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MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN 40-60ish

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  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    I TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT STRESS. I worked in construction for over 25 years - extremely stressful.

    I think the reason I'm doing as well as I am now is because I QUIT as soon as I was dx'd.

    I feel for women who still have to work to keep their insurance after they've been dx'd at any stage. Just battling cancer is stressful enuf without having to deal with temperamental bosses and nasty coworkers.


  • nativemainer
    nativemainer Member Posts: 7,850
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    El--LOL!Interesting study. Not sure what it means, if anything. Going to continue my coffee and tea drinking anyway. As well as my evening glass of wine!

    Lita--well said!

    Diana--another example of how these studies really can't prove causation.

    Ndgrrl--great, the stress of having been diagnosed with bc, the stress associated with treatment are setting us up for recurrence or a second cancer.If stress were truly causative there would be a much higher incidence of recurrence. Not that stress reduction is bad, but I'm not buying this one either.

  • klt5817
    klt5817 Member Posts: 32
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    Ladies,  great discussion about what causes BC!  I say it's a crap shoot.  Yes, there are things to do to reduce our risk but that should not but a strain on our life or reduce QOL.  In the end, just being a women is a HUGH risk.  I was recently dx at 51 & my 23 yrs old daughter told me I'm one of the healthiest and most organized person she knows.  Most of us are quite healthy when we were dx. 

    Lita, I love your quote " I've been dragged into an "arranged" marriage that I vociferously did not agree to...but divorce is completely off the table now that I'm married to Mr. Cancer. It's literally until death do us part."  Can I use it for my Holiday Greeting card, lol?Bawling

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    Lita57, No, no, it's not putting tea on the bad list...just that the bio substances in tea are creating change at the genetic level, and in the genes that are associated with estrogen and with cancer. It MAY be that the influence is a positive one. They don't have it figured out yet. I'm saying if tea does turn out to have a positive influence, I would be one of the last people you could prove that by.

    Now, as for stress actually causing cancer...personally, I do think there is something to that. Extremely difficult to prove that scientifically however. The timing on both my BC and my CRC can really date back to the time frame of when I lost a parent, so it does make me wonder about that kind of stress having an effect.

    Stress might even be a greater factor as we age. Think about it. Are you as good at dealing with stress now as when you were a 30-something? I know I am worse at it now. I'm sure there are many biological factors as to why that is, but IF stress is even one of the causes for any of our physical ills, I feel I am less likely to be able to avoid the effects of it now. That is just my unproven hunch/gut feeling about it.

    Regardless, it never hurts to try and diminish the stress.

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    I am 53, diagnosed March 2017, had lumpectomy and still waiting for treatments to begin.

    Just this morning I asked Hub what he thinks of this, of me having breast cancer. He paused for a moment and said he never, ever, for one second, considered a life in which he might grow old without me. So now that this has happened he spends his energy NOT thinking about it. He is trying as hard as he can to pretend this isn't happening.

    When first diagnosed it was like I got hit in the head and was a little senseless, dazed. Nothing felt real, this isn't real. The fog will clear and life will be normal and I will not be trying to decide to lose my whole boob or just part of my boob. I will not be going to the hospital to have wire guides jabbed in me. I will not be sitting, braless and robed, with a room full of other solemn looking women as we all wait our turn in the mammo machine, silent and all having similar thoughts. I keep waiting for this weighted curtain that fell on my life to lift. It isn't.

    I am struggling with living. I realize that makes no sense. I am struggling with starting anything or planning anything because I am afraid that I will pop off part way through and leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

    I am fortunate to not work outside the home so I have no job to worry about missing. But I do suddenly feel the drudgery of being a housewife (and gardener and farmer and landscaper and you all know what I mean!) has to end. I am torn between feeling lucky that I have 'nothing else to do' and a massive life failure because I have 'nothing else to do'. AGH! The existential angst is crushing me!

    Adult daughter rolls her eyes and tells me not to walk around like I'm dying. Not sure what that means. I do everything I always did, even though I feel like laying down in the road and not moving. I push. I perform. And the TRUTH is that I may yet grow old with Hub. Or I might indeed by dying. It could go either way!

    It would seem that finding out I have cancer has made me extraordinarily stupid because I don't know what to do, what to think, how to feel ..... I feel like a blind person groping my way through unfamiliar and dangerous territory.

    I have read so much on this site before ever becoming a member. I now feel going into chemo I will have a basic knowledge of what I'm facing and why. But the bigger why, why did this happen? Good question, eh?

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    runor, welcome! I can relate to your existential crisis, and most of what you wrote in your post. When I first heard my Dx, I swear the air got sucked out of the room and I lost my hearing for about three sentences due to the vacuum. In my mind existed a future where I outlived my husband (based purely on statistics) but the BC made me rethink that. Because I was early stage and had a good prognosis, my whole Dx was only a small blip on the radar in the male-populated world of my home. That was some years ago, so let me fast forward to now and tell you that in reality BC took up about a year of my life-- which I resented wholeheartedly--during which time I had a high school senior and tried real hard not to miss that milestone year. My message to you is YOU WILL DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. We all do. We all did. It sounds like a cliche, but it is no less true. I did experience one big difference from what you mentioned...that is after I went through what I did, learning all the way, I felt pretty SMART. I felt like I had gotten a freakin' degree in BC, my own BC anyway. (Later, I went on to an "advanced degree" with another different kind of cancer. Amazingly, I think I did as well with that because of all the BC groundwork I had done.) My body was kind of a traitor to me, growing those nasty cells; but I gained a lot of new trust in my brain and my decision making ability.

    You are still reeling from your Dx being so new. That is totally normal, btw. Dealing with BC is not only a physical challenge, but I think it is mental one also, possibly to a greater degree. Having an online community like this one can be a gigantic help in getting through it emotionally. For me, just the thought that there were so many women here going thru' the same as me and willing to share & help was really awesome. I hope you will find that fact comforting also. Let us know if we can help with info. or support (and here we throw the humor in for free.)

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    klt5817, go ahead and us my quote...just change the words around a bit to personalize it and make it your own.

    Yes, elimar, don't we ALL feel like our bodies have "betrayed" us? I remember saying that to my DH. My body has committed TREASON!

    Where's the firing squad?

    Oh....I forgot....I'm Stage IV right from the gate. So my body will execute itself.


  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    Lita57, We are all hoping for call from the Governor (Mr. CURE!) to stay the many executions. And forgive my dark humor that asks if the BC is the firing squad, is the treatment the lethal injection?

  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Cancer has been a crazy learning experience. Some people that you loved and cared for the most become strangers and some strangers seem to care the most. You not only become a prisoner of your body but of your mind as well. Even when surrounded by loved ones you still feel alone. It is definitely a burden. All we can do is try our best to enjoy the moments we feel well enough to do so and of course self medicate when needed.

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    Not sure, Elimar. That's kind of an existential question.

    My body's cells created the cancer...that's the treason.

    Firing squad is the chemo, but we all know it doesn't work in the long run for St 4 as cancer mutates with time.

    So lethal injection may be the only way to go 😄.


  • ndgrrl
    ndgrrl Member Posts: 645
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    I remember when I was DX- I had previously lost my older sister , my grandfather my mother and a baby niece to cancer. I felt I was given the death sentence. I was number 3 in my family being diagnosed with BC that same year and the day I was done with radiation was the day another sister was dx with cancer this one BC like me. I remember the day I was DX. I was sitting in the office of the NP thinking what do I do now? where do I go? I felt like I was standing at the end of a driveway being shoved out into a busy street and I was not sure I would be run over or be able to keep up with the traffic and get where I needed to go. I still struggle at times. but I am here. I listened to that voice in my head to get my first ever mammo and it saved it.

    BC plays havoc on the physical as well as mental was was stated by someone else on this site, My MO says stress contributes to cancer, she may be correct as 4 yrs prior to getting BC I lost both my parents within 13 days- all rather sudden. I found my father, passed away, in the public BR of the hosp where mom was admitted for lung cancer treatment. I watched them try to revive him but it was too late. I also watched my mom pass 13 days later. My sister(age 60) and I(age 44) were DX 3 months apart- My niece(age 33) before me by 2 months and a cousin (age 45)(who also lost her mom in 2009) was DXed 4 months before my niece.

    I feel this cancer is like a monster waiting to attack and its hard, so hard.......

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    ndgrrl, That must have been a real nightmare to go through. IMO, it is entirely possibly that your stressed body decided right then to start whipping up some BC.

    I got my BC Dx about 6 years after one parent died. I had a 7mm ER+/PR+ tumor and doctor told me it could have been there for 6-8 years. My CRC Dx was 10 years after the death, but it is common for colorectal cancer to take 8-10 years to develop.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know a lot of women here get BC and still have living parents. There is nothing scientific in what I am saying, but just in talking about stress doing things to our bodies I know I felt tremendous stress and physical shock when I had a parent pass. So, I've got to wonder.
  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    Just heard on the news that somewhere in the Province some chemo drug had accidentally made its way to the local dump and they CLOSED THE DUMP until they could assess the risk to the public. This is the stuff that they pump into our veins, but when it gets thrown out suddenly it's a hazard? I very clearly understand the medical threat that chemo drugs can be. Yet we shove it in our bodies. Eeek, don't get any on you, but let's inject it in you because yeah, that makes sense.

    100 years from now they'll look back on this and shake their heads at the barbaric things we did to cancer patients. I hope.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    I have used the word barbaric a few times myself, and more than once when talking to my doctors.
  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Lita-our bodies created this dam cancer and now being that it has mutated the cancer is very smart. So, it had to get its intelligence from us. We must be just to dam smart. That's our ppoblem lol.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Diana, I can definitely get behind your theory :D

  • nativemainer
    nativemainer Member Posts: 7,850
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    Runor--I remember that feeling. Can't start anything, what if I can't finish it? Can't plan anything beyond the next doctor or treatment appointment, I might not be here. I'm not enjoying this (fill in the blank, movie, party, outing, whatever) because I'm worried this will be the list time I get to do this and I should be enjoying it. In the beginning it's a minute to minute existence. Have to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, can't think about the step after that or this one won't get taken. It will get better. I can tell you from experience, it will get better.

  • MameMe
    MameMe Member Posts: 215
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    I sometimes think of cancer as a political take over. The initial tumor is the first boat landing on the shore, getting comfortable with the natives and learning the food and shelter routines. Then there is this silent, steady growth of the newcomers. They say they just want to get along, but they are really here to strip us of our resources. etc, etc. I think it works. My life is pretty much geared around managing cancer now, and my view of my future is all screwed up. I know thatI deeply desire a complete cure. I am willing to extend mylife thru treatments, in case a break through should emerge. But I also know that its not llikely I will get my healthy precancer body back. Cancer is relentless, patient, adaptable, greedy and totally amoral. It plays dirty

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    I learned something new this past week....in order to qualify for most cancer trials, we cancer patients have to be "healthy sick."

    Is that an oxymoron or what? We have to be healthy enough so we don't die during the first few months on the trial so they can get their data recorded. Phase 1 trials (correct me if I'm wrong) are among the worst because they haven't really fine-tuned the dosages yet so we get stuck with ALL the delightful SE's, some of which can be quite debilitating, leading to opportunistic infections, etc., that could kill us long before the dang cancer does!

    I'm not sure that I will ever participate in any trials because of the big hit on QOL. Just dealing with the day-to-day SE's of Xeloda and all the fatigue is enough for me, thank you very much.

    I've made my peace with death, or "my transition" as I prefer to call it. I purchased my urn, selected my niche at the mausoleum, and have started getting my paperwork in order (reviewing the trust, updating the asset list, telling DD and DH what music I want at the service, etc.). Basically I did all that to get it out of the way and save my family from doing it because I'm picky.

    The only BIG thing I still have to do is file my POLST (physicians' orders for life sustaining treatments) with the Dr. I already have it stipulated in my will that I don't want to be kept on a ventilator or feeding tube, so it's not totally pressing that I do this just yet. I think I'm hesitating a bit because it feels so FINAL, and I still feel "healthy sick" right now in that I'm still able to drive and get around with a rolling walker and a cane. No, I'm not as mobile as I was a couple of years ago, but I've accepted my slow decline because I can't really change it.

    Even tho I'm on "death row" with Stage 4 and extensive mets, I don't feel like I have one foot in the grave yet. I'm not delusional in that I know that that time will come...sooner than later, unfortunately. For now, I try to live in the moment as much as possible with joy and gratitude, enjoying my family and my rescue dog.

    Hugs, everyone.


  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Lita- I have been doing the same things as you. It's hard to do. Hubby and I will both be buried in the VA cemetery so we had paperwork to do. I don't want a funeral in a funeral home . Just a celebration of life st the church we were married in. Want to be buried in my favorite jeans and a beautiful Jacket my husband bought me when we were in Golden Colorado. Took care of the Will. Put the youngest son into n the deed to the house as out of nine kids he is the one who will miss out the most and needs a start as he just turned 18. Leaving him is the hardest part for me. Did the living will a couple of years ago. Did I forget anything? I just want to be done with this crap and forget about it.

    Picked up the movie the shack today. Has anyone seen it? I read the book years ago and was good


  • eph3_12
    eph3_12 Member Posts: 2,704
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    Bit quiet here. Hoping everyone is just getting things in order and getting ready to welcome summer (my thought on that is that it is one day closer to fall!!!! YEAH)

  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Hi everyone, hope things are going well. Ibrance has been doing fine for me so far. Tumor marker was down to 103 a month ago and will check again tomorrow. Get those dreaded butt shots tomorrow too. I don't have much energy but that's one of the side effects. I was alive to see the youngest son graduate from high school last week . Thank you Lord!!! We had a big party for him on Saturday so still exhausted from that. Put 28 pounds back on and my hair is coming back so can't really complain. Hugs to all

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Diana, so happy to hear that.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    I have just been busy trying to put my life back together from scratch. I get particularly pissy about those "stress causes cancer" posts that pop up with regularity, because if that were true, I should be a goner by now :D Anyway, things are moving forward, slowly and in spurts, but forward all the same.

  • midwest_laura
    midwest_laura Member Posts: 114
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    Joni: thanks for bumping this and getting us to check in.

    Momine: I I get frustrated as well with the stress = cancer equation.  It seems like an attempt from the medical community to dodge the fact that they don't know exactly what causes cancer in one person, but not another.  When in doubt, blame the patient.  :(

    DianaRose: I'm on the "off" week of my first round of Ibrance.  So far so good.  I'm waiting for the other SE shoe to drop.  Or maybe I'm one of the lucky ones and this will be an easy run for me.  (Of course, if I was lucky, I wouldn't have BC in the first place.)

    Well wishes to everyone.  Let's try to enjoy the summer.  It's raining here today, but at least I don't have to go out and water the flowers.  Thank you, Mother Nature. 


  • eph3_12
    eph3_12 Member Posts: 2,704
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    Good news DR...glad to hear about the weight gain and the hair. I sure wish science would come up with cure for cancer and a way to transplant fat into those who need it because trust me, I would make a great donor!!!!!

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    Momine, if you put it that way, I have to mount a defense of sorts because of my belief that stress IS a component or one risk factor, out of the many possible risk factors out there, contributing to the development of cancer.

    In the past, I created my "Balance Sheet" theory, where our bodies can have any number of things in the minus column (favoring cancer development) or the plus column (hindering cancer development.) I would put stress in the minus column, for you, me, anybody---but here's the thing: I don't attach any absolute value to stress or any of the other risk elevating or risk reducing factors, and they would have different values for every individual person.

    I cited major stress at the loss of a family member, occurring some years back when it is possible that my slow-growing cancer was "conceived." Maybe I did not have enough things in my plus column to balance that with, I don't know. It's only a theory.

    If someone else (let's say you) loses a family member, you may actually have greater stress than I had; but you also may have a greater number of things (from your healthy lifestyle) in your plus column to balance it out with, and that may help avert cancer development. What I am suggesting is not scientific. We cannot really know.

    Realistically, everyone goes thru' stress, so obviously it does not have the same net result for everyone.

    Consider this as well: We know of the cigarette causation to lung cancer. My mom smoked heavily and got lung cancer. However, she had smoked for 60 years (so let's say that is about 55 years of smoking and remaining cancer-free.) WTH? Why do some get LC after only 20-30 years, but she puffed away merrily for twice that? There just had to be some kind of mitigating factor (in her plus column, by my quaint theory) that held the cancer at bay all that while.

    We don't know nearly enough about genetics yet. These may play a really big part in our "Balance Sheets."

    You don't have to change your mind or stance on stress, but this is the idea I have about it.


  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    Dianarose,

    Elated to hear your news about the return of the hair and the poundage. It is wonderful reading about your good response on Ibrance (and you already know I am hoping the same for BFF who's on that now too.) DO let us all know your new TM number. (Hoping for the double digits!)

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    Elimar, CURE magazine had an article some months ago where these 2 docs confirmed that they really DON'T KNOW WHAT causes cancer. They site all the smokers who DON'T get cancer as well as people who never smoked and still got lung cancer.

    I see this in my own family. My dad smoked for 30 years and drank well into his 70s. He never got cancer. My mom didn't smoke or drink, ate healthy and STILL got soft tissue sarcoma and died in her 40s. They had a stressful marriage...well certainly stressful for my mom, and I do believe that stress partly contributed to her cancer.

    As for myself, I definitely think stress contributed to my dx, too. Sadly, I was dx'd with "occult amorphic" (hidden, without shape) C even after getting my mammograms religiously. Only after it spread to my bones, organs and other tissues was I finally dx'd. My RO thinks it was already there for at least a couple years b4 dx. 2014 and 2015 (2 Yrs b4 dx) were incredibly stressful for me at work, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's what sparked it.

    The magazine article also said aging is a factor. The older you are, the more cell turnover you've had. Every time your cells replace themselves, there's a chance for malignant genetic mutations in the DNA, and all it takes is ONE. Your immune system isn't what it once was either. Years prior, your system might have found that mutated cell and destroyed it, but as you age, that's no longer the case. Cancer is sneaky, too. It adopts a kind of "cloaking device" so the body's gatekeepers can no longer detect it.

    Who knows where we'll be 100 years from now? BC could be viral like HPV which can lead to cervical cancer, but we just haven't isolated it yet. Look at all this stuff that's out here now that no one heard of 50 years ago...HIV, Ebola, etc.

    I'm done.


  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    I am learning how to vent and speak my mind instead of holding it all in. Must say it really doesn't accomplish much but it feels good. I have two self centered step sons who really get to me. I am not nice and quiet anymore. Not sure if it's age or lack of hormones but either way works for me. They treat DH with so much disrespect and he wouldn't say shit to them if he had a mouth full. Two years in a row they couldn't even get him a Father's Day card or come see him. They are 20 minutes away. He has given both of them jobs in the company and they take advantage of that too. If we are in this marriage together then we need to be together on this stuff. I have talked till I am blue in the face. One lies and takes time off and doesn't tell us. Not sure what to think or do anymore. He is basically stealing from us. Any advice with step kids