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Topic: How do you not think about it?

Forum: Waiting for Test Results —

For members not diagnosed with breast cancer, but waiting for test results:  Biopsy, mammogram, ultrasound, or other screening tests. Waiting is VERY difficult but remember...

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength." -- Corrie Ten Boom

Posted on: Aug 24, 2020 11:45PM

Oxbury wrote:

I had an MRI on 8 June, a follow up ultrasound on 22 June, a mammogram on 17 July with biopsy (turned out to be benign), and an MRI-guided biopsy of both breasts on 19 August. In early May I found out I genetically am at very high risk of breast cancer. I’m currently waiting on results from the most recent biopsies.

Im trying not to think about it but not succeeding very well. It was all done in the public health system so results can take up to two weeks. I’m really bad at waiting for answers on things. I know there’s nothing I can do right now except distract myself, but my brain keeps heading back in this direction. How do you all manage the waiting and uncertainty period?

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Aug 25, 2020 03:14AM MelissaDallas wrote:

By telling myself all the worry in the world won’t change what is. It isn’t like I can magically change the cells on those slides by making myself sick for two weeks. Truly an “it is what it is” situation and one way or another I will manage and cope

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Aug 25, 2020 04:50AM - edited Aug 25, 2020 08:02AM by Moderators

Oxbury, sorry you are here and worried, but we wanted to say welcome!

We know how hard the waiting is, so we hope the next weeks go by quickly and keep you busy! If you can, try to keep yourself distracted, get out on a safe, solo walk or hike; hang out with friends on a virtual call, etc.

We wish you all the best results. Keep us posted!

The Mods

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Aug 25, 2020 05:53AM Valentine214 wrote:

What Melissa said is absolutely the correct frame of mind, I however was never able to achieve that. If you are having trouble managing your anxiety/fears, please ask for a prescription for Xanax or similar medication. It was my savior. I was not able to function normally without it.

Stacy Dx 9/19/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 10/16/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 3/21/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 4/22/2018 3DCRT: Breast Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Aug 25, 2020 06:14AM MelissaDallas wrote:

There are a lot of people who recommend asking for drugs like xanax or something similar for what are fairly minor things in life. I kind of disagree .For a lot of people all it takes is a few doses of these drugs to become dependent or addicted. A biopsy is a bump in the road and most of them are benign. Better to avail yourself of one of the many methods and techniques to learn to manage anxiety better . Not saying there is not a need sometimes, but they ought to be saved for something major. There are definite and well known risks in taking them

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Aug 25, 2020 07:40AM Beesie wrote:

I agree with MelissaDallas. Working on how you can deal with stress is better than resorting to meds. That said, when I was going through a particularly stressful testing period (can't even remember now what it was specifically about), my PCP prescribed 5 Xanax pills. As my PCP said, it can be helpful to know that you have them "in your pocket" (not literally, of course) in case you need them, but that doesn't mean you have to take them. So I know that those 5 pills are sitting in with my medicine cabinet, available as a last resort. That provides a security blanket.

My little trick, learned way back when I was diagnosed in 2005 and waiting for various test results, is the figurative "slap upside the head". When I find that I'm worrying about something that I can't control, such as test results, I remind myself that worrying isn't going to change a thing and will only make me miserable while I wait. Then I visualize giving myself a slap upside the head - knocking those ideas out of my head and knocking some sense into me. I can't do that visualization without cracking a smile, and that usually clears my head. Kind of silly, but it works for me. And I've done it often enough now that it's a bit of an internal joke with myself.

My other trick when I'm really anxious is to focus on my physicality. When I'm anxious it tends to exhibit physically, whether it's a achy stomach or headache or something. I just feel physically unwell. So what I do is stop in place and focus very closely on my body. Do I feel physically okay? Is there anything actually wrong with me? No? Then it's all in my mind, and that is something I can control. Doing this and reminding myself that I am driving my own anxiety really helps me control the anxiety, because I know that it's all in my head and it's up to me to manage it.

The one time I recall needing to take a Xanax was the first time I had an MRI. I'm claustrophobic and I was absolutely terrified. That was an immediate term threat, so taking one pill to calm my anxiety to get through those couple of hours really helped me get through it. As I recall, I took one for my second MRI too, and after that I was familiar enough with the process that I didn't need them anymore.

We each have to come up with our own ways of dealing with anxiety, so try my techniques or come up with something of your own that works for you. Learning to manage anxiety is a skill that's good to have for anything going on in your life.

“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Aug 25, 2020 08:37AM buttonsmachine wrote:

I try to remind myself that whatever the test, the result already is what it is, whether I know about it yet or not.

So I just kick that worry down the road until I actually know something concrete. In the meantime, I might think about it, but then I just put the problem down again until I actually have some real information to discuss with my doctors.

I've had so many scares (some of which were nothing, and some of which were cancer) that I'm well practiced in this now. I used to worry more, but now I mostly just save the worrying for when the time comes.

Being physical and doing something you enjoy are helpful. Best wishes to you.

Diagnosed at 32. Local recurrences in the skin, and now dealing with MBC. Dx 8/2016, IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/2017, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 2/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/other, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 25, 2020 10:19AM SpecialK wrote:

Shortly after I finished chemo I enrolled in a study at USF and Moffitt Cancer Center that my surgeon was part of that was looking at the potential benefit of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for breast cancer patients. The study was quantified with blood and saliva testing of stress hormones, and whether or not stress was impacted by practicing informal and formal meditation, yoga, the redirection of stressful thought. The course was based on the book by Jon Kabat-Zin, Full Catastrophe Living. The techniques I learned have helped me through a very challenging reconstruction path, and multiple recurrence scares. The program focused on fully understanding that we can't change what happened yesterday, can't control what happens tomorrow, and the importance of realizing that all you have is the moment you are currently in. Adopting this viewpoint, even though I understood the concept before the course, gave me the ability to fully realize what I couldn't change and what I could, which was my reaction. I was a born worrier and I found that as simple as this approach sounds, employing this mindset takes work but the payoff is worth it - I am much more relaxed and able to deal with the slings and arrows of life. I recommend the book, and I know there are several others that cover the same concepts. Good luck!

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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Aug 25, 2020 10:59AM bcincolorado wrote:

I know the worry is hard. Try not to "google" too much and let your mind go to other happier things if possible. Talk to people on the phone. If you have family hear you do something like play a game or something that might distract you for a bit.


Best wishes to you.

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/6/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 25, 2020 11:05AM Spookiesmom wrote:

Last year when I found the pea size lump, on the non cancer side, I wasn’t real upset. The MO was all business seemed, confident. I was more worried about him retiring in a month, and who would handle my care.

Both times dark thoughts would come. Still do. I allow myself to have them, maybe get in the car with Spookie and tell her what’s going on. Or cry to her.

Distract myself. I won’t let cancer take anymore than it has. I make plans, even with covid. I live my life. I can’t change what did happen, or might.

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Aug 25, 2020 12:14PM AliceBastable wrote:

Scheduling as many normal and fun things helped me. I'm not much of a worrier anyway, but it helped my hubby, who is prone to worry. We went on day trips on weekends, even some overnight trips, watched silly movies, went walking in a local woodsy park, went to a fabulous (already-scheduled) concert the day after the biopsy and we talked about that a lot more than the biopsy! Besides the full round of testing, I had a lumpectomy, then another unrelated cancer was found, then I had a re-excision for the lumpectomy, then surgery for the other cancer, and finally radiation. And through it all, we kept doing fun stuff through those six months. The only regret I have is that I cancelled going to my 50th high school reunion, which was a week after the lumpectomy - at the time I cancelled, I didn't know what kind of surgery I would have. The rest of that six months I look back on and I remember the fun things more than the medical crap.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Aug 25, 2020 10:41PM Oxbury wrote:

Thank you all for the suggestions and words of wisdom.

I called the hospital today to see if I could find anything out, and apparently the specialist is going to call me next Wednesday because the results aren't in yet and take about two weeks (also that doctor only works on Wednesdays). I'm going slightly mad with anxiety because I have a job interview next Wednesday and uni exams coming up very soon. I really wanted this to be out of the way so I could focus on everything else, but it's proving a challenge!

Mum tells me if it was a worry they would call me asap, but I don't think she realises this is the Australian public health system where everything moves at an absolutely glacial pace. I also was concerned because MRI & then ultrasound & then mammogram & then mammogram biopsy & thenMRI biopsy within the space of about two months is not nothing. I was surprised to have all these things done so quickly (relatively speaking) for the public health system.

Will update if I hear anything.

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Aug 26, 2020 12:09AM Oxbury wrote:

Update! All benign.

Very brief phone call from the specialist who was kind enough to do so and ease my anxiety. Apparently there's an area they'd like to surgically excise regardless because of the complexity and number of benign cysts etc, so there'll be a team discussing that option and getting back to me.

For now I can forget about it! Many thanks to all

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Aug 26, 2020 01:29PM AliceBastable wrote:

Happy for you! And thanks for the update.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes

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