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Terrified continued

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Slg1324
Slg1324 Member Posts: 106

Here's my update continued from the " not Diagnosed but worried"section

I did get the call yesterday - the doc said they found a small cancer (1/3 inch biopsy but 1/2 inch on mammogram)that doesn't seem very aggressive.He did say it was a hormone sensitive cancer(something about a grade 2) and that it's not good news but not awful . They are still waiting on the HER2 result and that should be no later than Friday.
Treatment prediction so far would be lumpectomy, radiation and hormone therapy but it also depends on HER2 result.sorry about any ignorant wording here ; obviously very new at this. I'm very overwhelmed and not sure how well and when I can reply on this board- I just wanted to update. I will do more updating if I can and may have questions .any words of wisdom and guwelcome Thank you for all the loving support always and sending love and support to everyone !❤️

I am attaching my original post here from “not diagnosed but worried section :

“Posted on: Sep 29, 2019 01:19PM - edited a few seconds ago by Slg1324

Joined: Sep 2019Posts: 37Latest activity: Oct 16, 2019

Slg1324 wrote:

I admire and appreciate all people's bravery and support of each other in this online community.

Im a 52 years old wife and mother (of 2 two wonderful now young ladies) For various reasons I have not had routine mammograms

Some of the reasons include, financial, a life long struggle with sometimes emotionally and physically crippling depression and anxiety.I have quite a bit guilt about not having done these mammograms over the years and am in need of some support not judgement.

I'm pretty terrified and depressed right now. I have a history of cancer in my family but no breast or ovarian cancer that I know of.recently I've discovered a mass , heaviness, thickness and pressure in my left breast at about 3 o'clock. It feels very different than my right breast.I can really tell how big it is .What first made me notice was i felt something when I sleep on my left side . I am emailing(it's Sunday so medical offices Are closed )my doctor to get the ball rolling on what tests and evaluating need to be done . The anxiety about being evaluated is sky high.

I work out of town and it's very stressful traveling everyday but there are so many bills to pay.I'm trying to manage the household with my husband and college freshman daughter ( who still has a lot of needs) .

I feel like I can't even function and tomorrow starts a brand new work week . I can't sleep .I'm in a very bad way. I'm thinking the worst. If this is cancer I've really messed up because I may not have caught it early.

Any words of wisdom is greatly appreciated .Anyone gone through or going through something similar?”

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  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    I'm still not sure how I am feeling right now even 24 hours after getting the phone call . I talked to my boss yesterday and since I work so far from home I'm taking some time off ( financial hit begins )at least until a plan is in place with treatment etc

  • trinigirl50
    trinigirl50 Member Posts: 158
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    Honestly, if finances are an issue you might want to save taking time off for during your treatment rather than while you are waiting to put a plan in place. Work might take your mind off of things and help alleviate the terror.

    Certainly keeping busy helped me.

    It does sound like it was caught early and you have very good reasons to be optimistic.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi Trin, that’s good advice , thank you . I’ve thought long and hard about it and I’m really hoping I don’t have to take too much time off before treatment but the truth is I’m really not feeling well and I work out of town -,it’s an hour away and it really wipes me out to travel like that these days

  • trinigirl50
    trinigirl50 Member Posts: 158
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    It's probably the shock that's making you real unwell. It can really take it out of you.

    Good luck with your treatment. I hope it a goes smoothly. It is very do-able.

  • trinigirl50
    trinigirl50 Member Posts: 158
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    I meant to say feel unwell. Not real unwell. Stupid auto correct.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    Thank you Trin, yeah stupid autocorrect!:) my doctor also thinks that the shock , stress and anxiety may be why I’m not feeling good. My symptoms are very scary , I’ve already been to ER in the middle of the night and I don’t want to go again .
  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
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    Distract yourself by doing some fun things - concerts, lunch or dinner with family/friends, day trips or weekend getaway, funny movies. It really does help, and gives you some good times to look back on later.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,147
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    alice is absolutely right. distract yourself with fun things - even it it means binge watching TV.

    Check with your doc about getting anti-anxiety meds. No reason to try to tough it out.

    trini is also correct - work while you can - particularly if you expect finances to be tight. If you end up HER2+, you will likely have chemo before surgery. Many women work through chemo - or only take off a day or two off every 3 weeks. Good luck

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi Alice and Minus . I really like your suggestions thank you so much. I am doing what I can of those things ; been binge watching a lot tv with my daughter which is great . My doc has me on Valium for the anxiety (it does help me to sleep but Im starting feel dopey )as far as working as I explained to Trin - I work an hour out of town and I have been feeling so unwell that I haven't been able to travel all that way to work :( I'm not trying to make excuses I'm just trying to explain the truth of my situation and I so appreciate anyone's input

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,147
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    Sig - You probably don't want to try driving with Valium on board. If that's contributing to the 'unwell' feeling, maybe your doc could switch you to another anti-anxiety drug. Is there anyway that you could do some of your work at home?
    Are all your heath issues due to waiting for this diagnosis or did you have another problem that required the ER? If you were in good shape before, you really should call your PCP and talk about the issues.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    Hi Minus,
    I’ve only been on the Valium (low dose )for a couple of weeks and I only take it at night a good 10 hours before I would need to drive . Just Before the Valium I tried Zoloft and that made my anxiety worse.my doc then said I shouldn’t be trying anything else new while I’m going through all this diagnostic stuff. When i went to the ER a couple of weeks ago is when all these symptoms started getting really bad . I woke up not being able to breath and chest pain . They did all the things they do to check for heart attack including a chest X-ray. Nothing showed up . I’ve told my doc about a lot of these symptoms and she thinks it may be because of all the anxiety and stress. . I need to talk to her again , I know . These symptoms are not getting better including the shortness of breath and major fatigue :( so worried about advanced cancer
  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    also in the answer to the question about my health before all this started - aside from the anxiety and depression and recent Low iron levels due (I've gotten the levels back to normal with iron supplements)what i think heavy periods I was in pretty good heath

    I just added my original post in this forum to my first post in this thread for some background in

  • rlmessy
    rlmessy Member Posts: 97
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    Hi Slg, sounds like we are in a similar boat. I was dx'd last week. Have my first team meeting with docs tomorrow and cant sleep. I have struggled with anxiety for almost 18 years now, started right after the birth of my youngest son. I have 2 boys to your 2 girls. :) And, I am 52 too!

    There are times these last few days where I just stop and cant even breath. Or, I break out in tears. Or, I yell at my mom. It's all very random. I dont get the heart issues from anxiety if I can calm myself down. If not, I have ended up in the ER a couple of times.

    Something that works well for me is a strategy called grounding. I look around and start saying out loud what I see and where I am and that I am safe. It goes like this....I am in my bedroom. Under my brown blanket and I am safe. I just keep going until I calm down.

    Another thing I am trying to do is schedule time in my day to deal with how I am feeling. So, I try to forget about it from nine to noon then at noon I go somewhere private and cry and scream or just curl up in a ball. I actually set a timer and when it goes off I try to get up and moving again.

    Now all this sounds great as I type it and sometimes it works perfect. Other times I am just a hot mess. But if you need to vent just hollar and we can get vent together here.

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 281
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    Sig: I cannot diagnose you here but all indicators suggest a serious anxiety disorder. You had anxiety before and now your stressful situation has pushed you anxiety into overdrive. You may need a med that addresses this more effectively than an overnight fix. Please demand to be seen by a mental health professional. I am not certain what is available to you, but a cancer dx can open doors to immediate mental health services. You do not have to suffer this much and these symptoms are most likely from anxiety, not metastatic disease. You have breast cancer to deal with and you will deal with this, but anxiety can be disabling and prevent you from coping. Please have your anxiety treated adequately and then you will be amazed at how you can tackle and overcome the other challenges you are facing. You are not dying today or even tomorrow. Or even next month. Or even ..... Take one minute, hour or day at a time. Please tackle your mental health first. Seek help and support. If you do go back to the ER, let them know this may be a mental health crisis. No shame returning for this. Do whatever you need to bring relief to your situation. You likely will live a normal life span. But it certainly will not feel normal with this level of anxiety. Get the care and relief you deserve. Be kind to yourself. You can do this

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi Rim , thank you for sharing those are great things you do to calm down that I do and will need to try .im sorry about your recent diagnosis We are in a similar way so far for sure. When you have been to the ER were you actually having heart trouble? There was no indication of heart trouble for me but no indication of anything yet I’m continuing to having trouble breathing , chest pain, especially when I’m sleeping(or laying down ) or trying to sleep.It gets so bad that if I don’t take Valium I have to sit up or stand to be able to breath. I have so many other symptoms right now that are frightening the crap out of me .extreme hunger, fatigue (sleepy -can’t keep my eyes open even BEFORE I started taking Valium) , hot flashes ,sweats( never had those until about 4 months ago) , pressure on the back of my left shoulder blade (same side as the tumor) Something that different than you is that I haven’t been able to cry and I know I really should. I’m just really venting right now but I’m definitely going to try calming myself down in the ways you’ve mentioned.
  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi TB90,

    I know you are correct in saying that I may be experiencing a mental health crisis. I appreciate so much you recognizing so strongly that I'm in need of help with this anxiety. I am going to be addressing more with my doc and the cancer team I'll be working with soon and I'm really still hoping to avoid going to the ER.

    Thank you for telling me I can do this

  • rlmessy
    rlmessy Member Posts: 97
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    Hi Slg,

    No my ER trips never ended up with actually heart issues other than a racing heart beat.

    I do have other aches and pains that I have started over the last 6-12 months that I am now freaking out over and attributing to the cancer but have no real evidence of that. I am pushing today for tests that will check if it has spread anywhere. I cant make any decisions until I know that.

    It's ok to not be able to cry yet or ever. We are going through the stages of grief...denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We all experience those differently and uniquely. And, sometimes we pop around to different ones through the process. Right now we are grieving so much.

    And, please know that while I can write about all this like its piece of cake that is only because I am a writer. I am by no means handling all of this like "Positive Pollyanna." I have curled up in a ball, sobbing more times than I can count. You are not alone. Sending hugs!

  • ingerp
    ingerp Member Posts: 1,514
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    Sig--just popping in to say this might not be the big life interruption you're anticipating. If it turns out you're HER2-, there's a good chance you won't even need chemo. Even if you do, with a small tumor, it would likely be Taxol, which is sometimes called "chemo lite." A lot of us do it with minimal interruption of work schedules. The really good news is that it's extremely likely that this will just be a blip in your life. We get a diagnosis, we go through treatment, we come out the other side. You might try to focus on the long term, when this is all behind you.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    rim ,

    I totally get what you are saying and know that what you are writing about in your experience is no piece of cake .thank you for sharingi’m so sorry you are going through such a hard time too . I’m very happy that we ladies have each other .sending lots of hugs! I think you are meeting with doctors today ? Wishing you all the best with that !

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi Inger,

    Thank you for your very encouraging words , it means a lot . I’ve still facing so much especially with my emotions at this moment but your words give me HOPE .

  • arizonaboundgal
    arizonaboundgal Member Posts: 38
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    Hey Sig. Sorry that you have to be here that you're going through all this. It's a lot to take in and process. It does sound as if the tumor is pretty small and the fact that it's er/pr+ is encouraging. Try not to put the cart before the horse as far as possible treatment goes. You will get through this just like we all did. I'm happy to read that you're going to address your anxiety. I TOTALLY recognized the symptoms because I've personally had many of the same. As others have said, try to stay busy with whatever helps. I found exercise really beneficial, but because my mind wouldn't focus, I couldn't read or practice guitar, or do any of the things that normally help. Instead, I played mindless Candy Crush. As I played, I thought....yeah, this is a real good use of my time...not! But mostly I didn't care because it helped. Don't be afraid to do whatever little stupid things keep your mind off of it all. And do hang in there. You can 100% do this. You just don't know it yet.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    Thank you Arizona! You have very good ideas and encouragement about my diagnosis so far ! I love your Warren Zevon quote 😆Hmmmm,Candy Crush, maybe I'll tryThank you for telling me that I can do this !!!!!!i have been continuing my exercises -,30 minutes of aerobic or yoga daily - it does help . I will be talking about getting a lot of help with my anxiety tomorrow at the meeting the nurse navigator Even though I'm a complete mess I continue to be so touched and encouraged by the support in this forum.


  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    I am doing what I can to stay busy keep my mind off symptoms and all the worries yet trying to prepare for what I'm going to need to do with doctors appointments , schedules ,finances managing the household and there's this big huge looming thing that I need to address very soon ......TELLING FAMILY that I haven't already told .Dreading telling my mom and my mother in law .:(

    My mom is in her 80s and is not mentally well and we haven't been close for many years - she doesn't do well with dealing with this kind of thing

    My mother in law will want to do everything to help in a way that I know I don't need help .I wish I didn't have to tell them until I have a handle on everything but I don't think that's an opt

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,147
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    Sig - you DO NOT need to tell them now. Wait until at least you have a treatment plan in place. If they're not going to be involved in day to day physical support, maybe not even then. Especially if neither of them has personally had breast cancer & not been through it.

    Figure out ahead of time what you might want your MIL to do and make a list. You can actually give her the list and say something like - I know you want to help but anything other than these few things will make it worse. Maybe your DH can help head her off.

    But why tell them anything now? Or your daughters for that matter. You don't know where you're headed yet so wait until everything is set up.

    I drove myself to every chemo alone - every time. Then to every radiation by myself. Luckily my son was available to come from out of town for a couple of days after surgery - but other than that I didn't tell ANYONE. Everyone wants different amount of support, but know that you CAN do this.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi Minus ,


    I know you are right ! It means so much to see those words that I DO NOT need to tell them now. I LOVE the list of ways to help and what will not help , I will do that !thank you !However the timing It does get complicated especially with the holidays coming up including Halloween. My family has traditions with them. My mother in law has invited us for pumpkin craving on Saturday-I’m normally all for it , right now I am NOT . I’m not good at hiding truths and everyone knows this about me. I MIGHT be able to make up an excuse this time but it’s only a matter of time before people start to suspect that something is up .I also run the risk of people finding out in other ways and it puts pressure in other loved ones that know to keep an upsetting secret .I had to tell my daughters , my youngest still lives with us , she is close with her sister and they are both close with my mother in law .I think you get the gist of what I’m saying. Thank you for listening to more venting and offering advice some of which I’m definitely taking ❤️
  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,147
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    Sig - meant to mention - one thing that has worked for me for years is 'emergency' walking. Whenever I could feel myself getting revved up, I grabbed my keys and took off around a block or two or three. Or around & around the parking lot at work. Or up & down the back stairwell at the office if it was raining. Also 30 minutes of concentrated, fast walking scheduled into every day really did help everything move back into place. Thinking of you.

  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    minus , yes great words and advice , I’m taking it again :) thank you

  • jack-bear
    jack-bear Member Posts: 169
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    Sig, if this thought helps, Great. If not, ignore me. You inspired me. I loved Minus' list idea. (I don't communicate well since my brain got rattled around. So, please bear with me)

    I'm going to have surgery. (Pretend at this moment) Eventually I have to tell my mother. (As soon as she heard her brother had BC, she immediately started knitting hats for him) I think you & Minus have helped me! I make a list. I start now so that I don't forget anything that I know my mother can easily do for me. I try really hard to think of something she's really good at & only she can do for me. I think if I ask her to make a batch of her awesome made from scratch bread, and like she did when I was a kid, make a couple of pans of her to-die-for cinnamon rolls. (I hope you see where I'm going) I give her the list when I have run out of time. I also tell her (or add it to my list) that these are the only things that I want her to do for me. Because this is about what I need. We are all different people & what she might want or need in my position would probably be different. Even her good friend that really loved the pink fluffy sweatshirt with little Minnie Mouses all over it & matching slippers, has a different list of needs. And although I know her desire is to help me and to give me something her friend loved & I probably just don't even know yet that I really need it, but, please, please, only follow the lidt I give you. (& Perhaps I made a list for someone else & so that need will be covered) Mom, remember those big, blue panties you gave me as a gift when I was in 8th grade? They weren't on my list. I was made fun of in the locker room because no one else wore huge Robin's Egg Blue panties. Please help me & stick to the list. No, you don't have to do everything on the list. Just don't do anything not on the list. Thank you. I love you. I promise if something else comes up, that I will tell you. Thank you. I love you.
  • Slg1324
    Slg1324 Member Posts: 106
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    hi Jack-Bear ,

    What loving reply , thank you so much ! I think I understand.,Is it making a list for loved ones who want to help with your BC and while making the list remember helpful things that they enjoy doing and add some of those things to the list ?:

  • jack-bear
    jack-bear Member Posts: 169
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    Yes!
    It will (I hope) make them feel important & needed. And they are. But it is your list! If your favorite color is Red, but I think you look good in Orange & I buy you an expensive designer dress in ORANGE, I did what I wanted. I didn't give you what you wanted. I say, 'cut my hair like this photo' & then I discover it looks flat on the top like I've been walking around with a book on my head && the photo had my hair look rounded, I didn't get what I asked for. And then you say,know, I cut it like that. You should get what's on your list. You needed those things. But then I am the friend you call after midnight when some guy is misbehaving in the bar. I do windows too❤️
    NancyB
    Thanks very much for your kind comment.