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Mar 11, 2018 11:40PM
Mar 12, 2018 07:10AM
My one year Cancerversary was in October 2017, so I am actually 16 months out. I had been having problems with my left breast - slight peeling of my nipple and then scabbing - I thought it was an injury from when our family dog had jumped up and scratched me in that area, I didn't feel a lump yet. On October 12, 2016 I went in for my annual mammogram, actually, I was a few weeks late with my appointment, as I went on an annual vacation out of town and decided to get my mammogram when my husband and I returned home. When the technician finished my mammogram, I was brought into the ultrasound room, it was there that the radiologist informed me that she saw a small mass in my left breast near my nipple that concerned her. She offered to schedule me for a biopsy of this mass next week, but I told her no, I don't want to wait that long, I am off today, so if possible, let's do the biopsy now. She was able to do the biopsy then and there. The mass was so small that she had trouble getting a sample, what I thought would take about 15 to 30 minutes ended up taking 3 hours! They had set me up to do what was called a stereotactic biopsy (I was positioned using the Mammogram machine). Following this ordeal, I was told that the results would be relayed to me in a week. I actually cried in the waiting room, the nurse navigator, who was present during my biopsy, talked to me for quite a while, she told me not to worry, that I think 15 - 20% of biopsy's ended up being benign. Well, I was an emotional roller coaster for the rest of the week. I somehow got through the weekend, and I called the nurse navigator back on Monday, October 17, 2016, to make sure that my biopsy results were in, she told me that they were and for me to come in that afternoon for the results. I went to the breast center and was ushered into a private room in the back. The radiologist and nurse navigator both came in and the radiologist gave me the news that I had invasive ductal carcinoma. At this point, her delivery of this news about my cancer seemed surreal to me - almost like she was talking about someone else - I didn't even cry then, as I had done a lot of crying the week before. The doctor stressed that my cancer was very small and had not invaded my lymph nodes, so that more than likely my treatment would consist of a lumpectomy and radiation and I would be done. She asked if I had any questions, the first one I asked was to see my pathology report, which the nurse navigator handed me a binder that included this and was organized for me to keep my medical records - I really appreciated this later - this actually came from a local cancer services center in our community. I then asked if I needed to make arrangements to go to M.D. Anderson (we are about 3-1/2 hours away from Houston - some people from here go there for cancer treatment) - she told me no, that what I had was very treatable and that local medical providers in our community could treat me. The nurse navigator had already set me up with a well known, respected surgeon for me to consult with about my options. I had an appointment with the surgeon Oct 24, and at that appointment decided that a lumpectomy would be a good option for me. I had my surgery on Oct 28, then the surgeons office made an appointment for me to see an oncologist, who I saw at the end of November. My final pathology results indicated that my tumor size was 0.8 cm, ER+ PR+ HER2-, no lymph node invasion, clear margins, and OncoType DX Score 5, which meant no chemo. Also, genetic testing was negative for BRCA 1 and 2. I did have 30 radiations sessions and began taking Arimidex but changed to Tamoxifen because we were uncertain of my menopausal status. My current oncologist wants me to remain on Tamoxifen at least until I am post-menopausal for a couple of years, unless I decide to get a complete hysterectomy (which my gynecologist say s I should do but my oncologist says not necessary because I am BRCA negative) so, I don't know what I am going to do yet. I just had a DNC due to uterine thickening, pathology came back benign on all of this. So many directions this journey can take. But I am so thankful for my supportive family, friends, co-workers, and this online support group as well as my local breast cancer support group and excellent medical care and professionals - makes all the difference in how I have coped with this. Also, I don't sweat the small stuff anymore and try to do as the oncology nurse told me - take one day at a time! (My post-diagnosis mammograms - every six months for left breast, every year for my right, have been all clear, with the exception of scar tissue in the area of my lumpectomy). In moving forward, I am incorporating more vegetables into my diet, limiting portion sizes of meat to small (6 oz or less) each meal, limiting dairy and soy, and taking two to three weekly yoga classes - that helps me to wind down and relax, takes stress away, also I walk and swim (I belong to a health club with an indoor pool, so I can swim year round). Also, this past weekend, I had a lymphatic massage, which was awesome! I have recently discovered a book titled "The Pink Ribbon Diet", which includes many healthy recipes that I can try.
Plus, on a side note, my mother passed away from breast cancer at age 51, I was diagnosed at age 51, my final radiation appointment was on Jan 26, 2017, the 41st anniversary of her death. My first doctor's appointment following radiation was on Jan 30, which was my late dad's 97th birthday, and my paternal grandmother passed away at the age of 97! I feel that I had Angels looking out for me!
10/17/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2-
10/28/2016 Lumpectomy: Left
12/14/2016 Whole-breast: Breast
Arimidex (anastrozole), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)