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Second Breast Cancer

Hi everyone,

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!

Comments

  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 92
    edited November 2023

    Hi @radtchr06 !

    Welcome to the club no one wants to be part of…….AGAIN!

    Really sorry to hear you have to go through all of this again. Ugh. I was in a similar position about a year ago. I had gone almost 19 years….really thought I had 'beat' it. Yeah, it's quite the shock to go through it again. I guess we just have to be happy for the years we had when we thought we were done with it.

    Really a bummer you have to do chemo again. I had to also this time….the first time, I was able to bypass it.

    Anyway…just thought I'd drop in and say Hang in There! You've got this girl!

  • radtchr06
    radtchr06 Member Posts: 4

    Thank you Mandy23! I’m reading your bio/history, and it looks as though we have a lot in common. Thank you for your kind words!

  • jezzy234
    jezzy234 Member Posts: 127

    I was diagnosed with Lobular Cancer 15 years after cancer in my right breast. Currently I am waiting to see if nodes are positive.

  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 92

    Hi @jezzy234 -

    Sorry you are also joining us again. It certainly is a shock isn't it?

    I'll keep you in my thoughts and pray for negative nodes!

    Take care.

  • jezzy234
    jezzy234 Member Posts: 127

    Thank you! The SNB has no signs of cancer. I'll start radiation in January, 2024.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    I was treated for ++- IDC, one positive node, stage 2a, tumor was 1 cm. ACT, lumpectomy, and radiation. After ten years, it's back. + - -. Getting PET scan tomorrow. I am terrified. If you pray, please pray for me: I am 53 years old with 13 year old twins. My kids... Oh God, my kids...

  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 92

    Hi @roareus -

    Sorry you are going through this again…but you've GOT THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS! It sounds like you are a person of faith, so also God's 'got you'.

    Take a deep breath. Once you know more about what you are dealing with and have a plan in place, it will get better. I know it's hard to believe that, but really….

    Thinking good thoughts for your PET scan. Think of it as providing more information, so you can kick Cancer's butt!

    Take things one test, one day at a time. Just get yourself through each small piece.

    Take care.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    What a great attitude you have. I hope to adopt the same attitude. I will keep you in my prayers. @radtchr06

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    @mandy23 , thank you for your encouraging words. This is incredibly hard for me as a natural worrier. I need a magic wand to make this go away. Thank you again.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,690

    @roareus, we'll be thinking of you tomorrow, and wishing you a successful PET scan! 🤞💗

    The Mods

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    Thank you!!!

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    I need some help here. I just saw my PET Scan results on my portal and it says

    1. right breast nodule suspicious for recurrent malignancy.
    2. 2.Hypermetabolic right axillary node, suspicious for metastatic disease.

    i know what #1 means. NUMBER 2, does it mean it spread to the nodes and the rest of my body?

  • maggiehopley
    maggiehopley Member Posts: 97

    Number 2 means that it has spread to a lymph node. This would be considered a loco-regional recurrence, NOT Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. That is when it has spread to the liver, lungs, bones, etc. That would be mentioned on the PET scan if that were the case. Metastatic in this instance just means that the cancer is outside the breast. I am not a doctor, but it looks to me like you will be able to be treated with curative intent.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    The nurse on the phone said that the node can be a reactive node from the biopsy and nobody will know until the surgery. When I asked how often do reactive nodes happen, she said "it happens." Anyone know anything about reactive nodes lighting up on PET Scans?