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Stage II w/Lymph Node Involvement



  • Kindergarten
    Kindergarten Member Posts: 2,883
    edited November 2009

    Dear AnnaM, What a beautiful picture of your grandson!!! I have two sons, 29 and 27, but not married yet. I pray for grandchildren every day. Can't wait!!!!!! I taught Kindergarten for 10 years and retired, but I missed  thelittle ones so much that I am working at our church preschool part time. Children keep us laughing and grounded!!! To all of you going through chemo now, you are my heros.  You will all get through this challenging journey!!! Kathy

  • jezzy234
    jezzy234 Member Posts: 124
    edited November 2009

    Hi everyone.  I think I belong here as well.  I am like Reen- I am 53. Hope that doesn't matter. 

    I just had my cancerversary. I received my call at work. Thank goodness I was alone at the time. 

  • mumito
    mumito Member Posts: 2,007
    edited November 2009

    Good luck with the chemo ladies in my case it  really worked well I had it before surgery.

  • LittleRed
    LittleRed Member Posts: 50
    edited November 2009

    Hello Ladies -


    Thank you for creating this thread.

    Be good to you -

  • reen
    reen Member Posts: 45
    edited November 2009

    OK, now that I know I belong here, I always thought node involvement was a death sentence.  So it's REALLY good to hear from survivors.  I'm 1 year out and regret only having a lumpectomy.  Especially being my second BC.  My surgeon strongly discouraged a mast.  How about any of you?  What did you do?  

  • London-Virginia
    London-Virginia Member Posts: 109
    edited November 2009

    Dear Reen, I very much sympathise with the blasted "node terror" feeling.  This may comfort you somewhat : I have both read, and had it mentioned to me by an onc that the percentage of nodes that are positive (against the quantity of nodes removed) is important.  So I hope it might rest you a little as obviously you had a very small percentage in total.

    N.B.  This is not the same logic as applied  to SNB only.

    My op in June was lumpectomy left breast, and breast reduction on both breasts.  I have no regrets at all about lumpectomy but maybe it would be more helpful for you to talk with an onc for more info or reassurance?  I am an IDC gal so can't say anything very useful about your particular DX.

    Best wishes and have a nice weekend all -

  • Shrek4
    Shrek4 Member Posts: 519
    edited November 2009

    Hello there, glad for the creation of this forum, because I didn't really fit in any of the others anymore. Diagnosed initially with extensive DCIS, bilateral (left prophylactic) MX with LD flap & implants immediate reconstruction. Pathology came back with ILC, infiltrating cribriform, extensive DCIS and LCIS. Stage IIb, one node out of 3. After I heal enough on my reconstruction, will start chemo, then the Oncology surgeon wants to go in and get more nodes to check, and depending on that, I'll have radiation or not. ER/PR positive, Her negative, so I'll start tamoxifen as well. I was one of the cases with very dense breasts, nothing showed up until August when I went to the doctor because I felt a small lump. Ultrasound didn't show a thing, mammogram showed possible DCIS, DCIS confirmed by stereotactic biopsy. MRI showed a larger area involved.

  • Warrior517
    Warrior517 Member Posts: 240
    edited November 2009

    Welcome girls and glad you found a new home (in addition to many other great forums!)

    Lauren- Here is a poem I wrote about Rads. I gave this framed to the team as a thank you gift at the end. I just wanted to share it since you are in rads now. You can so relate!! If it makes you smile, then it was worth posting! ( I won't make this a poetry

    The 3 Million Dollar Tanning Bed

    By: Kathy / Breast Cancer Warrior


    I walk into the office with apprehension and fear

    The diagnosis of cancer is what we all share


     Radiation is needed for 6 weeks and 3 days

    Completed my chemo and now it's this phase


    The entire staff is filled with compassion and care

    They make you feel as if they've known you for years


    A mold is made from my chest to my head

    To prevent me from moving and being misread


    The next step seems to be exciting and new

    Not one, not two but many small tattoos


    The first day of treatment seems so surreal

    The patients you meet know how you feel


    It is time for radiation from the 3 million dollar tanning bed

    You get on the table and gently lay down your head


    You look up and the ceiling is filled with flowers galore

    Your heart starts to beat and you feel anxiety to the core


    The staff aligns you and each exits the room

    It  feels like you're awaiting some impending doom


    I lie there alone and start to pray

    It is painless, this so called radiation ray


    Each visit gets easier and the staff becomes friends

    Fear, apprehension and anxiety all begin to end


    Yes, the skin can get red, blister and peel

    But doctors will take care of anything you feel


    These words are my gift of appreciation and gratitude

    For encouraging me to always have a positive attitude


    Each day I walk in, I smile as I have learned to cope

    This office has given me care, kindness, but most of all hope.


    From the front desk to the doctor to each one of you

    I am so grateful and proud of the job that you do

  • Lauren3
    Lauren3 Member Posts: 37
    edited November 2009

    Warrior - that was another great poem, it did make me smile!  Thank you for sharing!

    I received "the call" on a Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting on the floor playing with my son and the OB called to ask me to come in.  He wouldn't discuss over the phone.  So I had to pack my son up and drive over to the office although I already knew what the news would be.  I felt like I was dreaming - I don't even remember the drive over but I do remember sitting in the chair looking at my son in his stroller, totally unaware and eating Cheerios, as I was given the worst news of my life.  It truly seems like a lifetime ago. 

  • diana50
    diana50 Member Posts: 253
    edited November 2009

    hi all

    i had very small tunor but 10/12 fully encased lymph nodes.  moved into the stage IIIc category only because of the 10 positive lymph nodes.  wanted to let you all know that i am 7 and half years evidence of disease....i will hit the 8year mark in feb 2010.  treatments work**


  • digid
    digid Member Posts: 6
    edited November 2009

    OH my, I am glad to find this topic.  If I read "Thank God my nodes weren't involved" on other posts one more time, I may scream and bash my keyboard in.  I am 31 with a 4 year-old, with 2 positive level 1 nodes and HER2 positive status.  I had a bilateral mastecomy just over 2 weeks ago and am waiting for onc consult and chemo.  I need positive posts like all of yours to stay strong and be positive.  Bless you all. 

  • London-Virginia
    London-Virginia Member Posts: 109
    edited November 2009

    Dear Digid, I do sympathise with you as you are only recently on this unwanted journey and the informatioin is extremely contradictory and I must say, takes a number of months to come to grips with for our own individual dx.  I'll just repeat here that it is helpful to have a low % of nodes pos when you have had a large number removed. 

    Furthermore, the entire node pos thing is a red hot debate worldwide.  In fact, I could change my own DX description because what I have is two tiny micromets (under one mm) in one node, and in some places this is not considered node pos. (obviously inclouding my hospital in the UK - The Royal Marsden).  I would like to suggest to you that for now, forget the bloody node pos thing.  You are trying to take on a billion bits of info very early in your journey, so please trust that all will become a bit more comprehendible as time progresses.

    You are really still in the shock stage, which is bloody awful.  But you've got the first major thing out the way (op) and you are moving ahead.

    Stick with reading the positive info on this site - it is generally more useful.

    All best wishes to you, and don't bash your keyboard!  Do like I do, drop toast crumbs all over it instead!!

    In a way, it is a bit tactless when people say "thank goodness I was/wasn't something or other" but on this journey, we all grab at what we think is a bit of good news.  I could say that coo - you've got good news, you are stage and grade II, small tumour - hooray!!

    I believe I am correct in saying that chemo is more effective for er/pr neg folk, so good show - that's good news too. 

    Chemo isn't jolly but it is do-able.  I have 2 more tx to go then hooray - on to rads.

    To try to retain your hair, check out the threads on Penguin Cold caps.  You wear a freezing hat on your head, it freezes the follicles and helps you retain your hair. I am doing it and have kept a lot of my hair.  IT is thin, but there.  Maybe you won't need to do chemo anyway.

  • AnnaM
    AnnaM Member Posts: 136
    edited November 2009

    Digid, I'm so happy you found us. Thank goodness for Warrior starting this thread. I agree with London-Virginia (by the way, I live in Virginia so I'm partial to your name, L-V), you have to learn to be selective. I pretty much tune out things that sound worrisome and have developed a friendly bubble for protection. Anyway, you must be incredibly overwhelmed. I remember before my diagnosis, when I'd go in for a mammogram and they'd make me come back or stay for an ultrasound because I had such dense breast tissue, I remember thinking please God don't let me have breast cancer because I don't ever want to have to learn all that stuff they need to know. Well, I was right about all the stuff I had to learn about. Look forward to the day when you can forget all about it. That day will come.

    31 years old! You are so young. And so many of you have young children.

    Thank you, Diana, for your positive post. I love to hear those things. I'm four years out from diagnosis. How did I hear mine? It was ten days after my bilateral MX. I thought my surgery was entirely prophylactic. You know, widespread, multifocal DCIS on one side and LCIS on the other. It was a Friday and I was relaxing on my couch with a book. My BS called from his car phone on the way to a bar mitzvah, I remember him saying that. Then he said they couldn't find any cancer cells in the breast tissue but that I had two positive nodes (micromets) on the side where they had taken two nodes and nothing on the side where they had taken nine nodes. I sure wish they had taken more nodes on that 2-node side . . . He said it was all very mysterious and that they would re-do the pathology on the breast tissue and then he went into a tunnel and we were cut off. Since it was a Friday I had to wait till Monday to talk to him about it. That was a bad weekend. I did the doctor google dance and it was a bad dance.

    Hugs to all!

  • Lauren3
    Lauren3 Member Posts: 37
    edited November 2009

    Digid - I am also a young mom (33 with a 2 year old) so I can really relate.  Good luck on your onc. consult and please let us know how it goes.  I know it's such a whirlwind at the beginning but it gets better, I promise.  PM me if you want to chat.

    London-Virginia - is that true that chemo is less effective on ER and PR positive breast cancers?  I've never heard that before??? 

  • violet7
    violet7 Member Posts: 22
    edited November 2009

    Warrior,  Thank you for starting this thread.  I had a 2 1/2 cm tumor in my left breast and a 1/2 cm tumor in my sentinel lymph - the others were clean.  Stage 2/ Triple Negative.  I'm still recovering from my double masectomy and will do chemo first week of December.  I was wondering if being Triple Negative w/ a tumor in my node means I'm toast?  Are Triple Neg lymph node people as able to survive as positive hormone ladies?  I'm new to this.  My tumor was discovered durng a CT Scan to see if my endocervical cancer taken out last year in a rad hysterectomy had turned up anywhere else - it didn't.  I was on time with my mammograms, too.  Anyway, Triple Neg/positive lymph successes?

  • mejustme09
    mejustme09 Member Posts: 4
    edited November 2009

    41 yr old Mother of 2 boys, 21 and 15, also have a 15 yr old step-daughter. I have been happily married for 8 yrs(together 13).Smile

    He is the best hubby in the world!(Travels extensively and won't be home for any of my surgery and treatments) Cry

    I love to cook, read the Bible, play with my "babies" Japanese Chins and Brussels Griffons. 

    I had my first Mammogram then told I needed a special mammo and a stereotactic table biopsy. I feel sick!!!!!

    I have 3 calcium clusters, Birads 4, 5. I am supposed to get the results tomorrow.




    Had MRI waiting patiently.

     10/29/09 Sealed

    MRI results in-I need a mastectomyCry

    Gene testing  soon to come...



    First Oncologist appointment -FINALLY!!

    8:30 am 

     (I have two kinds of cancer in my Right Breast)


    Had Gene test today

    Dr. "thinks" it is about 4cc but will know after surgery. 

    Scheduled for Ultrasound of Lymph Nodes and Chest X-ray on Monday

    Will talk to Genetic Counselor next week

    Appointment to see Oncologist on 11/20 to discuss gene test results

    Surgeon will schedule surgery for 2 1/2 weeks.

    ****HEAVY SIGH****


    Thanks for all your information and encouragement. These next few months will be the hardest i have ever endured. I am thankful for all your support. 

  • lexislove
    lexislove Member Posts: 277
    edited November 2009

    Hi Ladies!

    Im not new to the board I mostly offered support and posted on the stage 3 forum. You can see my diagnosis below in my signature.

    I hope that I can fit in here....god forbid another forum has to be created for woman "like me". Anyways....Im stage 2B......very large tumor but no nodes. I was diagnosed at 30 and am now 32 and have my life back. It has been over 2 years now since I heard those words,"its malignant."

    I never thought I would be here today.....but I am so glad that I am. Welcome everyone!

  • Warrior517
    Warrior517 Member Posts: 240
    edited November 2009

    Quite a few of you girls are just starting your journey and each of us here will BE HERE for you!! I know you feel like you have a long road ahead, but look how far you have already come!Remember one thing, there is ONE thing you CAN control thru this and that is YOUR THOUGHTS! They can either be positive or negative....choose Positive (trust me...I am talking from experience lol)  Please know there is NO such thing as a silly question and we are here for you to vent, laugh, cry and laugh again!! 

  • Leah_S
    Leah_S Member Posts: 1,929
    edited November 2009

    Well, I'm joining in here, too. I'm a tad older than a lot of the others on this thread - 58. I have 6 kids (32, 28, 26, 24, 18, 16) and 5 grandchildren. I would boast with a granchild picture, too, but I'm technologically challenged.

    My tumor was 1.6cm, grade 3, 6 nodes (out of 17) involved (not micromets). Some sites I have seen stage me at 3A, some others at 2B. I call myself 2B because I ;ike the stas beter. I didn't ask my onc how he staged me because I didn''t want to know. In truth, it was an aggressive cancer that was treated aggressively (mast, DD chemo, rads) and stage is a number that didn't come into it.

    To all of those just starting this journey, I wish only the best. Come here often for support; it will really help. I was diagnosed last year Nov. 3, and active treatment finished mid-Aug.

    Now, as far as those superpowers you guys spoke about - hmmm. Well, when my kids were little they thought I had eyes on the back of my head...


  • Kathy16
    Kathy16 Member Posts: 15
    edited November 2009

    I would also like to  join - Thank you for starting the thread.  My situation is very close to Stef 58 - in fact I think we might have both been in the July Chemo thread and those ladies were so helpful.  Mine was picked up on a regular screening mammo - they thought it was under 2, but ended up being 2 with very little in a few nodes.  An MRI prior to surgery also found one other tiny point-something millimeter and the surgeon was afraid since it was "multifocal" that he would not get clean margins, so I had the mastectomy, then T/C and now am on Tamoxifen.  My node status is either 2 or 3/16 because one node was "intermammary" and oncologist doesn't "count" it, but surgeon did.  Who knows?  I need to look back at my pathology to figure out whether it says "micromets" - they just told me there was very little bits in the nodes they identified. 

    I have an expander and am scheduled for exchange surgery in a couple of weeks.

    I am 48 and had a grandmother who had a radical mastectomy at 48.  My father had prostate cancer and it appears that this is a genetic thing - not skipping generations.  One doc said she did not think I had the BRCA, but did have a gene that science/doctors haven't yet identified.

    Is anyone else having side effects from Tamox?  Every ache and pain is difficult for me - I'm having stomach issues and bone pain, although the bone pain is resolving.  Love to hear what everyone else is finding on the Tamox or how everyone else who has completed the treatments is handling the fear.  I really believe my symptoms are SE of the Tamox (and I can live with them), but feel stressed and upset because of them. Thanks. 

  • London-Virginia
    London-Virginia Member Posts: 109
    edited November 2009

    Lauren - chemo is not administered based on just one factor; grade, age and all sorts come into play.  It is the case that it may not be quite as effective for people like me:  er and pr pos, but as I am grade 3, the the pendulum swings my way again.   With my DX looked at across the board, chemo was a good way for me to go.

     Another important matter that we should all remember :  various matters to do with treatment also vary as to whether one is pre or post menopause.

    So, the conclusion is that before taking anything as being absolutely appropriate info for one's own situation, be careful to note whether each point is covered.


     Dearest Violet - you certainly aren't toast!  ..............  There is a bit of a problem on the Board, and also on bald stats info, that not enough personal situation of DX is covered.  I reckon you would be very well advised to check out the Triple Neg thread which will give you tons of useful info.  It is very difficult indeed when first you come to this site because it really is info overload.  Have you checked out the useful INFO sections (as seen at thhe very top of the page in the black stripe above the maroon stripe.   Good info there but a bit easily missed as in rather small font size.  

     Until you have been on here a while, everything seems scary, not necesarilly makes any sense to you - all sorts of stuff.  We have all been there!!!        And at this Stage, we are all still Early Stage Breast cnacer.  If your Oncs haven't made this clear, when you get the chance,  have another chat with them . As time goes on, you'll get to understand what are the most important questions for you at a given time.

    Just rmember, what works out for one person's DX may not be the same for another, so it is always a good idea to stay calm and  just slowly pick up info as you go.

    All good luck Violet,  and warm hugs -

  • lookingforward4more
    lookingforward4more Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2009

    I had two tumors and two nodes out of 24 positive. One was micro-mets and the other had a little extra nodal extension. When I had my mastectomy in 07 my surgeon (who I have since fired) basically told me that I was in major trouble. She sat on my bed in the hospital and (after misdiagnosing me for four years) told me that they got the tumor out of my breast but not out of my body. NICE! Anyway, I endured six tac chemos and rads (thanks to the extra nodal extension) and am now on tomoxofin. SInce my surgeon made me think I was dying I was crying at my first meeting with my oncologist. She almost laughed when I told her what my surgeon had said and then gave me HOPE!

    Its tough when people ask "was it in your nodes?" and then give you the look of pity when you say  yes. It is a daily effort for me to not lose sight of the fact that I have a decent chance at a full recovery even with the positive node status. And it is also a struggle to not resent the women I know who had negative nodes...when they complain about the radiation that they endured...when I went through so much more. Its not like me to be that way and I am committed to not letting my cancer nightmare change my inherent kindness and compassion!

  • reen
    reen Member Posts: 45
    edited November 2009

    I'm glad you fired your surgeon.  I know what you mean about people that don't have it in their nodes. My first BC was node negative.  I only had rads.  People would say "oh you're a breast cancer survivor."  I didn't feel like one.  Second time around and having both chemo and rads, was so much harder.  I truly feel like a survivor now.  (not to down play anyone out there that only had rads.  This was my personal experience.)

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited November 2009

    This thread feels like home. Thanks Warrior!  My "stats" are below. Had lumpectomy, weekly taxotere and cytoxan followed by 28 rads and then Femara for 6 months. Went off the Femara 2 months ago due to qol issues and once again I feel like my "old" self, which is GREAT!

    mmm5 ~ LOVED your post re L nodes. Every woman I know with pos L nodes is also doing great. One is 4 years out and 2 are 15 years out, and another is 17 years out. Yes, it is the job of the L nodes to trap the cancer and keep it from going "global". So pos nodes means they did their job.

    Gentle hugs to my new found sisters, so happy to meet you!


  • lrm216
    lrm216 Member Posts: 534
    edited November 2009

    Hi, I'm Linda and was diagnosed late Feb or 2009.  I just have to add something to the thread and that is, while I was happy to hear I had no node involvement (but AM triple neg - ugh), I must say that being node neg does not guarantee anything at all.  Cancer can still spread through the blood stream and not only through the nodes.  There are many Stage IV gals on this board, as well as the other boards, that also began as "node negative."  While this may seem I am throwing a wet blanket on all of us with neg nodes, I assure you I am not.  Just trying to say that this whole disease, no matter ER/PR+ or negative, nodes or no nodes, it's all such a crap shoot and all each of us can do is believe with all our hearts in our treatments and that they will work for each of us.  I wish for everyone one of us on this thread a smooth treatment plan, uneventful recovery from same, and long lives - cancer free!


  • seaofhope
    seaofhope Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2009

    I had a couple of nodes positive also.  One was almost 3 cm. - deep in my armpit, the part that is hard to shave!  It was extracapsular by 2mm.  I wish I knew what this means as far as spreading to other parts of my body.  I asked the oncologist but she doesn't give me any answers, just says "this is why we are treating you with chemo and radiation".  I guess she doesn't have a crystal ball either.  Does anyone know how big lymph nodes are?  What about vascular invasion?  There isn't a lot of information out there.

  • London-Virginia
    London-Virginia Member Posts: 109
    edited November 2009

    I think Linda has raised a very important point.  I think we all get scared witless over the various node statuses, but actually, this is such an "illogical" disease that someone could be node neg and have a nasty outcome, or node pos by a huge amount and NOT have a bad  outcome.

    I had a fairly similar experience to Lookingforward in that the surgeon put the fear of God into me about nodes.  Then I did loads of research into an awful lot of studies etc, and came to the conclusion that there is not actually a conclusion to be drawn.  Also, that a lot of information is extrapolated in a quite odd way and though I am an economist, I reserve judgement on a lot of what I read because it made no overall sense.  I do not consider myself to be any kind of genius, but on various experiences I have had, I am damn sure a lot of doctors aren't either.  Surgeons should probably not speak to patients at all.

    I do feel that everyone has to be circumspect about the information taken form this or any Boards because we don't all read eachothers' path reports and are not in a position to be too didactic, but it is extremely helpful to get pointers as to which direction we can look.  Trouble is, there is so bloody much to absorb in  very short order when we are diagnosed.


    Seaofhope - I have no idea if there is any standard size of a node.  Apparently, it is random as to how many nodes any individual has - some have loads, others don't.  I imagined that we are all roughly similar inside our bodies, but the onc told me that's not quite the case over nodes and  boobs.


    So, like everybody else, I will just keep on walking and using the kitchen sink and hoping for the best!

    peace and love all -

  • AnnaM
    AnnaM Member Posts: 136
    edited November 2009

    Jeeps, L-V, you sure do stay up late!

  • Warrior517
    Warrior517 Member Posts: 240
    edited November 2009

    Wow! I am so thrilled just to see so much different dialouge! This is exactly what I had hoped right or wrong statements, just sharing thoughts and compassion!

    I think the nodes do determine your treatment plan and thererfore are an important part of a dx. Yet, I understand, NONE of us know how each chapter will play out. I like to believe I am healed. Each night I can lay my head on my pillow, I thank God for another day of healing. We all know now that life is short and we have a deeper appreciation for so much more!

  • momand2kids
    momand2kids Member Posts: 118
    edited November 2009


    I am so excited to have this forum.  I was dx on 10/29/08--- had a lumpectomy, chemo (4 rounds AC ) and radiation and am now on lupron and femara (I was pre-menopausal and could not take tamoxifen).  I had no nodes and before my oncotype, was planning with my onc to have radiation and hormone therapy.  My oncotype was in the gray area and I decided, being relatively young and in good health to take the chemo.  I wanted to take this one opportunity to throw everything at it because I am planning for it NEVER to return again!!!  

    It was a good choice for me-- I was in excellent health going in and withstood the treatment well.  It is not for everyone--- My hair is now wildly curly and getting longer--- I like it!  I feel great, apart from the joint stiffness from femara- but exercise seems to cure that pretty well....

     I am having all of my 1 year appointments over these next few weeks and they have so far been great-- a celebration of sorts!  I am looking forward to seeing my surgeon for the last time--- she did such a great job--I really want to thank her again.   

    so, sometimes negative nodes can still lead to chemo--- but again, it is a personal decision.  I just know for me, when I go to bed at night I sleep soundly.  I agree with warrior-I am healed--- I actually use the word cured, as does my onc.....

    Peace to all--thanks for starting this forum.