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Waiting for the biopsy results.

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windwalker27
windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
edited August 2022 in Waiting for Test Results

Hello,

I am new here. I had an abnormal mammogram (spiculated spot) and ultrasound so far. I also had a biopsy on Monday. The results are not back yet. However the surgeon called the pathologist and got the preliminary results: IDC, grade 2-3 (no molecular profile yet -ER?PR?HER?). I am thinking about having a mastectomy next week if I don’t need a neoadjuvant treatment. Rethinking my life. All I really want is another 4 years to put my child through college. I am worrying I don’t have that. How are you guys dealing with the unknown

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  • tntnsd
    tntnsd Member Posts: 124
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    Oh windwalker, I am so sorry that your biopsy came back with IDC. I wish that there is comfort word to ease your fear about the whole breast cancer. One advice that has been offered to me and others from this forum when we were diagnosed was “You just have to be there, one step at a time, one foot in front of the the other”, I myself found it helped many times when my mind started wandering with the dark thought and all “what ifs”. One other thing that also helped is to connect with people who also face BC in person or from this forum (chances are someone you knew also had this - after all 1 in 8 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer), read their testimony, listen and reach out if needed.

    I sincerely wish your IDC does not need any chemo, and you can get the mastectomy done soon. Take care of yourself and your mental health is the best way to cope with whatever unknowns life throwing to you

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,965
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    windwalker,

    How do I deal with the unknown? I accept the fact that many things in life, particularly the future, will always be unknown. I'm not saying it's easy to get to this point but it's worth trying. The diagnostic and treatment planning phases are definitely times when waiting and being patient are what most experience. With this in mind, there is still much about your bc that is not known and may not be known until your surgical pathology report (unless you have neo-adjuvant chemo). So, take a deep breath… Breast cancer is rarely an emergency. Rather than deciding to have a mastectomy next week, take some time to consider things.

    - Will you have a choice between lumpectomy and mastectomy? What would the pros and cons be in your case?

    - If having a mastectomy, are you considering reconstruction?

    - Have you considered a second opinion? This doesn't mean you don't trust your current doctors but many find it reassuring to have a second set of eyes look at the situation.

    With rare exceptions, you have time to consider these things. Many of us get second opinions, interview surgeons/plastic surgeons, etc. This may take weeks but will probably not make any difference in outcomes and it will give you a chance to understand your situation and the whole new world (for most of us) that is bc.

    4 more years? The odds are in your favor that you will have a normal life span. I didn't see any staging info but remember that it is only stage IV (metastatic) bc that is terminal. You will not die from lower stage cancers that have not metastasized to vital organs, which your breasts are not. BTW, the chances of being diagnosed with metastatic bc at initial diagnosis? About 6% so again, the odds are in your favor.

    The majority of lower stage members receive treatment and then go on to enjoy their lives. Even our stage IV members are enjoying greater longevity. Me?Stage IV for 11 years. While not typical my point is that it's not likely you've been handed a death sentence.

    Try to focus on what you know right now and don't spend too much time on the “what ifs…" as that changes nothing. Take care.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,228
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    Windwalker,

    We're so very sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but we're so glad you've found us, decided to join and post. As you can already see, our Community is made up of amazing members always willing to offer advice, information, encouragement, and support -- we're all here for you!

    Things can certainly feel overwhelming at the beginning of your journey, but as tntnsd says, try to take things one at a time. The more you find out about your diagnosis and treatment plan, the better you'll start to feel. Knowledge is power!

    If you'd like to learn some more about IDC and how it's treated, please see our main Breastcancer.org site's IDC section. There's also a wealth of information from our other members here in the IDC Forum. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need -- always members available to answer you!

    Welcome again,

    --The Mods


  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    thank you for your kind words. You are right - one step at a time

  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    Thank you so much for your reply! My husband and I had a conversation with the surgeon earlier today. It looks like mastectomy can be done much faster (I would opt for it eventually) even though it is more traumatic than lumpectomy. I don’t think I will do the reconstruction right away though. I am a college teacher. The semester starts on Aug. 22nd. It is very difficult to find a “substitute teacher” so close to the beginning of the semester. I am having an appointment with my oncologist on Monday. Hopefully we will know the molecular profile (HR, HER) by then. I also have a question for you guys. Will I be staged before the surgery or only after when we know the lymph node involvement? Right now we only know the size (1.3 cm the greatest dimension) and the grade 2/3. I am also puzzled by 2/3. I thought it could be either 2 or 3. The score is 6 (3 for tubular, 2 for nuclear and 1 for mitotic).

    Thank you very much for answering to me. I am a little overwhelmed.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
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    Sorry you find yourself here but at least this forum is so helpful when you are dealing with breast cancer.

    Following your surgery you will get a Pathology report that will stage your tumor based on the results. It will also tell you if lymph nodes were affected.

    It is typically a Grade 2 or 3 so there must be some uncertainty right nowabout which grade your tumor is.

    Hang in there you will get through this. We are proof of that.

    Keep the faith and keep us posted.

    Diane





  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
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    So sorry you have to go through this, but you've come to a place where you can feel your feelings, get support, ask questions and just connect with others who have gone through it.

    Wishing you all the best!

  • kbl
    kbl Member Posts: 2,775
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    Windwalker, I’m so sorry you’re here, but I want to tell you I was diagnosed de novo (Stage IV from the beginning) in 2019 but actually had the cancer from 2013, almost nine years Stage IV, and I am doing relatively well. I have a lot of hope you’ll be here for a really long time.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205
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    Windwalker, I had a biopsy on Tues, was told I will get results on Friday. I have zero fear of cancer. Why? Because I was diagnosed in 2003 with IDC, and in 2018, same breast, I was diagnosed with ILC.

    I had two children in college in 2003. I saw both graduate from college, get married and have 4 adorable grandchildren. I was terrified but I survived! I had 2 lumpectomies in 2003, mastectomy in 2018. The point is I SURVIVED!!!!! Most of us do! You will too! Try to relax, you are no where near the point of concern about not getting to see your child graduate fromcollege. As others have said, take one day at a time.

    My feeling is that whatever my biopsy reveals, I will deal with it. Not knowing IS the hardest part! I am hopeful my biopsy is benign, but if it isn’t, I have a wonderful breast surgeon and an oncologist I trust. I will get through this. You will too!

    Sending you a big cyber hug! Hang in there!

  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    Thank you guys! You are wonderful! I am educating myself and writing down questions for my oncologist

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,965
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    windwalker,

    It absolutely is overwhelming! I truly had no idea how many variables and variations there were with bc. Take a lot of deep breaths and try to digest it in small bites. I was an elementary school teacher, now retired, at the time of my dx. At Back to School Night, ten days into the new school year, I had to announce to the parents that I would be taking a medical leave and was not sure when I would return. I was gone for 3 1/2 months and was fortunate to have hadtwo good subs. Your situation is quite different but I hope that you put yourself first. Take care

  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    Thank you exbrnxgrl for you reply. It would be wonderful if I could take a semester off. I think I will decide what to do after my Monday appointment with my onc. You are right there are too many variables. Mastectomy or lumpectomy? If I need to be at work a week after surgery can I work after a more traumatic surgery? Will I need chemo or radiation? How I am going to do it if I have to be at work? At the same time do I do what is right for me or for my college

  • quietgirl
    quietgirl Member Posts: 165
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    you do wants right for you because in the long run that is what’s right for your work place.

    I will say this. If lumpectomy is on the table it is normally a shorter recovery time from surgery and depending on your distance to travel for radiation it is possible for some to continue to work during it (depending your ability to get an appointment that works with your schedule).

    But that doesn’t make it the best choice for you If you make choices based on your employers needs alone, you can end up stressed out, overwhelmed, going back to work before you are ready and that gives them a warm body but not a functioning employee. That doesn’t help anyone.

    Sometimes it’s hard to put ourselves first but this is one of those times that really you should, I’m not saying don’t take your employment into account, just don’t put yourself in second place



  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    Thank you quietgirl for sharing your thoughts. I just feel guilty for making it hard for my co-workers. I guess when I have the complete biopsy report and a treatment plan it’ll be easier to make a decision

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,011
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    Windwalker27, I am a high school math teacher who was working online during my treatment. I had a lumpectomy and did not have chemo due to my Oncotype DX score, but I had all treatment including radiation 100 miles from my home and was able to teach my classes with very few missed days since it did not matter where I was (laptop, PowerPoints and portable whiteboard did it all.) There was no way my district could replace me (still 2 math teachers short at school and a huge sub shortage,) so I was dealing with the guilt that you are feeling now.

    I know that in person education is the current emphasis, but I'm sure your college has the online platforms built in and the students are now experts at navigating them. You probably have the courses you are teaching this semester set up for online delivery if you taught them during the early pandemic. Also, this might allow you to team teach with some of your colleagues. You could do what you want or are able to do and have co-workers partially cover for you. It's probably very difficult to replace you at this date so, while not ideal, your employer would probably go along with this.

    You certainly need to put your health first and consider what your treatment will be before making a decision, but this is something else you could consider.

    Best wishes for a favorable pathology report!

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205
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    Windwalker, I got a call from my breast surgeon this morning. I have cancer....again! I feel very lucky because it is DCIS with microinvasion. One of the better types to have. I have an appointment next week to go over the treatment plan, but I know I will have a mastectomy. I wanted a double mastectomy in 2019 and my surgeon I had at the time refused to remove my healthy breast because I am negative for BRCA gene defects. He said it was hospital policy but later I found out it wasn't. People might say "You should sue him/hospital," but that never entered my mind because he also said I was free to go for a second or third opinion and I did not. I also stopped Letrozole after 6 months and I have no regrets about that either. Would I have cancer now if I didn't stop the AI? Who knows, but it doesn't matter. I am at the point I am now, that is all that matters.

    I wasn't blindsided this time as I was the first two times. I am thinking clearly, and I chose to see my new breast surgeon and switch my records back to my local hospital before I had any notion that I had cancer. I really like the doctor and hospital I switched to and I am ready to move forward. I KNOW I am in great hands! The worst part, between abnormal mammogram and biopsy results, is over for both of us. I hope you can stay positive as you move forward too, because it makes a difference! I might add, breast cancer is like a roller coaster ride, so many ups and downs. Please know that ANY emotion you have from now through the end of the initial treatments (and beyond) is 100% normal! Don't get upset if you need to cry, stamp your feet or get a bit cranky. We all have negative thoughts and emotions at times, it's normal. The point is to try not to let yourself dwell in negative emotions for a long time! You will survive this!!!! Hang in there!

    Wishing you all the best!

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 417
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    I just wanted to say about your surgeon in 2019, that it was pretty despicable what he did and my mind is blown in response. No idea what his rational would be for that since double mastectomies have been done for quite some time in response to breast cancer in only one breast. I just had one myself in fact. Are you in the US?

  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    Thank you mavericksmom and maggie15 for your encouragement and advices. Mavericksmom, I am so sorry you have to go through it twice. I have no words to express my disgust with the surgeon that refused to do the mastectomy. I am also glad that you are in good hands now and everything will be done as it should.

    Maggie15, I thought about it (switching to online mode). My classes are online ready (I developed online courses during Covid). There is only one problem - labs. I will suggest team teaching.

    My surgeon just called, she has an opening on the 9th of August. Yay

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205
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    I went to a well known, highly respected cancer hospital (not sure if I am allowed to name it on this website) in Philadelphia PA. I had my biopsy Nov 2018, surgery was first week in Jan 2019) I was devastated at my surgeon’s response. Looking back, I should have gone for another opinion, but at the time I was in shock. I never in a million years thought that I would get breast cancer again! Afterwards I had emotional issues for about a year. I was so angry and I told the surgeon how I felt. He stopped practicing shortly after that, not due to it but because he became interim Dean of the medical school. Not long after that he was given the Dean position! I finally just let go of it because I could not change what happened and it was hurting me emotionally. Letting go was exactly what I needed! A few months later I was surprised to read that he passed away!

    I can’t deal with the past now, I just want to focus on moving forward. I think things might get more difficult than I initially thought. I see my new surgeon at my local hospital on Tuesday. My surgeon told me before I even had my recent mammogram that he would have recommended a double mastectomy for me in 2019!

  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    I am really sorry Mavericksmom. You’ve suffered enough and deserve an uneventful surgery and speediest recovery. By the way do they do a double mastectomy at the same time or one at a time? Is it up to the patientI ideally would like to do one at a time. Another thing is how do they monitor if anything is abnormal after a mastectomy? You can’t do a mammogram. Do they use the ultrasound instead?

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 417
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    Mavericksmom, you are exactly right that you can only move ahead and if my words caused you pain I am so sorry. It just surprised me and I hurt for you. May your DCIS be dealt with swiftly and may it be the last time cancer rears it's ugly head with you.

    Windwalker, a double mastectomy is preferable than getting one mastectomy at a time. Less recovery time. Honestly mine has been pretty uneventful. Off prescription pain medication four days in, felt pretty normal a week out, and mobility was never really affected although I've been careful. Now four weeks out I'm just working on stretching so everything loosens up. I expect my reconstruction early next year to be a much more complicated process. You can do it at the same time but the plastic surgeon couldn't get me in during the time frame I was comfortable with so I just went ahead with the double mastectomy. As far as monitoring one thing that will be nice is that they don't really. At least not with scans. Not enough breast tissue left. You are expected to do breast self exams as will your doctor. And they'll monitor you by blood work and I assume full body scans at least for the first few years. The rate probably depends on your stage. Personally I'm of the opinion that the less scans the better especially regarding the scans with radiation exposure. They're stressful and I hate them. Sure I want to catch anything bad early but my new breasts will be much easier to monitor than my old ones (I had very large, dense natural breasts and am looking forward to fatty, uncomplicated small ones) so I expect that if something goes wrong there it'll be fairly easy to catch. And as far as distant spread, if I don't have symptoms I don't want to know about it. Just my preference though but I won't try to convince my oncologist in regards to that argument that more is better if they don't think so. Anyway good luck with your August 9th appointment. I hope you get the answers you need and feel at peace with your decision.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,404
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    MavericksMom--so sorry to hear of this latest development. I hope things go well when you see the new surgeon. Good for you for letting go of the past and focusing on your future. My best to you.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205
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    Kaynotrealname, Your words did not cause me pain! I thought I was over blaming the doctor I had for refusing to allow me to have a double mastectomy when I requested one. Maybe it is because it is nighttime and things always feel worse at night, but the fact is I should NOT have to go through any of this now! My surgery was less than three years ago! Unless I am just not thinking clearly, my breast had cancer in it when I had surgery to remove my other breast, it just wasn't detected!

    I have severe lymphedema in my left arm, now I fear having it in my right arm as well. I guess I will have to wait to hear what my surgeon says next week. I just feel so sad. I am worried about my husband, my family. I can't believe I am facing this a third time! I don't want to feel that anger again, but I am feeling anger tonight. I can't sleep. I am way past retirement age, and this could cause me problems with my employer. I hope tomorrow I feel more positive, but right now, I don't. I am definitely going to have to find some emotional support.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,011
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    Mavericksmom, I am so sorry you have to go through this a third time. Hopefully you can have fewer nodes removed to lower the chance of lymphedema in the other arm. It sounds like your new surgeon will listen to you and do his best to help. Shout, complain and get your frustrations out to help you process this. I hope you have the best outcome possible.


  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,205
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    Thanks, Maggie and Iw422, ! I didn't sleep much at all last night, but I know my doctor I have now will come up with the best plan forward for me. It is hard to trust after being lied to by a doctor, but I wouldn't want to be judged because of what someone else did, so I am putting my trust in my new breast surgeon. I am very glad I got to meet him and form an opinion prior to my mammogram. I walked out of his office knowing I was in good hands, while being completely unaware of the breast cancer inside me.

    Breast cancer is as much about our mind as it is about our breasts! It definitely is an emotional roller coaster!

  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    I got my biopsy results today. Grade 2, Er+ PR+ HER- idc. It looks like it’s the most common molecular makeup

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 417
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    I am so sorry you have to go through this a third time, too. It's not fair. But cancer never is. But it sounds like you have a great surgeon who will listen to you and maybe you won't even have to have any more lymph nodes taken out. After all it's DCIS, stage 0. And I had a double mastectomy. Maybe I was lucky but it's been a pretty easy recovery. Emotionally I don't struggle with missing my breasts. I struggle with not knowing whether this damn thing will sneak back. But we all do and we'll deal with it as it comes. Hopefully this weekend will bring you some peace as you begin to wrap your head around this yet again.

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 417
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    Breast cancer is always awful but that's what you want to see if it's invasive. Unless the tumor is big and you want a lumpectomy then you'll probably be able to avoid chemo before surgery and can go straight in. If the nodes are clear they'll send the tumor for an oncotype test and you have a good shot of being able to avoid chemo. Many good thoughts and hugs sent your way!!

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,011
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    Windwalker, your molecular profile is the best one to have if, unfortunately, you have one. I hope your appointment with the surgeon goes well.






  • windwalker27
    windwalker27 Member Posts: 54
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    Thank you guys for encouragements. I am sure I will have more questions for you next week. Thank you for sharing your wisdom