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All TopicsForum: Not Diagnosed with a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned → Topic: Worried about rib pain being mets

Topic: Worried about rib pain being mets

Forum: Not Diagnosed with a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned — Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: Jul 31, 2012 04:56PM, edited Jul 31, 2012 04:57PM by samiam

samiam wrote:

I am 4 years out of double mastectomy and chemo.  Just last week I developed severe rib pain and don't know of anything I may have done to cause it.  It is below my right breast and is a spot about 3-4 inches long.   It hurts when I touch it, when I stretch, twist,  or when I bend over.  It also hurts more lying down.  From what I read these can all be symptoms of mets to ribs. Has anyone experienced similar symptoms?

The strange part is that  I had clear bone and CT scans 4 months ago.  How likely is it that I would go from nothing detectable in a scan to experiencing seering pain from mets just 4 months later.

I called my onc and he is sending me back to my breast surgeon but I can't get in til Thursday.  I'm worried to death! 

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Jul 31, 2012 05:11PM swimangel72 wrote:

Is the pain really on your ribs - or could it be deeper inside? I had a pain in my right rib cage area, and it turned out to be gall stones - the pain was eliminated when my gall bladder was removed. Can you get some kind of scan to see what's going on?

3/3/08 Right-side mastectomy with immediate muscle-sparing free tram; 3/9/08 Developed abdominal MRSA staph infection and hernia;Completed 4 months Navelbine and 1 year Herceptin; Arimidex - 3 more years! Diagnosed at age 53

Dx 2/5/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 31, 2012 05:29PM barbe1958 wrote:

Could it actually be your liver? Are you sure it's your bone that hurts and not something under your bone? We'll be waiting here for you after your appt and will hold your hand through the testing. You are not alone.

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Jul 31, 2012 05:49PM BikerLee wrote:

I recently went to see my breast surgeon about super sore ribs, and he diagnosed it as probably costochondritis - inflammation of the cartilage linking the ribs to the sternum. 

But, he said, he wanted us both to sleep well at night, so he ordered up a chest Xray - results all clear.

Oh my gosh - every little pain - every big pain... UGH!!!!  

So, my question to you - have you done anything differently recently? 

I realized that I had RIDDEN MY BIKE A TON the few days before the pain set in.  And when I say a ton, I had basically a double-training week that week.  It was fun.  It was worth it.  But wow - those ribs HURT a ton! I had a hard time lying down....  I had a hard time bending over.  I had a hard time with nearly everything except actually riding my bike...  Weird.

So, my advice to you is go ahead and make the call.  It won't change your reality, but you will find out what's up.  And, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that you did something like what I did - training error - too much increase in too short a time...  I'll probably do it again...  But that's just sorta how I roll....

Good luck.

Lee

Pathologic Complete Response!

Dx 7/29/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Chemotherapy 08/26/2011 Adriamycin, carboplatin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 02/13/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left)
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Jul 31, 2012 06:26PM, edited Jul 31, 2012 06:27PM by barbe1958

Good point Lee, I've been diagnosed with Costochondritis and didn't even think of that!! It's extremely painful, just takes my breath away when it hits, but I find the pain cycle weird. No pain for weeks and then a couple of minutes of breathless pain. Doesn't make sense. Mind you, I take 80 mgs of Morphine and about 40 mgs of Codeine a day, so for me to feel anything means it's pretty bad. Just breakthrough pain, I guess.

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Jul 31, 2012 06:42PM leggo wrote:

Sam, speaking as someone who was misdiagnosed with costochondritis for years, I'm glad you called your onc. This warrants an x-ray at the very least, and possibly a bone scan if there is an abnormality found. Just an FYI...I also had pain in my back with my sternum/rib mets when I moved.

Dx IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 26/35 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 31, 2012 07:36PM samiam wrote:

Thank you ladies so much.  I will definitely look up costochondritis.  I will start with the breast surgean since my onc wants me to go there.  Even two days seems a long time to wait when you are worried!! 

Gracie did you have pain in your back as well as pain in your sternum and rib?

The only thing I can possibly think of where I could have injured myself is that the night before the pain started I laid against the edge of my hot tub (brick coping) for about 15 minutes putting pressure on the area that now hurts.  I thought that could be it as it started to get better mid week.  This weekend though it started right up again!  That feeling better then worse is what scares me so.

Dx 7/1/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 31, 2012 09:28PM leggo wrote:

Yes, my back hurt as well. I could barely lift my arms. Now that you mention that you were leaning on the brick coping on that area, it sounds perfectly reasonable to me that it would be sore now. Ribs are pretty sensitive, and a bruised one will hurt. I bet that's all it is, but still glad you're getting checked out. Good luck.

Dx IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 26/35 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 31, 2012 11:43PM HLB wrote:

I have hurt my ribs twice so far by leaning on the edge of the tub while cleaning it. It hurt bad and lasted at least a month! So hopefully its something like that.

Dx 10/2004, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 2/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 7/23/2012, IDC, Stage IVSurgery 10/30/2004 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 11/30/2004 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 01/02/2005 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 09/15/2005 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Hormonal Therapy 07/23/2012 Femara
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Aug 1, 2012 08:58AM samiam wrote:

Thanks I'm sure hoping it is just something like bruised ribs.  The waiting is just so hard.  My dr. appt. isn't until tomorrow then of course I'll have to wait for x-rays and scans ... and then wait for the results.

I appreciate all of your feedback.  Over the past 24 hrs. I've read from several folks (like Gracie) who were misdiagnosed.  I'm allmost hesitant to say to the doc I "leaned over the rounded pool edge" because I'm  afraid they'll just automatically say that that is it. 

To you folks who are knowlegable about costochondritis:  The worst pain is  below my right boob and directly in line with the nipple.  I have slight pain nearer the sternum and also farther to the side.  Is that too far away from my sternum for that to be a possibility?

Dx 7/1/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 10:11AM BikerLee wrote:

Mine spread over 3-4 ribs and was about 10-15 cm wide.... right below my mastectomy scar. Probably a bit bigger than a palm sized area under where my right boob used to be.

My pain was less near the sternum...

In my case, the doc was like, probably costochondritis but x-ray to be sure.  I sent him an email that Monday morning, and his nurse called me to let me know that he could see me that afternoon.  He took it very seriously...  His mantra seems to be reduce the uncertainty whenever possible.

I'm super glad you'll be seeing your doc.  I hope like crazy you get news similar to what mine was. I had the x-ray that afternoon, and I heard back from him the next morning. 

Pathologic Complete Response!

Dx 7/29/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Chemotherapy 08/26/2011 Adriamycin, carboplatin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 02/13/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left)
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Aug 1, 2012 10:24AM autism_mom wrote:

I have had costochondritis a few times. The last time it was dx wrong...turned out to be rib fractures. The time before that it was dx wrong...turned out to be lower lobe pneumonia. But both of those times felt just like costochondritis. I guess it all feels the same when you have inflammation in that area. Pain in the ribs..sternum..and for me the shoulder blade. Hoping you have some reason for your rib pain OTHER than mets. :)

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Aug 1, 2012 12:06PM leggo wrote:

Sam, not mentioning that you leaned on brick in that area sounds like a very good idea to me....too many doctors take the path of least resistance.  I remember my onc asking if I'd had any trauma in that area (I was in a car accident), but I still said no so he'd take a closer look. I tend to think he'd have written it off as that if I'd said yes. Say what you have to say to get it thoroughly checked out. Even though that's probably the case, you'll rest easier knowing it was looked at with some sort of imaging. Looking forward to hearing good news!

Dx IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 26/35 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 1, 2012 02:10PM samiam wrote:

Thanks and great advice!  I do want it checked out thoroughly.  It feels much better today (I was in great pain yesterday) and that scares me in that I've read mets pain comes and goes.  I would expect rib bruise/crack pain would be steady or slowly improving.   

I'm certainly hoping for the best ... and not trying to borrow trouble, I just want to be realistic.

Dx 7/1/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 1, 2012 02:51PM Frapp wrote:

When I went to my GP 2.5 years ago because by breast was changing, she ordered a mamogram.  About a week after that I started to get severe pain right about where my underwire hits, in the center.  I of course ignored it and figured I was bruised by the mamo machine, besides, I had bigger worries at the time.  Hurt like a son-of-a gun but the stage IV diagnosis threw me for a bigger loop.  Anyway, a year later I was having pain in another area and my onc ordered an xray that involved my chest (looking at lungs).  Turns out that rib had actually been broken as they saw the healed rib in the xray.  There is nothing that can be done for a broken rib, but you will want to know if you have progression so it can be treated.  I say, call the doc.

Dx 12/24/2009, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 12/19/2011, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-Dx 9/28/2012, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-Surgery 11/02/2012 Mastectomy (Both)Targeted Therapy 12/20/2012 AfinitorHormonal Therapy 12/20/2012 AromasinChemotherapy 02/20/2013 Taxol
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Aug 2, 2012 05:23PM samiam wrote:

Went to see the breast surgeon today.  I was hoping to get a scan or at least an x-ray ordered as the pain was very bad today.  He is so convinced that it is costochondritis that he didn't want me to have those at this time.  He gave me some heavy duty anti-imflammatories and told me to call back in two weeks if I was still having any pain and he would order an x-ray at that time.

Hopefully he is right on the costochondritis.  He diagnosed it based on the spots where I was tender.  He said that was definitely in the area where the cartilage connected to the bone.  He also thought it was unlikely to be mets that had progressed to a degree to cause this much pain when I had had  clean bone and CT scans less than 5 months ago.

Thanks for your help!!  You ladies have all educated me.  It seems  costochondritis is  common and likely but is also a common catch-all diagnosis when someone presents with rib pain.  I will accept his diagnosis but keep one eye open at all times!  If it is not better in two weeks, I'm going to be in asking for that scan. 

Dx 7/1/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 3, 2012 10:09AM barbe1958 wrote:

samiam, please, please keep posting here with your updates as a bunch of us are here for you, watching what develops. It's true that costo is a "blanket" diagnosis for any rib pain, but many of us have been told we have it. Maybe it's time we made them sharpen their definition a bit, kind of tighten the parameters....

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Aug 3, 2012 12:52PM leggo wrote:

Sam, very good advice you're giving yourself. If it doesn't get better, promise me you'll demand an x-ray, okay?

Dx IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 26/35 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 3, 2012 01:07PM kltb04 wrote:

samiam - I have something similar...I am in the middle of neoadjuvant chemo and a few weeks after I started treatment, I started noticing a discomfort/odd sensation in the ribs on my left (non cancer side).  I had had a clear PET at the time of dx but I was worried to death about it.  My MO ordered an xray that showed nothing a couple months ago.  Mine isn't really "pain" per se as much as just a uncomfortable feeling.  But in researching it, I have found TONS of people have the issue and more likely than not, it is "just" costochondritis. 

Keep us posted.

Dx 2/17/2012, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 02/27/2012 Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 03/19/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 06/11/2012 TaxotereTargeted Therapy 06/11/2012 HerceptinSurgery 10/01/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Radiation Therapy 11/13/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 11/18/2012 Tamoxifen
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Aug 3, 2012 09:15PM, edited Aug 3, 2012 09:17PM by samiam

I've got my fingers crossed that costochondritis is what it is but I am gonna follow up.  Because I had a very low grade and small tumor, my docs seem to always say ... Oh this won't happen with your type cancer.  They said that about lymph nodes and guess what?  I had a positive one.

Dx 7/1/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 4, 2012 11:10AM barbe1958 wrote:

That's too bad your doc puts you down like that. Mine is so great! She says "just for peace of mind let's do..." We need peace of mind!!! How much do you like your doc?

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Aug 4, 2012 12:26PM kltb04 wrote:

Mine does too barbe - that exact phrase.  In fact, she said that the worry that I was enduring was negative for my healing or some such. 

(((hugs))) samiam, hope you get some answers!

Dx 2/17/2012, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 02/27/2012 Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 03/19/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 06/11/2012 TaxotereTargeted Therapy 06/11/2012 HerceptinSurgery 10/01/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Radiation Therapy 11/13/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 11/18/2012 Tamoxifen
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Oct 14, 2012 11:35PM samiam wrote:

Just wanted to come back and update. It has been a little over two months since my rib pain began.  I was put on an anti-inflammatory for costochondritis. After a couple of weeks the pain began to lessen and continued to do so over a 4-5 week period.  By week 6-7 the pain was completely gone.  I visited my oncologist, who scheduled a scan for November.   He too believes it was costochondritis and I now do as well. I'm going to go ahead with the scan in November.

Dx 7/1/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 15, 2012 09:31AM barbe1958 wrote:

Thanks for the update, please keep us posted on your scan!

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Oct 16, 2012 09:08PM ShelMel wrote:

I'm always amazed at how I can come back to these boards and find exactly what I'm looking for.

samiam - I'm so glad that your rib pain issues were resolved and it wasn't anything more serious.

I've had sternum bone pain, that's getting progressively worse over the last 4 weeks. It hurts to move, lay on my side and now it's starting to hurt when I lift my arms up. Also, about 2 ribs (cancer side) started hurting this last week. The pain comes and goes. Sometimes it's gone, sometimes it's nagging, sometimes it's really sharp.  And lately, my skin on top of my sternum feels tender/senstive/irritated. Even the light brush of my shirt irritates my skin, but there's no rash or anything. Reminds me of being sunburned feeling.

I finally broke down and called my onc and have an appointment for Monday.

I just started having rectal bleeding (bright red) this past week, no constipation.

Got off of Tamoxifen about 2 1/2 months ago because it was killing me, joint pain and severe depression. Just had a total hysterectomy (mid August) and also had a neuropsycological test last week for this stupid "chemo brain" issues that I've been having since the chemo and rads. I'm supposed to get on ameridex this week, but I'm waiting until I see my onc next Monday.

So far, out of all the little aches and pains and weird things my body is doing since treatment, I've been able to stay positive that it's not cancer. Right now, though, I'm terrified - - and I hate it!!!

::::Life, Love, Hope, LIVE :::: mets to lungs, chest wall, sternum, liver, spleen, L5 spine

Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-Dx 10/30/2012, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-Surgery 09/27/2010 Lumpectomy (Right)Chemotherapy 12/02/2010 Cytoxan, TaxotereRadiation Therapy 03/10/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 05/01/2011 TamoxifenSurgery 08/24/2012 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Right)Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2012 ArimidexChemotherapy 01/04/2013 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, fluorouracilChemotherapy 05/15/2013 carboplatin, TaxolChemotherapy 07/16/2013 Halaven
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Oct 16, 2012 09:50PM barbe1958 wrote:

ShelMel, have you considered Lymphadema? When you get even the tiniest bit of fluid build-up, your skin becomes very sensitive. Please keep us posted on your tests!!! Don`t disappear on us, now....

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Oct 17, 2012 02:42PM ShelMel wrote:

Hi barbe1958. Yup, have thought about lymphadema. Even talked to my dr. about it. If I do, I think it's truncal type (is that how you say it?). No swelling, but my shoulder, under my arm, my shoulder blades have a heavy weird feeling and ache. That's been since my lumpectomy. It's not debilitating so I haven't pursued that very much.

I am praying that the sternum/rib pain is lymphedema.

I just hate worrying over every little ache and pain. I've been pretty good about listening to my body and recognizing that not everything leads back to cancer. But the new issues with the bone pain and now the rectal bleeding, have me scared.

I'll stay in touch and let you guys know what happens after I talk to my dr. on Monday.

Thanks barbe. :)

::::Life, Love, Hope, LIVE :::: mets to lungs, chest wall, sternum, liver, spleen, L5 spine

Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-Dx 10/30/2012, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-Surgery 09/27/2010 Lumpectomy (Right)Chemotherapy 12/02/2010 Cytoxan, TaxotereRadiation Therapy 03/10/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 05/01/2011 TamoxifenSurgery 08/24/2012 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Right)Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2012 ArimidexChemotherapy 01/04/2013 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, fluorouracilChemotherapy 05/15/2013 carboplatin, TaxolChemotherapy 07/16/2013 Halaven
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Oct 18, 2012 08:42AM barbe1958 wrote:

ShelMel, I have truncal LE which is why I mentioned it. It`s funny, I`ve been off work for just over a year. Everything that has happened since has had NO bearing on cancer! I`ve had my entire thyroid taken out, I`ve had a pacemaker put in and now I`m waiting to see a back surgeon. So even though something doesn`t turn out to be cancer, it can still need attention, so keep monitoring your body. We learn it so well that we know when something else is wrong!

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Oct 22, 2012 07:25PM ShelMel wrote:

My goodness, barbe! You've been through the wringer! None of your issues were due to the cancer or treatments? I hope you get your back fixed without too much trouble. And I pray that you have no more health issues! :)

Visited my onc today. We discussed truncle LE and radiation pain. He doesn't think it's either. He said he's concerned. NOT what I wanted to hear. I told him, "Ahhh, wrong answer! You're supposed to say, 'It's all in your head, you're fine, go home!'"

So, he's scheduled me for a CT and bone scan (same day) on Friday. **ppffftttt** I'm staying focused on it being radiation pain or truncal LE though. I refuse to let myself think about it being anything worse.

I'll keep you guys posted. Thank you so much for listening to me. :)

::::Life, Love, Hope, LIVE :::: mets to lungs, chest wall, sternum, liver, spleen, L5 spine

Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-Dx 10/30/2012, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-Surgery 09/27/2010 Lumpectomy (Right)Chemotherapy 12/02/2010 Cytoxan, TaxotereRadiation Therapy 03/10/2011 ExternalHormonal Therapy 05/01/2011 TamoxifenSurgery 08/24/2012 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Right)Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2012 ArimidexChemotherapy 01/04/2013 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, fluorouracilChemotherapy 05/15/2013 carboplatin, TaxolChemotherapy 07/16/2013 Halaven
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Oct 23, 2012 10:36AM barbe1958 wrote:

That SUX ShelMel!! But at least he is taking you seriously. PLEASE keep us posted as you will be in my prayers!!

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008
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Oct 23, 2012 10:38AM barbe1958 wrote:

Meant to ask, who is looking at the rectal bleeding for you? Did you mention it to your Onc?

Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who have already been there. (Lakota Nation)

Dx 12/10/2008

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