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Topic: Could this be a recurrence?

Forum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned —

Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: Nov 3, 2019 10:48AM

Lilac17 wrote:

Hi, I am starting to freak out over back pain that first started on 10/23 - so it's quickly approaching two weeks now. It's mostly lower back, sometimes mid-back - mostly feels like a stiff, dull ache. Nothing sharp. Before breast cancer, I would have blamed it on walking outside in high heels or speed walking outside around the track. I have had back pain over the years so it makes sense. But after breast cancer, my thoughts run away from me. Plus it seems like a long time for this lingering pain. I don't remember a backache lasting this long. I happen to see my PCP tomorrow. I'm mildly anemic as of July and she had me on iron pills which did nothing to boost my hemoglobin (Had my blood done on Friday and I'm stuck at 11.3 which is mild anemia). The iron pills only constipated me despite Colace pills which adds more cramps and aches. So I'm prepared for her to ask me to do a stool test and then possibly colonoscopy since she is very thorough and mentioned it back in July when my blood work first came back a bit low. That's concerning enough. But now I am worried about the back issues. Does anyone have any advice? I try and tell myself, it was a small cancer and low grade....but I don't want to stick my head in the sand either. Now I'm thinking, is it colon cancer? Is it bone mets? I'm just consumed by the worry. I also don't want a ton of invasive tests with unwanted radiation - been there and done that over the years which leads me to wonder if that's what contributed to my cancer diagnosis in the first place. Any advice would be appreciated.

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 3, 2019 11:27AM Spookiesmom wrote:

Think back to what you did two weeks ago. Anything out of the ordinary? Raking leaves, yard cleanup? Lifting a grand? Giving both my dogs a bath, blow drying them, in the same day sent me to PCP. Who ordered an MRI, which came back negative for ca, but positive for a bunch of other stuff.

So while it could be something more sinister, you are wise to get checked out. Best wishes for B9.

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Nov 3, 2019 11:56AM Lilac17 wrote:

Thanks for replying, I appreciate it.

Leading up to the onset of pain, On Sunday I wore high heel boots -which I never do- into the city which required a lot of walking to get from point A to point B. I felt sore in my shins and shoulder the very next day which subsided. I then decided to start walking the track Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I walked on the treadmill and that evening my back started hurting. So there were things leading up to the pain. My problem is it’s still here, going on 2 weeks later. I think I’ll request an MRI. I hope they can do one without the contrast.

Thank You

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 3, 2019 12:12PM wrenn wrote:

Cancer anxiety (normal once diagnosed in my opinion) has caused me more aches and pains than ever before. I am not sure if my immunity in general tanked but I have had lower back pain for a year and had never had it before. I have an ache in my right side (liver mets ?) for about 5 years. I am short of breathe with an ache in my upper back (lung mets?) and now an ache in my left arm (bone mets?). My digestion is way off with reflux and constipation (gastric mets?). Scans show nothing but normal aging. It is getting embarrassing to even mention it any more. The psychological aspects of having cancer have been way worse for me than anything physical. Maybe I had these aches and pains all my life but didn't pay attention?

Although I hope you don't have a recurrence the constant worry is not something I would wish on anyone either.

Metaplastic IDC Triple negative...Tumour is 1.5cm. BMX Aug. 16th. Chemo cancelled after one dose due to complications. Dx 7/25/2013, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 3, 2019 12:24PM Lilac17 wrote:

Wrenn, the psychological aspects are brutal for sure. I was doing fine not focusing on breast cancer until this summer an incidental finding with my heart sent me for a loop and I started focusing on cancer (possibly as a defense mechanism to keep from going crazy over heart worries?) The heart issue is now for the most part, not high on my list of concerns. But the fear of cancer recurrence/new cancer has really got me down. I’m 44 years-old and my kids are young- ranging in age from 5 to 13. I was only diagnosed in 2018 so this seems ridiculous to me on one hand, given the size and grade of my tumor - just 3mm and grade 1 but I read terrible stories of bad outcomes and I never assume I’m in the clear.

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 3, 2019 01:03PM wrenn wrote:

Lilac17, I don't think the size matters when it comes to worry. Hearing the word "cancer" throws many of us. We are forced to accept that we are vulnerable. I think many doctors understand the anxiety so don't worry about following up. I hope it is nothing and I hope the worry eases.

Metaplastic IDC Triple negative...Tumour is 1.5cm. BMX Aug. 16th. Chemo cancelled after one dose due to complications. Dx 7/25/2013, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 3, 2019 01:09PM AliceBastable wrote:

If the iron pills cause constipation, that could be the problem. When I'm even mildly constipated, my lower back feels like I got hit by a truck - I think the, ahem, "overcrowding" presses on nerves.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Nov 3, 2019 01:23PM Lilac17 wrote:

Wrenn, Thanks for the good wishes. I wish your worries ease as well.

I think I use the "small" size to try and convince myself not to dwell on the dark side as much as I do. Not really working. Cancer is cancer, you are right

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 3, 2019 01:24PM Lilac17 wrote:

I really hope it's the iron pills, Alice! Thanks for reaching out to me.

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 3, 2019 01:49PM - edited Nov 3, 2019 01:50PM by pupmom

Lilac, IMHO, you're just too soon out from diagnosis not to have these fears. I had a much more serious diagnosis than yours and now I rarely think about cancer or reoccurrence. But for 2 years it was on my mind constantly. My guess is that the problem relates to your high heels. That's the reason I stopped wearing heels 30+ years ago!

Hug

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 3, 2019 02:11PM Slg1324 wrote:

hi Lilac!

I totally feel you ! I’m so sorry you are so worried. I’m currently consumed with worry myself while I’m still in the DX phase and having worrisome symptoms . I wish I could help ease your worry!❤️ I will say this -don’t know if this will help even a little but I’m wondering if you could talk to your doctor about taking a slow release iron supplement(if you aren’t taking one already). The side affects can tend to be less with slow release iron . One of the brand names is Slow Fe another is Solgar Gentle Iron .Before the BC DX I had low iron levels (due to heavy periods from peri menopause ??) and my doc told me to take iron supplements and I knew of the side affects so I took both Slow Fe and a (very expensive) natural form of iron called Floradex and there is Gaia Herbs brand liquid iron .I took recommended doses. My body is so sensitive especially my digestive system - I have IBS.I did not experience side effects( no stomach cramps , back ache or constipation ) from any of those supplements.my iron levels have gone back to normal now so my surgeon has told me only to take iron when I’m on my period as it can be dangerous to take with normal iron levels.

Many hugs and calming thoughts your way .💕

Dx 10/15/2019, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy Surgery 12/5/2019 Lumpectomy: Left
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Nov 3, 2019 02:12PM Lilac17 wrote:

Thanks pupmom, your post is very much appreciated.

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 3, 2019 04:07PM Lilac17 wrote:

Slg- thank you for that helpful info on the iron pills and for your comforting words. I am sending you hugs too

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 6, 2019 03:29PM KBeee wrote:

What did your PCP say? Hoping your symptoms ease.

Karen. Dx 8/5/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/26/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 9/20/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 12/12/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 1/23/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 1/29/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 2/2/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/25/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/25/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 3/31/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/25/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 6, 2019 04:25PM Lilac17 wrote:

Hi, my PCP said she doubted it was recurrence, that it sounded muscular especially since I had increased activity prior to the aches starting. She knows I’m worried and offered me an X-Ray but I’d rather an MRI. She doesn’t think insurance will cover MRI without first having an X-Ray. She gave me a muscle relaxer which I’m not taking because the pain is mild, and she’s checking back in two weeks.

Since I’m still feeling the aches, today makes two weeks, I emailed my oncologist and am waiting to hear his thoughts.

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 6, 2019 07:31PM wallan wrote:

Hi Lilac17:

Hugs to you. Anxiety. It sucks. After my treatment the first time, I must have gone to the doctor for everything. It did get embarrassing after awhile when it always turned out to be nothing. I am grateful it turned out to be nothing. That phase of anxiety lasted about 5 years or so. I did have xrays for sore backs a few times.

Now, after my second dx with a new primary, I am not going to the doctor for everything. Kbeee on these boards suggested writing down the pain to get it out of your head, forgetting about the worry and waiting for 2 or 3 weeks. If still there, get to your GP and get it looked at for peace of mind. This and my prior experience helped alot.

My oncology SW says the anxiety is very very normal because getting cancer is like being hit by a truck psychologically. Its traumatizing.

I hope that you find peace with your back . And I hope over time, your anxiety lessens to a dull roar.

This site is wonderful for support since we all get it.

Wallan

Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/31/2004 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/30/2004 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Dx 1/25/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Mucinous/IDC: Cribriform, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 6, 2019 08:18PM Yogatyme wrote:

lilac, you might want to take one muscle relaxer to see if it gives you relief. That could help diagnostically.

Yogatyme Surgery 3/3/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/13/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Nov 7, 2019 03:42PM Lilac17 wrote:

thanks Wallan, reading your post helps to reassure me that it really could be nothing. I may do the X-ray if I’m still sore by next week when I check-in with my doctor. The troublesome part is that I’ve had aches and pains before my diagnosis (bulging disc and sore knees) but I don’t remember it going on this long. But then again I may have a selective memory since the cancer. I wish you well

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 7, 2019 03:50PM Lilac17 wrote:

Hi Yoga, I ended up taking the muscle relaxer. But honestly I was so distracted I’m not sure if it helped or didn’t - I think it helped a little. Long story short... I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia this summer- they say it may have been triggered by excessive stress (LOL ya think?) and I’m on a beta blocker to help stop adrenaline surges- that muscle relaxer I was prescribed contradicts my heart med. I only learned this after I took the pill and decided to look it up. So I was freaking out about it until it made me fall asleep.

So I’m afraid to try it again

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 11, 2019 09:47PM jesnort5 wrote:

Lilac17 Hi! How are you feeling? I read this thread a few days ago and hopped back on to see if you decided to get an x-ray. I have had back pain for 5-6 weeks on my lower left side. Mainly hurts when sitting or laying in certain positions. My onc is pretty cautious and ordered a CT scan. It’s on Thursday and I am of course a bit worried.

Can anyone explain what this “bone pain” feels like when it’s actually cancer? I’m driving myself crazy googling. Thanks in advance. :)

Dx 4/10/2019, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 13, 2019 06:27AM Lilac17 wrote:

Jes, good luck with your CT scan. You must be so nervous, especially after being on Google, with all the terrifying info you can find on there. I’m sending you good wishes for a clean scan. Hoping it’s just regular aches and pains or something else innocent. Please let us know how you make out.

As for me, I haven’t had any xrays or tests at this point. Watchful waiting..

Sending you good wishes!

Dx 5/1/2018, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/7/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 6/26/2018 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 8/3/2018 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
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Nov 14, 2019 09:40AM claireinaz wrote:

Hi there, chiming in. I had left hip pain for about 8 months on and off..after 2 months I got an X-ray and dx was tendonitis. I began wearing the right running shoes to hike in/walk in (I had been walking in flips, etc. because up till now it was never a problem); I sit up straight much more now than allowing myself to slump on a couch or chair or anything when working. It cleared up the tendonitis but it still comes back when I've overstretched because of yoga or running/hiking.

Point is, I freaked out for about 2-3 months thinking it was cancer that wasn't caught. It wasn't. But since our lives were, and still are, threatened by cancer we will jump on any little out of the ordinary symptom because we go directly to survival mode, which brings up a bunch of anxiety.

My GAD comes and goes-and it's sky-high now that I have an upcoming oncology check up Monday, but I've been on a low dose of lexapro for a year to alleviate it. It seems to help for the most part. Sometimes a low dose Xanax is the only way I can get through scan-test-check up anxiety.

Claire in AZ

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
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Nov 14, 2019 12:21PM Kimm992 wrote:

I had back pain that ached and burned (lower and middle) that went on for weeks and weeks. I didn't remember doing anything that injured it at all. I saw the doctor and she suggested ice and stretching and after doing that for a week it went away completely. I spent weeks worrying about recurrence though!

Now it still comes and goes every few months and when I feel it start to act up I go straight to ice and stretching before is gets worse and that seems to do the trick.

For what it's worth my doctor and my oncologist both told me that typically bone mets are really really painful, often get worse at night/wake you up and the pain doesn't come and go...it gets worse and worse.

Hope you're able to get some peace of mind soon!

Dx 10/14/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Chemotherapy 11/3/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil) Targeted Therapy 1/6/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/7/2016 Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 3/24/2016 Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/30/2016 Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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