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

C.,
I know exactly how your duaghter feels. In May I too found a lump in my left breast. After all the tests, mamogram, ultrasound,ect.. the doctors were 99.999.. certain it was not cancerous but said it was likely that it would grow. I had in removed in June and it came back non-cancerous and was exactly what they had thought it was. Even with all the assurances of the doctors it was still a scary and unnerving time. My family was very supportive through the whole exprience. I guess that is my advice to you to be there for her and let her know she's not alone. What she's feeling is entirely normal. She will get through it. I can't imagine going through this at 17, 38 was bad enough. God bless!

2 moms found this helpful

It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I know it is hard but keep a positive attitude and put it in God's hands. I went through colon cancer a year ago and I met it head on keeping my faith and trusting things would be o.k.. They are, I am cancer free today, Thank the Lord. Not to say it wasn't a rocky road at times but you have to hang in there. Patience was a quality I had to learn through my ordeal so I prayed alot. Just be there for her. I will say a prayer for you all too, because I know in my situation it was ultimately prayer that saved me. Barb K.

2 moms found this helpful

you sound like a great mom! all i can say is it sounds like you're doing everything you should be, and you probably will continue to. she'll need her mama more than ever, so just be there for her as much as possible. she'll need lots of babying, of course! i hope and pray that everything turns out all right for you. unfortunately we can't protect them from everything. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Fear can be very overwhelming, and very unreasonably THERE, no matter what you do.

I sympathize with her completely because I am the same way. I am terrified of surgery (and I have a lot of them, it seems) and of anything medical. I am a strong Christian. I have endless faith in my big and loving God, and I have no fear of death, yet, fear is unreasable. It attacks at will even though it makes no sense. And it attacks me every time I even think of seeing a doctor.

You said you pray with her, so I am going on the assumption you are a Christian. Remind her of God's love for her, and that He will never leave her side.
No matter what she has to go through, He will go through it with her and give her the grace she needs to get through it. If she is unsure of her salvation, help her to understand it and to pray about it.
Find scriptures that remind her that fear is from our enemy, and not from God.

2 Timothy 1:7 comes to mind ..... "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind."

Also .... Isaih 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

And my favorite ..... Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

Remind her that if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Beyond that, you are already doing all you can do for her. Continue to be there for her, teach her, encourage her, and above all, be God's arms for Him and wrap those arms around her in hugs when ever she needs it.

You can not go through this for her, as much as you want to, you can only walk by her side as she faces it.
We all have giants to face as we grow up, and she will conquer this one just as she will conquer all the others that will come her way in life.
You will be so proud of her Mom !

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, I am really sorry for what you and your daughter are going through. This would be difficult for any woman at any age.

Second, fear can take on a life of it's own. You are correct that telling her as much as possible, even to things like hospital procedures, staying over night, lots of tests, nurses, lab techs, the same questions over and over.

Last, you may want to talk to her about fear. Like jealousy it can grow and take over. She is young to be going through this, but this isn't the last time she is going to encounter fear. It would be unusually if she wasn't worried at all, but she does need to keep it in persective. She also needs to realize that it really gets in the way. If she is so afraid, she isnt' going to be listening to instructions well, she may raise her blood pressure, make it difficult to answer questions. She needs to be able see the possibilities, but she has to balance that with taking one thing at a time.

Sorry I have no real tricks, good luck to you both.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,
I am just letting you know of a book you might like to read. It is "Calling of an angel" by Dr. Gary Glum. It is about Rene Caisse, a Canadian nurse that was curing cancer in the 1920's and 1930's with herbs. All of her patients had been given up on by Dr.'s. Your library might have to borrow the book from another library, mine did. I order all of my herbal medicines from http://www.herbalhealer.com They also sell the book, and the 4 herb tea that Rene used. It has shrunk tumors, and helped many people. I wish you and your daughter the best. Good luck, K.

1 mom found this helpful

Normally, I suggest going to www.emofree.com to learn how to use a simple form of acupressure for significant emotional relief. But, it would be difficult to learn it quickly on your own. It is something I can teach as a therapist and there are several other therapists available by appointment to help your daughter learn it. You can find some of them on the website as well. You may be able to find enough videos online to learn the basics, but if that doesn't work for you, do try a good therapist. It doesn't take long to learn it, but there is a bit of an art to using the technique most effectively.

I cannot tell you how much this technique helped my son. I first learned it when he was a teenagers. He would tell his friends, "I don't know how it works, but it really works." It is the most convenient and natural way to alleviate severe anxiety that I have ever found.

1 mom found this helpful

Lst yr I had stuggled with my left breast after the birth of my daughter it was painful for months on end and yes I noticed a lump scared as I was to go and get it checked out I finally did after many months of pain.I had 2 ultasounds done and 1 pathology lab they were able to get discharge from my nipple and send it over to lab no cancer cells but an infection in my mamory gland also was told that it could be fibrocystic breast disease this occurs for several reasons and doesn't increase risk for breast cancer.I wish your daughter the best but as my doctor told me age doesn't matter to cancer that is scary it is rare that a young lady gets it but it happens.Has she done an ultrasound to rule out if it is a cyst growing?Before she does this biopsy it may be to late to get one now but the biopsy will give accuracy and reasurrance.Stick with her and help her cope even if she refuses to want you there it will be hard for the next few days till she finds the results.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you talked to her dr about giving her something for anxiety? I know it's not the same thing but my husband had open heart surgery a couple of years ago and the stress level prior to it was tremendous. She is not quite an adult but perhaps xanax or something like that would help her to "shut her brain off" at night at least. It would only be temporary because I'm sure she is just fine so you wouldn't have to worry about dependence. I would talk to her dr.

1 mom found this helpful

I dont think you can make her stop worrying. She is just going to need her mom. Spend some extra time with her, talk to her, keep her mind off of it. Keep her busy. Educate her as much about it as you can, and reassure her she is going to be ok. Im sorry your daughter has to go through this. I will say a prayer for your family. But she will be fine! Please keep us updated!

1 mom found this helpful

C. - Just listen. That's all you have to do. Just listen. What will help her is being able to get all those fears and feelings out. While listening, maintain eye contact, check your body language, don't judge or rush in to try to "fix" her feelings. Nod occassionally. Periodically restate what she has said. For example, "You feel very scared. This is hard for you to deal with." My parents do this with me, and they also pray for me. Sometimes, they'll pray for me right then and there with me. But they also continue to hold me up in prayer throughout whatever is going on.

I really hope this helps.

M. W.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,

How frightening for your daughter, and you! A 16 year old should not have to be thinking of things like this!

I have had 2 breast biopsies, well one biopsy and one lumpectomy in the past. I completely undersand the fear and you are right, it is the fear of the unknown. I think if I was to tell her anything I would say that the one thing I remember distinctly was the burning sensation after the surgery. It wasn't so much a "pain" but it felt like a burning sensation. Also, I wish someone would have told me to wear a tight fitting bra like a sports bra for support afterwards. I fully believe that if I would have had a more supportive bra I would not have had so much bruising. Of course most surgeons are men and they don't think of things like that.
Again, I completely understand the fear and it is natural to think of the "what if's" but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE try not to worry until there is something to worry about. Both of my surgeries came out just fine, and the fear and worry before hand is so exhasting and non-productive.

Everyone will be my thoughts and prayers!

L. K

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, C.--

You've gotten a lot of good advice from wonderful women! I thought I'd just throw one more option in there for you. Anxiety and dealing with fears can be greatly helped by just one session of hypnotherapy...I know because I've experienced it! There's a terrific hypnotherapist in Lenexa--her name is Kelly Murphy and she's been in practice for nine years. I'm not sure if she'd have an opening before your daughter's surgery, but it would sure be worth a phone call to find out. Kelly can not only help your daughter be relieved from the anxiety and fear she's having now, Kelly can also teach her how to lessen anxieties/fears in the future.

Kelly's number is ###-###-#### and her office is in the Commerce Bank building at 87th and Monrovia, Lenexa.

All the best to you!

T.

1 mom found this helpful

At times like this I've found a lot of comfort in reading about the miracles that God does everyday. In fact, I have a book called Unsolved Miracles. You might be able to find it at the library and if you wanted you are certainly welcome to pick up my copy.

No matter what happens, God can heal her or make it benign.

The surgery sucks I'm sure. For that you can joke with her about how bad can it be since so many woman have breast implants on purpose?! LOL.

I hope she knows that a lot of people will pray for her since you have told about her need here. There are so many prayer chains at churches. I'd call a few of them too.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

I was facing surgery and so terrified-talking about it with my husband and sisters and having their support and encouragement was paramount. Total TRUST in God that He was with me all the way, replacing negative, fearful thoughts with positive ones and visioning a wonderful outcome-giving thanks and gratitude for blessings every day-being connected with loved ones and having great FAITH

1 mom found this helpful

Just try to keep her mind off it, (i know easier said then done) if she keeps being worried about the surgery and results, let her know dont worry about the future, worry about the present. She will drive herself crazy worrying about something that might not be.

Good luck hope you get good news.

1 mom found this helpful

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