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A Third Time?!?

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It’s looking very likely that after 10 years total and 4 years after the first recurrence I have a second recurrence. My annual breast MRI found a suspicious spot in my lumpectomy scar tissue. I’ve followed up with a diagnostic mammo and US and its BI-RADS 4 with scattering of calcifications and .6cm mass. There’s a slim chance the mass is fat necrosis and calcifications is is from injury to the area: I sleep on left side and often right on the area of the surgical spot, so it’s often very sore from the pressure. But I’m pretty much resigned to the enviably that’ll be malignant.

The biopsy is Monday. Of course the wait is the worst part, but I’m thankful I’m not experiencing the sheer panic and complete mental and physical shutdowns I did with my first two diagnoses. I’m worried, of course, but this one looks to be the better kind of recurrence - if that’s a thing. And I can’t even be mad at myself for possibly preventing this with a mastectomy because it’s very likely my first recurrence wouldn’t have been found until much later had it not been that I have been getting annual breast MRIs from the start due to choosing a lumpectomy. My first recurrence is considered local-regional because it was in my mammary lymph node.

Anyway, right now I’m just trying to wrap my head around what likely’s going to be the treatment. While there may still be a way to save my already mangled breast, I think I have a mastectomy ahead of me. And doing reconstruction is likely off the table because my breast skin is pretty thickened and damaged from both photon and proton radiation treatments. So, I don’t know, I may have a uniboob life ahead of me. And if that’s so I will go all-in on a lovely big scar-covering tattoo. If only I were left-handed, I’d make a super rad archer!

Anyway, I’m just overwhelmed and sad. It’s a disease that’s literally and figuratively chipping away at me. I’m not at all religious, so I don’t believe in any grand plan. I believe the world is chaos. There is no reason why this is happening to me, but I’ve worked very hard over these last 10 years to accept it, move forward and make the best of what is. The alternative is not to do - and that’s perfectly fine too. I’m not there quite yet.

Comments

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 190
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    I’m so sorry @graceber. Not a third time!! I can hear your resilience in your words. I’ve read through your earlier posts to understand what you have already been through. I’m thinking of you and hope your biopsy goes well!!

  • blossom55
    blossom55 Member Posts: 2
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    Dear Graceber - I’m sad and angry and so sorry you are facing this again . I have been cancer free for 12 years - lumpectomy , radiation and Arimidex x5.5 years . Now will have in the next 10 days a double mastectomy after core bx. . Cancer is “knocking again at the door “ of previously treated breast . I originally opted for expander reconstruction but have since changed my mind - failure rate too high because of radiation and previous mrsa infection in the breast . So will ask the plastic surgeon to give me a nice smooth flat chest . I’m done with mammograms for good . Lots of love and support going back to you . Betsy

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 190
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    Hello @graceber. How are you feeling after yesterday’s biopsy? I’m thinking of you.

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 190
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    Hello @blossom55 and welcome here. I feel so sad in your behalf too!! I’m sorry. These are not enjoyable decisions. It’s hard to explain to others. I’m really glad you joined here. I wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery and recovery! I’ll also be thinking of you.

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,177
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    On a routine lab test in May my tumor markers went up MO called that concerning so I went for a pet CT and I lit up in four places in my bones. This makes the third time so he put me on falosadex, ibrance, and Zometa. The week he confirmed that it had come back for the third time. Well, that was like a punch in the gut and I had also put one of my dogs over the bridge. It was a rough week, but my markers are coming down, and he seems to be pleased, and so am I the treatment is a lot easier than IV chemo got the hot flashes and such but nothing major if I do fail it eventually I guess I go to IV chemo. I don’t want to think that far.

  • dory123
    dory123 Member Posts: 8
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    Hello all,

    @Graceber I find myself in a similar position. How are you doing? any more news?

    I was first diagnosed in 2014 and had a lumpectomy, rads, and tamoxifen (Stopped after 2 yrs due to side effects. My children were and 4 yrs and 6 yrs old at the time and I was working full-time as a nurse. I'm the primary income provider. my lovely husband works very hard but is on minimum wage. ). The oncologist agreed with the decision saying the first two years were the most important and that my risk of recurrence was low. I was low stage and grade but multifocal with 2 tumours weakly oestrogen and fully progesterone positive. (it is thought there is a genetic link. Lost 4 female relatives to breast or ovarian cancer including my mother and gran - but genetic testing in 2014 was negative).

    December 2021 and a local recurrence. 2 more tumours. now fully oestrogen and progesterone +ve. Oncotype test results were a low score not indicating chemo. Low grade and stage once more. Sentinel nodes -ve. Again, just thought bad luck and cracked on. Full mastectomy and own tissue recon (this later failed and had to be removed). awaiting a preventative mastectomy on the right side. Commenced tamoxifen for what would be 10 yrs.

    6 months ago I found two red patches below my mastectomy scar. firm ridges beneath both. Waited a few months to see if they would go. they didn't. After a lot of chasing (UK based and the NHS is overwhelmed, I can say this as a nurse myself). Long story short, it was confirmed two days ago that I've scored the breast cancer hat trick. 3 in a row. i don't even have a boob there now. How terribly 'special' of me. Classic over acheiver. I have urgent bone and C/T scans planned and this is as much as I know. The dreaded waiting room - again. My children are now 14 yrs and 16 yrs old.

    I keep very fit. I swim (open water and pool-based), I box, I eat relatively healthily. I drink roughly 8 units of alcohol a week and can live without it - well I say that but I couldn't live without my Baileys!). I've always been very pragmatic and somewhat removed from my diagnosis just doing what needs doing.

    I'm not doing well this time. I can't bear the thought of telling my children again. I have a bad feeling about this, something I've never had in all my encounters with this blasted disease. Frankly, I'm tired. I feel like a mouse being toyed with by a pawing cat. I'm always the one with the long blonde hair, a big smile, and lots of energy. I'm drained.

    I do apologise. What a rant. sorry. x

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 190
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    No apologies needed @dory123!! Please feel free to rant all you need and want on here. I’m so sorry! I don’t really know the right words to say … it’s extremely unfair that you are having to deal with this a third time around. I’m very sorry about your mom and gran too. I’m praying you receive positive news with your scans.

  • dory123
    dory123 Member Posts: 8
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    @needs.a.nap , I love your name. As I type it I feel as though you have read my mind! :-)

    Thank you for listening. I felt better just for typing it out. How are you doing? This blasted disease can be a relentless little blighter, can't it!

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 190
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    Hi @dory123. I’m doing good, thank you for asking. I wish I had more energy is all 😊

  • dory123
    dory123 Member Posts: 8
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    A bit of a cross post. Hello all and wishing you a Happy New Year. I hope it brings you health and happiness.

    Some positive news. I was told two days before Christmas that the bone scan and MRI were clear and there is no evidence of further spread. I have surgery booked on the 15th Jan for a wide excision to try and remove as much as possible and hopefully achieve clear margins too. That would be great! I am having a preventative skin-sparing mastectomy on the right side at the same time with implant reconstruction. Unclear what we will do thereafter but I'm assuming switching to an AI as tamoxifen has not been successful. I'm feeling relieved at the lack of evidence of spread and hopeful.

    Thank you for being there over a frankly sickening few weeks.

    Now that Christmas is all done, and we had a lovely family Christmas, I have to face telling the children (again). At least I give them some positive news at the same time.

    Warmest regards

    Deborah

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,085
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    @dory123, thanks for the update! We're glad to hear about the clear bone scan. We wish you the best of luck with excision. Please, feel free to share your journey with other members going through surgery in the January 2024 Surgery? Gather here discussion. It could be a great way to connect, share experiences, and support each other through the process.

    Thinking of you. Keep us updated, please.

    The Mods