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Scared and alone. Please help.

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Diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound today. The radiologist said it was for sure cancer. Large 3-5cm mass in breast with 1 enlarged lymph node. Both bi-rad5 for malignancy. I’m scared to death. Biopsy scheduled for tomorrow.

I’m only 39. I have 4 young children. I just finished breastfeeding. I have no idea how I missed this. I’m so scared it’s spread even father. I’m convincing myself it’s in my bones and liver. I keep reading more and finding more things that make me think it has spread more. Please tell me it’s possible this large of a lump and lymph node involvement can still be a stage 2 and can be treated. I’m not ready to leave my babies.

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Comments

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,861
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    bossmom,

    You are very far from leaving your babies! While it is tempting to catastrophize at a time like this, and we all likely have from time to time, it is only adding to your anxiety. Focus on what you know to be a fact today, period, full stop. You know that stress and anxiety won’t change the ultimate outcome of your situation and while it isn’t easy to stop the anxiety, it’s worth practicing how to do so. Meditation, yoga, exercise or even binge watching your favorite show are all good distractions.
    I will say that I’m a little peeved at your radiologist. Although her/his experience has given them the skills to evaluate imaging very well, the biopsy is what will be the determining assessment, not imaging. I find it highly unprofessional for her/him to have made this pronouncement, even if they are correct in the end. Declaring something breast cancer without a biopsy is overstepping IMO, especially when they can’t give you any details, support or proposed tx, because none of that will known until the biopsy results are in.
    Breast cancer is a highly individualized disease and it’s not easy to do any head to head comparisons between patients though there are some generalities that apply. Additionally, it is very unlikely that it has already spread beyond the breast as even more aggressive breast cancers are relatively slow growing. Only about 6% of newly dx’ed breast cancers are metastatic de novo, so that should absolutely not be a major worry. Most of us know how difficult waiting is and nothing seems to move fast, but breast cancer is not considered an emergency like a stroke or heart attack. Focus on what you know now. Not easy but worth cultivating. Take care.

  • l8blmr
    l8blmr Member Posts: 89
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    Hello Bossmom, Sorry you had to login here, but glad you did. Exbrngrl gives excellent advice, as do many others on this website. It's hard not to let your mind take you down the negative road, but stay in reality. The waiting is the worst part; find a good distraction if you can-maybe something fun that you enjoy with your kids. (Kids & grandkids always a great distraction for me) Hang in there, when the results are back you'll have time to determine your game plan. Big hugs!

    And yes, peeved to say the least! Your radiologist was out of their lane….tsk, tsk.

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    thank you. She didn’t say 100% that it was cancer but she gave me a bi-rad 5 and said with the large, irregular shape of the mass along with the calcifications, and lymph node involvement, she felt certain it was malignant. I was digging for answers so it was probably my fault. I’m so scared and nervous. Don’t know what to do next. Just looking for positive stories I guess

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 407
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    Hi Bossmom. What happened to you also happened with me and it will always be a pet peeve. Radiologists have no business telling you they're looking at cancer. Or even thinking they are looking at cancer because the fact of the matter is that no one can be sure of anything until biopsy results are in and now they've left you frightened out of your skull. It makes me so angry that it's happened to you and I'm sorry.'

    On the other hand I know what that's like so I'll tell you what's not helpful right now. Don't google at the moment because you know nothing. Distract like it's your job. And in the meantime I will tell you that if worse comes to worst and this is cancer that whatever it is, is treatable and very high that it's curable. The vast majority of breast cancer cases are when found so hold onto that until you have results. I am two years out next month and feel great.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,861
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    Again, we all understand how stressful this period of assessments can be. All you can do next is wait for the facts to be known as the assessments reveal their answers. I know you want answers ASAP but digging for answers that aren’t actually available does nothing but create more stress because you’re simply asking a doctor to go beyond their scope of expertise or concluding things based on the inconclusive. Yes, imaging for breast cancer is inconclusive, and incomplete if it is cancer, that’s why we have biopsies.

    Honestly, you simply don’t have enough information yet to deduce, conclude, or arrive at any conclusions. Take care

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,700
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    You have already had good advice about not doing the google thing which is not good anyway. Once you have your whole report you can deal with you want you need to at that point. If it is cancer they can tell you what kind it is and everyone is different with what they need and the best way to treat it. Everyone makes different decisions for them as well on what is best for them. You will find good support here. Best wishes to you. You are young and have a family there. Focus on them right now and the joys they bring right now so you can relax since there is a lot of waiting for tests.

  • needs.a.nap
    needs.a.nap Member Posts: 188
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    Hello @bossmom24. You are not alone here. You are surrounded by so many very strong women! No matter what the results, we are here with you, you won’t have to be alone.

  • wondering44
    wondering44 Member Posts: 260
    edited April 23
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    Hi bossmom,

    It is easy to go down the rabbit hole wondering the "what ifs" while you wait for results. However, you don't know anything until you get results. Try to spend time with those four fabulous kiddos right now if you can wrap your mind around it. The "what ifs" won't change a thing today except add to the anxiety and stress of a difficult time.

    There are so many variables to stage 1, 2, 3 or 4. I can't answer for others, but I'd think it was pretty common to go to worst case scenario until you have all of the answers. My tumor wasn't small and I still ended with stage 1 and NED today.

    Again, try to spend as much time with the precious moments you have with the four fabulous kiddos. Looking back, I would have changed that part during the waiting for results. Darn that Dr. Google and rabbit hole for sucking me in when I could have spent my time loving my family before the cancer rollercoaster ride.

    Sending you warm thoughts while you wait for results.

  • snm
    snm Member Posts: 93
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    Totally agree with the above - "distract like it's your job!" That is sound advice during this crazy rollercoaster ride of breast cancer. It will keep you from being sucked into the mind's worm hole of doom and gloom. I use stand up comedy to distract - there are some amazing funny women on Netflix..Wanda Sykes (aka breast cancer survivor) is hilarious!

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    I’m just not sure how I’m going to mentally get though this. I keep thinking that this is definitely stage 3 due to the size of the tumor plus lymph nodes. It looks like it’s spread to the surrounding breast tissue as well. what are the chances it’s spread to other parts of my body? I am extremely depressed and I anxious. I can’t eat, sleep, I throw up from stress. I don’t know how I’m going to tell my kids. I honestly don’t know what to do

  • maggiehopley
    maggiehopley Member Posts: 112
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    I'm going to disagree a little bit and say that I am glad my radiologist gave me a "heads up" that it was almost certainly (he never said definitely) cancer. I really needed the time to process and prepare for the upcoming biopsy. I am the kind of person who likes to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Everyone is different; a lot of women do not want this kind of information, especially when it is speculative. I will say that my enlarged, birads 5 lymph node came back benign, so that's proof they don't always know. The vast majority of breast cancers have not metastasized and never will, so take a deep breath and know that your care team will have a great treatment plan for you if this is indeed cancer.

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    Maggie. I am the same as you. As bad as it feels, I would rather them tell me the cold hard truth so I can try to cope and not be caught off guard. That gives me hope about your lymph node, but on my report it says “enlarged and fully replaced lymph node”. I’m assuming fully replaced means that it is covered in cancer? I don’t know. Biopsy today, asked to have my results stat, but I don’t have an appt with a breast surgeon until may. I just want this cancer gone so badly.

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 407
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    Everyone of us has tried to kill ourselves off at the beginning. And pretty much all of us are wrong regardless of the stage we're at. Even stage 4 breast cancer is highly treatable but only 6% end up at that from the beginning so yeah your nodes may be involved if this is indeed cancer but that's usually it. Just try to get through this biopsy so you'll know. If you want to be proactive then maybe decide the hospital you want to be treated at if you're positive. I got my phone call confirming my diagnosis by 12:00, picked up my kid from school, came home and called the hospital I wanted to be treated at making my first appointments within 48 hours. Huge comfort. But researching right now does nothing beyond that. If you've got an NCI hospital reasonably close (national cancer institution) that's where you want to go btw. We all know how horrible this is, the waiting is nothing short of torture, but this time period will end shortly and you'll know where you're at and can proceed. So many hugs sent your way…

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    thank you. I already have an appt scheduled with a breast surgeon in about a week and a half. I wish it could be sooner. Got my biopsy done today and trying to figure out how I’m going to plan my daughter's 6th birthday party in the middle of this intense depression. They also mentioned an mri because of the size and shape of the breast mass. I’m so confused and scared.

  • kotchaj
    kotchaj Member Posts: 211
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    @bossmom24 ,

    I'm sending you some really BIG hugs right now. I feel that where you currently are was the worst part of my diagnosis and treatment. The waiting is horrible and at first, there's a lot of it. There is an old saying that was added onto by me when I was going through where you are right now. And it was "when one door closes, another one opens, BUT sometimes it's HELL in the hallway. Also, know that how you are feeling is completely normal and horrible all at once.

    Try to not Google, or as @kaynotrealname stated, kill yourself off. It's easier said than done, but it will help get you through this really hard time. We are all here to listen, cheer you on, give a hug, or give you a smack upside your head if needed:-) I needed a couple of those smacks so I would remember to focus on the here and now and not do any coulda, woulda, shouldas.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,861
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    I really feel for you, bossmom. Feeling confused and scared is very normal in your situation. You want all the facts and a plan for next steps… yesterday but you are moving toward those answers. It may be slow going but it is forward movement. Planning for your child’s birthday might be a wonderful distraction and give you something positive to focus on. My youngest grandchild just turned 6 and I’m a retired teacher who mainly taught kindergarten and grade 1. You may have to push yourself but it could really help in shifting your mental focus.

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 407
    edited April 23
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    As everyone said, plan your party. Get help if needed from friends and family and don't make it overwhelming. Just appropriate for your kid so that it feels like a birthday. And we are all so sorry. We know this fear and anxiety. We understand and wish we could take it away. But we can't although I'll remind you, it's temporary. No matter what, it will pass, even if the worst case scenario does indeed occur. Just hold on for some answers because they're coming and even though it feels like forever, it won't be. They'll move pretty quickly. Also, MRI's are pretty normal so don't let that throw you. Most get them if diagnosed. I didn't because I knew I wanted a double mastectomy and wanted one asap so my surgeon just decided to let it all come out in the wash. But most people want to know their surgery options so an MRI is done to get a complete idea of how much of the breast is involved and to make sure a lumpectomy is an option. It has nothing to do with them thinking you're advanced or anything. It's just to get a clear view as possible of what is in the breast.

  • bailey.boo
    bailey.boo Member Posts: 100
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    hi Bossmom. It sounds like we have somewhat similar things going on. After my first mammogram and ultrasound, they flagged a few things—like irregular masses, calcifications, and two enlarged axillary lymph nodes. The irregular masses measured around 2.5 cm, with the largest abnormality being 6 cm, while the calcifications varied in size, with some as large as 1.5 cm. They gave me a BIRADS-4B classification.
    Today, I had 5 biopsies done with many tissue samples, and now it’s just a waiting game. I asked if it was in the ducts at all, and they said no, I remarked “then there’s no chance it could be DCIS,” and the doc corrected me that, even though it’s not in the ducts, it could definitely still be a possibility. I’d very very much prefer a benign dX, but that was reassuring.

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    Kay thank you about the mri info. That really helps. They already ordered me one but I don’t know when it will be.

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    Bailey yes. Sounds very similar to me. I have a large mass but it’s hard to tell the size. It’s 3.5-5.3cm depending if they are counting the actual mass or where they see the abnormality. I also have definitely one lymph node that is completely either cancer or necrosis about 1.5cm in size. The other nodes looked normal on the ultrasound but that doesn’t mean much. I got a biopsy today too. I think they took 3 samples from the breast mass and 2 from the lymph node. Your bi-rad isn’t as high as mine, my doctors are all sure it’s cancer. Just need to get the results before I can see the breast surgeon.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
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    I've been following this without commenting until now. Mine was a Birads 5, and it was indeed cancer. My lymph nodes looked fine on all imaging, but there were micromets in the one sentinel node, which surprised the heck out of everybody on the medical team. That's to show you that imaging is not 100% accurate. But it was still a low stage, low grade cancer, with no need for chemo, so I had a lumpectomy that did not hurt, then a few months later (because I had other, unrelated medical crap to deal with), I had a full course of radiation, which was merely boring in a Groundhog Day way. That was 6 years ago and I'm back to just plain old normal mammograms from now on. BTW, I've had tons of CTs and a few PET scans for other reasons, and things that lit up on scans and led to a biopsy were benign, so you really, really, really can never know. Oh, and sizes on imaging vs. sizes after pathology vary enormously, so don't get freaked out over any size you see in your reports. And each imaging mode sees things differently, so it's not so much that sizes and shapes change, but it's more like a variety of animals with x-ray vision are looking iinside you, so the hippo mammogram and the gerbil ultrasound and the cobra MRI all have different types of vision. They can see something, but they can't be sure what it is, and it looks different to each of them.

    I got through my tests, lumpectomy, re-excision, more tests and much larger surgery for my other medical thing (which was a different cancer), recovery from that, and radiation, by doing as many fun things as possible. Each medical crap thing had me planning another outing, like picnics at favorite parks or long drives, or an awesome concert the day after my biopsy, or lunch with friends 2 days after the lumpectomy. My breast surgeon and i laughed about when she'd call to schedule something, or with a test result, and I'd have to ask her to hold while i looked for pen and paper because we were in a park halfway across the state. The big surgery got a short vacation before, and again right before starting radiation. And I took walks in local parks and was healthier (except for those pesky intruders) than I'd been in ages. Looking back, I have to ask my husband when things like surgery were, because we were having so many fun days. So get that birthday party planned, then plan some other things!

  • waves2stars
    waves2stars Member Posts: 123
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    Sorry you are in this situation. My technician told me the same thing. I was glad to know right away because it prepared me little by little for what was ahead. My mom, best friend and husband knew, but we waited to tell anyone until all the dx testing was done and after a ten day road trip that started just days after the official dx. Imaging can be very wrong, and if there’s swelling from your body’s response to that invader, or your recent breast feeding, it can make things seem worse before you get all the info. Also, though the mass I had was a little over 2cm, and they found scattered DCIS after surgery, pathology determined it to only be stage 1 because of its features. Your mri should be most accurate, and your biopsy results will drive your care. Maybe turn over the party planning to the grandparents, or try a fun park or zoo, something completely different and away from the house, so that you have a better chance of enjoying the day, too. Hugs!

  • ebfitzy
    ebfitzy Member Posts: 52
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    @bossmom24 try to find ways to make yourself relax. Even stage 4 now is not a death wish! Many stage 4 survivors are here on this site and are very inspirational! My grandma had breast cancer when she was 26 and it recurred two times. She’s stage 4 and 80 YEARS OLD. Still going strong and riding horses, etc. it’s amazing how far we have come with breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer! So def keep your head up. Look at your glass being half full rather than half empty. Your young like me and have kids like me and let me tell you…you will be more strong because your fighting for THEM too! 💪🙌

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,861
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    So happy to hear that you’re finding a way forward. The Xanax sounds like a good idea as does returning to work. I am a retired teacher (still sub) and being in the classroom with the kids was always a marvelous distraction. As for your own children, yes, they may not know exactly what’s up but they know something is off. You may already know this but there are many books and articles that can give you ideas about how to speak to children about cancer as well as support groups for children. I agree that waiting until you have a full picture of your situation is best before speaking with them.
    It is also great that you feel so supported by your medical team as this will make things go as smoothly as possible. Take care

  • candilea
    candilea Member Posts: 14
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    Hi Bossmom,

    I'm just here to tell you that, yes, you can have that diagnosis that you think you are going to get, and STILL be okay! My pathology results revealed more cancer than the clinical diagnosis, but I was still considered stage 2 because of the updated guidelines that take into account er/pr, and I'm here five years later and no recurrence. I've had three ctDNA tests that look for residual cancer, and they've all been negative (I know there is a lot of discussion about these tests, but I'm happy for whatever good news I get). I had A LOT of cancer, and it was in seven nodes, and I'm here and doing very well. You can do this, too. Treatments are getting better all the time—even in the time since my diagnosis, they have started using new things that are very beneficial. You have a very very good chance of being very very okay. Keep your thoughts on the bright side, and surround yourself with good people and lots of love.

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    candilea thank you thank you. I just need more positive stories and people who have been through this. The only survivors I know personally have been stage 1. This is why I joined the group. So I could connect with others going through the same as me.

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178
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    it’s possible there will be three or four more test. Does it mean you’re gonna kick off tomorrow? It means that they’re looking for everything they can find before they set out your treatment plan and once you have that things will get better. In the meantime, your little girl has a birthday party coming up. Throw your energy into that, find a hobby.keep yourself occupied. So you don’t worry about whatever the future holds. I don’t say this to scare you at my original diagnosis. It was stage three grade 314 years later I’m still here.

  • maggiehopley
    maggiehopley Member Posts: 112
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    bossmom, I am a preschool teacher, too. I did not tell my students. I felt that information about such a serious situation should come from the parents, in whatever manner they believed was appropriate for their child. Young children don't necessarily need to know this kind of personal information about a non-family member, so I left it up to parents to share if they wanted to.

    I ended up taking a full school year off for treatment. Recently one of my former students came by and said "I remember being in your class, but you had different hair then". Lol, yes I did.

  • bossmom24
    bossmom24 Member Posts: 48
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    Maggie, aww!! So I was actually talking about telling my own kids! I guess I didn’t specify, but yes, I am not telling my students. They are very young and I also teach special education so many are nonverbal and have autism.

    I don’t know how much time to take off work. I guess it depends on my treatment plan. I am the primary insurance holder for my family so I can’t lose health insurance. It’s just a lot to think about.