• I have so much fear, just found out yesterday and all I can remember is you have ductal carcinoma. Does the fear ever leave.

    Asked by believer on Friday, August 17, 2012

    I have so much fear, just found out yesterday and all I can remember is you have ductal carcinoma. Does the fear ever leave.

    21 Answers from the Community

    21 answers
    • abrub's Avatar

      You are still in the head-spinning stage. You've just learned something that you never imagined would happen to you, and you are probably visualizing the worst case scenarios. Yes, the fear leaves. Many cancers are driven into remission; it is no longer a death sentence. Once you have a handle on you treatments, a direction, you'll be able to start focussing on the knowns instead of the unknowns. Hang in there - you'll breathe again. Having a plan gives you some control.

      However, if for the time being you need sleeping meds or anti-anxiety meds to help you cope - well this is what they are for: that short term stiuation that just has you in its grip.

      I never thought I'd get over the fear; never thought I'd laugh again. I've done both, and continue to live. I'm 5 years out from a stage 4 diagnosis, and it hasn't been easy.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Vivenia's Avatar

      I was recently diagnosed too. One of the ways I've been handling my fear is laughter, the easiest way for me to be able to spend some time laughing is to watch comedy tv (I'm lucky enough to be able to use netflix instant streaming to watch "The IT Crowd" and "TopGear").

      I also like finding articles like this one that talk about the survivors http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/News/new-report-tracks-growing-population-of-cancer-survivors-in-the-us

      I think abrub is right in saying it will get better when you have a better idea of treatment and what your path back to health is. I know that the waiting to know what my plan of action is has been one of the hardest aspects of this for me.

      My grandma beat breast cancer about ten or eleven years ago, and we're all really grateful that she fought and is still here with us.

      almost 6 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I bet that you did not sleep at all last night and that the darkness of the night added to your fear and that a few tears fell. I can remember that first day and night so well. Be assured that you are in the worst part of your Journey right now. I feel that the hardest time is between diagnosis and surgeon's appointment. Once you set up a "battle plan", you will have direction. A positive attitude is your most valuable weapon. I documented my journey in detail (and I mean detail) on my wall. If you take time to read it, it may give you some idea of what you have ahead of you. Just know that you are not alone!

      almost 6 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      My experience is that I was rawest right at the time of diagnosis So take some deep breaths. If you know some relaxation techniques, now is the time to use them. If you know where you will be receiving treatment, check with them to see if they offer classes in relaxation and Yoga. I took anti-anxiety meds periodically throughout active treatment to help me. Peace.

      almost 6 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      Another good way to fight the anxiety is to participate and/or at least read through message boards like this one. I'm newly diagnosed and am having surgery next week. I've already found so much support here. There are several folk w/my diagnosis who are all have surgery next week, so we're treading the path together. And there is so much wisdom available from those who are further along in the journey. And always remember, you can ask for help, be it from friends & loved ones, folks here who you may likely never meet in person, and folks you never know will crawl out of the woodwork. You are not alone.

      almost 6 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar

      Dear Believer:
      Abrub said head-spinning stage and she's right. It's also nerve-wracking, mind-numbing, forehead-pounding, hand-wringing, stay-up-all-night-crying and can't-believe-it's-happening and many more similar falling off the edge stage. It's just not real. The first night I sobbed like I never thought possible, worse than the night I found out I lost my best friend (literally - she died suddenly at a young age). I was deathly afraid of death. Then I started to replace fear with knowledge. There's nothing like knowing your enemy. Instead of staying up all night crying and moaning, I stayed up all night reading about cancer - I found great sites on the web, like the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, National Institute of Health, Johns Hopkins - I stayed away from chat rooms and blogs because I wanted information not horror stories. I read great books like "The Outlaw Cell" and "One Renegade Cell" and "Anti-Cancer: A Way of Life". I learned (and am still learning) all I could about cancer and I extrapolated that information to my situation so I could understand it. Every cancer and every patient is different. But knowledge gives power and the more I learned the more I felt I could take control of my treatment because I understood what was happening to me. Although it was weeks after my diagnosis before I could sleep through the night, I spent those wakeful hours learning instead of lying there in fear. Cancer can be beaten back and we have so many weapons in the arsenal. Knowledge can give you confidence and confidence can give you hope.
      FIght On,

      almost 6 years ago
    • ImStillHere's Avatar

      In my opinion, this is the worst part of cancer to deal with- I call it the "deer in the headlights" stage. You've just gotten your initial diagnosis, the doctors are tossing around a bunch of strange medical terms, you probably haven't gotten all of your pathology tests back, and everything you hear is going in one ear and right out the other.

      For starters, always write down questions to ask your doctor, so you won't forget during the appointment.

      Second, always bring someone to an appointment with you. They can take notes, ask questions, and just be a comforting presence.

      Third, call the American Cancer Association hotline right away and say "help!". Their number is[phone number redacted]. They can send you a bunch of information, set you up with a peer navigator, help you find a support group, etc. They can also help with rides to treatment if necessary, gas cards, and other helpful services. Some things may require a referral from your doctor, but that should be easy to obtain. Their hotline is open 24/7, so if you wake up in the middle of the night freaking out, you can call them for some comforting. Do not spend a great deal time on the Internet except for sites just like this one. Just seeing the ads on some cancer sites can make you feel like passing out. You could ask a friend to research something for you online, so you don't have to sort through screen after screen of scary stuff.

      Does the fear ever leave? Yes. It is worse in the beginning, but will gradually fade somewhat over months and years. It stops being a constant black cloud over your head, and becomes just a little worry that is easy to shove down into the basement of your brain. Once you are done with treatments (presuming you feel up to it), try to take a vacation. A weekend shopping trip with friends, someplace romantic with a significant other, whatever you like. Traveling makes you feel so much more normal after treatments.

      Good luck, and please come back and ask any more questions you may have. We are all here to help each other.

      almost 6 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      Everyone has said it so well here. Not knowing is the worst! And with cancer we always seem to be waiting for a result of some test or another. First, remember that cancer is not the death sentence it once was thought to be! There are millions of Survivors! Breast Cancer was my second cancer. Chemo & radiation wasn't easy, but it was doable and I am almost 3 years out. The best site I found for info is: www.breastcancer.org. Please tell your doctor your fears, but honestly, the more you learn, the more empowered you will feel. You are stronger than you know or ever wanted to be. Fight like a girl now. We are all cheering for you!

      almost 6 years ago
    • blondie's Avatar

      Talk to patients who recovered from your illness. Look up your illness online and read what it says.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Dani's Avatar

      I am still going through testing, waiting for my proper diagnoses. My prayers are with you. I wish I could help you more, I just dont have the experience with diagnosis yet. I know how scary it was for you to find out you even had to be tested, and I am sure that now that they can start treatment maybe that fear will go away just knowing your getting the help you need. I hope things start getting easier. I'm so sorry for what your going through. If I can be of any help please let me know!

      almost 6 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      this is a great support group! Join them, the sure helped me. Hang in there!

      almost 6 years ago
    • GetMyLifeBack's Avatar

      Yes and no...the fear essentially goes from being at the forefront of everything to a passing thought now and then. The more answers you get about your specific cancer and the more knowledge you get, the less you will fear. I was diagnosed almost two years ago and the fear comes and goes but it is no longer jarring and no longer constant. I think that as you progress it is no longer a daily thing ruling your life but something you live with that keeps you mindful of healthy habits, like diet and exercise, and other things to take care of yourself and make the most of life. The fact that you are already on here looking for support says a lot about how you are going to approach this and I have no doubt that once the shock has passed you will gather yourself and find a strength you never knew you had.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I was diagnosed on Jan 6, had my surgery Feb 2 and just had my last chemo treatment today. The fear hasn't left, it just changes. At first I was scared of my diagnosis. I was scared because I have no family left and I thought I was going to have to go through this alone. My friends stepped up and helped me through the surgery which also terrified me, of course. Then I was afraid waiting for my Oncotype DX and BRCA results. I found I needed chemo and then there was the fear of chemo.
      I wrote about all of it on my blog:

      almost 6 years ago
    • airaani's Avatar

      My mother found out recently that she has breast cancer, and it came as a complete shock--she's had benign breast lumps before so it never even occurred to her that it could be cancer. Here's what she's been doing that's helping her cope.
      First, reach out to everyone close to you. Friends, family, colleagues, she talked to everyone around her. While at first it might seem like not everyone needs to know, the truth is it helped her a lot to feel like everyone knew and understood when she just needed to take some time to herself, let the world spin on its own and take care of herself.
      Second, get educated. She spent days gathering information--seeing doctors, doing online research, calling clinics and talking to her insurance provider. She wanted to understand everything she could about exactly what was happening, what she could do about it, and what the expected outcomes were.
      And finally, get distracted. She is taking a lot of time off of work but after several days of drinking in information, she found herself getting overloaded and decided to go back for a day or two. She's giving herself permission to think about other things to keep from going crazy, and I couldn't be happier.
      I hope these things give you some help, and best of luck in your journey.

      almost 6 years ago
    • bladner's Avatar

      I've had Breast Cancer twice once in 07 and again in 09. I remember those words and I remember crying on the shoulders of all my family and friends you have the right to do that you just got awful news. Then I remember picking myself up and remembering the Lord doesn't give me the spirit of fear. Just take it one day at a time don't get ahead of yourself with worry... Fight Like A Girl !!!!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Mikeb's Avatar

      I know exactly how you feel. I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer on July 11, 2011. I was so scared. I didn't want to ever think about it because I knew I would not be able to stop obsessing about the negatives. It does get better. I did need some meds to help me in the beginning. Don't be afraid to use them, that's what they are for. I am now 8 months cancer free and the future is looking very good. Once your treatment starts you won't obsess about the negatives quite as much because you will be so busy. The most important thing is to have a good support system. My family was amazing. Lastly, when you have a bad day. Get out of the house, go to a mall do something to get a change of scenery. Good luck.

      almost 6 years ago
    • DeeHenn's Avatar

      I am twelve years out and can honestly say, yes....the fear fades with each precious moment.

      almost 6 years ago
    • vizslagirl's Avatar

      i agree that the SCARIEST thing is being diagnosed!!!!! the Fear never really leaves, but it DOES get better with time. when the years go by and you get near the 5 year mark (The Benchmark so to speak) it will be a lot better. just be patient and take it one day at a time. i was diagnosed a second time right after my 5 years----even THAT wasn't as scary as the first time hearing it. but no, The Fear doesn't really leave, but you learn to deal with it.

      almost 6 years ago
    • shadeau48's Avatar

      I guess I'm weird, but I've never really been afraid. I was diagnosed last summer with stage 2 breast cancer, had a mastectomy, followed by chemo. Through it all, I trusted my surgeon and my onocology team to do what they do best. Worry/fear accomplish nothing positive but can be very destructive to your psyche and your emotional well-being. It can also affect you physically because it steals sleep, raises your blood pressure, and creates other problems.

      almost 6 years ago
    • javert2's Avatar


      I just joined the community today and so I just saw your question. It's now been about 3 weeks since your diagnosis so I hope things are better. I want to give you hope because it DOES get better. The fear consumes you at first but you will find your way out of it. There is LIFE after breast cancer! Cling to your friends, talk to survivors, remember to LAUGH, and take time to pray. All will be well. Hugs to you.

      almost 6 years ago
    • sunshyne's Avatar

      I was diagnosed in July 2011 with triple negative breast cancer. I was in shock. I found the lump and it was so painful so I assumed it was a cyst. I didn't know cancer hurt that badly. I was in denial, then kind of robotic. whatever the doctors said is what I did. I felt numb and helpless. then I went into survival mode. I have a son who is 8and I wasn't going to let him grow up without mommy. I had opted for a double mastectomy. which was done. in January 2012. I had reconstruction and am waiting on final surgery. the fear will subside over time but its always in the back of your mind. stay strong and positive. its not an easy journey but you can do it. the support you will get from friends, family. and strangers is astounding. I wish you the best.

      almost 6 years ago

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