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Just Diagnosed 1/24/22

hartnsole Member Posts: 24
edited February 2022 in Just Diagnosed

Good morning everyone. I am new to the site and still trying to figure out what resources and avenues I have available to get me through this new diagnoses. I'm posting an intro here that I'd originally posted on another site with a little more information.


I am a 41 years old, single parent and diagnosed with grade 3 cancer on 1/24. I have not lived the healthiest lifestyle so I'd recently begin a journey to lose weight and become healthier. I am not diabetic, but I do know that due to my size I'm at risk of becoming so. My network is pretty small outside of my son (13) and I, so in some ways I feel as though I'll be tackling this journey alone. I know those around me wish me well, but I don't feel I really have a strong shoulder to lean on which is why I typically handle everything on my own. For this news however, I'm hoping to find strength from those who have gone through or are going through similar things.


The cancer has spread to a lymph node under my left arm and is in my left breast. I am not sure of the final and full diagnosis with the "type", because I am still waiting to speak with someone after my PET scan (on 2/2). In the labs sent in my app, if I'm reading things correctly, it appears as though no distant cancer is found. I also know from reading the pathology report that it appears as though I'm estrogen positive and progesterone negative. I don't know yet whether I'm HER2 positive or negative because I don't understand the update from the pathology report I've received. The initial report also stated confirmatory testing for Her 2 was being performed due to the initial results cancelling one another out, I just don't understand the final results because it doesn't state clearly positive or negative. I'm hoping to get a call Monday to schedule an appointment to go over what my treatment options are.

How I'm feeling:

Numb partially, but scared and optimistic at the same time. I don't know if I should get a second opinion yet or just go with my current hospital group. I don't know if I have time to get a second opinion or when I should take time off from work. I actually asked for a week off just to process everything. I don't have a strong support system, so I'm concerned about what should happen to my son (13) if I were no longer around. I'm a bit scared about the surgery and chemo and if it's too far gone for me to hope to be cured and live a long healthy life. At the same time I know remaining positive can do wonders for your outcome. I find myself being overly critical of everything in my body now. I came to the boards hoping for some advice and maybe just to vent sometimes. I'm hoping to find a network of people who can provide some peace during and after this process since there are not many I can turn to in person to do so. For clarity, I know there are people who care about me, but I don't want the cancer to be the entirety of our conversations and I don't know if they'll have any insight other than prayers and well wishes.

I know that was a long intro, but thanks to any of you who read it all. Any tips and guidance would be appreciated!


  • mle42
    mle42 Member Posts: 124

    Hartnsole, I am so sorry that you find yourself here, but hope that you find this forum to be as informative and supportive a community as I have. It’s really great news that the PET scan didn’t find any distant metastasis! Whether or not to seek a second opinion is a very personal decision. I would recommend that, after your first appointment at your current medical group (often this will be a breast cancer surgeon, but I would suggest you set up an appointment with a medical oncologist right away as well) if you don’t feel like you like/trust/connect with those doctors, or are unsure about the plan they are recommending, absolutely seek out a different doctor or hospital. As you may read in threads here or elsewhere, breast cancer is urgent but rarely an emergency. While it can feel like torture to delay treatment by even a day, there is definitely time to get second opinions and make sure that your medical team is one that you are comfortable with.

    Your feelings and fears are all completely normal right now with a fresh diagnosisand I think something that we all went through. I hope that you can take some comfort from hearing that as you get more information from your doctors, and are able to get a treatment plan in place, that some of the biggest, scariest fears will recede. This IS treatable and if you look at the dates in people’s signatures here you will see that there is LOTS of hope for you to live a long and wonderful life! I’m less than a year out from diagnosis myself, but there are long-term survivor threads here that I love to read.

    Sending you a virtual hug!

  • hartnsole
    hartnsole Member Posts: 24

    Thank you for replying so quickly! I'm sorry to hear you're going through this as well. "As you may read in threads here or elsewhere, breast cancer is urgent but rarely an emergency." Thanks for saying this. I know it hasn't been long since I was initially diagnosed, however everything just feels so urgent right now. In my head, I know that it's likely I've had cancer for years and just didn't know it until I found the lump under my arm. However, now that I know I can't help but to overanalyze every pain or "weird" feeling. My gut is telling me that I'm going to make it through this ok. So I'm trying to focus on that feeling and not the more negative ones.

  • hartnsole
    hartnsole Member Posts: 24

    Thank you. I haven't been called young in awhile, so that made me smile lol

    I think coming here will be helpful on my journey as well. Who else will be able to understand the various emotions I'll go through better than those who have also gone through it? Hopefully I can help others here as much as I receive help through it all.

  • DG2021
    DG2021 Member Posts: 13

    Hi Hartnsole,

    The responses here are all good advice and please continue to check-in and read lots of other threads too - there is so much to learn and a lot of comfort to be found. My journey began this past fall and my biggest take-away is to remain open. Your journey will be based upon what your body reveals via the labs and pathology reports and your own questions, concerns, and needs in response. There are so many really smart, skilled, and caring medical personnel. Good luck as these early days sort out and as an initial plan emerges. Lean on the strengths here, too!