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Topic: Already forgetting I had cancer...

Forum: Stage I Breast Cancer — Meet other members with a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis to share information and support.

Posted on: Jul 9, 2019 01:04PM

dd1973 wrote:

My diagnosis was a year ago on a regular mammogram. Never saw it coming, so to speak. No family history, aged 45. Lumpectomy, no implants. No side effects yet for Tamoxifen. Oncotype DX test cleared me from needing chemotherapy I know you might think I'm bragging about how easy this was (I brush it off as easy when people talk to me about it), but my biggest struggle: I haven't grasped the need to work at exercising, eating better, and appreciating life. It's like it didn't happen. Cancer hasn't motivated me, and this bothers me b/c it can be worse next time. But knowing this doesn't help, either. Anyone relate?

Dx 7/15/2018, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/3/2019 Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy: Left
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Jul 9, 2019 01:15PM keepthefaith wrote:

DD, I can't relate, but everyone reacts differently. I come to the boards often after almost 6 yrs and I think that reminds me that it did happen to me and it very well could again. I kind of tend to brush off statistics. Maybe you could reach out to others with your experience, in a supporting way and that will get you going in the direction you want to go. I can see where you feel like you "should have" had a "wake up call", but bc you didn't, does not mean it didn't effect you.

Take care~

Dx 9/17/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 1/15/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 2/10/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/31/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/22/2014
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Jul 9, 2019 10:19PM AliceBastable wrote:

Me. I read on here about people freaking out when they're diagnosed, but my reaction was, "Oh, okay, what do we do about it?" But I'd had a different cancer before, and I think I was a little more emotional that time. Maybe it's a one-time thing. When I had #2 right after #1, I was pissed. So with #3, the breast beast, I was pretty mellow. Which was good, because I found out about #4 shortly after the lumpectomy. When I met with THAT doctor, he must have thought I was nuts, because I just kept smiling and saying "Okey-dokey! Okey-dokey!" no matter what he said. But maybe some of it's age, where I expect body parts to go haywire now.

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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Jul 10, 2019 03:32AM Salamandra wrote:

Hey dd1973,

I had bad side effects from the tamoxifen, so it didn't let me forget about it. But I relate in other ways.

I didn't really do lifestyle or diet changes. I had a moderately healthy lifestyle before cancer and I still do after. Cancer doesn't have to be a 'life lesson', it can just be an unlucky thing that happens, that we have to deal with it, and keep living the way that suits us. It could be worse next time, there could be no next time, something totally different bad could happen, it could be related to diet/lifestyle in a predictable way or in an unpredictable way (I bicycle commute - if I got seriously injured by a car, that would be the fault of what is in many other ways a healthy lifestyle choice).

I don't think we have any obligation to carry the cancer as some kind of talisman. It works for some people, but that doesn't mean it's for everybody. I think it's great that you're able to just live your life. If getting more exercise or a better diet is something that is important to you, some other way of motivation may work better for you, maybe something that isn't coming from fear of mortality, you know?

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/18/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 10, 2019 03:40AM Ingerp wrote:

Really I think that's a good thing. The less it occupied your brain space, the easier it is to *really* put it behind you and get on with life. Ten years ago I had ALH, which I'd honestly forgotten about when I got the DCIS dx in 2016. I couldn't even remember which side it was on. Getting through the lumpectomy/rads for the DCIS wasn't a terribly big deal, and other than being diligent about getting my mammos on schedule, I don't think it made any kind of longer-term change in me. I didn't particularly feel like a "survivor". I must say this time around has been a little harder on me mentally, although I still get it when I read about women with higher stage cancers that this isn't the end of the world. It's just that I'm coming up on a year PFC, I finished Herceptin almost two months ago, but my life is nowhere near back to normal. Between the AI and waiting for my dang hair to grow out, I'm looking at years until I feel like this is behind me. Kind of a bummer.

(Alice--I recently had a little scare with some wonky cells on my cervix. I was very okay whatever I'll do what I have to--very much like your okey-dokey. I do think it's from having dealt with something already, and not fixating too much about that particular body part.)

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/23/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/20/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/18/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/13/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 5/18/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/18/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/20/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jul 10, 2019 02:15PM dd1973 wrote:

Thank you all for sharing experiences. I see myself as a poser compared to the ordeals you all have faced. Don't say I shouldn't, please. It's like survivor's guilt-- I faired better. However, it could come back. I have a colonoscopy soon (woo hoo!) b/c that's where my family history is brutal. I appreciate hearing you're all getting up and living another day, even after multiple issues. I guess I could say I know I can face it again, even if worse, b/c I did before. It's nice to be validated that it's OK to feel the way I do. That's a good idea to not to look at mortality as my motivator, because it's not working. I'll work on focusing on the other one-- just feeling healthy. Hearing one just faces the next health issue with a "whatever I have to do" reminds me I can face it again if I have to. Thank you all, you're so kind.

Dx 7/15/2018, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/3/2019 Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy: Left
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Jul 10, 2019 02:42PM AliceBastable wrote:

Part of it is having been through other medical issues and surgeries that were much more difficult. My back surgery was reasonably straightforward, and I felt great immediately, but I was in such pain beforehand that I was suicidal for a few months. Hip replacement hurt like hell before and after, and took a LOT of tedious work for recovery. Of the cancers, only the nephrectomy last year hurt significantly afterwards, but that improved after about four days and I was out and about the next week. So anything that lets me get back to normal-ish fairly quickly is good. I've been lucky so far that I haven't had to do chemo, so I guess I've had "cancer light" compared to what others have endured. The kidney squeaked by at Stage I, but it was a nasty Grade 4 bugger that may come back to haunt me someday. But until it does, it hasn't. It's kind of that simple.

Salamanders, Tamoxifen is indeed a bitch, but mentally, I've separated the SE problems from the actual cancer.

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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Jul 11, 2019 12:25PM - edited Jul 11, 2019 12:26PM by wallycat

People interpret danger or scary stuff or odds of something icky happening differently. Consider yourself lucky that you felt it was easy. I also had it fairly "easy" but I have not forgotten nor do I think I am out of danger or any of the things you feel. Some of us are worriers and others not...again, consider yourself fortunate. That's not a small thing.

Where I took really good care of my body before cancer, I felt all of the "science based" things I was doing failed me, so I went the opposite direction. I'm less neurotic about how I eat, how often I exercise, blah, blah because as many of us have posted...bmi 19, vegetarian, meditate, yoga, blah, blah "caused" me to have cancer (to my way of thinking) so to repeat what did NOT work seems foolish to my brain.

You should really be grateful that you can step outside of this cancer arena and go on living a happy life. May it be long and filled with joy. Your personality may simply process negative things less critically. There are people who get a recurrence and still keep positive. When you say you got off "easy" I think this is where you shine. Where some of us have been able to have the exact dx you have, some of us dwell on it, live in fear of recurrence, have PTSD for doc appointments...sort of a living hell that we cannot get out of. Treasure what you have!

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Jul 11, 2019 01:17PM dd1973 wrote:

Thank you for your feedback. I want to clarify, I haven't gone on to live a happy life- I'm a worrier, I just worry about minor stuff (the don't sweat the small stuff kind), but not cancer. It's weird. I was hopeful I'd start appreciating life more and living a healthier life. I've suffered persistent depressive disorder for over 20 years (manageable). I should be grateful for my life and treasure it more. Again, I really appreciate everyone's support and kind words, it just seems like people with my experience don't share as much, maybe? Not sure. Thanks, again.

Dx 7/15/2018, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/3/2019 Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy: Left
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Jul 11, 2019 01:23PM beach2beach wrote:

DD,,,I feel the same. though I freaked when I found out about it, then I just went into numb mode. No chemo, no rads. Mastectomy, implants and tamoxifen. No one would know I had anything if I didnt tell them. I told my gyno that I feel like I cant even say I have/had cancer because I did not go through what most, including my sister, have with cancer. Survivors guilt, you said it well. I thought it would have scared me straight, but I still do things that I know can increase the risk or recurrence. Alcohol and my diet lacks too. By nature I am a worrier, maybe i still do worry, but I think, even 2 years later, I'm in shock and figure since I did what I thought was the right things then, I ate pretty well, did not drink much at all, exercised, pro active with keeping up with mammo/sono and still got BC. Maybe I've just said screw it for now...and just going to live.


Dx 7/28/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/11/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 11, 2019 02:23PM edj3 wrote:

First, wallycat I love your name. I have a ginger cat named Wally :)

I think as time goes on, the initial crush of feelings about this dx will fade in the same way my initial feelings about the melanoma dx faded. What I find I'm struggling with (and have mentioned on these boards elsewhere) is anger. I'm not going to unpack my life here but take me at my word when I say I've had plenty of tragedy in my life already. Good stuff too, to be sure, but a lot of bad.

I don't focus on the bad, and I've done a lot of work to move past the damage but damned if I'm not outright angry that this has come up. The old saying about what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? I'm bench pressing more than Buicks at this point. Enough is enough.

Dx 4/9/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Surgery 5/6/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 6/3/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/23/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 11, 2019 04:08PM wallycat wrote:

Edj3, Wally was our 23 year old cat, many moons ago--a sweet gray, small male who thought he was the biggest cat outside. The avatar I have here is (sadly) my dearly departed Bandita. Cancer. Stupid, effing cancer. p.s. you write beautifully. I'm sorry about all the pain. The Buick lifting made me LOL. I needed it.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Jul 11, 2019 04:23PM 7of9 wrote:

dd1973 - don't worry (ha, easily said - but not done) - but there are people here such as myself who remember and think about this crap hourly. It's not so good on this side of the fence either. Though diagnosed with a recurrence after just under 3 yrs will do that to you. I miss the youthful ignorance - the constant reassurance even when diagnosed the first time that you'll be fine. Though I have to say I don't ever say to my 10 year old, I wish you'd stop growing, or your growing too fast. Part of me can't wait til he's 18 - 21...then he won't have had a shitty childhood watching his mom die from this crap. Sad but true. Even on the good days, weeks (I'm 3 yrs+ out after 2nd go around) I let work (WORK - and I'm not even full time!?!) bother me! I'm the first to admittedly (sorry, sad) get down when my son doesn't do well at a sport (he's in advanced Math and skipping a grade - what could I possibly be upset about). Enjoy yourself and try zigging when you'd normally zap. It helps me snap out of it and embrace the unplanned and often enough very good moment. Hugs and understanding to you....

If you're going through hell, keep on going. You might get out before the devil even knows you're there. Dx 1/18/2012, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/31/2012 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/31/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 12/23/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, 10/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/18/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Surgery 1/18/2016 Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 2/10/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy 3/31/2016 Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 11, 2019 06:09PM Salamandra wrote:

dd1973,

I think that cancer sucks and people want to find meaning and a silver lining and so you get tropes about how it changed their life for the better, and who knows, for some people, maybe that's really true.

What I think is, cancer won't solve a person's problems, any more than appendicitis or a broken arm or diabetes. We're lucky if it doesn't make our problems too much worse. Yes, we are shaped by our experiences. But 'what doesn't kill us makes us stronger' and 'suffering builds character' are both kind of... bullshit. We have to shape our experiences back.

Well done for treating the cancer! Whatever you would have done to try to help improve your life before you had cancer - a new sport? back to school? therapy? psychiatrist? move to a new place? - consider it again now. Please do not beat yourself up even a second for not having a magical life transforming epiphany. That's Hallmark movie stuff.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/18/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 11, 2019 07:30PM AliceBastable wrote:

Well, if cancer had some life-affirming transformative power, I'd be an effing saint by now. Just because I didn't fall into a pit of doom over my diagnoses, doesn't mean I found anything positive in the experience. It's shit. It happened. But it doesn't affect my everyday life unless I let it, and I see no reason to do that. There's a lot of gray area between living like Delilah Doom or Sally Sunshine. I'm just Average Alice, with good days and bad - the same as before cancer, during cancer, and after cancer.

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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Jul 12, 2019 02:33PM momand2kids wrote:

One of the things I have learned after 3 different early stage cancer diagnoses (bc, thyroid and melanoma) is that we control nothing. Things happen- not sure there is always a reason. I think I learned some things during my bc experience and definitely had a greater appreciation for things I had not really noticed before. However, like everyone else here, I have kids, husband, dog, job-- had to just keep moving forward every day. I don't think about cancer all that much (except for next week when I have a colonoscopy AND my annual oncology visit). I think life has these things that are very hard, and then there are some incredibly joyful moments. I am trying very much to always focus on the joyful moments. I also think about in different portions of time ( Live until my oldest graduates from high school, until she graduates from college, same with youngest. Youngest about to start college-so now I just want to see her graduate--- if there can be more after that, then I am delighted!!! I feel great- I think I am health- but I no longer have that innocence about my health--- but I just operate on the assumption that everything is fine until I have information to the contrary. But the mental game is hard (it was so hard during bc) I can remember waking up every morning with a ticker tape in my head that said "cancer, cancer, cancer" but that did subside over time. I hope it does for others as well.


Dx 10/29/2008, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/24/2008 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 1/15/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin) Radiation Therapy 3/22/2009 Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2009 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 12, 2019 03:42PM AliceBastable wrote:

Momand2kids, I think those of us in the MCCC (Multiple Cancer Crap Club) have a different outlook than first-timers. I think it's mostly experience (been there, done that, still alive), and a small part having learned the ability to shut off the fear reaction as needed. And nice to meet another multi!

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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Jul 13, 2019 07:19AM momand2kids wrote:

Alice

so nice to meet you!!! you have been through it!!! I agree- even though it is still a panic sometimes, I have found that my reaction has de escalated each time... definitely a little been there done that.... and I am so grateful that each one has been so early-- I guess a benefit of extra surveillance. My kids call me the cancer badass.... I think that refers to you as well!!!

Dx 10/29/2008, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/24/2008 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 1/15/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin) Radiation Therapy 3/22/2009 Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2009 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 5, 2019 02:48AM Prahan wrote:

Yes, I often forget I had cancer

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