24 answers

Daughter Having surgery...how Can I Help Her?

In June my then 16 year old daughter found a pea size lump in her left breast while doing a SBE. To make the story short, by September it had grown to the size of a golf ball and continues to grow rapidly. It is also extremely painful. Anyway, surgery for removal and biopsy of the lump is scheduled for this week. The closer the surgery day gets the more scared she becomes. She is scared of everything related to the surgery, the lump, and the results. While she knows that the likelihood of cancer is very, very small, she is still worried about that, too (we had someone very close to us die from breast cancer).

I have tried to make as many of the unknown things known to her because I believe that we are usually afraid of the things that we don't know or understand. I thought this might help her be less scared. I have also prayed with her all along.

Here's my question: Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do to help her get through this next week?

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

C.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone who shared their story, gave advice, and/or prayed for our family. We appreciate it all!

Surgery was yesterday and everything went absoultely beautiful...just the way the doctor planned for it to go. My daughter didn't have a reaction to the anesthesia and the doctor completely removed the mass. It will be biopsied and we return to see the doctor next Friday (for follow up and results).

The night before her surgery two of her girl friends came over and were just being silly. It kept her mind off of the surgery and her worries. I wrote her a "love letter" in the early hours before her surgery to encourage and comfort her (it included some of my favorite Scriptuers as well) and gave that to her before we left for the hospital. Yesterday, I was allowed to be with my daughter right up until they took her into the operating room and then again after she was able to sit up in a recliner in recovery. She was allowed to take her favorite blanket and beanie baby into surgery with her...I'm sure once she was out, the took it away from her, but she doesn't know that! ;o) When she woke up it was still with her.

Yesterday there wasn't much pain, but today there is and my daughter has needed the pain medication. It makes her loopy and sleepy. Niether is a bad thing.

My daughter is in good spirits even though she is in pain. YEA!!!

One thing that she has had a problem with has been keeping the bandaging in place so we have used the sports bra trick. She's wearing her sports bra over bandaging from the hospital. May not be exactly what the instructions said, but we thought it had to be better than having the bandages down around her waist all the time!

Again thank you to everyone!

******FOLLOW-UP VISIT UPDATE******

Today we went to my daughter's follow up visit. We are thanking God for the outcome--it was nothing more than a fibroadenoma--the surgeon said that it was larger than she expected. My daughter's chances of having breast cancer or another fibroadenoma are not increased. She is to continue taking care of herself and to continue doing monthly SBEs.

More Answers

I can relate to exactly what your daughter is going through! I had surgery on my left breast on August 26th of this year for a very similar situation as your daughter! I had found a pea sized lump while doing my SBE. I called my doctor right away and got in to see her within a few days. Between the time I made that call and got into the office, my lump had grown 4x the size of what it was when I first discovered it.
I was told it was an infection and was put on antibiotics. I had a follow up appt. and my doctor was a bit alarmed because the lump had not gotten any better, it had gotten bigger.
I was sent to the surgical clinic, where the lump was drained and I was given a second round of antibiotics. I had a follow up 3 days later. The lump had grown AGAIN despite the meds. I was scheduled for surgery the next day.
I had only had surgery to deliver my kids, so I was no stranger to it, but the thought of what they might find, once they went in was terrifying!! My worst fear was waking up and not having my breast any longer. Although I was told it was just an infection, in the back of my mind, I was hearing Cancer. As it turned out, it was just an infection.... a very stubborn one! That was 2 1/2 months or so ago, and I am back to normal.
The best thing you can do for your daughter, is what my Mom did for me. She listened to my fears, and she let me cry to her when I needed to. She is a survivor of breast cancer and her advice to me was to remain positive. Most cases of a lump in the breast turn out to be nothing at all. Since your daughter found hers, and you are having something done about it so quickly, if it is anything, then it was caught early enough that any kind of treatment that might be needed will be very effective!
I am available to answer any questions she might have, if she wants to talk about it. I don't mind sharing my experience with her, and I will help in any way that I can! God Bless you and your daughter. I will keep her in my prayers!

3 moms found this helpful

I think one of the best things you can do for her, is to let her read the messages you have recieved. How encouraging!!

3 moms found this helpful

C.- I am a mammography technologist, and the daughter, niece and cousin of breast cancer survivors. I want to reassure you that breast cancer in teenagers is extremely rare, and most likely she has a cyst. I am really glad that she does her BSE, and that she found the lump and is addressing the issue quickly. I cannot tell you how many people ignore these things. I know she (and you) are scared, but I agree she needs some distraction and reassurance. Has anyone explained the procedure she will be having? So many of my patients are not told ahead what to expect, and that causes much more anxiety. I always feel that this is an important part of relieving the patient's fears. I encourage you to find a way to distract her (away from any pink ribbons!) and ease her fears. Prayer is the best!!! (St. Agatha is the patron saint for breast diseases.) I wish you all the best, and I will pray for her also. (You may contact me if you wish.) Best of luck to you both, and keep praying!

2 moms found this helpful

I am so grateful to see that you and your daughter have already gone to prayer for comfort, grace and wisdom. Please know that others will be praying for both of you as you move through this really scary time.
Not knowing your daughter it is hard to say what would work best for her...you know how you have successfully comforted her in the past....when things scared her...did humor help...did information..think back to the way you helped her cope with "the monster under the bed" or "the bully at school" and use some of those same ways of doing things. Most of all, remind her that God is in control, that if the worst were to happen and it WAS malignant...think how lucky she is to have caught it so early. Tell her how proud you are of her for doing the SBE...how important it is that she is taking proactive steps to keep herself healthy. I would be tempted to quietly call a breast cancer support group and see if there are other hints that you can give her...like the good support bra that someone else has already mentioned. Things that only people that have been through this would know to share with her.
I would fill this next week with fun and distracting things to do...long walks( isee that you live in Jeff City...go enjoy the beauty of the Mo. fall!!)...a trip to the ice cream store...rent a couple of movies for a girls night...just keep her mind busy and off of what is to come.
I hope that you are involved in a loving, supportive church...make sure that your pastor is aware of what is going on so that he/she can be there for both of you. And dont forget your younger child through all of this...I bet this is scary for them too!!!
God bless you C....and please know I will be lifting you and your daughter in prayer...please let us know how everything turns out.
In His Love,
R. Ann

2 moms found this helpful

I dont think there is much to ease her mind at this fragile age, but knowing you and family are there and love her should be some comfort to her. I will pray for her and your family.
If you have a pastor it may help if he also meets with her for private prayer. God bless.

2 moms found this helpful

Wow - good luck and hang in there. What a scary thing for a young girl to have to face. For the next week, I would just try to remain positive and have as many girl time sessions that you can to keep her spirits up and get her (and your) mind off the surgery - go see HSM3, get a mom/daughter massage, etc.

When this is all over and you have the positive outcome that you have been praying for, I would encourage your daughter to do some more research on the what-ifs. It could be a great opportunity for her to open her heart and advocate for BSE's and preventive medicine.

I have some very good friends who struggled with breast cancer at an entirely too young age in the Kansas City area. They wrote a book called "Nordie's at Noon" that was released nationally in 2006. The ladies were even featured on national television interviews such as the Today show speaking about their issues. Their website is www.nordiesatnoon.com. Hang in there!

2 moms found this helpful

C.,

Having gone through this myself, I can totally understand her fears. The only advice I can give is this: 1) Tell her that you may not have all the answers, but you will get as many answers to her questions as you possibly can. ALthough it is scary for her, I think she will be more reassured if she knows that you are going to help her be as educated as possible.....2) Make sure she knows how much you love her........tell her so much that she will have to tell you to "stop already mom". Let her know that you will be there with her through all of it no matter what.

It is a scary thing, but let her talk about it as little or as often as she wants. It might not seem as comforting as you might want, but it lets her know that this is something that is happening and will be ok. You sound like a good mom! Hang in there, and know that prayers will be said for your daughter and you as well.

D.

2 moms found this helpful

I had my surgery on Sept 13 of this year. At the hospital the day of the surgery I was told to wear a good sports bra and they told me to wear it around my waist during surgery. The hardest part was when I went back to the surgery waiting area, people were able to come back to visit me, but there is nothing to do back there but wait. When they wheeled me to surgery, I can't remember if I had to move to another table when I got back there, but I remember them putting my arms on these table like wings on each side of my body (that was a relief because I was wondering what to do with my arms) then the anesthesia must have kicked in, because what I remember next is being in another room and the surgery was done. I don't remember any sensation of being sleepy or going to sleep or of waking up, its more like I was conscious of what was going on again. I never felt tired, in fact I was ready to go home as soon as I woke up and they sent me home soon after. When I got home I felt like the adrenalin had kicked in and I had trouble sitting to rest. I was given Darvocet for pain and I still have most of those left, I took them at first as prescribed but realized I really didn't need it.
To everyone's surprise I had surgery at 9:00 Friday morning and went to my sons football game at 7:00 that evening! We thought I'd be leaving early, but I stayed for the entire game. I try my best to not let these little setbacks interfere with my life and I do a good job of doing what I want in spite of what life throws at me.
Oh yeah, about the sports bra, when I had my biopsy they tried to wrap my breasts with ace type bandages and those didn't work, but I woke up from surgery with my sports bra on and the gauze bandages under that (I still have no idea how they got it on me, it must have been quite a fight LOL). The bra worked so much better, I wore it 24 hours until my stitches were removed and then until I felt less tender. I can't say I really hurt, it was mostly little twinges when I moved wrong. They gave me a little dog bone shaped pillow to use when I was uncomfortable (they said under my arm or between the shoulder belt in the car and myself), it's helped quite a bit, I'm very large breasted and need it for support sometimes when I'm home without a bra.
I'm having to do radiation now and have only done 7 days so far, I'm still waiting for some pain or fatigue. Since starting radiation all I've felt is what I consider a chaffing feeling, like when you wear wet clothes at Worlds of Fun after getting soaked on a ride, your clothes start to rub and feel uncomfortable. We'll see how the rest goes. If your daughter wants to email me I'll answer any questions she may have. I know my neice felt so much better after talking to my daughter about ACL surgery, she was having so much trouble thinking about the surgery and talking to someone who had been through it was so comforting. Good Luck to you, I'm glad you posted on here, I hope I helped.

2 moms found this helpful

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