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First post - struggling with the anxiety

tsjlhmtsjlhm BrisbaneMember Posts: 14
Hi. Just diagnosed this week, still waiting for receptor status but I know I’m starting chemo of some sort next week. Too extensive for surgery at this point. 4 young children (teens and pre-teens).  I’m really struggling with the anxiety this weekend. Like I can’t breath. I guess I’d love any tips or just support. Thanks.


  • Beryl C.Beryl C. Member Posts: 262
    Hi tsjlhm - make sure you keep 'checking in' to this forum (network), you will be supported by some wonderful people - at times their wisdom and compassion is beyond amazing and their humour the best medicine ever! The anxiety is real and takes effort to manage, trust me when I say that just about everyone who posts has experienced the same. In my first few weeks following diagnosis I promised myself to 'see, feel and hear' whatever was happening in the moment, ie, when I peeled the spuds I looked and felt. I did a few physical things like jumping on the spot or punching in the air, these helped me breathe more deeply. Your kids might think your mad but get them on board - others may have some ideas as your kids will have their own feeling and thoughts to deal with. I think the most important thing is to stay connected with familiar people and routines. Remember that ALL feelings are ok - they give us information. XXXX Beryl
  • tsjlhmtsjlhm BrisbaneMember Posts: 14
    Thanks Beryl. I keep feeling like my heart is racing and I can’t breath and I don’t know if it is anxiety or the cancer. I can’t bearing knowing I haven’t started treatment yet and it’s growing inside me. Thanks for letting me know I’m not crazy and everyone goes through this.
  • MazbethMazbeth BrisbaneMember Posts: 54
    Hi @tsjlhm I too am newly diagnosed - just a few days before Christmas and it took me a while to process what was happening and to get on this forum. This is a great place to come to for amazing support. I will offer a couple of things as I am only a little bit further along in my treatment. However, I can totally relate to your anxiety. I said in those first few days that the psychological battle was huge and I felt I was being tested in so many ways, I was also frightened as my mind was working overtime. Many of the incredible people here will tell you that the first few days are some of the most difficult but we will also tell you that once you get a plan in place and you have that little bit of time to think, things will settle. I have a real belief in good mental health so I got onto a psychologist pretty quickly as I needed a space to be me and talk even though I have an incredibly supportive family, I felt I needed someone outside to help me with my thought process. It’s also ok to cry and to be how you need to be. I have also tried really hard to be present in the moment and to focus just on this day and not to get ahead of myself - that’s a work in progress, but when I feel my mind racing to unproductive thoughts I really make a conscious effort to bring myself back to the moment which may be just sitting having a cup of tea. I just finished 4 x AC and about to start 12 x taxol followed by surgery then radiation. I remember at the start being really worried about the road ahead, which seemed so long, but here I am 4 treatments done and I want to say that I am feeling pretty good - yes tired, but as many here will say, you get through. The fear of the unknown is very real but the advice on the forum really helped me. Try to keep busy, but also allow yourself time to adjust. 
    I also used the BCNA website and watched the ‘newly diagnosed forum’ which put my mind at ease a little. The head specialist on the panel had some really good words. Well worth watching. 
    I also just learnt to crochet - something I always wanted to have a go at - a new skill and keeps me busy. My 2 young adult daughters have learnt with me - which has been fun in lots of different ways. 
    I am a teacher and whilst my kids are finished school, I would really recommend letting your kids’ teachers know so that there is support in place. There are so many things that the school can do and sometimes parents are not aware of what is available. 
    You’ve got this and we are to support you. Be kind to yourself. Big hugs. 
  • tsjlhmtsjlhm BrisbaneMember Posts: 14
    Thanks so much. How did you go about finding a psychologist who is an expert in this area? I really want someone positive. I’m glad this panic eases just a little. I don’t know how to tell my kids - 11, 14, 15, 18.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,081
    edited February 15
    So sorry to see you here @tsjlhm - but you are in the right place for support, comfort, advise and yes, even laughs!

    Yes, the anxiety is very real as @Beryl C. says and we've all been thru it. The diagnosis alone & then jumping onto the treatment train really mucks with your brain - it goes into overdrive. 

    Yes, we all want it OUT asap .... and the chemo will be to shrink it prior to surgery.  

    Where abouts do you live?  Town/City/state - if you put that in your profile, members may be able to give you more specific info regarding available services to you and your children.  Yep - the kids are going thru the same stress as you too - so trying to keep information to them on an 'as needs to know' basis and age appropriate for them so they aren't too freaked out.  Do you have good friends & family nearby who maybe can help with taking them out now & then as you go thru your treatment - do you now what sort of chemo has been suggested yet?

    Make sure you have a good buddy or relative with you in your appointments as a 2nd set of ears - and even record them on your phone too, for later reference. It is almost impossible to remember everything that's been mentioned in the meetings.

    There is a 'Young Women' group here that you may like to join, to discuss issues with in private (only group members can see the posts.) . You can raise any issue you like with them.  Clicking on it will show BCNA, @InkPetal and @jane84 as contacts for joining ...


    OK - take lots of deep breaths to slow that heart beat down and (weird tho it may seem) try & keep busy doing things you would normally do!  It keeps your mind busy as well & should help reduce the anxiety.  Nothing worse than just sitting at home, brooding over it, to make it worse. If you are having difficulty sleeping - chat with your GP about tactics that may help.  We have a thread called 'night howls' where people can post any time of day or night - as we usually have someone online 'most' of the time.

    Maybe start cooking up some 'freezable' meals to prepare for during your treatment - or if friends & family ask what they can do to help - maybe suggest some freezable meals!   

    Take care, jump onto our funny threads for a laugh (you ARE allowed to laugh - it is actually encouraged!!)

    Thinking of you as you head towards your chemo.  I didn't do chemo, but others who did will jump on & give you tips there.  WHen my husband had it, he was encouraged to drink heaps of water to help flush it out, quicker! xxx
  • MazbethMazbeth BrisbaneMember Posts: 54
    One of the great breast care nurses gave me the name - it will depend also on where you are located. My psychologist is incredible and has really helped me to unscramble my thoughts. I also felt that this was another thing I had in my toolbox and something I was taking control of and I am so glad I made the move. I have been overwhelmed with the kindness people have shown me. As my girls are older (22 & 20) we were open with them and they are also both in the health field. I know also that overwhelming desire to protect your kids and it is hard while you are just trying to get your head around it to know what to say. Even though my kids are older, I still found it tricky. Sometimes it may be better to wait until you have some answers and know the plan, but I know someone here may be able to give you some good advice. 
    Also as everyone here will tell you - avoid google and the other rabbit holes you can go down as they will not help. 
    Sometimes you just need time to breathe - these moments will pass. I speak from experience. A phrase that really helps me is to say ‘at this time’. This keeps me in the present and in the here and now.
     Everyone has different ways/ideas and there is no wrong or right. Check out the resources on the BCNA - I really read loads. Knowledge is definitely power. 

  • tsjlhmtsjlhm BrisbaneMember Posts: 14
    Thanks so much. I’m in Brisbane, South-East.
    I’ll  check out the young women’s group.
  • Dory65Dory65 Member Posts: 194
    Hi tsjlhm,
    Great advice from the members above. Yes, I guess you'd have to be crazy NOT to experience anxiety, racing thoughts etc. after being diagnosed. We've all been there. I'm calmer three months on, but I still have my moments. Connecting on this forum has helped me manage my feelings. Great for practical advice too. Best of luck.xxx
  • MazbethMazbeth BrisbaneMember Posts: 54
    I am happy to give you the name but I need to work out how to message you. I am in the S/E too. I will send you a test run and see how I go. Take care. 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 4,081
    @Mazbeth - just click on @tsjlhm’s name .. and then click on ‘Message’ (to the right.)

    then just type your message.  ;)

    take care xx
  • jintiejintie MelbourneMember Posts: 104
    edited February 15
    When I was first diagnosed, I felt like my heart was racing, my head was going a million miles an hour and I was literally shitting my pants (I don’t think I had a proper formed no. 2 for about 10 days)... then when I found out my treatment plan, everything seemed to settle knowing what was going on.  

    Good luck.  
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,686
    @tsjlhm Emotionally, you're probably going through one of the most difficult times after diagnosis.  I remember careening from despair to numbness to extreme anxiety.  For most of us, once we have plan and treatment starts, we start to settle down dealing with it.  As others have said, avoid Dr Google as a lot of what is on there is out of date or just plain wrong.  If you must look up stuff (and we all do it), stick with reputable sites.  I would second the advice to let your kids' teachers and schools know what is going on but to respect their wishes as to whether they want it more widely known.  Whether your kids are self-sufficient types or completely dependent, they can be the greatest practical support system.  I was amazed at how my teen and pre-teens (at the time) responded with doing stuff that needed to be done, and it's proven important for the own independence.  You may get people wanting to help.  It's always good to have some practical requests because you can end up with a fridge full of food that no-one wants to eat.  Having school-aged kids, the best help I got was having people who were happy to have them after school if treatment went overtime or take them to sports things if I couldn't do it.  The rest we could muddle through but it was really important to me that that side of things was taken care of.
  • tsjlhmtsjlhm BrisbaneMember Posts: 14
    Thanks so much to everyone - I'm glad to know this anxiety gets a little better.  Its like I can feel it growing inside me and just can't stop crying.  This is rough on my husband too.  Off for coffee for girl friends this morning before fasting for PET scan and going for walks whenever it gets a bit much.   You're all so marvelous to answer my discussion. It's amazing how your whole life can change in a few days.
  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,497
    Welcome @tsjlhm,

    The ladies (as usual) have covered everything. I just wanted to say hi and what you're feeling is completely normal.  The start is just horrid.  So many unknowns and questions.  The fluctuation of emotions is hard to get through. One minute you're like "yep, I got this" the next you're a crumbling mess of tears and hoplesness. 
    As the girls have said once you have your pathology and a plan is in place you will feel somewhat more in control.  Everybody hadndles the start differently.  For me, putting as much normality in my day helped a bit as did staying flat out busy,  I'm sure that's not hard with 4 kids.  I had 5 teens, slightly older than yours, at the time and they all rallied brilliantly. 

    Best wishes lovely.  One day at a time, sometimes on hour at a time.

  • Shellshocked2018_Shellshocked2018_ Fleurieu Peninsula , SAMember Posts: 280
    Welcome tsjlhm, 
    there has been some great information from the ladies above.
    What you’re feeling is very normal, I did meditation which helped me personally , be around positive people, I saw my GP and got some sleeping tablets which helped me in the early stages. If I had a good night sleep I found that I coped with things better during the day.
    One day at a time, breath and do things you enjoy, I listened to music and kept myself busy.

    Sending hugs your way, hang in there , you are processing what’s happening, be kind to yourself.
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