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MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN 40-60ish

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  • Tpralph
    Tpralph Member Posts: 281
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    Dianarose. Sounds like the kids are grown so unfortunately their personality is set. I would suggest that your husband treats him like any other employee and discipline him if he isn't doing his job properly or is off work for unintended purposes. He may end up having to fire him. You both don't need the stress.

    Yes you both need to be together on this. May I suggest you try to talk to your husband without judging his children and just tell him matter-of-fact what you see? You can say " it really hurts me to see your son's doing (factual data here). I can see it also hurts you. Why don't we come up with a plan to help rectify or alleviate some of the stress?

    My husband was the step dad and we had many discussions regarding my children and how we could handle whatever. It helped. You have to be delicate though in what you say.

    Just my thought spur of the moment :)

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    About that stress. First of all the research is iffy.

    I saw a good Ted Talk way back when about causes of disease. The speaker was a medical researcher, forget his name. He was saying, and I am paraphrasing wildly here (long time ago), that the kind of stress that contributes to disease is not necessarily those big, stressful events we all think of as "stress." Rather, the kind of stress that is detrimental is more likely to be regular, but minor, raising of stress hormones because you fail to eat on time, sleep properly etc. It makes intuitive sense to me. Of course, for some people, a major trauma could bring on the kind of steady stress he is talking about.

    However, you are now making me remember another study from maybe 30 years ago, that looked at longevity from a psychological viewpoint. After talking to loads of people in their 80s and 90s and comparing their answers to a control group from the general population, the researchers concluded that having a mindset that allows you to move past traumatic events in a serene and timely manner seems correlated to a very long life.

    All in all, I don't think we have the science to back this one, as of yet anyway. In my own case, I suspect the cancer started after the birth of my daughter, due to the hormonal changes. My hormones were always off somehow, and after the birth, I never felt quite right and I had problems with the boob that ended up with cancer. Of course, becoming a mother also involved major psychological trauma, so who is to say?

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    What about boob trauma at an early age? I ask this because I remember getting hit in my left boob (the cancerous one) a number of times (fighting with brothers, getting hit in PE, banging into things). I also had infected milk ducts in that breast a couple of times too. It was always the left boob, never the right one. All those possible cellular changes...who knows?


  • ndgrrl
    ndgrrl Member Posts: 645
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    4 in my family were dxed with breast cancer in 2013. I was number 3 and it was found on my first ever mammo at age 44. My sister age 60 was dxed the day I was done with radiation. My niece (brothers daughtwr)age 33 was dxed 2 months before me and my first cousin age 45 were dxed 5 months before her. 3 of us were tested and were BRACA negative. I am heavy, my sister is tiny, my niece is medium and my cousin is a large gal. My sister and I had our kids young. My cousin had hers in her 40's my niece has none. My sister used bc, the rest of us never did. My Cousin did use fertility meds, the rest of us hadn't.These are all theories of why some get cancer and some don't yet we were all diff and still got it the same yr. The drs at the cancer center discussed us. The only thing that linked us , besides blood,was stress. My sister and I lost both our parents suddenly 13 days apart 4 yrs prior to our cancer dx. My cousin lost her mom that same yr also suddenly.

    I saw my MO in May and she told me she feels that reducing stress qould benefit me as much as the anti-hormonal meds. She told me to learn to meditate and listen to music and to eat healthy. I am not sure where she read about reducing stress to keep cancer at bay, unless it is a a study? I am used to MO's pushing drugs, but she doesn't. I just need to learn to meditate. So not sure what to think

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    NDgrrl, that is kinda freaky with all of you getting DXed in the same year. I have not been tested for BRCA, but it is unlikely that I have it. My mom and aunt are negative. I could have it from dad's side, but although they all get cancer, and for generations, breast cancer is not common. However, the situation in my father's family leads me to think that there are cancer genes we simply haven't identified yet. I saw a genetic counselor, and after taking the endless info about dad's family, he concluded, that, although overwhelming, the history didn't line up with any known cancer-triggering genes.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    Momine, Thanks for posting the study. I took a look and I would have fallen into the cohort group that confirms their conclusion---but only because my BC was DXed SIX years after loss of parent stress occurred. Also, it is too bad they used 5 years as the cut off for the study because we do know that ER+/PR+ can take longer than that to develop.

    All stress theories aside, I was glad to hear that your life is coming back together, maybe moving slowly like you say, but forward direction is good. (Sorry if I "buried the lead" with all the stress commentary before.)
  • nativemainer
    nativemainer Member Posts: 7,850
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    Diana--Congrats on youngest son's graduation! So glad the ibrance is working so well for you.

    Momine--keep focused on the progress, cuz it's important to recognize progress, no matter how slow or how tiny it is at first. It builds up momentum over time.

    Eph--I would gladly donate to the fat transplant program, too!

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Elimar, no worries. I am just not convinced about the stress thing, but hopefully we will have better info one day, on this issue and others related to this stupid disease.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    NativeMainer, how right you are. I have to remind myself of that, because I am both impatient and a perfectionist, and have to check those impulses.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    I've always made an effort to keep the top header of this thread looking nice and welcoming, but lately I have not been able to size pictures or graphics properly and I am not happy with how things look up there but it is not for lack of trying on my part. Just had to mention in case anyone thought I was just getting sloppy about things here.

    Anyone else having trouble sizing images in their posts?

  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    I am on the fence about stress being the root cause of all bad things. I think it's what they say when they don't know what else to say. Like, who tipped over the ashtray? The gremlins. In our house gremlins are responsible for a lot of annoying stuff. Gremlins and stress.

    I think humans require stress to survive. We are basically lazy lumps and if we didn't have the threat of starvation or death by exposure, we would not work to eat or build shelter. If we lived stress free lives we'd be unmotivated blobs. It is the threat of death and extinction that moves and motivates most of humanity.

    In fact, we live lives free of most of the stresses humans faced just 200 years ago. Way more of our babies live, although the infant mortality rate in third world countries is still horribly high. We do not die of untreated tonsils or toothaches. We have eradicated killer epidemic diseases. We have found ways to make our homes warm without using asbestos as insulation, we have taken lead out of our waterlines. We treat water and remove bacteria that might kill us. We have traffic lights to stop idiots from mowing us down in the street. It goes on and on, the ways that the stresses of our ancestors are gone. Just gone. Never even enter our heads. And yet we claim stress.

    I think cancer has always been present in humans. I think that humans used to die so much younger and of so many more potential things in past years. The fact that we've always had cancer has been obscured by Death From Other Factors - old age not being one of them. No one got to be old. It wasn't that long ago that if you lived past 35, you were old! If everyone died at 35, then of course it will seem that they didn't die of cancer. No - they died of a stupidly impossible life! That was death from stress if ever there was!

    I think stress is the band-aid excuse given to people who insist on answers when there simply is no answer. It makes no sense to say that I got cancer from stress when the worst stress I've ever had came AFTER my diagnosis.

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    Eli, never saw a way to size pictures here.

  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    My surgeon said I just had shit for luck. I think stress contributes to it indirectly. I tend not to eat when stressed and others eat too much. Same goes for sleeping. Some don't sleep while others sleep to much when stressed. My doc said hormones, being a woman and age are all things we have going against us. Maybe stress does trigger it but they don't know.

    My first 3 cycles on Ibrance my tumor marker went down each month. On my 4th cycle now it it wen up 17 points. Freaking roller coaster ride

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    Good post, runor. I took one women's studies class that said the majority of women never made it to menopause...they died in childbirth...either bled out or got an infection during one of their numerable pregnancies. Women who never married and were into herbs and made it to menopause were burnt at the stake for witchcraft. That's a stressor right there for ya 😜

  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Lita- you are so right. Years ago women were so often accused of being witches. We just finished all 29 episodes of Outlander and they were so superstitious years ago. It's a great series though very graphic. Thank God we can fast forward some parts.

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    I love Outlander, Diana. Can't wait for it to start up again.

    A lot of our medicines actually came from plants: digitalis for cardiac problems, comfrey for infections, willow bark (similar chemistry as aspirin), penny royal as a natural abortifacient, and I heard somewhere that even Taxol has plant components.

    I used black cohosh for hot flashes when I was going thru menopause cuz I didn't want to take HRT, and it did help. And who knows, maybe if I was on estrogen for menopause I might have come down with C sooner given that I'm receptor positive.


  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Lita- we love Outlander. Some parts involving Jack I leave and go pee, get a snack etc... I also watched the White Queen followed by the White Princess then read it's not coming back. Was so disappointed! My grandmother said they would use a urine soaked baby diaper for acne and rub goose grease on their necks for sore throats. She lived to 96 and never had cancer.

  • eph3_12
    eph3_12 Member Posts: 2,704
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    Good to know some remedies are no longer in general practice!

  • Dianarose
    Dianarose Member Posts: 1,951
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    Eph- must say that when you look at old photos you don't see much acne lo

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    ndgrrl, Your story is so interesting, in that disturbing kind of way. So many in your family have been touched by cancer, and it is so natural to look for some kind of pattern or connection. I think the day will come when it will make some kind of scientific sense, but we just don't have all the pieces to the puzzle yet.

    runor, welcome! Do you not think stress can negatively impact a person physically; or is it that you think it can do that, but just not to the point of precipitating anything that could trigger cancer? Obviously what I previously wrote disagrees with most of your post. In addition, my thought is that "random" and "crap-shoot" are the terms that we hear/use a lot for the answers that we do not yet have, but I think the answers will one day come.

    One other thought about stress (for me, in particular.) It seems like stress is more difficult to cope with as I get older. Little stresses, big stresses, I'm just not weathering them as well and I know it. Is it the loss of my magic estrogen, or what? (Don't know what I would be like if I had an actual threat to my existence but, lately, I can get an adrenal surge and a 5-point bump in BP just by having to put a call in to AT&T. I wish I were joking about that.)

  • ndgrrl
    ndgrrl Member Posts: 645
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    My older sister passed at age 44 to stomach cancer. She started with ulcers and it turned to cancer. Doctors told her all the stress she was under caused her ulcersvto turn to cancer as she was very young to have stomach cancer. This was back in 1999 that the dr's had this theory. She was under incridible stress, an abusive marriage, special meeds children and a budget that no one but her could live on.

    Fast forward to 2014, my new MO insisted I find out what type of stomach cancer she had had. Luckily her recods were still available and her daughter worked medical records and her hubby signed. The type of stomach cancer she had is quite rare and it is now genetically liinked to lobular breast cancer. Though I and my other family members had Idc they had me genetically tested. I was negative, if not it woukd have been a trip to Mayo to remove my stomach,both breasts and a complete hysterectomy. That was a very long 2 week wait!

    Genetic advances are happening, but not quick enough for all our answers. My Grandfather and aunt also died of stomach cancer and another aunt had ILC all on my mothers side. My mom also passed from cancer, so it makes a person wonder..

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    I can't handle stress as well as I used to either. I link it with when I went into full menopause in my early 50s.

  • janett2014
    janett2014 Member Posts: 2,950
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    runor,

    I agree that saying that stress causes cancer is "what they say when they don't know what else to say." I think the cause is much more likely to be random bad luck, and of course there are some genetic components. The stress theory seems a bit too much like blaming the victim.

    When I was diagnosed with IDC BC, I was under no particular stress, just everyday life stuff. The same was true of my husband who was diagnosed that same year with a sarcoma.


  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
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    I was in the best physical shape of my entire life for several years before I was diagnosed with cancer. And no stress. Go figure. I'm on the 'crap shoot' side. We definitely don't need to blame the patient!!!

    Eli - oh don't get me started on ATT. Or Comcast. Or the electric company. Urghhhhh. They are all equal opportunity stress promoters.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    Janet2014 and MinusTwo, Do you not think of stress as a factor at all in the development of cancer?

    I think there are a whole host of risk factors, some currently known, some currently unknown and when we get too many of them or or even just a few factors that might have greater influence that it tips the balance in favor of cancer growth.

    If you look up what the current risk factors for BC are, I only had a few of them and at a glance there really was nothing that appeared that significant (like the BRCA gene!) I also had some of the good (risk reducing) factors. If I had just had one cancer, maybe I would subscribe to the "just random" theory, but now I highly suspect that the conditions in my body (maybe dating back to a point in time,) favored the growth of cancer. I should be more clear and say that I don't think that stress alone caused my cancer but, in me, maybe it created the "perfect storm," along with some other factors for it to develop.

    I have never experienced anyone blaming me for BC or any of my cancers. I'd probably just reply, "Blame me for being female and aging then, why dontcha!" Those are the biggest two known BC risk factors.

  • Lita57
    Lita57 Member Posts: 2,338
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    Being female and aging....nothing we can do to change that elimar. So, so true!

    In recent articles on the web, they're trying to blame alcohol, hair dye, make up, etc. for cancer. But if that were the case, ALL WOMEN WOULD EVENTUALLY HAVE EFFING CANCER! [I know women in their late 70s and 80s and they've NEVER had cancer!]

    It's the same thing with vaccinations and autism. For criminy sakes, if immunizations caused autism, EVERYBODY'S KID would be on the autism spectrum, and that's simply not the case! Granted, there may be a select "few" who may be vulnerable to the combination of vaccines, but the vast majority aren't. I did what I was told to do when my DD was a baby (and she's fine), but to be on the safe side nowadays, I'd WAIT a little longer to have my infant receive his/her first vaccines, and I certainly wouldn't do three or four of 'em at one pediatric well visit. I'd space them out to give the baby's body time to build immunity to them individually. But it's REALLY hard for women who work (like I did). Unless you can afford a sitter to come into your house, your kid's gonna be exposed to all kinds of crap at daycare, and what are you going to do? [SORRY I went off on this tangent....]

    So, I just think we all won the cancer lotto, even tho we didn't even buy a ticket. It's all a crap shoot.

    No type of cancer is "fun," and we're all screwed by this, but - on the bright side - if I had a choice, I'd pick BC over pancreatic, colon or lung. There's a higher mortality rate much SOONER with those types of cancers. Lots of metastatic women are living fairly decent lives past five years now. Yes, it's not a picnic, and they have to switch Tx's several times, but they're still here.

    That's more than I can say for Powers Boothe, who just died of pancreatic cancer after six months, and Miguel Ferrer who died several months ago from throat cancer.


  • runor
    runor Member Posts: 1,613
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    Elimar (I am loving this conversation!) Some posters have said they have a harder time dealing with stress than they used to. Dealing with the phone company puts them over the edge. I do not think this means that you are no longer 'good at stress'. I think it means we all hit a point in our lives when out Tolerance Of Bullshit has hit zero, and we are no longer willing to pay our bills every month to get shitty service in return. This does not mean that we don't tolerate stress. It means we know that this bullshit is avoidable but idiot companies want bigger profits at the expense of customer service. Being mad over bullshit is not the same as not tolerating stress! I think tolerating stress was worse when I felt I had to smile and accommodate, happily, the fools, idiots and problems that life threw at me. As we get older and decide to not take it anymore, maybe our stress actually goes down! Anger is not stress! For me, smiling when I want to tell some to' bite my hairy a$$', is stress!

    I think stress affects us first psychologically and emotionally and we can either DO something to resolve the stress and if not, then maybe we manifest it physically. I stress (as someone else said) by not eating and not sleeping. Other people eat too much and sleep too much (withdrawal, denial). I don't think stress itself can cause cancer, but our refusal to address and confront stress might indeed manifest in unhealthy physical outcomes. Is cancer one of them? Maybe. I honestly don't know and I honestly don't think anyone else does either. Theories abound!

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,162
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    Eli - of course I think stress is a factor in everything in our lives - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, anorexia, cancer, insomnia... I just meant that I was truly in fantastic health and had been getting even more 'toned & tuned' for 4 or 5 years before the BC struck. Then for the two years after my original diagnosis, I had worked myself back up to pretty good shape again (physically & emotionally) - then wham - recurrence. I expect it could tip the scales if something else is going on, but I don't look at as direct cause & effect.

    One of our members just posted this on another thread and I really liked it. (thanks Wrenn)

    ...having cancer is like double-crossing the Mafia and getting away with it. You never stop looking over your shoulder.

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,885
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    We all have interesting opinions/beliefs about cancer. I go back to the BC as jigsaw puzzle analogy. With some of the pieces still missing, we will never see the entire picture. But even if every single factor (puzzle piece) became known, it still may be very difficult to know how they would all balance (fit together) within one unique individual! For that reason, it may retain that "random" mystique for a long, long time.

    Still, if we get enough pieces to the puzzle, maybe one day we will have a CURE for BC (written hopefully.)

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845
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    I am still hoping for a cure, or at least some sort of therapy that would keep the beast in check permanently, even if they can't outright eradicate it. And, please, without horrible side effects.

    There is some evidence that exercise and a decent diet can at least help, but obviously it is neither a cure nor fool-proof, like MinusTwo points out. Besides, I have never eaten a cheeto, and grew up on mostly healthy, even organic, food, a habit I kept, more or less, in adulthood. I have always been physically active and have never had a driving license. I walk everywhere, always did. My dad and uncle (identical twins) have had 5-6 cancers between them, starting in their 50s. My mom had cancer, as did her mom and sister. So I can't help thinking that in my case at least, unfortunate genes carry the better part of the responsibility.