I found out I had "cancer" at 5:00 pm on a Friday. I was SCARED TO DEATH!! Spent most my time crying. My Dr said he would call me in some meds to help get me through the weekend. They never showed up at the pharmacy so it was a rough weekend. Definitely think some depression kicked in. What was real hard was every night I'll go in my daughters room and kiss her goodnight. That weekend I would go sit next to her bed while she slept and cry. But one night while giving her a kiss I whispered in her ear "I'm going to beat this for you". That was an emotional turning point for me
Head & Neck/Throat Cancer Questions
How did you feel after you heard your cancer prognosis? How did you cope with the information the doctor provided you ?
Asked by GGP on Thursday, May 23, 2013
How did you feel after you heard your cancer prognosis? How did you cope with the information the doctor provided you ?
I have three different versions of what I did. First time, was in shock, didn't know what the Hodgkins was he was telling me I had. Was kind of numb. Second time, was told it was back, I just said OK fine let's get with it fighting again. Third time, I was mad, depressed, sad at first. Then got busy fighting again.
How have you handled it?
13 Answers from the Community
The first time I was diagnosed I was not told how bad it was until much later, just something to get through. My parents had to have gone through XXX but they didn't pass that along to me. Thirty years later when it came back I was more aware of the diagnosis and possible results. By then I had watched so many of my good friends fight it - many winning and some losing that it was a shock. I had a teenage daughter who counted on me. I love her response, "I'll kill you, if you die!" .
I have a 12 year old daughter and 13 year old son. It was one of the worst days of my life. To be honest my sister dying was the worst day of my life. Yes I have the worst cancer you can get with just a 13% survival at 5 years. And given all my husband and I had gone through for the past 14 years I just couldn't think that God would let this happen to me. but it did. All though my brutal treatment I had people and Dr's say to me..Man you are tough.. My response was always..Yeah..you ain't seen nothing.. You didn't know my sister..I can take this and I can take 10 times more than any of you can give me so bring it...You won't break me..Because I watched what my sister went through and this is nothing...Bring it...I am much stronger than this.
I took seven weeks of high does radiation,,I took 4 rounds of very aggressive chemo and then I took surgery cut 12 inches down both sides, ribs cracked open...Upper left lobe and 18 Lymph nodes from the center of my chest removed.
Then I took another 3 months of chemo..
And two months after all that I was on a tread mill.
My sister and my savior were always by my side and held my hand and told me that no matter what happened it would be "All right". If I didn't make it well that would be o.k. too. My kids would be o.k. And if I made it then its just not my time to go yet.
I am 15 months out and still NED. I have done a lot to get my house in order. I have taught my husband how to cook. I have taught my daughter how to wash her clothes and do her hair.
And I have gotten rid of so much stuff to animal shelters resale shops. I have a lot left to do but this cancer has really prompted me to get it together. Just in case.
I was completely shocked when I got the call from my doctors office. I think I was even too shocked to cry. I was numb, and didn't tell anyone except my husband until after the appointment that had been set up with the oncologist a few days later. That appointment made it real. The hardest part was going and telling my parents about my cancer. I had already googled information, and as many of you know, google is the worst way to get answers - the little that I could find was very very bad. My kids are 17 and 21, and it was easier to tell them, because I knew I could be positive with them about the prognosis, even though I didn't know if I was lying to them or not. Yes, I did end up crying many tears, but knew that I would do everything I could to survive.
I was diagnosed first as stage I uterine cancer, no big deal, have a hysterectomy and 4 weeks later go back to work. HA. My very first response, and I am embarrassed to admit, was to ask my boyfriend, "Does this count?" Where I work, the Relay for Life team is very cliquish and they are very particular about who participates. My mom passed away from cancer and I've always this has always been a near and dear cause to me, but since I hadn't had the disease I wasn't up to their standards, so to speak.
So I wanted to know if Stage I uterine cancer counted. Then after surgery I was told it was Stage III and I would need radiation. A week after surgery I was called at home and told I needed chemo and radiation because they had found tumors in two of my lymph nodes.....how many these stinking lymph nodes do I have anyway??? Suddenly, I realized how silly I was.....of course it counted, it counted just because cancer sucks and we all hate it and it need to be gone.....period. I didn't need cancer to "count".
And, no.....I will NOT participate in next years Relay for Life with the team from work (even if I still work there next year.) I found another team and along with my daughter-in-law we are already making plans for next year's event. Join us........we ALL count.
I respectfully disagree with your Google search result comments. Google searches helped to save my life. Medical documents are readily available, from peer reviewed studies. You may not be able to read those, but I just look up any word that I don't know. General comments on forums are worthless, but there is great, up to date, information available. I asked my doctor if it mattered is my cancer was HPV positive or not. He said no. I had looked it up using Google and knew that he was wrong or a liar. I switched doctors and he told me that they didn't transfer the HPV results. That would make the difference on how I was treated. I got the document instead of having another biopsy to prove it. They could then surgically remove the cancer, instead of two types of chemo and nine weeks of radiation to my throat, which would have ended the quality of life that I require.
So, I got angry and learned everything that I could. I got it all from the computer that I am typing on now. I got so angry with the inability of the doctors to know what I did that I refused any treatment. They failed on more than the HPV question. That was when they sent me to the director and professor of otolaryngology at a major university. He said "After we cut it out and get the results back from pathology, let's let them tell us what we need to do". That was the first hope that I had from anyone for several months. Cutting it out worked just fine - so far. They don't want a scan for a year. I LOVE Google!
MyTurn, I think Julie was more or less referring to the statistics thing, which is frightening beyond belief. If I believed my statisics, I'd give it up now -- 5% for 5 yrs. I agree that the general info I found on qualified sites (like ACS or hospital sites) was very helpful, and I can see how that kind of info was invaluable to you. It's the fear factor out there from hitting some sites before you know what that info means or finding sites that sort of make stuff up as they go along.
I found out while in recovery from hernia surgery, and my general surgeon (who is also a surgical oncologist) showed up in the recovery room. Um, when I had ankle surgery, I didn't see my surgeon; what's up with this?? He found nodules in the hernia sac and they turned out to be adenocarcinoma. I dropped immediately into crisis mode. I don't think I ever had a major cry over it. I know at that point it would be either stage III or stage IV. I think I'm lucky, even though it is stage IV. So many of my sisters out there have stage IV going to lungs or bones or brain. Mine went to the omentum, which could be removed. I tend to only have meltdowns when I get good news, like my surgeon telling me he got all the cancer and didn't foresee a high chance for future problems. I walked to my car then and had a meltdown. I'm just weird.
Before I was diagnosed, I was deep into depression. My father had died a little over a year before. At the time I was seriously considering suicide. When the Dr. said I had only about 4 months to live. I thought OK I guess I'll just tough it out and my children will have a car to inherit. But my brother happened to be visiting, the next week. He took me to the Dr. to discuss treatment. His son is a primary care Dr. in Portland. He asked the Dr. if he could get a second opinion from my nephew. So we sent all the tests to my nephew. He called back that evening. One of his patients was a surgeon who specialized in this sort of surgery (not only specialized but was doing research and training other Drs.) And she wanted my case. Well I was trapped no easy out.
The second time I got Cancer, I was overwhelmed with guilt. It would have been alright if It had just been a new cancer. But when they found two different tumors and one was the original cancer, I felt that I had let my surgeon down.
I did have some touches of guilt at the first diagnosis I do wonder if that is common.
@Myturn - I apologize, I actually have a love/hate relationship with Google. I've never hated it more than when I researched information about my diagnosis - Endometrial / Uterine Carcinosarcoma (MMMT). I AM a research type of person and have, and do rely on Google to research information in many aspects of my work, and my life, but it was frustrating and depressing researching online information about what my prognosis might be. I too am able to read documents and look up words I don't understand, but the bottom line was the prognosis information I was finding was not what I wanted to read. I also used Google to research Gynological Oncologists and went to one of the best for my second opinion and treatment. My point about hating google in that research stage was that it is very easy to find the worse possible information, and those things can be misleading if you put your focus on that before you have the facts from a good oncologist. I didn't communicate that very well in my previous post. I'm glad you were able to find your strength through your research!
When my surgeon told me that the post nephrectomy pathology report was positive for cancer, I didn't hear at first, was in a state of shock and kept asking what additional treatment i needed, even though i was told it was stage 1 and completely encapsulated so I didn't need more treatment.
14 years later, when several lesions were found on my liver and the biopsy matched it back to the cancer on the post surgery slides my reactions was "This can't be true, I was Told I was cured, It's been 14 years"
The next year I was told that I had stage 1 TNBC, at this point I was shell shocked and numb
When i was told the breast cancer had metastasized to my liver last May, I cried and said "Why does God hate me."
Each time I found out what i needed to do, did online research, called for 2nd opinion consults. Being proactive made me feel better. That and my Xanax.
Your feelings mirrored my feelings and responses to the diagnosis of cancer for me. Now, 3rd recurrence oral tongue and feeling depressed and sad so hearing from your point of view, I am hopeful the fighting spirit will return. Cancer is a mystery. I am so grateful for this site and the accounts of people who continue to take each day as a gift. So many have been before me as conquerors with strength and fortitude. My PCP has listened to my concerns and prescribed an anti-anxiety medicine, This helps me sleep so I am rested each new day. Rest and next doctor's appointment ahead of me...I continue to hope.
Was shocked - had a pet-scan two years previously - kept insisting something was not right due to CEA's - even Dr recommended 2nd opinion due to the lack of information on j-pouch cancer -Dr called colon - talking with his oncologist he sid he would have to call it rectal cancer as there was no colon - All these years monitoring J-pouch from UC - but now getting that second opinion where - fhad first UC surgery and do TRUST them - everyone else always wanted to cut FINDING SOMEONE who can be trusted is the most important thing