. Write down any that you have. Take a friend or relative as a second pair of ears, if possible. There is a lot to take in. You could ask for a referral to see a Social Worker. They may have tips and some financial advice. Someone above also suggested financial advice, and I would agree.
    I did use my IP within my super. I had SuperSA Triple S.
    I had no problems with my claim. There was a waiting period, and I used Sick leave. I was covered for 75% of my average earnings over my last 2 years of work. From very early, I knew that my treatment required Mastectomy with axillary clearance, 20 weeks Chemo and Radiotherapy. I was approved for 12months and took 10 mths, easing back to work over 1 month. Put your claim in ASAP, due to time to process claim. Are you sure of the facts about your IP and needing to increase it's value? I guess not all IP is the same. Having said that I used IP, I was relatively well throughout. I did have side effects, but mine were all manageable. I am a nurse, and WFH not at all possible. Work was an infection risk for me, and COVID was very new in 2020. 
    Perhaps not relevant now. Just to let you know. There is a facebook group 'Adelaide Breast Cancer Group Chat Room'. You may like to join and ask questions, and meet for get togethers.
    All the best, you will get through this.
  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,430
    @Artangel I would stay on the keto if your Onco allows it and if you are up to it.  I was hungry, ALL THE TIME. Keto is one of the few diets you can eat loads and not gain weight. During my treatment time I came across equal numbers of people being either hungry all the time, or not wanting to eat at all. 
  • Artangel
    Artangel Member Posts: 6
    Thanks so much @Abbydog for such a considered reply, I really appreciate it. I’ve joined one group on Facebook, but I will also join the Adelaide one. 

    I’m fairly certain about the income protection, I think my super fund is different! 

    Take care x
  • Artangel
    Artangel Member Posts: 6
    Thanks @Blossom1961 I hopefully will be able to stay on keto, I agree it helps with reducing hunger and snacking! If I start to eat carbs I turn into a carb monster! 

    Take care x