Home Supporting someone with breast cancer

Screaming inside

I need to vent. I want to scream, slam doors, hit something
Two days ago my daughter visited & told me she has been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She was strong, composed, not emotional as she talked about it being treatable, not curable, talked about updating her will. I think I am still in shock. We have since spoken on the phone, particularly about how & when she will tell her two children. We are taking her tomorrow to her first chemo appointment & I need to remain calm, as that is what is necessary.
When I told her in 2011 of my diagnosis of early breast cancer, we were calm & positive together, though she did blink away tears. I always felt throughout my journey that things are more difficult for the carer than the patient - now I am experiencing that role & I can't stop the tears. My dear husband is quiet as he always is, but I know he is shattered. Now that he has gone to bed I can let tears flow & write this.
We are angry - why didn't she have regular mammograms after my diagnosis? Why did no-one pick it up earlier? I feel guilty - is it genetic - my mother, myself - even though both diagnosed later in life? Guilty too because I just want to hold her while we both sob – but that won’t help her.
Fortunately she has a best friend, one who supported her through her marriage breakup; there are also other friends, but my help will be needed too & I must be strong when I feel like collapsing in a heap. Any advice, suggestions on how best to support her & the kids would be welcome.



  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,232
    Cancer is a random demon and wondering why it's suddenly in your house won't make any difference. It will only consume more energy. Don't beat yourself up or second guess your daughter's actions.
    Focus on what you can do--keeping that cool head on display when you can and take care of the practical aspects. And scream. Drive out into the country and sit in the car screaming until your throat is raw and you feel vaguely ridiculous. It's tempting to get a bit of a Doppler effect going by screaming while driving but probably best not to. Hang in there. Mxx
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,906
    I agree with Zoffiel. Get out and scream. It gets rid of the pent up angst. You may need to do it more than once over the coming months but the release is lovely. Sending big hugs to you so you can have a sob knowing we are here for you.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,797
    Crying in front of her will not help!  I have never cried over my diagnosis and perhaps that is how your daughter will be!  Certainly cry and scream and anything in between in your own space but being composed and practical will go a long way to helping her.  Take her cues!  From what you say she's had a lot of stress already so perhaps her coping mechanisms are in place ready to roll!

    There's no rhyme or reason so as others have said waste of energy going through the what ifs!  

    Even though you have experienced same I thought I would put up a link to the BCNA website that maybe beneficial for you and or your daughter and a gateway to the BCNA website for further information


    Take care
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 5,370
    @Allie_P - I am so sorry to hear of your daughter's diagnosis and of your own family history with BC.  It really is a bitch of a disease.     With the family history - further down the track, genetic testing to see if she has the BRCA gene may well be suggested, so the kids can be aware of their risk as well.   Do not blame yourself at all - it is what it is.

    Sometimes family members & friends go into denial when someone close to them is diagnosed with BC & are scared to get checked - so don't have mammograms - are you sure that she wasn't checked?  Either way, I wouldn't bring it up again.  I wonder if she has dense breast tissue?  It is more difficult for mammograms to pickup BC as both the dense breast tissue &  cancer show as 'white' on the screen - with many cancers not being detected until the it is larger and more advanced?  If she has daughters, it is something they may need to be aware of too.

    How old is your daughter?  The kids?   What town/city do you live in?  Some of our Members may be aware of specific services in the area that may be useful to them. There are also groups who may be able to help the kids as well - Canteen is one (I think the kids need to be over 12 to join that one.)  

    That is terrific that she has good friends to lean on as well as yourself and your husband, shocked & stunned tho you are - the kids will need your love & support to help them thru this as well.  We have many members with Mets who are living productive, even happy lives on medication and who are many years down the track.  Some advanced cancers are slower growing than others - fingers & toes crossed that hers is. (You may like to join the Mets Group here, to ask more specific questions as your daughter's treatment progresses.)   She may like to join as well once the shock wears off.  If you think your 'name' is a giveaway to her - you can ask the mods to change it to something less recognisable.

    Your anger & level of upset are totally justifiable - do what you have to do to remain calm & supportive in her presence.  Tho sometimes a good cry together can be quite cathartic.  I was pretty strong until I saw my best friend who lived in the country - we'd been thru school together - and we both just dissolved into sobs in each other's arms.  I nursed my husband thru cancer 10 years ago & thought I 'knew all about it' - but when I was diagnosed 2 years ago, it hit me like cricket bat to the head.  

    All the best for your daughter's first chemo session - and our thoughts are with all of you at this time xxx
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,408
    edited December 2019
    Sorry to hear of your daughters cancer. Yes she should have a will. She should also get a health directive done.
    When my dad got a massive bowel infection, doctors wouldn't touch him unless they saw the written directive. We had to go home and get it so they would give him antibiotics for goodness sake. He was palliative though and perhaps your daughter is not anywhere near that stage but it is good to know. Dad would never face his mortality but between a nurse and myself we got him to agree to a directive. He wasn't happy about it and went in to depression but he came good and had some happy times afterward with his other children and grandchildren coming to visit and he didn't have that worry over his head.
    Cancer treatment can be a day to day getting through, you do learn to adjust. Atm you are just stunned as your daughter probably is. Look to the brighter blessings as best you can and work through it all.
    We are all with you as support. Hang in there, you got this. <3

  • Allie_PAllie_P Member Posts: 8
    edited January 2020
    Thanks everyone. No doubt I will be back here for more support.  ;)

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 5,370
    Message Sent 

  • jennyssjennyss Western NSWMember Posts: 1,247
    Dear @Allie_P,

    Best wishes from jennyss in Western NSW
  • suburbangirlsuburbangirl Perth, Western AustraliaMember Posts: 122
    Hi @Allie_P
    I agree with everything others have said and love the picture and kind thoughts that @jennyss has posted.
    Thinking of you and your daughter, especially during this time of 'festivity and cheer', not to mention public holidays and people taking holidays, which can cause anxiety by delaying appointments etc. 
    Very best wishes
  • HendrixHendrix Member Posts: 300
    I know everyone is different and I too stayed strong for my daughter and cried in private...but in hind sight I wish we screamed cried and hugged together 😢
  • Keeping_positive1Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 212
    edited January 2020
    Sending you a private message @Hendrix
  • Keeping_positive1Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 212
    edited January 2020
    I bottled up my feelings so much when I was going through treatment.  Do what is right for you, your daughter will love you whether you have a good cry together or not.  She would realize you understand.
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