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Getting overwhelmed by all the information -- lumpectomy in 2 days

Hi everyone, I'm so glad I found this site — just reading some of the posts has been helpful. I received my post-biopsy diagnosis through my online health portal (not a nice surprise first thing on a Saturday morning), so it's been a rollercoaster of emotions. My diagnosis was invasive ductal carcinoma, low grade, hormone positive, HER2 negative, looks like it's 7 mm. Mother and 2 aunts had same thing (2 aunts slightly different), so I knew this was something lurking in the family closet, so to speak.

I'm a librarian (reference is my background, although I'm a manager now) so I know how to do my research. And it's great that there's so much good information out there —- but I've been getting overwhelmed. Does anyone have some tips on working through the waves of anxiety that come up out of nowhere? I've adopted a "warrior approach" to this whole thing: take names, kick ass. But the anxiety that comes out of nowhere is the unexpected thing that I'm having the hardest time with. I got a book from the library about panic attacks, I'm doing my 4,7,8 (or trying to), my aunt suggested an essential oil . . . but as much as I'm trying to be tough about this, and knowing that tons of women go through this and come out the other side, I'm really scared.



  • flowergirl1975
    flowergirl1975 Member Posts: 54

    hi @memorykey ! I am sorry you find yourself here:( The beginning is the absolute worst of this journey. That’s what I was told when I first was diagnosed and it couldn’t be more true. I found research and arming myself with knowledge to be very helpful. I was constantly googling information in order to make smart decisions and have more knowledge about my situation. I will say be careful what sites you research as not all are accurate and can give false information. As far as easing the anxiety for me it was talking to friends or family. Speaking with other survivors is also a great way to relieve anxiety because they have gone through it and can help calm fears. It’s ok to be scared, it’s a scary thing to go through. You’re going to be ok though!!! I was in your shoes back in April and it does get better… hard to believe but it does! Stay strong-you got this!

  • quietgirl
    quietgirl Member Posts: 165

    you are not required to be tough. You are allowed to be scared, angry, panic, mad, sad or any and all of the above at the same time. You can also be hopeful, positive, determined too again all at the same time. You can think it sucks but still feel like you’ve got this. You can feel like you’ve done your research but still need reassurance from others. You do not need to be superwoman even though you are 💗.
    each of us are different and we have to find the path that works for us, the methods that work for us. unfortunately there is no one size fits all approach and no matter if others in your family have dealt with this or no one has your experience is going to be yours. So if you want to try essentials oils then go for it if you would rather go kick a punching bag or spend a day snapping pencils in half (I’d say breaking dishes but that’s a lot harder to clean up), it’s really going to depend on you. What you are NOT even though it might feel like you are is alone. Still it can be a lonely course because the voices inside your own head aren’t quite as calming as one might hope. Whatever help your medical team offers you take whatever you can afford. Talking to a nutrition specialist, meeting with a therapist, online yoga group, a pink folder full of coupons for lotions whatever they offer take the information. You don’t have to use any or all of it but take it because you never know it might be the one thing you end up needed to get thru

    I realize I’m not exactly giving you any real information here. I just want you to remember you don’t have to be brave all the time in fact you don’t have to be brave at all. Sometimes we have to feel the fear and do it anyway. Find the things that bring you joy, a good piece of chocolate, fresh flowers, reread your favorite novel. BE kind to yourself. So you might still be scared but you find something to smile about. I know not helpful really. So feel free to ignore me. But being scared is a natural reaction, so it makes sense you feel that way. You are going to have good days and bad. Enjoy the good ones and take whatever support is offered you on the not so good ones

  • memorykey
    memorykey Member Posts: 9

    Thank you both — I appreciate your comments and support!!! Just being able to get this out somewhere (and out of my head!!) is helpful, but your comments have made me feel better. :)

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 159

    @memorykey Best wishes for your lumpectomy and a speedy recovery!! And I love your “warrior approach”. I love the visual I imagine as I think of a librarian-warrior. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow.

    Taking this one step at a time, one day at a time is really hard! I would get so annoyed at everyone who would suggest that to me (everyone who never experienced cancer that is) even though I knew it was wise advice. My mind yearns for a clear picture of the road ahead of me but I’m learning to function through uncertainty while I have to wait for each step to happen.

    As I got closer to the date for my single mastectomy the one thing that probably helped me the most was joining the online support group for those In Treatment through this website and there were a handful of pretty awesome women of all ages, some had recently had surgeries, a couple of us had upcoming surgeries, some were well into chemo, etc. That helped me in a way I didn’t realize I even needed! Those amazing ladies gave me so much courage and confidence that I would do just fine. Talking to some who are years beyond their breast cancer experience was informative and helpful but there was something extra helpful with talking to others going through it at the same time as I am.

  • iamnobird
    iamnobird Member Posts: 229


    I am sorry that you have found yourself here in the group that nobody really wants to join. The good news is that your grade and type of cancer is highly treatable and that you likely have a good chance of recovering quickly and putting this in your rear view window.

    I am a librarian also. Although not working right now as I live overseas with my family due to my husband’s job.

    Luckily, it sounds like you are moving from diagnosis to treatment really quickly. I found the diagnostic stage extremely anxiety producing and almost had a panic attack when waiting for my breast surgeon. It can feel like a roller coaster ride that you can’t get off of during the early part of all of this. I do the breathing when waiting. And I also do the “noticing” exercise described here on this website. I do that one a lot when waiting in doctors offices or for scans to begin.

    Anyways. Wishing you a smooth and easy surgery and recovery. You definitely aren’t alone.

    Three Senses

    Another helpful mindfulness trick is simply to notice what you are experiencing right now through three senses – sound, sight, touch. Take a few slow breaths and ask yourself:

    • What are three things I can hear? (clock on the wall, car going by, music in the next room, my breath)
    • What are three things I can see? (this table, that sign, that person walking by)
    • What are three things I can feel? (the chair under me, the floor under my feet, my phone in my pocket)

    Think of these answers to yourself slowly, one sense at a time. It’s impossible to do this exercise and not be present and mindful!

  • memorykey
    memorykey Member Posts: 9

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments and advice! And thank you for the Three Senses — I forgot about that and I think that's going to be really good for when I start getting anxious. :)

    I have my meeting with radiation oncology & medical oncology next week, so while I will do my best to be prepared and ask good questions —- I will be "Three Senses-ing" the heck out of those waiting room visits!!