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Newly diagnosed - just feeling very lost

kanga78 Member Posts: 2

Hi everyone,

I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer, about two weeks ago. I am just feeling very lost, and for now, just looking for some words of encouragement as I figure out next steps.

I was referred to a breast surgeon by my GP, and while the doctor was very nice and kind, she dropped this bombshell very casually after the first examination. She said, well, I'm sorry, but you have a little cancer there. After explaining the possibilities, she referred for all the tests, then called me up over the phone and confirmed the cancer diagnosis. Beyond that, she told me almost nothing. I wish that she had called me in and at least explained to me what was going on in my body, what the path report means, anything. I didn't even know what questions to ask over the phone because it was so abrupt. I am on temporary overseas posting, and luckily, my sister was with me, otherwise I don't know how I could have handled it.

The thing is, about seven months ago, I was hospitalized for septic shock, after there was a bowel injury during a hysterectomy. The surgeon missed it, and I was in pain for two days, before I collapsed. I was in the ICU for 10 days, with multiple organ dysfunction, almost didn't make it. I ended up with an ileostomy and have rapidly developed a large parastomal hernia, which if not repaired, could always lead to bowel torsion. On top of which, there is some concern that drugs that may be used for cancer treatment could affect any sutures used for the stoma/hernia surgery. It honestly feels like I have two swords of Damocles hanging over my head.

I was originally planning to return to my home country for the stoma reversal and hernia repair surgery, since I don't have medical insurance here, just have medical bills reimbursed. But since we have to pay out of pocket first, and reimbursement for larger payments are not automatic, I prefer to go back home, where my other sister is an ER doctor, and with contacts in the field.

I have to be honest - I am scared. If I'm not wondering about the cancer diagnosis, I'm wondering about the other thing. I know from forums on sepsis that it can take years for recovery and with this diagnosis, it feels like my body is betraying me in every way possible.

I hope it's ok for this long post. I hate to show how scared I am to my two sisters, who are the only ones who know about this diagnosis. They are my big sisters, and even at 46, I am the one who will always be protected. I know it almost killed them not to be able to protect me the last time, and it's killing them that they can't shield me from this. I don't want to make them feel even more helpless. So please forgive me for this long post here, but I just needed to reach out somewhere.


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,089

    We are so sorry to hear this, @kanga78. You've been through so much, and we know how overwhelming this diagnosis must feel on top of everything over the last seven months. You've got so much to handle right now, fear is a completely rational and expected emotion!

    Going back to your home country makes sense, especially with the insurance issue, and the fact that you have a support system back home to be by your side during all of this. We're glad you've joined us here, and we hope to be another source of support for you along the way.

    We want to let you know we offer very supportive, moderated Virtual Community Meetups. There are a number of different groups and times, so if you're interested, please check them out here: Virtual Community Meetups.

    We're here for you!

    The Mods

  • maggiehopley
    maggiehopley Member Posts: 112

    Kanga, I just want to give you a big virtual hug. You have so much on your plate. You can continue to reach out for support no matter what country you are in. I hope the doctors in your home country will explain things better to you with regards to your diagnosis and treatment plan. I also hope that your doctors can coordinate your care so that all of your medical issues are treated appropriately. My husband was in ICU in a coma on life support for 3 weeks with septic shock following a heart attack (heart, respiratory, kidney, and liver failure) and he made a complete recovery in a much shorter time than they expected. My heart goes out to you.