Second Breast Cancer
I have begun my second experience with chemotherapy yesterday.
I had ER/PR positive breast cancer in 2005, underwent a lumpectomy with lymph dissection as the sentinel node was positive. I began Tamoxifen after chemotherapy and stayed on that regimen for five years. It was not awful, I could function, but the hot flashes were really for the birds. I learned to dress light all the time - year round in the south. After two years, I did have a hysterectomy. I felt that I didn't want to give cancer a place to go. I also had a bladder lift, so, I got something positive out of the deal.
I moved on and lived my life for the next 18 years. About a year ago, I developed a cluster of cysts on within my right breast, and was followed every six months after biopsy and markers were placed. I have fibrocystic dense breast tissue as I imagine most of us do. Last December, no changes. This July, 1.2 mm spot on my left side. So, another biopsy, and this time it was positive. A completely different type of cancer in the same breast - 18 years later. I think I went into shock for a little bit.
I made the choice to do a double mastectomy, with reconstruction. I am so grateful that I chose this option. When my pathology came back, my right breast had DCIS- probably around that cluster of cysts. My surgeon was excellent and my plastic surgeon is as well. I recovered easily from this surgery and I am 59 years old. I am not a fitness fanatic, but I do walk and I am healthy. A little on the chubby side , but I do alright.
So, chemotherapy is the TC regimen, as I had AC the first time and maxed out the lifetime dose during that experience. I will of course lose hair again, and I am going to pick up my new hair today actually. Head shaving on Monday - no sense in waiting. I like to be in control of my situation, as I am still going to work and keeping life the same. I learned after the first experience that keeping busy was key for me to successful passage of time.
My hope for all of us is that we can keep going for all of those that we love and but mostly for ourselves. We deserve to be happy and we control that. I am grateful to be in this group of strong women!