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Single, living alone, no family or friends nearby. What's a girl to do?


Stage 1/Grade 1 IDC. I had decided DMX (no family history but why take the risk) but with all the info I've been reading, I'm wondering if lumpectomy is a better decision or should I just say goodbye to the girls, get reconstruction and go from there? My BFF is coming to town for the surgery next month and will stay for a week or two but then it's all me. Can I do this? I'm 63, still working (from home) strong, independent, self supporting woman but this time, I may be in over my head. Is it possible to do this alone?


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,211

    @michelet2494 - Welcome to the community! It's great to have you here, although we hate the reason you had to join us.

    As you contemplate the decisions ahead, know that you're not alone. Many in the community have navigated similar situations and are here to share experiences and support, so we hope you get responses soon. Until then, here is a very helpful thread with links to information and discussions that may be of interest: Making Surgery Decisions? Start Here.

    Hope this helps! Good luck, and we look forward to hearing more from you soon!

    The Mods

  • doodler
    doodler Member Posts: 38

    @michelet2494 I don't have any easy answers for you, even though I'm in a similar situation. No close friends and no family in my city. Moving cross country to family isn't feasible. My 80-something mother can't look after me — and I wouldn't want her to try!

    These message boards are wonderful for contacting patients with similar situations though, no matter how far away we might be off the web.

    I've gotten through a gallbladder surgery on my own, and ankle surgery… I tell myself I can do this too. Can I, though?

    I'm going through the process of finding out my IDC stage. There's a good possibility that it's actually stage 4 (I'll know more after a CT scan next weekend). That puts another wrinkle into the situation. I'm starting to think about how I'd transition from being independent, working, being mobile, etc., to a condition that's deteriorating. How will I manage that? I have no answers yet, but I've hardly started asking the question, and I have a bit of faith that I will find answers.

    I'm in a walk-up apartment… three long flights of stairs. Maybe I'll move to a unit in a building with an elevator? Whatever I can think of to help myself stay independent longer.

    I know that at some point I'll be in for a rougher ride, medically speaking. I'm lucky I'm in a large city with a breast cancer centre, I'm sure they've helped other loners make arrangements before.

    Whatever I find out… I'll share the helpful information.

  • michelet2494
    michelet2494 Member Posts: 3

    @doodler wow, thank you so much for your comments. Though we are both in a tough spot, it help to know there are others out there struggling with the same issues. While I prepare myself mentally for the DMX, I also have to prepare environmentally as well. I live in a two-story townhome and have decided I'll be sleeping in a rented recliner (I'm not typically a recliner user) downstairs for a least a couple of weeks (near the kitchen and living room).

    Also, I've taken to YouTube for accounts from others and how they've handled their recovery. I found this woman's video extremely honest and helpful in terms of things we will need but again, she has a husband to help her so keep that in mind. Amazon is our friend 😉

    I am scheduled for a PET scan later this month and will know if I'm facing anything more that my initial diagnosis. Sending you the very best wishes for a good result from your CT scan 🙏

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 745

    Why are you considering a mastectomy? It's a more intensive surgery with a longer recovery, and reconstruction will only add to it.

    A lumpectomy is much more low impact, and definitely easier to manage on your own. In general, long term outcomes are just as good or better. Did your oncologist make a recommendation either way?

  • orangeflower
    orangeflower Member Posts: 95

    Hi Michelet. I was in a similar predicament when I was diagnosed in 2020 and still am. When I got my double mastectomy, I had to get help from my ex-boyfriend, which was rough. I stayed with him for awhile. We are no longer in contact, so I don't know what I would do if something happened to me now. Recently, I had foot surgery, and it was a challenge arranging for help a ride from the hospital. I do have a small handful of friends, but I wouldn't count on them for the amount of help I needed during mastectomy recovery.

    Looking back on it, I think I could have managed mastectomy recovery alone. Driving wasn't possible at first, though, so I don't know how I would have gotten to and from appointments. Uber? I also had to go to hair salons to get my hair washed because you can't lift your arms up high enough to wash your hair. At least, it would be really awkward and difficult.

    When my mom needed a lot of help in her elder years, I found people to hire through Just an option to keep in mind. PM me any time if you want to talk more about getting through breast cancer treatment without sufficient help.