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Jan 21, 2012 04:02PM
, edited Jan 21, 2012 04:12PM
Artemis, in defense of the celebrites who go on t.v. and say they are cancer free it's not all their fault. They are told by the medical establishment that they are cured. After my first lumpectomy, the bc surgeon came into the little room where I waited with a huge smile and said, you are one of the lucky ones. You had the good cancer. You only had DCIS. No node involvemnet. A few days later she called and gave me the final report. I got wide margins so I got it all. I was cancer free. She did send me to a rad oncologist for consultation as it's "standard" care. I did my homework and brought in a list of information, studies, and questions. I said to the rad oncologist, I only have stage 0 ... they got it all. Can rads cause a recurrence? What's the likely hood for me to have a recurrence? Since they only considered the final path report the cancer wasn't as large as expected. The rad oncologist said (he might not have been correct about the %) I had a 5% advantage if I did rads. He did say, yes, rads could cause another cancer...he wouldn't guarantee it wouldn't. I said in the very beginning I was open to further treatment for stage 0 if it meant my life. He said, no ... the odds is you will never again be dx with bc ... most early stage bc women feel better throwing the kitchen sink at the big C.(cancer). He said, I recommend it because they feel better about doing everything they can to keep the cancer from ever returning.
With that said, I felt confident that I was cancer free. After all I was only stage 0 as the ro said the odds were on my favor. The rads was mostly to catch any rouge cancer cells and even then I could have a recurrence.
One yr. later I was dx again...final path report multifocal dcis, again grade 3 como type. Different bc surgeon said again I was fortunate that there was no invasive component, stage 0....but I was high risk for a recurrence. I needed to be watched like a hawk...screenings every 6 months. She would had done more, but being self pay, I had to wait until I turned 65 before considering more.
Because, the second surgeon didn't say, I was lucky, and cancer free for the first time, I knew although early stage 0, I became very cancer concern and for the first time began a journey to learn why my body was making cancer cells. It's been a very complex journey and I'm still getting it together.
The whole early stage staging to me is all screwed up. Stage 0 gives you the false sense that you are one of the lucky ones. You got the good cancer. Because, the first dx in 2007 right under the lumpectomy scar they of recent found idc, grade 3, with the her2+++ factor....so one of the stage 0 dcis on what they said were wide margins ended up showing it' self again Oct 4th 2011. So, I had a mx on the right breast. Aftewards I again told that I am cancer free. The oncologist also said with the mx and scans showed no cancer that I am cancer free. Yea! I'm done.
Don't tell me I'm cancer free, and then in the next breath tell me now you have to do chemo, herceptin, anti hormone drugs, and whatever. I said what if there are side effects, and she said, we'll give you more drugs for the side affects. All this for stage 1a. In one breath I am lucky and in the next breath I'm not so lucky. Also, with treatment that there still 15% for a recurrence.
So, when people learn they say to you, how lucky you are that you aren't stage IV. If I was to follow the protocol as most stage 1 bc women cancers I would be doing just about the same treatment as those who have stage 2 or maybe 3 cancers (loosing your hair, hormone treatments for 5 yrs, rads or heceptin with its risks of heart problems) and then the doctor tells you that you might have micromets not picked up by the scans and in a year or so you could have mets. I am lucky???
Last March in my other breast I was dx with mucinious. I was told, you are really lucky. Yes you have idc, but this is a good cancer, favorable. I read and learn it moves slowly and rarely mets or goes into the nodes. I am dx as stage 1. I don't need chemo. So my two dx are the same, stage 1a yet different treatment plans. I thought staging was for treatment plans? This is really mixed up because you assume stage 1 treatment plans are pretty much the same.
So for three years since my 2nd dx, I've had to make sure I'm screened every six months. So far, I'm forunate. I've caught it early...but I know that my body can make cancer cells. Even if I do the herceptin for a year there is no guarantee that in another few years I won't again be dx with cancer.
Altough, my oncologist did say due to my history, I'm at high risk for cancer. That was said much later after I questioned the treatment for stage 1a. Yet, I am not going to let cancer define me. I am a senior, and with what days in my life are granted for me to live, I want to live without cancer lurking at my heels. I want to stay positive. I will have to continue to be screened every 6 months. But, I've decided after my reconstruction and treatment, I'm moving on for awhile. This whole cancer thing can get into your head in a negative way. So...between screenings or whatever I want to feel good, eat well, exercise, stay positive, not worry, and live life.
So feeling fooled...yes...I think the staging 0 and early staging can fool you into a false sense of feeling cancer free. Once dx, we've vulnerable to another dx...and as we age, we are vulnerable to heart attacks, strokes and other diseases. We can't live the rest of our lives in fear of dying or disease. Life happens.
6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+