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Topic: Living with a Stage IIIC diagnosis

Forum: Stage III Breast Cancer — You are not alone. Meet others who have Stage III breast cancer.

Posted on: Mar 17, 2010 08:00AM, edited Apr 2, 2010 06:06PM by pupfoster1

pupfoster1 wrote:

So, I had my bubble burst once again last night.  I was at my monthly BC support meeting and the moderator brought some new slide rule type things that have the most current guidlines on staging BC.  I had thought I was Stage IIIA, well I am actually Stage IIIC.  Maybe I'm quiveling (sp??) about the letters, but I had ALMOST come to terms with IIIA---and now seeing I'm really a IIIC makes me dwell even more on the possiblity of Stage IV being so close.  

I haven't seen that many ladies here with a Stage IIIC diagnosis.  If you feel comfortable sharing I was wondering what you have been told about your long term prognosis.  I am reaching the end of chemo (one more Taxol on the 23rd) and will have a short "break" until radiation.  I'm seeing my onco on April 1 whom I know will give me more information on my plan, but I'm wondering from a personal standpoint how do you deal with your dx and how did you come to terms with it??

As someone once said "Can someone stop this ride now?  I want to get off!"

Thanks for listening,

Sharon

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Mar 17, 2010 08:13AM Shanagirl wrote:

Sharon, go to the part of this website that talks about stages and diagnoses at breast cancer.org.  It is very informativehttp://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/diagnosis/staging.jsp

When I first had BC I was originally told I was 2B and wouldn't need Rads.  Poof, then all of a sudden they change it to 3a with Rads.  It's very upsetting I know.  I hope you feel better as the day goes on.  I'm leaving now to see my onc for Zometa infusion.

Shanagirl

Dx 1/13/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy Aromasin
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Mar 17, 2010 08:13AM AnacortesGirl wrote:

What information did you get that changed it from 3a to 3c?

Christy - BRCA2+; mets to bones and liver, Taxol/Sutent -> AC, BMX - no recon, Rads, Carboplatin, BSO, Veliparib trial (8/30/13-3/13/14)

Dx 7/21/2009, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 14/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 9/9/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2-Hormonal Therapy 09/01/2010 AromasinHormonal Therapy 02/01/2011 TamoxifenHormonal Therapy 09/09/2012 FemaraChemotherapy 03/29/2013 XelodaHormonal Therapy 08/16/2013 FaslodexChemotherapy 03/20/2014 carboplatin
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Mar 17, 2010 08:28AM Shanagirl wrote:

HomeSymptoms & DiagnosisYour Diagnosis → Stages of Breast Cancer

Stages of Breast Cancer

Page last modified on: January 21, 2010 Tweet this link on Twitter Share this link on Facebook



 

Cancer stage is based on the size of the tumor, whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive, whether lymph nodes are involved, and whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast.

The purpose of the staging system is to help organize the different factors and some of the personality features of the cancer into categories, in order to:

  • best understand your prognosis (the most likely outcome of the disease)
  • guide treatment decisions (together with other parts of your pathology report), since clinical studies of breast cancer treatments that you and your doctor will consider are partly organized by the staging system
  • provide a common way to describe the extent of breast cancer for doctors and nurses all over the world, so that results of your treatment can be compared and understood

Stage 0

Stage 0 is used to describe non-invasive breast cancers, such as DCIS and LCIS. In stage 0, there is no evidence of cancer cells or non-cancerous abnormal cells breaking out of the part of the breast in which they started, or of getting through to or invading neighboring normal tissue.

Stage I

Stage I describes invasive breast cancer (cancer cells are breaking through to or invading neighboring normal tissue) in which:

  • the tumor measures up to 2 centimeters, AND
  • no lymph nodes are involved

Stage II

Stage II is divided into subcategories known as IIA and IIB.

Stage IIA describes invasive breast cancer in which:

  • no tumor can be found in the breast, but cancer cells are found in the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm), OR
  • the tumor measures 2 centimeters or less and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, OR
  • the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes

Stage IIB describes invasive breast cancer in which:

  • the tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, OR
  • the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes

Stage III

Stage III is divided into subcategories known as IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC.

Stage IIIA describes invasive breast cancer in which either:

  • no tumor is found in the breast. Cancer is found in axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone, OR
  • the tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures, OR
  • the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures

Stage IIIB describes invasive breast cancer in which:

  • the tumor may be any size and has spread to the chest wall and/or skin of the breast AND
  • may have spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone
  • Inflammatory breast cancer is considered at least stage IIIB.

Stage IIIC describes invasive breast cancer in which:

  • there may be no sign of cancer in the breast or, if there is a tumor, it may be any size and may have spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast, AND
  • the cancer has spread to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone, AND
  • the cancer may have spread to axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone

Stage IV

Stage IV describes invasive breast cancer in which:

  • the cancer has spread to other organs of the body -- usually the lungs, liver, bone, or brain

"Metastatic at presentation" means that the breast cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes, even though this is the first diagnosis of breast cancer. The reason for this is that the primary breast cancer was not found when it was only inside the breast. Metastatic cancer is considered stage IV.

Additional staging information

You may also hear terms such as "early" or "earlier" stage, "later," or "advanced" stage breast cancer. Although these terms are not medically precise (they may be used differently by different doctors), here is a general idea of how they apply to the official staging system:

Early stage

  • Stage 0
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Some stage III 

Later or advanced stage

  • Other stage III
  • Stage IV

Doctors use a staging system to determine how far a cancer has spread. The most common system is the TNM staging system. You may hear the cancer described by three characteristics:

  • size (T stands for tumor)
  • lymph node involvement (N stands for node)
  • whether it has metastasized (M stands for metastasis)

The T (size) category describes the original (primary) tumor:

  • TX means the tumor can't be measured or found.
  • T0 means there isn't any evidence of the primary tumor.
  • Tis means the cancer is "in situ" (the tumor has not started growing into the breast tissue).
  • The numbers T1-T4 describe the size and/or how much the cancer has grown into the breast tissue. The higher the T number, the larger the tumor and/or the more it may have grown into the breast tissue.

The N (node involvement) category describes whether or not the cancer has reached nearby lymph nodes:

  • NX means the nearby lymph nodes can't be measured or found.
  • N0 means nearby lymph nodes do not contain cancer.
  • The numbers N1-N3 describe the size, location, and/or the number of lymph nodes involved. The higher the N number, the more the lymph nodes are involved.

The M (metastasis) category tells whether there are distant metastases (whether the cancer has spread to other parts of body):

  • MX means metastasis can't be measured or found.
  • M0 means there are no distant metastases.
  • M1 means that distant metastases were found.

Once the pathologist knows your T, N, and M characteristics, they are combined in a process called stage grouping, and an overall stage is assigned.

For example, a T1, N0, M0 breast cancer would mean that the primary breast tumor:

  • is less than 2 centimeters across (T1)
  • does not have lymph node involvement (N0)
  • has not spread to distant parts of the body (M0)

This cancer would be grouped as a stage I cancer.

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Shanagirl

Dx 1/13/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy Aromasin
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Mar 17, 2010 08:30AM KerryMac wrote:

My way of thinking is this - your cancer doesn't know what stage it is. It is what it is. You are doing everything you possibly can to avoid a recurrence. It might not work (which is why it is not a cure) but more people than not make it.

You have to make peace with that, then try your best move to on with your life. If things change in the future, you will deal with it then.

Kerry - Dx Oct 2008, Stage IIIa IDC, ER/PR+ Mx, Chemo, Rads, Ooph, Arimidex, Zometa

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Mar 17, 2010 09:04AM pip57 wrote:

Sharon, I shared your shock and dismay with my own dx.  I started out stage 0.  Biopsy suggested stage I.  Surgery jumped me right into stage III.  Although I am consider a 'b', I was only one lymph node away from being a 'c'.  Try to remember that it is just another arbitrary number.

PIP - multi focal, FEC100/Tax, rads, dble mast with no recon, ooph/hyst, arimidex

Dx 2/1/2007, IDC, Stage IIIb, Grade 2, 9/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 09:10AM amlg1 wrote:

I do know how you feel,I thought I was stage 111A,until I spoke with my rad onco,and she said yur 111c,I felt the same way you did.You know I nerver asked about a prognosis,because I feel I want to deal with this now I don't want to think about later.Everytime I went to the Dr. I felt my diagnosis is getting worse.I still am freaked out by this,because I never had a darn thing wrong with me.I am dealing a little better,since it's almost a year.

I was thinking of going to a support group,but I don't know if that will add more stress.What do you think?

Anna.7/22/11 mets to spinal fluid.7/1/2011 now met to brain:( Stage IV

Dx 4/22/2009, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 31/34 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 17, 2010 09:14AM pip57 wrote:

This is my support group.

PIP - multi focal, FEC100/Tax, rads, dble mast with no recon, ooph/hyst, arimidex

Dx 2/1/2007, IDC, Stage IIIb, Grade 2, 9/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 09:33AM gogo_xago wrote:

just wondering... how can we know if the cancerous lymph nodes are clumped together or sticking to other structures? My mom's "biopsy results" says that she had 6 positive nodes but doesn't describe if they were clumped...

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Mar 17, 2010 09:41AM apple wrote:

i'm definitely IIIC (they would have staged it IV years ago).

I've had a difficult couple years but have had 2 NED scans since my extensive treatment has ended.  Not knowing that it will stay away forever is mind boggling.   I will always always face the challenges of scanxieties and unsureties.  I really feel confident tho that even if it resurfaces, that it will be treatable.  I am so closely monitored. 

It's just different.  I will continue to work hard, be happy and live my life till it is done.. I always think as I'm driving down the street that I could be involved in a fatal wreck at any moment.. an airplane could fall out of the sky.  Somehow this comforts me.. knowing that I don't see an end from this cancer. 

peace and love, apple - ..... Mary Magdalen

Dx 4/10/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2+
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Mar 17, 2010 09:57AM, edited Mar 17, 2010 09:59AM by victoriasecret

Hi  pup !!...well..I am a stg 3C....Just hearing 3 sent me for a loop in fact my BS as soon as she felt my lump said 2 maybe 3 that sent me into a tither...so when the diagnosis came down well can't go back ...I look to other stage 3 AB or C sisters for support ...because in the end we are all fighting regardless of our stage...Someone once posted it is just a matter of diagnostic staging ie. Tumor size nodes etc. My husband said "Cancer does not say OH U Stg 3 C your next !!!"

I bet if you checked with the girls with ...lesser stages ...they  too live in fear .

My sister was Stg 1 and every year hated that check up she is just now relaxing ...but can you ever ??? breast cancer is breast cancer...I look to the girls here that are long term 3C survivors...they are here just look.

much Love

C

Dx 6/15/2009, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 11/25 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-Surgery 07/31/2009 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal (Left); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Right)Chemotherapy 08/31/2009 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolRadiation Therapy 01/01/2010 External
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Mar 17, 2010 10:50AM Leah_S wrote:

Well, I know how you feel. When I was first diagnosed we thought Stage I because there seemed to be no lymph node involvement. Path after surgery showed 6 nodes, tumor 1.6 cm (plus a separate area of DCIS, .8cm). According to this site, that makes me Stage IIB. According to the ACS it makes me stage IIIA. I did not ask my onc how he stages me since I did not want to know. I call myself Stage II since I like the stats better but I have to admit I "connect" with the Stage III forum better. Chemo was not a gray area, rads was not a gray area, tamox and then switch to an AI is not a gray area. My treatment, my feelings, my fears are here.

The stats really don't matter - if you end up Stage IV, your risk was 100%, if you never do, your risk was 0%.

It is what it is.

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 11:04AM Ihopeg wrote:

Sharon,

 I thought I was stage II, until I got the horrifying call after my surgery. The path report showed 17/18 nodes positive and the surgeon said stage 3A. Then  when I was at an appt with the Onc, I got a copy of the path report that had additional info like 19/20 nodes positive and Stage 3C. I thought it was kind of sneaky, the way no one said anything. The onc said she would only tell me things if I really wanted to know the answer.

I used to think about recurrence 24/7, but now it is a little less.

I agree with Leah...................It is what it is..............

I

Dx 11/10/2006, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 20/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 11:15AM Pure wrote:

If you go to the stage forum and look at those girls stats I don't see a ton of stage 3c's/ I see stage 1, 2, and 3.  To me I see so mnay people reoccure at less a stage.

There is stace 3c triple neg and stage 3 with er pos. There is your general health, your age, your ability to go thorugh all of your treatment, etc. So stage is one thing but these are also factors that play a bigger role in your diagnosis.

If we were diagnosed 3 years ago we would be stage 3a.

Remember 3 is just a number-you are not a number. Cancer is cancer and you HAD it-now your cancer free so consider yourself no stage right now!

Dx 8/8/2009, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 12:10PM Beverly11 wrote:

 I struggle with the staging thing.  I SO BADLY wanted to be stage 2.  I have actually debated with various medical people because according to some books I am.  But, because of the number of lymph nodes positive (6), I am 3A.  We have said this before - stage 3ers get the works for treatment.  I too chant in my head - "It is what it is, it is only a number"  I journal all of the things I have done and am continuing to do to fight the beast.  I have quite a line of defense for the beast to get through.

Pure - Well said

Kerry - You are always so uplifting.  You could be a counsellor.  

Dx 11/28/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 04:04PM pupfoster1 wrote:

Ladies,

Once again I say a huge THANK YOU!  I surely needed your guidance and inspiration today.  Your perspectives definitely have helped cheer me up.  I had gotten myself pretty upset by this (and my poor husband) and I realize it's just ANOTHER step in the process.  You would think after being on this ride for a while one would get used to all the ups and downs, but it still sneeks up on me sometimes.  Just when I thought I had my head around it all.

Feeling a bit better now, thanks to you all!

Love,

Sharon

Sharon

Dx 9/17/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 13/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 17, 2010 04:22PM Melinda41 wrote:

I can relate to you Sharon. My surgeon thought I would be a IIa or IIb. After mastectomy, I found out I was a IIIa. After PET scan, I became a IIIc. My feeling is "stop looking or the numbers will go up again!".

I didn't even know there was a IIIc until I became one. I have a subpectoral lymph node that knocked me up a notch.

My oncologist still says he is shooting for "cure" not just managing. I guess that is optimistic. But I am also 41 years old and figure this is going to come back again at some point should I have another 40 years left. I am still doing chemo and my blasted lymph node still glows on scans.

But, I also believe that due to the advanced stage III, they are throwing the kitchen sink at me. There is no questions of should we do this or that, we are doing everything on the menu. Plus, I am fortunate to be participating in a study that will moniter me for the next ten years. I like having another set of eyes on me.

I just noticed we were diagnosed 5 days apart. It takes some time to wrap our brains around all this doesn't it. I tend to accept things in chunks. Then I take a break. Then I accept something else.

http://melinda-musing.blogspot.com/

Dx 9/22/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 9/19 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 18, 2010 05:14AM bambers88 wrote:

As the title says, we're LIVING with stage IIIC. If I can say (type) those words tomorrow, that means that today is a pretty good day..

I'm pretty sure I fit somewhere in here, I'm told I have a unique set of circumstances. After my first pet scan, my original diagnosis was stage IV. 5.8cm tumor. The 7 rounds of neoadjuvant TAC gave me lots of time to think/ research.. It also gave me a complete clinical response. At the time, I was so completely in the dark about the implications of a stage IV diagnosis. After my second pet scan, everyone was definitely excited.. It was clear. After my third pet scan came back with a CCR, my onc says, and this is verbatim, "maybe not even any surgery", I clung to that like a booger. It was almost a relief, in a sick sort of way, to be stage IV because I had a perfectly reasonable excuse for not having surgery ( I am absolutely 100% anti surgery), not to mention no cancer evident. Well it wasn't long before the surgeon chewed the ass of the onc for saying what he said without thinking, obviously there is no money in that route, but I believe he blurted out his honest reaction. Then suddenly without warning I became their 'problem patient' because I was asking questions and was not going to be railroaded. If I was looking at less than 5 years, I was not going to spend them traumatized from surgery. I had just turned 40.

18 months later, enter double edged sword.

My new onc has all of her own tests done on me.. another MRI, PET, X rays. Then she proceeds to tell me that what they had assumed was a lesion on the rib (hence the stage IV), has not been seen since, and that I did not have mets to the bone and was not a IV, but a IIIC. Good to know after 18 months!!! Surgery is next Wed. It's been so long now that I've pretty much guaranteed myself mets down the road. Surgery will not change that. My onc even told the surgeon not to remove the lymph nodes even though it was there, it'll just cause probs for me down the road. That to me right there says she's probably thinking the same thing about it being too late too.

Had I been given the correct dx the first time, it would have been done by now and I may have had a chance. It would seem being upgraded would be a good thing, just a little too late.. UUgg

Dx 10/13/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 18, 2010 08:06AM pupfoster1 wrote:

Crap Bambers.  Boy do I relate to how you feel.  I've been second guessing many of my decisions lately myself.  After I got my initial biopsy we (General Surgeon/BC Surgeon) thought the primary tumor was around 3cm.  Although GS recommended chemo first that idea flipped me out and the BC surgeon actually said "no, let's do surgery first then see if you need chemo later".  So I chose that option and had to wait 7 weeks for surgery (went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore).  So, then imagine my surprise when they took the sucker out and it was 6.5 cm AND I had 13/15 nodes involved!  I keep saying to myself, well maybe the GS was right and if I had done the chemo first there might have not been any node involvement and or the tumor might not have gotten so big!!!  It can all drive you crazy can't it?  But I'm TRYING not to dwell on the past.  I KNOW I can't change what's happened, so we have to move forward, yes?

And yes I agree with what you said, it is LIVING we have to embrace now. 

Thanks again ladies,

Sharon

Sharon

Dx 9/17/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 13/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 18, 2010 08:43AM kimf wrote:

I'm a 5 year survivor of stage IIIc and proud of it! I was originally told stage II prior to MRI pre-mast...then after mast and 15+ nodes, I was staged IIIC. I never asked about my prognosis. I just searched for the Onc who said she could save my life and have stuck with her ever since. I travel 3 hours each way for every appt and every test. During tx, that was pretty hard...but we do what we do. I still to this day don't know what the official book would have said my survival rate was, but I am my own statistic and never believed in lumping a bunch of women of all different ages and physical conditions into one stat. I was also dx'd with thyroid cancer after breast and am NED on both. Having the right doctors and treatment is what allows for survival of this horrid disease. Focus on living as best you can, its a much better ride than worrying about recurrence or mets. Do your tx as expected and just live!

Best wishes!

Kimf

Dx 12/16/2004, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 15/23 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 18, 2010 10:16AM blondie45 wrote:

kimf - thanks for still being here and encouraging us. Did you have herceptin? If so, for how many treatments?

Dx 4/14/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 6/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 18, 2010 12:07PM lkc wrote:

Hey Sharon,

I am writing this form a tiny library ( that has internet access) overlooking the turquois Caribbean

as I am here for the annual BC Ride for Hope!

Briefly , let me tell you my story.

Dxed  with Stage IIIC 12 pos nodes, er/pr negative, HER2 pos, in my ducts lobes, nipple.

oh yeah and no clean margins AFTER my mastectomy ( had a biospy, then part. mast THEN Mast) Super aggressive tumor, lots of head shaking, blah , blah blah.

and I am here and doing great! NED!!!

 Please remember staging is for tx purposes, and with a stage III we get the big guns!

I did 8 rounds of chemo, 35 rads, ( 4 fields) and herceptin. Also, did a prophl. on my lumpy other breast, and a bialteral recon. I am fune now.

There are lots of women out there that are busy living their lives.

You will be ok. come her often for accurate info, and great support.

Got to go now.

God Bless!

Linda

Linda K dx'd May 05 Stage IIIC erpr-, her pos, 12 pos nodes

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Mar 19, 2010 06:39PM Flamin_nora wrote:

big thanks to lkc and kimf and the others ---for sticking around 5+ yrs and continuing to give the rest of us encouragement and hope----you ladies have made my day!

Dx 1/29/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 13/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 19, 2010 07:41PM, edited Mar 19, 2010 09:49PM by weesa

pupfoster1, I know I am speaking to you from the relative safety of stage 111A--but I want to point out to you anyway, that Grade 2 is GOOD and relatively rare for a stage 111er. and er+, pr+ HER2 negative is GOOD, these are favorable prognostic signs. Look below at the date of my diagnosis.

Sometimes I wonder if I am an old soul temporarily trapped in a breast cancer body.

Dx 11/22/2002, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 5/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery Lumpectomy (Right); Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Latissimus Dorsi flap (Right)Chemotherapy 01/20/2003 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxotereRadiation Therapy 06/14/2003 ExternalHormonal Therapy 08/23/2003 Femara
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Mar 19, 2010 08:25PM, edited Mar 19, 2010 08:26PM by ratbait

I completely understand your feelings.  I was despondant when first diagnosed, and got absolutely no comfort from all of the DCIS ladies at the cancer center.  But then, I met Jo Ann, a 14 year survivor of stage IIIC cancer.  Jo Ann gave me hope.

 Later, I met a twenty year survivor of Stage IV BC.  She had extensive mets to the lungs, and is now NED.

 But I have met people who were diagnosed with Stage 0 or 1 cancers who have recurred and are now stage IV.  It is all a crap shoot.  You just never know.  What you can do, through aggressive  treatment, is increase the chances that you will be one of the longer term survivors of later stage cancer.

 After all. it has to be someone.  Why not you? 

Stage III, ER/PR+, Her2-

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Mar 19, 2010 08:45PM Shanagirl wrote:

Sharon,  ratbait is right.  It's all about the treatment.  I saw my onc yesterday for my 3 month check up.  I thought I was going to have zometa, but he said not until the 6 month.  I told him was worried about a recurrance and he told me I "worry too much".  I talked to him about the pain I have and was afraid it's bone mets.  I think I exhasperate him.  He told me my bone pain is due to the Arimidex not bone mets but if I want him to do a scan he will do one but does not recommend one and would prefer not to. I said "well I was worried about mets to the bone and he said "Look you had the whole kitchen sink thrown at you with chemo. there is no bone mets. You worry too much."  So I guess I will have to trust him.  I did have the AC & T and zometa, and rads and the surgery, so I'm going to have to view the fact that I'm getting good treatment and hope for long term NED.

That's what this is all about I guess.  Trusting that your stage III won't progress further because of the kick ass treatment we're getting.

Shanagirl

Dx 1/13/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 1, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolHormonal Therapy Aromasin
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Mar 20, 2010 06:10AM, edited Mar 20, 2010 06:13AM by YATCOMW

 

 

 Sharon......

I have cut and pasted an old post of mine from last year......Stage IIIC is daunting for sure but.....in two months I need to change the post to 6 years Stage 3C.

Ignore the stats.  Hope this brings hope.

 

5 years Stage 3C 

I actually prayed for this day......to be able to get on the computer and jump into the discussion boards and scream.......there is hope for stage 3---even more for stage 3C!

 After having a clean mammogram in 2002 and a clean bill of health from my ob/gyn each year after a breast exam I found a lump myself.  I had a mammogram and sonogram which both said I was cancer free.  I insisted that a surgeon do a biopsy---- he wasn't thrilled that I was questioning his assessment.  The next day on May 26 2004 my husband came through the front door and told me that this same surgeon told him I had cancer.

The tumor was huge....my entire breast.....I was told it was in 11 nodes...but as each hospital....MSK and Md Anderson reviewed my tumor the prognosis got worse......no...it was 17 nodes....and no clean margins......and now had vascular invasion......and was in my skin.....and was grade 3......It was very surreal as I felt so good and there was no cancer in my family.  You know how they say God only gives you what you can handle.....I figured he gave it to me in pieces because I don't think I could have handled all that bad news at once (smile).

I went from doctor to doctor with several literally crying in front of me as I mentioned how young my children were.....the lack of hope was everywhere.  I remember coming to several cancer discussion boards trying to find hope....someone that had it as bad as I did.....couldn't find any that were far out with a stage 3 diagnosis---let alone stage 3C.

So for all of those that are beginning this journey let me give the hope.....hope that you can win.....hope that you can plan for the future......hope that you will see your children leave elementary....and go to middle school.....and then off to high school.  I take my oldest to college this summer....the same college I went to.....so thrilled to see that!

Yes.... it is tough in the beginning.  I read so many medical journals that put me in a tailspin....but I am here to tell you it gets better.....there are days and even weeks that I don't think about cancer....there will be a time when cancer is not all consuming.

Allow yourself to have hope.....allow yourself to be on the positive side of the stats.....allow yourself the opportunity to believe that prayers are answered.

 

Jacqueline


Dx 5/2004, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 17/24 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 20, 2010 06:36AM KerryMac wrote:

Jacqueline, thanks for reposting that. Gives me the shivers!

There are some stories you can never hear enough times.

Kerry - Dx Oct 2008, Stage IIIa IDC, ER/PR+ Mx, Chemo, Rads, Ooph, Arimidex, Zometa

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Mar 20, 2010 06:57AM Pure wrote:

You can always count on Jacqueline:) She always has the "perfect words"

Dx 8/8/2009, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 20, 2010 06:59AM Pure wrote:

Also remember the difference between 3a and 3 c stats wise is probably 10 people. Meaning if  70 out of 100 people beat stage 3 a around 60 beat it with 3c. That doesn't include zometa, aspirin, and exercise. Also, staging is for treatment reasons only it's how we respond to treatment that matters.

Dx 8/8/2009, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 20, 2010 09:37AM AnacortesGirl wrote:

Jacqueline -

That is a beautiful post.  Thank you!

Oh yes -- I remember being so healthy, so much energy.  Worked my butt off for 3 days the weekend before my dx on a work party to build a deck for our employees recreational building.  Then the world fell apart.  But the pieces are coming back together.

I really appreciate this topic right now.  Since I went the neoadjuvant route I didn't have the immediate surgery that would have told me how many lymph nodes and whether the sunburned look on my breast was skin involvment or just a reaction to the cancer.  Well the surgery is about a month away and, after taking to the surgeon last week, all this is bubbling back up to the surface for me.  So it's a good reminder to leave it alone.  It doesn't matter.  I've been getting the treatment I need and I'm going to have a long relationship with NED. 

Christy - BRCA2+; mets to bones and liver, Taxol/Sutent -> AC, BMX - no recon, Rads, Carboplatin, BSO, Veliparib trial (8/30/13-3/13/14)

Dx 7/21/2009, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 14/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 9/9/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2-Hormonal Therapy 09/01/2010 AromasinHormonal Therapy 02/01/2011 TamoxifenHormonal Therapy 09/09/2012 FemaraChemotherapy 03/29/2013 XelodaHormonal Therapy 08/16/2013 FaslodexChemotherapy 03/20/2014 carboplatin

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