Scared!!!

jaavon2002
jaavon2002 Member Posts: 57
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. I since then had surgery to have the lump removed. A few days ago I was told I would need chemo and radiation. I am scared to death of chemo. I feel like I'm in a nightmare and can not wake up. My oncologist told me that he don't know how/why I got breast cancer because I had none of the known factors that contribute to the disease. I don't think I can handle chemo, and I'm really deciding on not taking it. I don't want to be sick, I don't want to lose my hair. I have always had long hair my entire life. I am scared on how people will look at me. I'm just scared about the whole situation!!
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Comments

  • phoenixrising
    phoenixrising Member Posts: 1,508
    Welcome Jaavon, so sorry
    Welcome Jaavon, so sorry you've had to join the club. I/we know how you feel. We were all terrified. Take some time and read through some of the posts of those who are going through chemo now and of those who have been done for a while. Many women don't take treatment due to fear, some make it and some don't. Try not to let your decisions be fear based. You know some women are well enough through it that they continue to work. There are meds to take to help you get through it. You are probably still in shock and trying to figure out how this happened. 80% of breast cancer cases have no known risk factors. And I am one of them as well.

    Do you have a husband or other family members that can help you navigate through the decision making processes?? This would be good. And have them come with you to appointments to pick up all the info you will likely forget. There are counsellors available to help you adjust to this life trauma, please take advantage of them.

    I'm sure the future to you looks dark and unknown, but we've all walked the tunnel and are telling you that you can too.

    Best wishes to you
    love
    jan
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    CHEMO OR NO CHEMO
    Hello Jaavon, glad you found us! I know you are scared out of your wits right now and unsure of what the future holds. Please consider the chemo, it is not a cake walk but it is certainly doable. It is sad when we lose our hair, but it does come back. Hair is a small trade off for the years of life chemo and rads can get you. There are a lot of meds out there that will help you to be able to deal with the effects of chemo. We all have to make our own choices, however I implore you to give chemo a chance!

    ((((((HUGS)))))

    RE
  • base61ball
    base61ball Member Posts: 125
    Chemo
    Please try to set your fears aside and let the chemo fight the cancer. I was terrified too, but made it through ok. If you take one day at a time, one treatment at a time its a little easier. As for the hair - it does grow back, there are wigs, hats other things you can do to ease the transition. No, it isn't fun, but at the beginning I thought it would never end and here it is behind me. The past year is just a blur. The medications they have made everything tolerable. As all of the wonderful people on this site can attest - it is doable and everything you can do to make sure it doesn't return is worth it. My prayers are with you.
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    Chemo Nightmare Does End
    Jaavon, you have come to the right place. We have experienced the fear and disbelief, and the sense of being in a nightmare that won't stop. But there is much good news; first, chemo does end, and the risk of cancer returning will be less for your completing treatment. If not for yourself, maybe you can think of your family, friends, and go through the nightmare for them, because you love them and they love and need you. Chemo is like insurance to increase your chances of being with your loved ones for many,many years to come.

    More good news is that mostall of the side effects can be managed. I am halfway through 6 treatments, so I can speak with some experience. I was told that there was no reason I should have nausea as there are meds. And the dr. was right. An adjustment was made, and no more nausea. Your doctor/nurse will be there for you to report any symptoms. An even greater resoource will be the women of this site. (As for hair loss, my beloved husband reminds me often that mine is temporary. I take what comfort I can from that. I also find a wig and cute hats help, and no one has stared too uncomfortably at me. Not yet, anyway!)

    About the women of this board and more good news. Some are like me and are going through treatment now; others have been there and share their experiences to aid us. The treasure of support, information, companionship, and love from these strong, compasssionate women has and is seeing me through my chemo. Just read the posts: you will find us lifting each other and cheering each other and making the nightmare manageable and the bright sunshine ahead that much closer.

    So, Jaavon, you would not be alone through chemo; others who feel the same will be walking with you (ok, sometimes crawling!). I do urge you as Re did to research and ask questions before making any decision. Please don't hesitate to visit here and ask questions or just vent.
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    chemo
    This is all very frightening, Jaavon. Of course it is. But take a deep breath. Although I don't think anyone would say that chemo is fun, it is no longer the way it used to be. Forget what you've seen in the movies or on television. Many people are able to navigate through chemo and radiation while working and otherwise living their lives. Don't let fear stop you from something that may save your life in the long run. First you need all the information. Do you have a second opinion on the chemo and rads? What type of chemo are we talking about? How long? How often? Get all the information and write it down in a notebook. I started chemo in late December and now have only two treatments left. I couldn't imagine that it would end when I was going through all the decision-making and worrying. But just like everything else, it passes and you get on with your life.

    I know you are in a panic right now, but many have gone before you and you will be fine. We'll help you through it. But first, get as informed as you can.

    The hair: I had long hair, too. I'm 34 and certainly never thought I'd lose it to chemo at this age. But you learn to deal with it. I have a great wig and no one can even tell. Then, the hair grows back!

    Mimi
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Moopy23 said:

    Chemo Nightmare Does End
    Jaavon, you have come to the right place. We have experienced the fear and disbelief, and the sense of being in a nightmare that won't stop. But there is much good news; first, chemo does end, and the risk of cancer returning will be less for your completing treatment. If not for yourself, maybe you can think of your family, friends, and go through the nightmare for them, because you love them and they love and need you. Chemo is like insurance to increase your chances of being with your loved ones for many,many years to come.

    More good news is that mostall of the side effects can be managed. I am halfway through 6 treatments, so I can speak with some experience. I was told that there was no reason I should have nausea as there are meds. And the dr. was right. An adjustment was made, and no more nausea. Your doctor/nurse will be there for you to report any symptoms. An even greater resoource will be the women of this site. (As for hair loss, my beloved husband reminds me often that mine is temporary. I take what comfort I can from that. I also find a wig and cute hats help, and no one has stared too uncomfortably at me. Not yet, anyway!)

    About the women of this board and more good news. Some are like me and are going through treatment now; others have been there and share their experiences to aid us. The treasure of support, information, companionship, and love from these strong, compasssionate women has and is seeing me through my chemo. Just read the posts: you will find us lifting each other and cheering each other and making the nightmare manageable and the bright sunshine ahead that much closer.

    So, Jaavon, you would not be alone through chemo; others who feel the same will be walking with you (ok, sometimes crawling!). I do urge you as Re did to research and ask questions before making any decision. Please don't hesitate to visit here and ask questions or just vent.

    Uncomfortable stares
    I agree with Moopy. No one has stared at me or given me strange looks, either. But if they did, so what? You are doing something difficult and you should be proud of yourself. I've learned to be much more comfortable with myself since going through this experience.
  • sunnygirl
    sunnygirl Member Posts: 57 Member
    Of course, you're scared
    Jaavon,
    I wish I could give you a Huge Hug right now!! I know, it's lousy news. Take a lot of cleansing breaths and start gathering info. Reading about this awful disease and becoming informed gives you a place to start.
    When I got the diagnosis, it just seemed I was on a slippery slope and was never going to stop my downward spiral. I'm in chemo now--I have my 2nd of 8 treatments Tuesday. It's not great, but it's something I hope I can do. I'm trying, because I'm worth it and there is a lot of living to do. You can get lots of help and encouragement here from these women who have and are experiencing what you're facing.
    Sunnygirl
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    mimivac said:

    Uncomfortable stares
    I agree with Moopy. No one has stared at me or given me strange looks, either. But if they did, so what? You are doing something difficult and you should be proud of yourself. I've learned to be much more comfortable with myself since going through this experience.

    Maybe it's curiousity....
    I 'went naked' in public more than a few times (I HATED my wig!). Almost daring people to look at me with my bald head. Know what? They did! All were sympathetic, offering support, and many were fellow survivors! The encouraging stories I heard warmed me through and through.

    Keep in mind, this is a moment in time, not the rest of your life. You need to fight the best fight you can to eliminate the cancer in the first go-round, if possible. I faced my breast cancer chemo barely 6 months after chemo for colon cancer...needless to say, I was resistant. But, 3 years later, no sign of reoccurance!!!!

    You said that 'I have had beautiful long hair all of my life'. The chemo will give you a 'rest of my life' to talk about. And to grow a NEW head of beautiful long hair!!!

    Kathi
  • Jadie
    Jadie Member Posts: 723
    Our friend chemo
    Hi jaavon

    I can't add much more to what these fine ladies have said. I totally agree with them. You need the chemo. One thing I will add is that you should remember that cancer is the enemy not chemo. Chemo is our friend. It is here to help us. Chemo is doable. You can do it. Who cares what other people think. Do everything you can to keep the beast from returning. I know that you are scared and I just want to reach out and give you a big cyber hug.
    ((((((((((((((((((((((Jaavon))))))))))))))))))))

    Jadie
  • sausageroll
    sausageroll Member Posts: 415
    Jadie said:

    Our friend chemo
    Hi jaavon

    I can't add much more to what these fine ladies have said. I totally agree with them. You need the chemo. One thing I will add is that you should remember that cancer is the enemy not chemo. Chemo is our friend. It is here to help us. Chemo is doable. You can do it. Who cares what other people think. Do everything you can to keep the beast from returning. I know that you are scared and I just want to reach out and give you a big cyber hug.
    ((((((((((((((((((((((Jaavon))))))))))))))))))))

    Jadie

    We are all afraid at times!
    Jaavon, make sure that you make a decision that is right for you....but get plenty of advice before you make that decision. Whoever said that cancer is the enemy and not the chemo is so right.
    I actually love my bald head and I don't care what others think. Hate the wig and hats and scarves. Today is warmer than it has been in a while and it felt so good to have the sun on my head.
    I have had 4 infusions..4 more to go before surgery and then 10 more..so I won't be finished until Christmas. That felt so daunting at first, but now I take one day and one infusion at a time and before I know it this will all be over.
    The infusions are not painful and the side effects differ so much from person to person. We have all been afraid just like you and will be here to help..no matter what. Take care. Pat
  • tasha_111
    tasha_111 Member Posts: 2,072

    We are all afraid at times!
    Jaavon, make sure that you make a decision that is right for you....but get plenty of advice before you make that decision. Whoever said that cancer is the enemy and not the chemo is so right.
    I actually love my bald head and I don't care what others think. Hate the wig and hats and scarves. Today is warmer than it has been in a while and it felt so good to have the sun on my head.
    I have had 4 infusions..4 more to go before surgery and then 10 more..so I won't be finished until Christmas. That felt so daunting at first, but now I take one day and one infusion at a time and before I know it this will all be over.
    The infusions are not painful and the side effects differ so much from person to person. We have all been afraid just like you and will be here to help..no matter what. Take care. Pat

    Jaavon
    I felt exactly the same as you (I bet most of us here did) I just about coped with the cancer diagnosis, but being told I had to have chemo and would be bald?.....Well I just folded, to be quite honest with you I didn't really make up my mind to go through with it until the morning of the first infusion, I was going to walk away. Now it is behind me (last august) and I have hair again, nowhere near as much as before, but it's growing all the time and now I don't look like a cancer patient anymore, just a woman with shortish hair (I always hated short hair). I bought a couple of real nice but cheap wigs off ebay that were NOTHING like my real hairstyle and nobody sussed me, I kept getting comments like "Man is your hair growing fast", and "Hey, love the new colour"...I enjoyed my wigs, even though I felt I looked like something from 'Twisted Sister' in the long blonde jobbie......LOL. My friend said "I'd rather have a bald friend than a dead friend". I guess she ended up with neither.

    My thoughts are with you, this is such a dilemma for anyone to cope with, only you can make the decission, and if anyone says "I know exactly how you feel"...They don't, unless they have been there themselves..like us lot. Come back soon. Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • neda
    neda Member Posts: 36
    Please do it. your life is
    Please do it. your life is more important than a hair lost that would only be temporary.

    many many peope do and survive. please do it.
  • sure_hope
    sure_hope Member Posts: 60
    I'm sorry You're scared
    It's normal to be afraid. I was terified. Not about the chemo or radiation, but the diagnosis itself. Seperate your emotions from the facts. Don't think about your hair, because it can grow back.

    You need someone who loves you and has your best intrest at heart to be in your corner and hold your hand through all of your decision making. Someone that will help you make sound decisions not irrational ones based on fear.

    Have this person write down any questions that you may have or that they may have so that you won't forget when you go to the doctors office. Have them take notes when the doctor is talking. I remember when I was diagnosed, my sister was with me and I did not remember half of what he told me. It felt as though I were on a rollercoaster without a seat belt and I was just hanging on for the ride. If my sister wasn't there helping me, I probably would not have gotten chemo either.

    Now a days, chemo doesnt have to make you sick they have so many meds you can take to offset sickness. As a matter of fact, I only vommited once during my 8 cycles. (but everyone is different)

    Remember, YOU WANT TO LIVE!!! Right? So fight.

    there are so many people that are in your corner. You can do it.

    sheryl
  • CrystalW
    CrystalW Member Posts: 31
    sure_hope said:

    I'm sorry You're scared
    It's normal to be afraid. I was terified. Not about the chemo or radiation, but the diagnosis itself. Seperate your emotions from the facts. Don't think about your hair, because it can grow back.

    You need someone who loves you and has your best intrest at heart to be in your corner and hold your hand through all of your decision making. Someone that will help you make sound decisions not irrational ones based on fear.

    Have this person write down any questions that you may have or that they may have so that you won't forget when you go to the doctors office. Have them take notes when the doctor is talking. I remember when I was diagnosed, my sister was with me and I did not remember half of what he told me. It felt as though I were on a rollercoaster without a seat belt and I was just hanging on for the ride. If my sister wasn't there helping me, I probably would not have gotten chemo either.

    Now a days, chemo doesnt have to make you sick they have so many meds you can take to offset sickness. As a matter of fact, I only vommited once during my 8 cycles. (but everyone is different)

    Remember, YOU WANT TO LIVE!!! Right? So fight.

    there are so many people that are in your corner. You can do it.

    sheryl

    DITO
    Not much more to add that these kind people haven't already said but I will say this take it from a 7 year survivor...YOU CAN DO IT. YOU MUST DO IT for those that love you. Don't let the beast win. Get mad and kick it's a**...At times you will feel like giving up but always think of the ones you love and those that love you. Don't they deserve to have you around as long as possible???? I had two small children and a wonderful husband (not to mention the rest of my family and friends that love me) to live for. The road will be bumpy, no doubt but it is not impassible...The way to beat this is to inform yourself. Take control of your health care. We interviewed 3 doctors before we settled on the one who gave me the best prognosis. It worked because I'm still here.

    Ultimately the decision is yours but remember God will not give us anything he thinks we can not handle. He must think you are a very strong woman and knows you can handle this. Each and every person on this board who has dealt with beast by either fighting it personally or caring for some who has, is choosen by God because he knows we are strong. We have survived and you will to. Come here often. You will be lifted up...

    Crystal
  • jakeca
    jakeca Member Posts: 92
    We were ALL scared
    No one WANTS to do chemo. We were all scared of it. But if your doctor has said you need it, and you trust your doctor, you must do it. If you don't trust your doctor, then get a second opinion as soon as possible.

    As for how people will look at you, just visualize them filing by your casket and looking down at your dead body and saying, "It's too bad. If only she had tried the chemo." Sorry to be harsh, but you MUST be realistic.
  • jaavon2002
    jaavon2002 Member Posts: 57
    Thanks...
    I am glad I came to this site. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read my posting and giving me such insight to this disease and the treatment. Thanks 'jakeca' for the harsh reality check. I don't want my family surrounding my casket because I didn't do chemo.

    One of you suggested a second opinion, I have an appointment to see another doctor on Thursday. The first oncologist I went to recommended 4 treatments of Cytoxan & Adriamycin (1 every 21 days), then 4 treatments of Taxotere (1 every 21 days). It's not that I don't trust his expertise, I hear he is the best at the hospital he's affiliated with...but I want to hear it from someone else that chemo is needed. I'm not at that point to accept chemo yet and I,too, want to be on this site giving my survival story. One of the ladies stated...chemo is not the enemy, cancer is. I really didn't look at it that way, I'm glad that was said.

    I'm still scared...but this feedback has really helped. I don't talk to my family much. Since my surgery January 29th, they have called me a few times but now they don;t call at all. I'm the type of person that I don't call people with my problems and to cry...they usually call me. But my significant other is extremely helpful. He tries his best, which sometimes don't work, to cheer me up. He often say "everything will be alright, it will be over before you know it".
  • ladybug22
    ladybug22 Member Posts: 646
    It ok to be scared
    We all have been scared at one time are another i was more scared not to take the chemo.Chemo is no fun but take one day at a time and the chemo will be over.I had breast cancer had surgery had radiation. I still get scared so its ok to be scared .Please do what the oncologist tells you dont let the cancer have it s way. You have the right to live with out cancer so please go fight for your right. hugs and love to you we are pulling for you .
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member

    Thanks...
    I am glad I came to this site. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read my posting and giving me such insight to this disease and the treatment. Thanks 'jakeca' for the harsh reality check. I don't want my family surrounding my casket because I didn't do chemo.

    One of you suggested a second opinion, I have an appointment to see another doctor on Thursday. The first oncologist I went to recommended 4 treatments of Cytoxan & Adriamycin (1 every 21 days), then 4 treatments of Taxotere (1 every 21 days). It's not that I don't trust his expertise, I hear he is the best at the hospital he's affiliated with...but I want to hear it from someone else that chemo is needed. I'm not at that point to accept chemo yet and I,too, want to be on this site giving my survival story. One of the ladies stated...chemo is not the enemy, cancer is. I really didn't look at it that way, I'm glad that was said.

    I'm still scared...but this feedback has really helped. I don't talk to my family much. Since my surgery January 29th, they have called me a few times but now they don;t call at all. I'm the type of person that I don't call people with my problems and to cry...they usually call me. But my significant other is extremely helpful. He tries his best, which sometimes don't work, to cheer me up. He often say "everything will be alright, it will be over before you know it".

    jaavon
    I sure am glad you found our group of amazingly caring and supportive sisters in pink. You are very wise to listen to their advise and advise of your DR. it is always smart to get a second opinion. I just did not even want to wait for one. All i could think about is i want it out and i want it out now..the sooner the better. I had a masectomy and then all i could think about is i that i want the chemo to fight it and i want it now! The sooner i could start fighting for my life the better. There really was no alternative for me.

    This doesn't mean i was not terrified, depressed and totally in shock. I just knew that i wanted to live, not just for me but for my husband, children, family and friends. I feel God chose us because He knows we are strong and also that we can make a difference by helping others that are also battling this demon.

    This news that I would need chemo/radiation/hormone therapy (the works) AND go bald was so very scary for me..My mom passed away before she turned 50..she had colin cancer, lung cancer and suffered a stroke which left her paralized on one side. she fought like crazy! She learned how to walk talk etc. through much PT. Chemo was sooo hard back them (20 years ago.. they had no anti-nausea meds like they do now, and she was very sick from it. I was amazed and didn't believe my Onc. when she said that i would not be sick. She was right. Sure I'm tired, Sure its not a picnic and losing your hair really sucks! but its all worth it to be given a chance at a longer, more meaningful life.

    Please keep coming here..we will be here for all your concerns. and listen to your guy..he loves you and is right. It Will be alright, and it Will be over before you know it. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    God Bless
    Jackie
  • chwoodall
    chwoodall Member Posts: 10
    keep moving forward
    I know you are scared. I was 42 and dx with breast cancer at my first mammo. I am a stastitic. it was caught early and very treatable. i chose to take the most agressive treatment possible.... double mascectomy, chemo, tamoxifen.... the hot flashes are h??? and I'm still wearing wigs.... but my wigs are better than my real hair ever was, and my hair is growing back thick and curly.... it just takes time.... go as agressive as you can to conquer this beast.... you will feel stronger in the end.... chemo effects everyone differently.... prepare for the hair. the local cancer society is the best place to start prepping for the hair loss.. they were fantastic! Start looking for options for your hair loss prior to chemo... i promise there are many women out there who deal with this and can give you recommendations for local places to get cheap wigs and prosthetics for surgery, etc....best of luck in your new journey....i'm sorry you have to deal with this, but I'm pushing on a year, and i'm 'ok'... cw
  • jaavon2002
    jaavon2002 Member Posts: 57
    One of the my better days...
    I guess today is one my good days. I did not cry AT ALL today and it's been the first time since being diagnosed that I feel like...come on, let's get this over with!! Before I start chemo, I think I'm going to get my hair cut shorter so it won't be such a big shock.

    I really appreciate all the comments, it did make me think about this whole situation...without crying.