Become Informed about Your Condition
The very first thing you want to do when you are first diagnosed with Breast Cancer, or any type of cancer for that matter, is to become informed about your condition! You will be in such shock and so overwhelmed with all of the information that will be thrown at you in a very short time frame. Doctors will immediately make recommendations and they may not always be in your best interest. Believe me, I speak from experience.
The Doctor’s Recommendation
3 days after I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I started receiving calls from people I did not even know. I got calls from doctors, surgeons, the infusion clinic, the cancer liason, the cancer coordinator, and more. I was so overwhelmed and my phone was ringing off the hook. Calls started at 8:00A.M. in the morning and would continue almost all day. This went on for several days. I was overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, disappointed, shocked, sad, scared and most of all, IN TOTAL DENIAL!! I guess the call that upset me the most was the one from the breast surgeon. I had never met him, did not know him, and yet, here he was calling me at 8:00A.M. in the morning. Yes, the actual doctor called me on the phone! I did not even know that doctors still did that! Anyway, he proceeded to tell me that he had reviewed my mammogram, and he was recommending that I have a total double mastectomy right away! Say what! I had not even processed the fact that I had cancer, let alone that fact that this doctor wanted to cut off both of my breasts before he even saw me or discussed my situation with me. I really felt like he was totally jumping the gun. I was so stunned that I could barely speak. Then I started to cry! He told me that I needed to make an appointment as quickly as possible so we could move on this ASAP. I was shaking all over, crying and sobbing, and felt I had once again lost control. What I needed was to get my control back.
I decided I had to calm down, ask questions and try to figure out a timeline. I calmed down some, but I could not stop crying. Never mind. I just muddled through the conversation as best I could. I finally told the doctor that I was not in a position to make a decision at that time. I told him I would make an appointment, and in the meantime, I would do some research and try to figure out what I thought the best option for ME was going to be. He continued to try to push me into a decision, but I refused to let him manhandle me. I finally convinced him that I would be in touch within the next week. He said he had informed his receptionist to make my appointment a priority. He felt that this cancer was extremely aggressive, and he wanted to do the surgery as quickly as possible. Again, I told him I understood, but I was going to do it my way and in my own time. He suggested I not wait too long. I promised him I would be diligent and would see him the next week.
When I hung up the phone, I collapsed in a puddle on the floor. I just could not believe this was happening to ME, to US, to my FAMILY!! My husband sat in the floor and held me for a very long time. I sobbed, he listened and tried to console me. He has a way of calming me down, even in a major crisis. I finally pulled myself together, got up and we proceeded to discuss what we were going to do. I had done nothing but think about my predicament for the last 3 days, practically 24 hours a day. I could not sleep or eat. All I could do was cry. I seldom cry. But here I was, sobbing like a big baby, feeling sorry for myself and wondering how in the HELL I was going to get through this! But after my pity party, I decided time was a wasting! I needed to get in high gear and try to figure out what I was going to do. I had a lot of decisions to make, and most of them were going to be up to me.
The first thing I did was get on the internet, and try to get as much information as possible about my situation. At that time, there really was not that much information available. Yes, there were the usual Mayo Clinic and Susan G. Komen sites talking about cancer, but very little information on what to do and how to get through it. Hence the reason for my website!