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Waiting for Surgery

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inmymindseye
inmymindseye Member Posts: 6
edited September 2022 in Just Diagnosed

Hi everyone! I was just diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. Everything has been moving so quickly up until now. I had my biopsy 3 days after my diagnostic mammo and ultrasound. It only took a couple of days for my results and I had my initial consultation with the breat surgeon a week ago today.

This afternoon I called the scheduler for an update on surgery dates and was told the soonest availability the surgeon has is October 24th! I'm so upset. I spoke with a nurse asking if it's really OK to wait 2 months after diagnosis for treatment. She's sending a message to the Dr about my concern.

I've been pretty zen about my diagnosis. The lump was found on a routine mammo and is about 2 cm. The cells are a grade 1 so thankfully it isn't aggressive. That being said, I'm now very anxious about the timeline. There is no sign of lymph node involvement but what if the nodes they test come back positive? How do I know it didn't spread while waiting on the surgery?

I live in the US and I am on an HMO plan with a very limited network (I've always been pretty healthy, wasn't planning on having a major health condition -not that anyone does!) There is one other surgeon and that other surgeon isn't available until the 2nd week in October.

Any words of wisdom while I wait on a call back? Thanks!


Holly


Comments

  • ktsmitty
    ktsmitty Member Posts: 15
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    Hi! I think we have very similar circumstances. I was diagnosed on July 15th and I too am still waiting. My surgery is now Sept 12. It was originally Aug 29th, but moved when I was also diagnosed with ALH, so the surgeon wants to get both at the same time. The waiting is the worst part! However, since mine (and it sounds like yours too) is slow growing, they say it won’t grow anymore in the next few months, so even though WE feel it is urgent, it really isn’t. Good Luck!

  • quietgirl
    quietgirl Member Posts: 165
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    I realize it’s really hard to wait. When I was diagnosed back in January my surgeon talked about during the height of Covid she won’t have even been able to schedule me because they simply stopped doing surgery. I only mention this because I think some areas are still dealing with a ripple effect and haven’t returned to precovid scheduling in terms of space (in others words they might actually have the space to do more surgeries per day but they aren’t sure they will have the personal so they do not book at the same rate as before which pushes certain groups out further. Some areas of the country are still dealing with the impact. I understand that doesn’t make it easier for you at all. I think our natural reaction when we accept we are going to have surgery is I want it done NOW but the truth is that we are often faced with delays that while they elevate our stress level have little impact on the outcome. That doesn’t mean we don’t what if ourselves? What if this happens? What if that happens? But if your medical team though a delay would greatly impact your life they would try to find a way to schedule sooner. Sometimes I think we have seen too many medical drama on TV where people go from diagnosis to surgery in a matter of days if not hours but the majority of surgeries don’t happen that way at all. Again I understand your frustration and the way it might elevate your fear. It might help if you focus on the things you can control at this point. You can for example make some of your favorite meals and freeze them so you have a quick and easy plan during recovery. You can research and decide if you want to buy new bras to use during radiation. You could see if your surgeon actually has a wait list if someone has to back out of surgery. (I sort of doubt it but if you could be available on short notice and they do that’s an option). Again I am saying all this with the knowledge it still stinks). But every day you are one step closer

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,834
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    Holly,

    Waiting is difficult, especially when it comes to cancer. The good news is that breast cancer is generally slow growing and rarely an emergency (though it kind of feels like it). I waited almost 9 weeks because the surgeon and plastic surgeon had to coordinate schedules. I really wouldn’t be concerned about the wait time in terms of the cancer but if there is a wait/cancellation list put your name on it because it might benefit you emotionally if you can have surgery sooner. Take care

  • currane1021
    currane1021 Member Posts: 2
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    Your response response about waiting Was reassuring. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 B breast cancer on July11. I was due to have a lumpectomy on August 22 but came down with

    Covid in August20. I have recovered and my new surgery date is Sept.22 as they have to wait for 4 weeks after covid because of anesthesia concerns.


    I am so afraid the cancer will grow to a later stage. Any hope it will not?

    Thankyou

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,158
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    I was diagnosed the first week in August, my third time with breast cancer! I had a single mastectomy in 2019. I wanted a bilateral mastectomy then, but I was refused and my breast surgeon went on a long rant about how unlikely it would be for me to ever get it in the opposite breast! He said hospital policy was not to remove a healthy breast! Now, three years later I have a high grade cancer in the only real breast I have!

    Thankfully I am at a different hospital with a breast surgeon I really like! My surgery is scheduled for October 12th! I definitely understand how you feel! I am having a mastectomy with tissue expander (for an implant later on) so my surgery requires two surgeons, which requires coordination of their schedules. Due to staff shortages and other issues from the pandemic, everything seems to have slowed down. I was sure I would be scheduled in September, nope! I am not panicked about the wait as it won’t grow or spread that quickly in two months.

    I guess we will soon need an October surgery thread....ironically breast cancer awareness month! I think we are VERY aware!!!! I hope you stay in touch, you can private message me if you want to.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,834
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    currane,

    I don’t know what grade your bc is but breast cancer is generally slow growing and not an emergency. Any hope that your bc won’t grow as you wait? All the hope in the world! Breast cancer, even grade 3, is still relatively slow growing.Waiting is no fun but it is highly unlikely that it will effect your bc. Take care

  • inmymindseye
    inmymindseye Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you all for taking the time to respond. Between getting to speak to my care team on Friday and the replies here, I am feeling much more calm then I was mid-week when I posted. I appreciate the reassurance! <3

  • fivetimes
    fivetimes Member Posts: 51
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    hi all! Does anyone know if there is a September surgery forum? Im still so new to this site.
    I'm scheduled for DXM this Thursday the 9th and I'm really starting to stress out now that it's getting so close.
    I was diagnosed on June 1 so it's been what feels like a long wait. Although it gave me lots of time to prepare which was a good thing.
    But I'm really starting to stress now so just wondering if theres a place for talking about upcoming surgery this month?

    Thanks so much and wishing everyone a quick recovery!!

    Maryann

  • quietgirl
    quietgirl Member Posts: 165
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    Maryann. There doesn’t look like anyone has started one yet but you can easily start one under the surgery forum. https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/91

  • fivetimes
    fivetimes Member Posts: 51
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    oh ok thanks quietgirl

    Best of luck to you

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,158
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    five times, wishing well for your surgery! Are you having it on Thursday or on the 9th, which is Friday? Whatever day, I am glad it will soon be over for you! Waiting is the worst!

  • fivetimes
    fivetimes Member Posts: 51
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    hi mavericksmom! I think I’ve had a mental block about the date - I keep getting it wrong!!!

    It’s this Thursday on the 8th. All of a sudden I’m pretty nervous about the whole thing. Thanks for your response and support !!

    Maryann

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,158
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    Maryann, it’s totally understandable! I just wanted to send some “healing vibes” to you on the right day! I am happy for you, but totally understand being nervous, especially after such a long wait! My first time with breast cancer I was diagnosed the second week in June and had surgery the second week in July. The second time, I was diagnosed the first week in December and had a single mastectomy the first full week in January, plus I had holidays to distract me. Now, it is literally months of waiting. This time it’s October for me. Too much time to think....and worry! I am happy you will soon be in the “healing” phase! I will be thinking of you!

  • fivetimes
    fivetimes Member Posts: 51
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    Hi mavericksmom - ugh I'm so sorry you've been through so much of this! It just doesn't seem fair that some times it just keeps coming back :(

    So you really understand the frustration all this waiting causes. I've gone through so many different phases during this time. Cooking has been my latest form of distraction and now my freezer is overflowing!!

    Shopping's next 😬 luckily I only have 3 days to do damage to my credit card! Lol

    In between all these different distractions I do get depressed and anxious so having folks to talk with on here really really helps!!

    I'll be thinking of you and your October proc and hoping the time passes quickly for you🙏

    Thanks so much!!!!

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,158
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    LOL about the credit card!!! So, now I am curious, what did you cook and freeze? I will be back at work, in a middle school, tomorrow. After work, I am getting my hair cut and colored. That is one thing I do for myself, I joke that I will cancel a doctors appointment before I will cancel my hairdresser appointment! (Actually not a joke! 😂)


  • fivetimes
    fivetimes Member Posts: 51
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    oh mavericksmom I'm so jealous!! My hubby started cutting my hair for me during Covid when the salons closed and he did such a good job that now I usually just ask him to do it!!! LOL

    I do miss the salon atmosphere but it's just so much easier to do it at home but I think we need to dress up the garage a little nicer for my “appointments" 😂.He does expect tips tho!!

    So I made 2 big pots of Pasta Fagioli, 2 big pots of chicken noodle, 3 pots of Lemon Chicken Orzo soup,2 pots of Tomato basil soup, 3 batches baked ziti, 2 batches sausage and peppers , 3 chicken and rice casseroles. Tomorrow I'm making 2 quiches to freeze. I tried to make soups in case I'm not up for big meals but he will still have a decent dinner :) hmm now I'm hungry !

  • fivetimes
    fivetimes Member Posts: 51
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    Hi Holly - I know it’s so frustrating waiting because the minute you hear the word cancer you think emergency. At least I always do. You have a cancer that is very similar to my first breast cancer. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t scheduled for surgery like the next day!

    Boy did I have a lot to learn. The way the doctors explained to me back then, 28 years ago, is cancer cells are usually very slow growing. Even if it’s an aggressive grade like the one I have now, it sounds aggressive to us but it’s still fairly slow growing.
    I was diagnosed this past June 1 and my surgery is Thursday so trust me, I understand how hard the waiting is and I’m so sorry that you’re going through this.
    The important thing is make sure you trust and like your surgeon and their team, that they have good nurses that will talk to you through the stress and give you suggestions on how to cope! Use the time to organize and prepare for post surgery, get food ready, get any shopping done that you think you might need!
    I’ve been decorating cleaning up my gardens, and filling up my freezer.
    So it does give you some time to get organized, especially right now, heading into the fall season it’s kind of fun to get out all my fall stuff, although a little early and decorate but I don’t want to go through the whole fall season without that!

    So that’s my suggestion, prioritize the things that you really enjoy and work on them while you’re waiting. Some days that’s easier said than done because the stress does get to you and it is so frustrating!!! there’s just no way around that it is really hard to wait.

    And the other really helpful thing is this website! It has been such a help for me when I am feeling stressed and I get so sick of the wait.
    I always find some words of encouragement from the folks on this website and I think you will too.

    We’ll all be thinking of you and reach out when you want to vent or need some support <3

    Best wishes and hugs

    Maryann

  • msphil
    msphil Member Posts: 185
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    hello sweetie I was diagnosed at 42 yrs old after found lump in shower as I was also planning our 2nd marriages waited and prayed for my fiance now husband. Diagnosed with idc stage2 0/3 nodes 3 mo chemo before and after L mast then got married then 7 wks rads and 5 yrs on tamoxifen. Praise God with Hope n Positive thoughts im now a 28yr Survivor and like to come back here to Inspire others with HOPE. msphil