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Seems like this is my own fault

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StonedPony
StonedPony Member Posts: 12
edited February 2022 in Waiting for Test Results

Hi. I'm 41, just had a core biopsy done of a breast lump. Nurse Navigator seemed to be preparing me for a cancer diagnosis, though the other day the radiologist said it could go either way-- she said BIRAD4B and gave me 50/50 odds.

I've had this breast lump for a LONG time. Had a smooth, rubbery, very moveable lump that went up and down with my cycle, had it checked by my doc back in 2018 and again in 2019-- she wasn't concerned. Fast forward pandemic 2020. Thanks to the pandemic and tremendous work stress (I'm a writer, was working on a very high pressure book deadline) my mental health plummeted. I started pressing on the breast lump obsessively, reading about cancer, terrified of cancer but too scared to do anything. By Spring 2021 my mental health was even worse (continuing pandemic, legal issues with my book etc). At this point I was engaging in self harm, pushing on the breast lump until I felt searing pain, causing bruising and swelling. After I started doing this (March 2021) the lump began to change. The smooth orginal lump developed two little lumps on top which seemed attached to the skin. Again, I obsessively read about cancer but I was dealing with such severe depression and anxiety I did nothing. (I have struggled with severe health anxiety my whole life.) My mental health was so bad I even struggled with suicidal ideation. (Due to the pandemic its very difficult to find mental health treatment, even in DC).

For months I would push on the area many times a day. Sometimes the whole area would swell up like a rock. Eventually I used large band aids to keep myself from pushing on it. The area shrank, but tthe two smaller skin attached lumps remained. A couple weeks ago I gathered all my strength and scheduled imaging. I don't know what the mammogram showed, but the ultrasound was concerning. The words irregular and "some spiculation" were used.

I will get the biopsy results in person in about a week. I've already scheduled brow microblading, a meeting with a cold capper, and a virtual consultation with a hair replacement specialist in NYC.

What's destroying me is the guilt. I already see myself as the cautionary tale. Everywhere you hear about early detection. I was just talking to my friend, and when i mentioned feeling the lump last year he was stunned that I've had it for a year and did nothing. I had to get off the phone, I broke down in tears. I have a boyfriend I love, a life that I DID love before stress, anxiety, obsessive thoughts and depression took my joy away.

I see the future laid out, the "you have cancer" meeting, but worst of all the PET scan which will inevitably show metastasis. My friend was horrified that I delayed this for so long. It's hard to communicate how sick I was mentally and emotionally last year.

It seems highly unlikely that someone as young as me (41) could have a non aggressive cancer. I feel sure I will have Triple Negative cancer.

I am sorry for the length of this post. I just can't let go of the guilt.

Eliza





Comments

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,078
    edited February 2022
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    Eliza - hope that your results are good. But whatever happens, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Unless you can blame yourself for being a woman - the primary criteria for breast cancer.

    Waiting is hard. Throughout this site you will find older, experienced members advising those not yet diagnosed not to jump ahead and start planning to die. Until you have a total work up, you really have no idea of the results. BIRAD 4 is oven used in order for insurance to pay for further testing. Edited to say... even if your diagnosis is one strain or another of BC- you may not need chemo at all & would not be in danger of losing your hair.

    Please, please do not start "planning" for cancer. Take this time instead to do some things you've really wanted to enjoy. Time enough to plan after diagnosis.

    And BTW - stay off google. The information there is often old or totally incorrect. Again - good luck & please so come back to let us know.

  • cowgirl13
    cowgirl13 Member Posts: 774
    edited February 2022
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    Great, great advice from Minus.

  • StonedPony
    StonedPony Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2022
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    Thank you so much, Minus. The guilt is the worst part by far, so your message is very reassuring and helpful. I felt so much guilt- some guilt for maybe causing it in the first place (LOTS of wine and cheese) but mainly guilt that I couldn't find the strength to get it looked at sooner.

    I'm adopting a little adult chihuahua this weekend-- I hope that isn't irresponsible of me given what I might be up against-- but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time. Hopefully the little dog will distract me from some obsessive worry.

    Eliza

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,078
    edited February 2022
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    Eliza - good for you - getting a dog you've wanted. I guarantee if it's not potty trained, you won't have time to think about much else. Even if it (she/he?) is trained - you'll be very busy getting to know each other. Hooray.

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2022
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    Great advice as always Minus Two!

    This IS NOT your fault, don't feel guilty!

    Enjoy your little pup, they really do help with stress & anxiety. I know I could never do this without my side kick pooch.

    Holding on for a B9 result for you.

    Strongs to you ❤

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
    edited February 2022
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    Eliza,

    You’ve been given great advice. I would stop “planning” for cancer right now and plan on getting ready for your new dog. Pets are great therapy and a snuggly little one is the best! And here is a happy coincidence…I adopted a 1 year old chihuahua this past October! She is fawn colored with white markings and I adore her. My younger dd loves when I bring her to visit and says that snuggling her is the best anti-anxiety treatment 😊. I’m very excited for you!

    Focus on what is known and don’t waste time building elaborate scenarios about things that might never happen. Take care

  • StonedPony
    StonedPony Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2022
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    Thank you so much everyone!

    exbrnxgrl-- I can't wait to pick up my little chihuahua on Sunday! Chi's are so snuggly, really four legged xanax.

  • gailmary
    gailmary Member Posts: 426
    edited February 2022
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    ELIZA, dont beat yourself up with guilt. Depression is a killer. You were seriously ill. You dont need to share this story with other people you know. They can be so judgemental and if they dont understand depression they can make you feel guilty. Come to us as you did.

    I'm glad that you found the strength to look into this. There is no reason to suspect the worse diagnosis. We will all be anxious to hear and help you through this.

    Gailmary

  • StonedPony
    StonedPony Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2022
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    Thank you Gailmary. Depression is absolutely brutal. I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm grateful to have made it out of that black cloud alive.

    I am very thankful to have found this safe space with all of you.


    Eliza

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 736
    edited February 2022
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    People love to find something you have done 'wrong' because it gives them an illusion that they will be smart and different and be ok.

    Our own brains have a tendency to also look for what we did 'wrong' because it gives an illusion of control and sense in an arbitrary world - feeling guilty can be more attractive to our subconscious than feeling unlucky.

    Don't give your friend space in your head and don't beat yourself up for being unlucky. Life can be unfair and arbitrary, sometimes we get the long end of the stick and it's not due to our merit, and sometimes we get the short end and it's not due to our fault.

    You can be very proud of seeing yourself through your dark time and now addressing this issue in your body.

    I also hope that things go easy for you and that even if it is a BC diagnosis, you get a long end of the short end of the stick!

  • StonedPony
    StonedPony Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2022
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    Salamandra-- I really appreciate that. You make a good point-- there's a narrative out there that if we do all the "right" things we will be safe. It's scary to admit that life can be arbitrary and chaotic-- and we can be unlucky.

    I actually have a bunch of theories about guilt, scare tactics, and illness narratives from growing up in the 80's and 90's during the height of the HIV fear mongering campaign. (Posters with coffins in my elementary school, etc). That was also during the peak of mammogram campaigns, and I think I internalized that quite a bit. Especially because I was born with a chronic illness and spent a lot of time in hospitals from a young age.

    Thank you so much for your kind words and understanding, they really help so much.

    Eliza



  • ava55
    ava55 Member Posts: 42
    edited February 2022
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    Agree with all the other comments and also well done for getting the courage to do the imaging. This wasn’t easy.

    I had my first scan expecting nothing with no symptoms and roll on six weeks and I just had a mastectomy. The hardest part of any of my journey was the waiting and worrying. There is no telling what our imagination does. So please be kind to yourself.

    This could be a fibroadenoma and maybe it has changed shape over time. If it is something more serious they will give you a plan and whatever the outcome knowing is often less scary than the unknown.

    Also no one can protect against everything, life simply gets in the way. You could also consider that if it is something then getting solutions in a post covid world may also be easier than the terrible time others have faced with cancelled surgeries and no reconstructions.


    Worrying is Terrible and I would encourage you to talk with someone to relieve some of your fears. It really can help.

    Wishing you the very best for your results. Xx

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
    edited February 2022
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    Four legged Zanax 😂image

  • jo-jo2018
    jo-jo2018 Member Posts: 139
    edited February 2022
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    Zanax Heart

  • threetree
    threetree Member Posts: 1,274
    edited February 2022
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    Exbrnxgrl - Love the "Xanax" thing! Wish I had that kind of medicine. I'd love to get a dog, but I'm so afraid that I'd get one, and then my cancer would get worse, come back, or something and the poor dog could be left without it's owner.

    StonedPony - Trust me, you are not the only one who feels like what might be happening to you is your fault. You are not the only one who feels guilty, "stupid" or whatever. My story is too long to post here and probably wouldn't be of much help to you anyway, but I do want to say that I can truly relate to the feelings that you're having. I'm real sorry that you are going through this and have my fingers crossed very tightly that this is just a "scare" and turns out to be a fibroadenoma or cyst, or better yet "nothing at all"! Wishing you lots of luck.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
    edited February 2022
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    Give credit for “four legged Zanax “ to stonedpony

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 279
    edited February 2022
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    I still “sort of” blame myself as I love my wine. If I get dx’d with a recurrence or another cancer of any kind, I know I will blame myself. But cooking great food is my passion and the wine is the icing on the cake. Refuse to let it go. There are studies everywhere now stating that alcohol is so bad for us. I read them, then weep. Then stick my head back in the sand and go on living.

    And I too have a chihuahua! Four year old Pita. She is the love of my life. She seems to absorb all my problems. I totally believe in pet therapy and if I was to do it all over again, I would dedicate my life to working with animals. I still have dreams of getting a donkey and an emu. Lol.

  • StonedPony
    StonedPony Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2022
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    Ava-- that is a really helpful thought-- if this is in fact something, dealing with it now might be less terrifying than if this were happening at the height of covid.

    ThreeTree-- It's actually a relief to know that I'm not the only one who feels like they did something "wrong" or "stupid."

    And TB90-- what is life without good food and wine??!! I'm a Francophile with Italian heritage and enjoying yummy leisurely meals (preferably with friends and a glass or two of vino) is how I do things. I'm not ct out to live on broccoli and water!

    Exbrnxgrl-- your chi is adorable!! She looks like a deer head chi-- mine looks like an apple head in his photos. They do love burrowing, so I'll be stocking up on throw blankets. Speaking of four legged xanax, my parents just left, and their bickering caused me to take my REAL xanax. I will never understand how two people who've been married for 55 years have so much bicker about.

    Everyone here has been so helpful. Hopefully tomorrow I will be distracted buying dog supplies, and Sunday I will meet and take home my new chihuahua!

    Eliza



  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
    edited February 2022
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    stonedpony,

    Yes, she’s a total deer head! She is a rescue from Texas but has happily adapted to her new home in California. Good luck with your new pup!