Newly diagnosed, now waiting, doesn’t feel real

SarahW8 Member Posts: 2
Hi,  following a routine breastscreen mammogram, got a call back and now find myself with multi focal breast cancer in my left breast.  After the initial shock, got on with CT Scans and met with surgeon this week and have the start of a treatment plan, starting with mastectomy, however that’s not scheduled until 10th October. I’ve stopped taking HRT (had only been on it a year) and my night sweats and hot flushes have come back with vengeance so sleeping is a bit of an issue.  But having initially been almost numb with the shock and then having a short period of high focus, I’m now finding myself acting like it’s not happening. The last two days I’ve been working like I’ve got to an important deadline to meet (which I don’t) and ending the day absolutely shattered and going back to old habits like not eating well and cancelling the gym. When my husband told me to stop because I had to look after myself better I could hear what he was saying and I knew he was right but it felt like the words were just washing over me, as if I was just in some sort of dream. Even when I tell people at the moment, I feel like I’m not talking about me, but maybe someone I’m related to or a work project. I feel quite disconnected to what’s happening. How do I make myself wake up so I’m best prepared for what’s about to happen?


  • Edithead
    Edithead Member Posts: 12
    I think you are in shock. And why wouldn’t you be? No one expects what is often a routine check to deliver such results. For me the shock was deferred and deflected initially by all the novel and shockingly efficient medical machinery that kicked in and the very quick surgery. For me the shock came after, when confronted with the reality of a wound and medication and then radiotherapy. I was lucky to have a small tumour and lumpectomy. But the feeling of dissociation and unreality returned often. And now I am “almost normal” I still feel it. I am changed. It is terrifying and shocking but it does become less shocking. Love and friendship helps. ❤️
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,178
    Hi @SarahW8
    I liken the receipt of a cancer diagnosis to a bit like hearing the news of the death of a loved one - it is the death of your formerly bulletproof self.
    you will go through all the stages of grief - shock , denial, anger and finally acceptance.
    You will get through this, one step at a time, keep busy, try not to over think it or look at Dr Google , and it’s ok to cry .
  • Aska
    Aska Member Posts: 75
    Hi Sarah
    I think it took me about 4 months to accept my diagnosis. I adopted a strategy described by Charlotte Trotman on her podcast Upront About Breast Cancer. I would strongly recommend listening. 
    Good luck and take care xx
  • PrisMay1
    PrisMay1 Member Posts: 70
     Be kind to yourself @SarahW8. It is a big shock to find out the big C has caught you! When I was first diaI had a management position and I felt I couldn’t share with my Colleagues.  I had lots of sick leave so I took 3 months off work while I went through the initial appointment, surgery then radiation.  It helped me to not have to focus on anything else but myself. To stay in bed all day and watch sad movies if I wanted to - it really helped as I was so sad and frightened! I tried to keep up the gym but took the gentle classes like yoga & Pilates - although at times I did get up my fight game!! But I forgave myself if I couldn’t get there! Arm yourself with information- I’ve found that helps even if it’s scary! I wish you well. 
  • CathL
    CathL Member Posts: 9
    I am the same, every time I talk about it I feel like it’s not happening to me. I just try and feel whatever emotion I have and go with it. I sometimes feel numb to it all and I haven’t been sad at all. I think one day it will hit me, but for now I’m just taking it day by day. All the best with your treatment xx This community has been so helpful for me along the way 😊
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,806
    So sorry to see you join our exclusive little club @SarahW8 .... you've done the right thing by reaching out & chatting here - as it really is an emotional roller coaster & the diagnosis can just rock you to the core.

    Have you been assigned a Breast Care Nurse yet?  If a McGrath Nurse isn't available, your surgeon may have their own, to answer any of your questions.   There is also our helpline here, that you can ring Mon-Fri to chat thru any issues as well xx.  1800 500 258.  Or just use this thread as a 'diary' and put up any queries you may have & we'll do our best to answer them for you xx. Great that you've been listening to Charlotte Tottman's podcasts - as they are terrific.

    You may also like to Check out this thread, it has a heap of info on the Blog & other areas that you may also be interested in .... be it art & craft, gardens, meals, pets etc - even funny bits (we all need a laugh, now & then!)  There is also a link to some 'tick sheets' where you can print them off & 'self assess' your mental & physical 'state' ..... to take along to your Team Meetings - sometimes it is easier to give them a copy, than to actually talk about how you are going ...
    Take care, maybe you'll be able to meet up with other ACT members for a coffee & chat - many of us have made really good friends here on the forum & have even met up for 'holidays' ... and the support you'll receive is invaluable.

    All the best - try & keep busy between now & your surgery .... maybe cook up some meals & freeze them ... and just do things that you love doing, to stop your brain from going off on a tangent! xx 

  • Daina-BCNA
    Daina-BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 39

    Hi @SarahW8,

    I’m glad you found BCNA and the Online Network and took the step to share your experience! It can be daunting, but it looks like you’ve already been warmly welcomed - and great to hear you've already accessed the podcasts. They are a great resource when your eyes are glazing over after information overload.

    If you do have any questions, please keep posting otherwise, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 500 258 or by email

  • Shelley_H
    Shelley_H Member Posts: 11
    Hi SarahW8, I'm hearing you and the helpful comments and understanding from everyone so far on this post & others. I am also at the start of this journey my head space has been very destructive so far and this network has shown me that so many of us are feeling the same. Like you writing a post & sharing was hard as I am normally very private but I hope it will help you as I have found it has me so far. Love the formerly bulletproof self quote as we do think we are invincible. Take care be kind and one step/day at a time   :)