1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

just found out i have cancer.

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by tryingtoteach, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. I taught a girl who was diagnosed with and treated for this in the 6th form. She recovered and went on to do a degree and get a good job. Keep positive.
  2. trying to teach:

    my thoughts are with you. My older brother was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer last year, at the age of 25. He went through all the chemo and radio and had two huge operations. It has been a horrendous year for my family. Things did not look hopeful at first. Yesterday he went to see the oncologist, who confirmed that the tumour was successfully removed, and the only further treatment is more scans/tests.

    There is hope.

    I am thinking of you
  3. Sorry to hear this news. Really hope things work out the best for you.

    I know nothing about this cancer, but the other responses here offer lots of hope. Please keep us posted, now!
  4. tryingtoteach

    tryingtoteach New commenter

    Thanks again, each time i come on here i feel a little better.

    MO9 - I hope i can be like you and carry on with some degree of normality. the word cancer is scary in itself but i'm starting to see that there are a huge number of different types of cancers, some more serious than others and am glad i have one that is easily treatable.

    the thing i'm struggling with is accepting it. it feels like a kick in the stomach every time i think, oh my god, i've got cancer. also, feel really nervous about meeting people. lots have been told by other people but they are treating me so different and, where i would normally love to be centre of attention, i want to sink in to the background. also its telling people. i've not said the cancer word out loud to anyone - it scares me too much, even when other people say it to me!

    i feel like i'm spending my time worrying about what everyone else thinks and convincing everyone else i'll be fine when all i want is my life back to how it was 4 days ago. it feels so unfair.
  5. I'm sure your feelings aren't uncommon after such a devastating diagnosis.
    Did the hospital not offer any sort of counselling service for newly-diagnosed patients? It sounds as if you need someone to 'off-load' to.
  6. tryingtoteach

    tryingtoteach New commenter

    having to go to see consultant for first time tomorrow (mon) where we'll get info and stuff. i'm hoping i can meet some other people who have gone/are going through same thing.
  7. (((((ttt)))))
  8. Trying to teach
    - My thoughts are with you. You sound incredibly strong and you are at such an early stage so I imagine you must still be in shock. As everyone says, it seems if you are going to get cancer then it's one of the better ones to have because you hear of so many success stories - I know several. It sounds like you have good support (not least on this thread). It's difficult for you to take in and deal with, but it is also very difficult for other people to know how to respond...they want to help...but for lots of people they are not quite sure what to do. Give it a bit of time and things will pan out...

    I particularly sympathise with you as I am currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I had my operation in March and I am half way through my chemotherapy treatments (4 more to go) and then it's radiotherapy. At times it is a real struggle, but you will get there. I won't drone on about me,but if you want to follow a cancer experience (not just me, it's full of other people's experiences too), then check out the 'Mammogram Recall' thread.

    What is your treatment and when do you start? Are you doing/going to do anything complementary? I went hell for leather on healthy wholemeal organic eating before my op (not the case now I'm afraid as during chemo I seem to have reverted to my comfort childhood foods!)

    Thinking of you lots.TKx
  9. I have heard this is the most easily treated cancer...perhaps they should just stop calling it cancer and call it something else. At the end of the day its that word that puts the fear into you.

    I have done a little googling and found a blog of someone who went through the treatment for Hodgkins...not you might not feel like reading it now as you are still in shock by the sounds of things but when you come to terms with the situation you might find it useful.


    This chappie is 5 and half years down the road now and is basically cured!

    Also I found a forum which may be useful if you want to talk to others in the same situation


    My thoughts are with you and I am positive you will get through this and come out the other end totally cured! Don't even allow yourself to think otherwise!
  10. PlymouthMaid

    PlymouthMaid Occasional commenter

    Good luck girl. Stay positive and remember all these stories of people who have gone through it.
  11. Hi
    Have been through this - and am out the other side!! Hurray - it can be done.
    Was diagnosed with rare form of non hodgkins (called Burkitt's Lymphoma) 5 years ago - I was 39 and had only been teaching for one year - was also the mum of 3 children under 11.
    I will not deny that the treatment is bad - I know you feel well now and the chemotherapy will make you feel sick and tired (and possibly bald - I have some very fetching photos!) but you CAN get through it. You will find out how much you are loved by your family and you will know who your true friends are.
    I understand the fear you are feeling - it is worse in the night as I remember. But the hospitals and the doctors are amazing - where will you be going for treatment?
    My advice is to take somebody with you tomorrow who can listen carefully to your consultant - you will be too emotionally involved to take everything in - ask the person to make notes - if you are not clear about anything ASK. Sometimes doctors forget that because they have seen this many times you haven't and they can rush through things - don't be afraid to ask any questions you have.
    BE positive - the doctors said my attitude and initial good health were what got me through the treatment - and I came out of treatment at Christmas 2002 and ran the race for life in May 2002!!!!!
  12. M09


    Sue - I wish I had you around a few years ago that advice is spot on. I didn't take anyone on my first hospital visit and wish I had. My second hospital visit was very similar in that the consultant said all the same stuff. He had to, I had not taken in anything from the first one!

    One thing that occured to me reading through the replies, especially yours tryingtoteach, is that I have had lots of people tell me I am brave. I don't think I am/was, I certainly didn't feel it! When it comes to any kind of major surgery or treatment if you really need it, then you really need it and you get on with it. I didn't really feel I had a choice but to do what the doctors said so I did and eventually it was all over.

    I was lucky in that the first person I told at work was really upfront about it and in the space of 3 mins asked all the questions and said all the words most people are too scared to say! After that it was no where near as bad and I just got used to bluntly telling people. The children at school were fab too. "where have you been miss? on holiday?"...."no, in hospital, I was having a tumour removed". This was followed by lots of questions about how big was it? did they cut it out? was I sick? when they cut it out did they let me look at it....

    Like any major medical thing, it has been a shock and that it totally normal, just let it happen. You will cope with the shock and eventually most people will around you will too. Then (I don't know how long it takes to treat) in xxxx number of months you will be one of the people on here reassuring others that while the treatment is grim at the time here you are, well again, climbing mountains/collecting stamps or whatever you like to do!

    Keep posting on here reading the other posts there are clearly lots of people with excellent advice and experiences and knowledge they can share. There are also lots of people ready to listen and offer support :)
  13. Hi,
    I just found out my dad's girlfriend has this. She is also young (32) - dad is older obviously! Still a bit in shock and not sure how to make her feel better - maybe this is how your mum is at the moment? Will be thinking of you babe, J xxx
  14. tryingtoteach

    tryingtoteach New commenter

    Well, i've been for my appontment thiss morning and got all the leafllets. tha amazing thing was, i actually read them! feeling a little better about the whole cancer thing. 80% chance of complete cure, never to return, 20% would return later in life, but could be treated again. Dr said only very small amount don't respond to treatment. ever the pesimist, i think 'what if thats me' but i know you can't think like that.

    Green Tea Addict

    thankyou for taking the time to find those sites for me. i will definetly have a look at them. i am getting braver and braver.

    TK and Sue.
    Thank you for your kind words. its lovely to hear about people who have come out the other side and are now fit and well.How did you deal with losing your hair?

    was told at appointment that i am aneimic and low in iron so have some iron tablets. struggling to eat properly as not had much of an appitite for last few weeks. not sure if its the illness or the worry. are there any types of food that are particuarly good?

    going for scan and bone marrow test (lovely) in next few days then waiting until end of next week for results and the plan of action. saif will be 6 to 8 courses of chemo so 6 to 8 months of treatment. for those who have been through it, what is it like? how long does it take to put the drugs in? do you feel ill straight away or does it come on in the days after? do you feel ill for the full month?

    one of the (many!) things that worries me is losing my hair. i have always been complimented on my long, curly hair and its a really big part of who i am. i think it will really upset me if i lose it.How do you deal with that? i feel like it will draw attention to the fact that i am ill and everyone, not just friends and family will know.

    sorry its a long one with so many questions but i have so many i just keep coming up with!

    thankss again for all you fantastic support. its really going to help me get through this.
  15. Chemotherapy is different for different illnesses and different people. Also depending on the stage of the cancer. So it depends on what the cocktail of drugs is that they give you as to whether you lose hair or not. My friend had treatment for breast cancer and she did lose her hair but she got a fabulous blond wig which made her look 10 years younger. Also there are some lovely scarves and caps out there so you can look quite trendy. There is a cold cap treatment they can give you that in some cases helps to minimise hair loss. It's not always successful but perhaps worth a go.

    From my friends experience she didnt have any real problem with the chemo. She was expecting to be really ill, feel sick etc but she wasnt at all. She had periods of tiredness and just after having the chemo she had a fantastic burst of energy due to steroids that they gave her. She would clean the house at 5 in the morning but also ate like a pig she just couldnt be filled!

    Hopefully you will know more soon. But sounds like you have nothing to worry about as far as the final outcome.

    Keep us posted and good luck with everything..you have lots of invisible internet friends here that you can say what you like to! (;
  16. Glad to hear that you are feeling more positive today. Those statistics must have been very reassuring for you.

    The hairloss is often one of the worse parts, i understand. My friend, who has recovered from breast cancer got a blond wig and looked fab. Don't feel that you have to "tough it out" by walking round with no hair or wearing a headscarf, which proclaims you as someone undergoing treatment.

    Anyway, chin up,or chin down, there is always someone here to sound off to.


    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Knowledge is power tryingtoteach! I'm glad you feel better after your appointment - its not exactly a pleasant thing to have top go through, but at least now you know a bit more about it and the very encouraging outcome.

    Lots of luck and keep in touch!
  18. Wow Tryingtoteach - you have been through a lot in a very short time. You sound very upbeat and the fact that you have posted today shows you are in a strong position and ready to fight it. The odds are excellent (I was too scared to ask mine) and you need to always remember that when you get down. You will survive and go on to lead a long and healthy life.

    You could see this as 'a year (or so) out', and although you will have to go through all the treatment/appoitments/scans, you will probably also start to reflect and consider the wider aspects of life ( I have started to....no major plans yet, but I do want to make sure I have more treats and fun times in the future... ) This is a positive - as teachers we probably don't take that much time to think about ourselves...now you have time and permission!

    As other people have said, there are so many different recipes for chemotherapy and everyone reacts differently anyway. I am having aggressive chemo every 3 weeks and it takes about 1-2hrs to fill me up with all the chemicals. I spend the first day or so throwing up (despite anti-sickness drugs), 7/8 days pretty much in bed (slightly less on my 4th one)- my head feels ok but it's like my body doesn't want to play.ie. no energy. My turning point, until now, has been Day 9 when I wake up feeling different: I feel like a cooked breakfast, a shower, driving my car and going out! Then I feel pretty much ok until the cycle starts again. I have found that each time I have less energy so have to think a bit carefully about what I'm doing - no day-long shopping trips up the west end! My new chemo starts next Thursday and that one has loads of steroids...hey, maybe I'll be up doing the housework at 5am...that would be a first!

    Have they told you that you will definitely lose your hair? With some chemos you don't. I lost mine just before my second treatment. For me, worse than being bald was the distress of it falling out in handfuls - sorry if this is not making you feel any better. After a week of this I went to my hairdresser and got him to shave it off. I have 2 wigs - one blonde, one brown (I have/had brown hair), but have only worn them once each when I went into school (didn't want to completely shock the children). I just feel more comfortable wearing a scarf wrapped round my head. Strangely enough I have had loads of compliments from strangers about my headwear - and believe me it is nothing fancy and I've never been taught. I also have several friends who wear the wig every day. You will find what feels best for you, but be prepared for it being difficult at first. I am now beginning to lose eyebrows and eyelashes....off to buy some more make-up this week.

    In terms of 'no wig' being a bit like saying 'I have cancer' - I totally agree, and there will be certain scenarios where I will wear my wig, but, for me, it's more about comfort. My friends and family know and strangers can think what the heck they like...hopefully they are thinking 'who's that gorgeous woman with a lovely headscarf!!'

    I think there's quite a lot about food on the 'mammogram recall' thread if you get a chance to skim read it.

    Good luck with the scans - it sounds like they are just a formality. Let us know when you know your treatment plan and when it all starts. I do have lots more to say, but don't want to overload you. Keep on asking those questions!
    All the best. TK
  19. tryingtoteach

    tryingtoteach New commenter


    thankyou so much for your detailed post its lovely to talk to someone going through something similar. i've not been told i will lose my hair yet. i get my treatment plan a week on friday after they've looked at all the results. i was surprised at how quickly your hair came out. it must be very distressing but i'm sure my OH will find it hilarious!

    you are so upbeat and positive. i hope i can be as positive as you through my treatment.

    i suppose i'm starting to accept it a little - i keep talking about 'treatments' and 'hair loss' and 'chem' like its the most normal thing in the world then i stop and think - 'what the hell am i talking about oh my god, its happening to me!!'

    TK - how long did it take you to 'accept' that you had it?

    the other thing is, even though i've not had any treatment the weight seems to be dropping off me. apparantly the disease uses lots of energy and, as i'm hardly eating as i'm so worried, i'm scared i'll disapear. did you lose lots of weight during treatment? it says in my book on lymphoma that the treatment can make you lose your appetite but the steroids can make you starving. i'm not big to start with and really don't want to be skeletal AND bald - not the best fashion statement!
  20. Tryintoteach - I'm currently undergoing my third lot of treatment for non-hodgkins lymphoma. Re: chemo - as another poster said, reactions are different and depend on the cocktail of drugs, but none of mine have been horrendous. This latest one, I haven't lost my hair and I hardly feel ill at all, but I am very careful about taking the numerous support drugs they give you - anti-sickness, anti-biotics, anti-ulcer and kidney protectors and mouthwashes etc. Anyway, any ill feeling follows a pattern that you will get used to and work around. The treatment will have periods of time when you feel fine, make the most of them.

    Actually having the chemo, for me takes about an hour (although there's hours of waiting around for it to be made up). The first part of any infusion is usualy the anti-sickness med, so you shouldn't feel sick. Then make sure you take your tablets regularly - don't wait till you feel sick. I did that once :-((

    Steroids are a common part of chemo - especially for lymphoma. Depending on the steroid you will either be hungry all the time or ravenous and ready to kill anyone who comes between you and your sandwich. My last lot of treatment had a very strong steroid and I ended up going up 3 clothes sizes. Luckily, this one is less so and I've only put on half a stone so far. They also give you a rosy glow - lovely for me as my usual colour is pasty, but I guess not so good if you're already a healthy complexion.

    When I was first diagnosed I think it took me about 2-3 months to come to terms with it, (although mine is incurable and that might have made the process longer). Somebody told me that I would feel better when the thought of cancer was 'out of my stomach and in my head'. Sounded mad at the time, but I know what he means now. I don't wake up with that awful stomach churning lurch anymore. I don't look in the mirror and feel like I have the word 'cancer' written on my forehead. In fact the best thing was when I simply got bored with lying on the sofa waiting to die and decided to go back to work. Everyday life is the stuff of life and the more you can enjoy normal things the better.

    I do belong to an online lymphoma support group, although most people on there have non-hodgkins. I'll post the address anyway, it's a friendly little group. In the meantime, my only other advice to you is not to go trawling the internet too much - you can end up frightening yourself. Get someone to filter the information and just take in a bit at a time.

Share This Page