I thought survival rates were better. Negative thinking.
So, having a scare about recurrence I am doing all kinds of research and basically rotting my brain and increasing my worry.
I have to say the mainstream media portrayal of breast cancer is that most people can live a long time now after it but then I see the rates of survival for some cancers and they act as though 5 year survival rate or 10 year survival rate is good. I'm 37... I still haven't accomplished anything in my life. If I were to get a cancer where I could maybe live 3-10 years (and with time consumed by treatment) I'm not sure what I would do or how I would spend my time. That's not long to build or create something meaningful. "Sadly" I did spend my younger days messing around or exploring, music, arts etc. Having to get a mastectomy at 35 I totally felt my prime of life is over. But I recovered from surgery and have been feeling good and was finally feeling optimistic about the future, but I've recently felt a lump and need a scan soon.
ANYWAY - based on the media I thought survival rates were at least 15-20 years for some invasive cancers. I do have to remember that the median age for breast cancer is 55, so people who are 65 stage II, living 8 years would put them at 73, which is not a bad lifespan. I wish I had been more cognizant of that fact I could have a deadline and premature death. I thought after my mastectomy I would be good to go for quite some time. Maybe I still will be but it's hard to feel optimistic with swollen nodes (since surgery) and a lump appears. I wish I had some kind of warning. My grandmother got breast cancer in her 70s, I didn't take it that seriously or think it was hereditary due to her age. But my mom got it at age 50... that should've been a wakeup call but I arrogantly thought my diet and different lifestyle would protect me, at least until I got older.
Being told prognosis is good, likely you'll live 5-10 years! But also having physical impairments, I'm not sure I would see the point. What a sad life. Breast cancer ads are so obsessed with mammograms and "survivors" but I guess they don't do an update that that survivor would have a recurrence in 3 years.
Perhaps I have been reading this board too much. I hate to see how people jump from one diagnosis to another then eventually Stage IV. I was looking through old threads of other people in the ""Not Diagnosed with a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned" section, and multiple instances there were women getting a lump checked out which turned out to be benign, yay! But I see in their footer that they would become Stage IV within 1-5 years.
Anyway - I knew I would have to be monitored and screened and have ultrasounds but based on the %s DCIS/mastectomy I wasn't anticipating needing biopsies so soon, or having multiple scares. I could definitely "carpe diem" more but it's hard, and has been difficult (economically) for the past 10 years, since the recession. I tried to tell myself, why not just act as though I only have 10 years and really live it up, but it's hard to imagine what that means. I can easily enjoy small moments each day but I haven't accomplished anything. Not sure how to plan my life. I never have been, never had a dream job, never met a partner, I am kind of just a dreamer and wanderer. I thought I had time and that 40-60 was going to be really good. I've always liked older people and they made being older look easy. Now (at 37 post-surgery body) I can see why our society idealizes youth, and I wish I had enjoyed it more. "Take it day by day" doesn't work so well, I've done that and ended up nowhere.
How do I adjust my expectations that .. realistically I will probably die before my peers, I will probably have physical impairments (I do - minorly from swelling/rib issues but would get worse with recurrence) and how do you set goals if you have no idea how long you might live and that you might die before 50?
I hate living a degraded existence. (ALSO - how do you not compare yourself to all the naive people still running around mostly carefree and oblivious that a health issue could come out of nowhere and fuck them over?)
I know I'm being melodramatic if you look at my current only diagnosis but.... I'm melodramatic and needing biopsies/scans stirs up all this shit in me. How do I not let it stir me? Time will help but... lumps are real. This is my first chest lump after surgery.