38yo solo mama, what is happening?!

sarapatricia Member Posts: 4 New Member
edited June 13 in Newly diagnosed
Hi everyone.
I was diagnosed yesterday, a month after my first random trip to my sons gp where I asked her to just give her opinion. Right breast invasive ductal carcinoma. 
I’m sure that will start to roll off the tongue, everything here feels very foreign at this point.
Question .. The GP is new to the area and wasn’t sure which specialist (surgeon?) to send me to. She’s sent referrals to both the local hospital and a plicate surgeon - but both sound like they’re going to take a few weeks for a consult. Not sure if I should call around and see if I can be seen sooner? Is it once I’m in they will make a plan and I’ll stick with them? 
Any advice would be wonderful, I feel incredibly out of my depth xx 


  • sarapatricia
    sarapatricia Member Posts: 4 New Member
    *private surgeon .. it’s early and I’ve been up most of the night 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
    edited June 10
    Sorry to see you join our exclusive  club @sarapatricia .... the one no-one ever thought they'd join!   And well done for getting checked out when you did!   Whack up any questions you have during your 'active treatment' and we'll do our best to give you honest answers, as we've all been thru it.   

    It is a real roller coaster ride - both emotionally & physically - so if you feel sad or anxious, ring our helpline (Mon-Fri work hours) and have a chat ..... just talking to someone can reduce the anxiety.

    Mine was diagnosed over the Xmas/New Year break, and I had to wait for the surgeons to come back from holidays before I could get an appointment ... the waiting really sucks .... all thru your ongoing treatments - the waiting will always suck.    Taking a few weeks to see the surgeon is pretty standard, as is a wait of up to 4 weeks for the actual surgery ... but hopefully it will happen sooner for you xx

    You probably have more chance of getting surgery done earlier with the private surgeon than the public System ..... but make enquiries with both & see who comes back to you first with a better date.   I went private, just to 'get in there & get it out asap' and am glad I did - even tho there was a fairly substantial gap fee.  All my other treatment, Medical Onc and Radiation Onc was on the Public System & was/is free.  Many members have been thru the public system with excellent results too.

    Always have someone with you at your appointments if you can - a trusted friend or family member, both as emotional & physical support .... and consider recording them on your phone too - as it is easy to miss bits as you ponder what they've just said.  xx

    Check out this thread that has a lot of info on the Forum in general, including several 'off topic' threads that you may like to explore - pets, gardens, art & craft & even 'funny' threads, as we all need a laugh!  There are some tick sheets down the bottom that you can print off to keep track of your mental and physical symptoms ..... take them along with you to your appointments!

    I've sent you a Personal Message (PM) that will show on the envelope next to your name on the main blue banner .... click on it to check it out.  xx

    take care & all the best 

    PS if you need to edit any post - you have 24hrs to do this - just click on the circle with 3 dots in it (on the right hand side of your post, across from the topic.  Clicking on the dots will show you how many more hours you have that you can still make an edit.  :) )
  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 135
    @sarapatricia, hope you manage to get back to sleep. 
    I was in a similar situation as you (I.e. new lovely GP who just arrived in Australia). She didn’t know who/ where to refer me to but she asked around. I was referred to a public hospital and she called the hospital saying my case was urgent and I managed to see the public breast surgeon within a week. But after that, the PET scan, biopsy appts etc took forever as the public hospital is very busy.

    I subsequently came to know of a well known  private surgeon through friends recommendations and also asking the ladies in this online network. Consulted him and had surgery within a week. Like what Arpie says, with public the waiting time is always going to be longer. I found that after I switched to private, things went extremely fast! From appointments to getting any of my test results. If you plan to go private, and not sure which doc to choose, you can create another post and ask ladies who reside in The Sunshine Coast. You will want a good surgeon. My tumor was doubled the size of what the pre surgery scan reported and having a good surgeon is critical. My surgery had clear margins so I didn’t need another surgery!

    once you consulted the beast surgeon, he/she will tell you of the surgery and treatment plan. You are given the option to decide (if options are available e.g. lumpectomy vs mastectomy). 

    P.s. in Melbourne most of the surgeons work in public and private. Mine work in the public system as well but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to ‘choose’ him + there is also the waiting game.

    Hope the above helps. 

  • Katie46
    Katie46 Member Posts: 128
    Hi @sarapatricia, I am in Darwin, so not familiar with Sunshine Coast surgeons, but would suggest you get in contact with the McGrath Nurse in your area. We have 2 in Darwin, and they have been so helpful though my journey. They will be able to talk you through the process, and let you know what is available in your area. Katie 
  • sarapatricia
    sarapatricia Member Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you so much all of that helps a lot 🖤
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,579
    edited June 11
    Best wishes 
  • jennyss
    jennyss Member Posts: 1,980
    Dear @sarapatricia,

    from jennyss in Western NSW
  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,554
    Hello @sarapatricia,

    I was 39 and a solo mama when diagnosed, 4 years ago. I’m still a solo mama, healthy (mostly 😄) and pretty happy with life right now 😊. I’ve got a new set of lovely boobers too, and couldn’t have imagined this when I was first diagnosed and terrified. There is life after breast cancer 🙌🏻, just make sure you find yourself a medical team you can trust, whether they’re public or private. Don’t rush this decision. The ladies above have given you great advice 👌🏻. 

    M x
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 921
    Hi @sarapatricia

    Glad you have found this wonderfully supportive community!

    I thought I would add further information that may be useful, it is a quick reference guide Optimal care pathway for people with breast cancer CC QRG Breast 2021.pdf (cancervic.org.au)

    The optimal care pathways describe a model of cancer care that puts the patient at the centre of care decisions. They describe a national standard of high-quality cancer care that all Australians should expect. The aim of the model is to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment (Cancer Council VIC, 2021).

  • WhiteLight
    WhiteLight Member Posts: 16
    Hi sarapatricia, its definitely quicker to see a surgeon in the private sector. I'm in WA, had the same diagnosis as you, and was lucky enough to see a surgeon the following week and surgery 2 days later. After that things slowed a little but I didn't mind so much as the cancer was out and there were no lymph nodes involved, I hope that gets to be the same for you. Wishing you all the best,  <3
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
    I'm terribly sorry for your recent diagnosis.
    And it is a shame the GP wasn't well informed.
    I'm in SA, so not much help, sorry.
    I was very proactive after finding my lump.
    I had a Mastectomy with axillary clearance 10 days after finding it.
    This was with the Private system. Lucky for me the Breast surgeon, saw me 2 days after the find.
    Mine was Invasive Ductal Breast cancer. Stage 2 and Grade 3. I have no regrets with my treatments.
    Surgery, Chemo and R/T
    Grade 3 is the faster growing type. I had a Mammogram 9 months prior.
    I hope that you are seen quickly in the Public System, or some one possibly on this site knows a Breast Surgeon in your area.
    I had delayed Reconstruction, and very happy with that.
  • sarapatricia
    sarapatricia Member Posts: 4 New Member
    edited June 14
    Thanks so much everyone! I got in with a private surgeon for a consult this morning, and the plan is chemo then surgery (then more chemo if needed). I'm HER2+ so that will happen simultaneously (for 12 months! holy crap!). Did anyone else go in this order? I assumed it would be surgery straight away. 
    That will all be done in the public system as chemo privately with no insurance will take all I have and then some! 
    I have made appts for my PET scan and MRI, so after that I'll feel better and hopefully the chemo start is quick from there. So appreciate all of your responses and so glad I found this community. xxx
  • unicorn3
    unicorn3 Member Posts: 3
    I am her2 positive also, I had chemo first. 12 weeks of pacitaxel and then 4 rounds of ac chemo every three weeks.  Surgery (mastectomy) and now just about to start three weeks of radiation and also will continue immunotherapy for the her2 for another 6 months (12 months all up). 
    I think it’s often done this way for her2 as they like to get into it quickly as it can be aggressive

  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
    For your Chemo, may I suggest an Infusaport. If your Dr has not already.
    I had one and recommend it. It will save your arm veins for your future beyond cancer.
    These days I only have one arm to offer for blood tests as it is not recommended to use the arm that had axillary clearance. So I am very happy that I didn't damage it with Chemo.
    The Infusaport once inserted as a day procedure, and healed, are great for blood taking and giving Chemo. They are put just below your Clavicle, and you can shower normally. PICC lines are sometimes used too, but they have dressings and showering is more difficult.
    I also suggest you try the Cold Cap, you will know if it is not working for you after 2-3 chemo sessions.
    All the best