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Topic: Why am I so afraid of mammograms?

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

Posted on: Jul 8, 2020 08:05AM

lola12 wrote:

Tomorrow I have my mammogram. If all is well, I will be 10 years since my diagnosis.

Each year, life stands still until I get my mammogram. I don't plan and my anxiety goes off the wall. I wish I knew how to control this, I know the odds are good.

Does anyone also experience this? Any coping mechanisms?

Lola

Lola
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Jul 8, 2020 08:35AM edj3 wrote:

Well if you're like me, your cancer was discovered by mammogram. So of course that's scary.

Tried the tamoxifen, no thanks. Dx 4/9/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 5/5/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Radiation Therapy 6/2/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 8, 2020 08:58AM lola12 wrote:

Very true, but the past 9 years have been fine. Grrr. Hopefully I will be 10 years cancer free tomorrow. Fingers crossed.


Lola
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Jul 8, 2020 10:54AM - edited Jul 8, 2020 10:59AM by Mavericksmom

You are not alone. As someone who had breast cancer twice, IDC in 2003 and ILC in 2018, 15 1/2 years apart, I can honestly say I am the same. The range of my emotions was like the outer edges of a swinging pendulum. Sometimes I had so much anxiety that I seriously felt I didn't want to ever have a mammogram again. Why? Fear. Fear is NOT our friend. It creeps into our minds like a thief and tries to rob us of our sanity.

I think what you are afraid of is getting cancer again, not the mammogram. If I am wrong, please state that because there is a whole different approach that might help if it is really just the test itself that causes your fear. In my case, I really didn't fear the mammogram, I feared getting the bad news, but going for a mammogram stirred up all that fear.

What lessens my anxiety when it is time for any breast cancer related test, is to tell myself two things. First, if I have cancer, it is there regardless as to whether or not I have the test, and secondly, it is SO MUCH BETTER to find it as early as possible! There is actually a third thing to remember, the chances are in your favor that it will be completely normal!

You have a whole lot of support here should you get a less than "negative" result. Try to relax and focus on how you will feel after the mammogram! I hope they give you immediate results. I currently use the cancer hospital where I was treated and I see my doctor immediately afterwards, but even my local hospital where I had mammograms for years, would let me wait and get a copy of the report before I left.

Hope this helps! I wish you the best result possible!

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 8, 2020 11:49AM lola12 wrote:

You are 100% right Maverick,

I am not afraid of the test, it is the results for sure. I will get immediate results too.

It is crazy how worked up I can get, I also go to the same place where I was diagnosed, so its like a yearly flashback.

Thanks for the advice, I need to remember the odds are that it will be ok.

Lola


Lola
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Jul 8, 2020 01:13PM wallycat wrote:

I am eagerly reading this ...I have had a bmx, but my anxiety is through the roof simply making a routine doctor's appointment, much less GOING to it. I can't even get my blood pressure checked because it is through the roof-white-coat-hypertension.

I know how you are feeling and I wish I had words of wisdom. I have tried meditation and the mantra of "don't borrow problems..." or the "coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave one but just one..." and none of it has been helpful.

Then my DH got dx with metastatic prostate cancer last year ...and he is the picture of calm; never complains about going, getting scanned, monthly appointments, blah, blah...I start to think it might be a nature/nurture built in response for me, the stress.

Best to you.

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 8, 2020 02:37PM LiveLoveLaugh2020 wrote:

The anxiety is real. I think the majority of us experience this. I hate going to pretty much any doctor now let alone my BS and for imaging, testing etc. Wish this wasn’t the case for us! But I pray that you get benign results! And have a nice glass of wine to celebrate :)

DCIS Dx @ 34 - Bil NSM 09/2019 - Bil implant exchange with FG 01/2020.
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Jul 8, 2020 03:38PM Sunshine99 wrote:

I think we're all wired so differently. Some of us worry, some us don't, and some of us stick our fingers in our ears and chant, "Na na na na na na" so that we can't hear what we don't want to hear. I personally tend to worry about the little stuff. Not, "What will this test show?" but big time worrying over "Will I find a parking spot at the clinic?"

What works for one of us is useless for someone else. No, worrying won't help anything, but we still do it. Find what relaxes and calms you (chamomile tea does NOTHING for me!) and do that. If it helps to come here and "vent", then do that. You'll not be judged here! :)

(((hugs)))

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Jul 8, 2020 04:23PM AliceBastable wrote:

I don't get nervous about mammograms. I've had other cancers, and for one of those, I get regular CT scans, and those don't make me nervous, either. I'm in a discussion group for that cancer, and I swear, 75% of the posts are about "scanxiety." To me, mammograms and scans are routine maintenance and let me know what's going on with my body. They are also interesting! If there's anything bad going on, I want it caught early, and that's what scans and mammograms are for.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 9, 2020 05:27AM Mavericksmom wrote:

lola, I hope you come back and post today to let us know how things went for you. Sending cyber hug!

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 9, 2020 06:46AM bcincolorado wrote:

I think we all get scan=xiety after cancer. I know where I go get mine anyone who has had breast cancer they read right away and let us know and have us wait while it is read before we leave. Then afterwards the official report is typed up and sent off and we get it in the mail as well and sent to the doctors but I know first. Best of luck to you today.

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/30/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 9, 2020 06:57AM lola12 wrote:

I will let you all know, each of you are a blessing. I will get the results today.

Hopefully, I will be reporting that I am officially a 10 year survivor and done with tamoxifen!

hugs,

Lola

Lola
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Jul 9, 2020 07:03AM lola12 wrote:

Hi Alice,

I have read your post a few times in the past 10 hours and I must say your outlook has giving me strength. It is maintenance to get a mammogram. Like the Hunger Games movies say, May the odds be forever in each of our favors.

Lola

Lola
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Jul 9, 2020 10:21AM lola12 wrote:

Thank you for the support, all is well, I am officially a 10 year breast cancer survivor.

Phew. I don’t know what I’d prefer more right now- wine or nap?

thank you all truly

Lola
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Jul 9, 2020 10:52AM - edited Jul 9, 2020 10:53AM by LiveLoveLaugh2020

Yayy congrats! I say wine first, then nap lol :)

DCIS Dx @ 34 - Bil NSM 09/2019 - Bil implant exchange with FG 01/2020.
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Jul 9, 2020 11:55AM Mavericksmom wrote:

Woohoo!!!! Congrats on TEN years cancer free!!!! May you have a lifetime of the same result! Oh, and definitely have some wine!

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 9, 2020 02:58PM Dani444 wrote:

congratulations! Absolutely have the wine 🍷

DX @ 46, premenopausal, mammaprint low risk Dx 8/21/2018, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 12/6/2018 Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 8/20/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Surgery 4/19/2021 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 9, 2020 05:03PM wallycat wrote:

Excellent! Congrats and *cheers* with a glass of wine!

Alice, I have reread your post and I also find it most comforting. Perhaps that is how my DH sees it all and it is definitely a worthy interpretation. I'm going to read this before bed and try to commit it to my psyche!

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 9, 2020 05:32PM lola12 wrote:

I agree, Alice, your words were comforting to me. It is maintenance.

Cheers to each of you.

Lola
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Jul 9, 2020 05:47PM keepthefaith wrote:

Lola,

Congratulations! That is awesome news. Good for you:).

I always tell myself, "just get it over with" when it comes around. Although, I won't lie, when I am in the waiting room, it all comes back to me like it was yesterday.

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, 2020 06:39PM bcincolorado wrote:

Congrats and personally I would say a nap is healthier for you!



Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/30/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 9, 2020 07:10PM AliceBastable wrote:

So glad it was a good mammo! The right dose of wine will guarantee a really good long nap! 🍷🛌

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 12, 2020 07:03PM - edited Jul 12, 2020 07:06PM by Britspeech

Ho Lola 12. Yes, I think most of us have that scanxiety. I'm coming up for my 2nd at the end of the month. I'm also in the Albany area and go to St Peters Breast center for all my mammos/ ultrasounds. We could get, together and chat if you like. Congrats , btw !!

Sharon

Dx 8/3/2018, DCIS/IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 11/13/2018 Hormonal Therapy
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Sep 22, 2020 07:14AM - edited Sep 22, 2020 07:22AM by PurpleCat

Although this thread is a little old, all who posted advice and empathy here are helping me today. I have my MRI tonight, followed by my 2nd post-treatment annual mammogram tomorrow morning. It's more common to alternate the two tests every 6 months, and at first I thought I'd feel reassured to never go more than 6 months without being checked. But back in March I was in the middle of a complicated gyno situation and was told it would be fine to wait for the MRI. After that episode finally ended with a hysterectomy last month and I still hadn't had the MRI, I was told it was fine to do the two tests together, since they look for different things. The extended gyno ordeal has left me so very weary of testing and waiting for results and then more testing that I decided to do one stressful week to get as much information as I can at once, and then if I get the all-clear on both tests and no new lumps come up, go a whole year without having to think about breast cancer. And if either or both of the tests come back problematic, we'll have a lot of information available and maybe can do all necessary biopsies in one day.

So, here goes. The mammogram will be diagnostic, which means it will be in the same place, same waiting room, same view through the windows, etc. where I went for my original call-back 2 years ago. I did diagnostic last year as well, but somehow it's scarier this year. Last year I was nervous but also knew from my original prognosis that it was unlikely for any new cancer to be found so soon. Now it's been TWO years, and there are women on this forum who have had recurrences that soon, so it feels like I could once again get called back into that room for additional testing and then a consult with the nurse and then schedule a biopsy. It's going to be very hard to sit again in that waiting room among other nervous gowned women while I wait for my results to be read and the nurse to come out and get me. I almost turned down the diagnostic appointment to just schedule the ordinary kind where you go in and get squeezed and then go home and forget about it until the letter comes, but then I have to wait longer and potentially go back. There's just no good way out of this.

I'm not afraid of the tests, it's the results. More specifically, the moment where I'm about to hear the results and learn if my whole world is about to change or just go back to normal. And the time of uncertainty between bad results and having a treatment plan. That's the worst. It took me a week to work up the courage to even schedule the mammogram this time because I was agonizing over whether it would be worse do to my waiting for a short time in the "bad news" waiting room where I had my original testing, or to do it for a longer time in the privacy of my own home like a normal person.

Things I'm telling myself: Yes, they may find cancer again, but I've done treatment before and can do it again if necessary. I've gotten so much bad and uncertain and unsettling news in the past 2 years, but it all turned out OK and I am still here. I'm already in the system and have a surgeon so can get the ball rolling pretty quickly if needed. My treatment center is really wonderful and takes care of me both physically and emotionally, so if I get bad news, I'll still leave the place feeling as positive as possible. Recurrence is still unlikely and I'm doing everything I can to prevent it. If I do get one, we're catching it as early as possible. It's not bad news until they tell you there's nothing more they can do, and no matter what happens tonight and tomorrow, I'm pretty unlikely to hear that.

Hoping to update in a few days.

Dx 10/2018, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/4/2018 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/18/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 22, 2020 11:26AM MinusTwo wrote:

In your pocket for the testing Purple Cat. Hope all turns out well. Please come back & let us know.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Sep 22, 2020 02:51PM Dani444 wrote:

Thinking of you as you get your imaging done! Hope you get quick, clear results! Let us know how it goes.

DX @ 46, premenopausal, mammaprint low risk Dx 8/21/2018, LCIS/ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 12/6/2018 Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 8/20/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Surgery 4/19/2021 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 22, 2020 05:10PM kksmom3 wrote:

I am 2 years out as well. I hate even just driving by the hospital, ok, cancer center. I'll send up a prayer that everything will be fine. Nobody gets this either.......

Dx 8/8/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 10/1/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 22, 2020 05:52PM AliceBastable wrote:

I try to think of mammograms and CTs (which I need for the kidney cancer I had) as preventive maintenance. I kind of look forward to them as proof that I DON'T have cancer any more.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 23, 2020 02:22PM PurpleCat wrote:

Thank you, all, for taking the time to respond with kind words of support and tips. I got the all clear at my mammogram this morning! I was completely expecting to hear bad news, not based on any symptoms, just the kind of year it’s been, and can still hardly believe I got to just walk out of there. So I’m still processing but very relieved.

Still waiting for MRI results, but thinking they’ll probably going to be OK too. My original cancer was caught on a 2D mammogram and was almost too small to see. My surgeon actually commended the reader on the good catch but also sent me for MRI to make sure nothing had been missed in my dense tissue. That MRI didn’t find anything but the known cancer. So, I feel like if a 2D mammogram was accurate for me two years ago, this morning’s 3D is probably at least as accurate now, even as I realize an unpleasant surprise could still be ahead. I discovered how anxious I still am about that possibility about 2 hours after the mammogram, still basking in relief, when saw I’d missed a phone call from the scheduling department. My first thought was that they were calling to set up a biopsy for something showing on the MRI. It took all the courage I had remaining, which wasn’t much after this morning’s appointment, just to listen to the voice mail. It was a reminder to schedule my colonoscopy! I actually laughed out loud. Good grief, colon people, give a girl a break! I’ll get around to you, I promise, but I’d like just a little tiny bit of time with no pending results or medical appointments on my calendar, so you’re going to have to take a number.

Dx 10/2018, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/4/2018 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/18/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 23, 2020 04:53PM MinusTwo wrote:

PurpleCat - good news indeed. Thanks for posting.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Sep 25, 2020 01:34PM quinnie wrote:

Alice: I am the same way. I look forward to scans and tests to show I don't have any issues. I was unpleasantly surprized last Jan when I was called back and fast foward had cancer in the other breast. Still, all is good. Early stage, small and is gone. I had mammo last week and still wasn't nervous but looking forward to a good result. In other areas i am an anxious person but in regards to my health I feel it is what it is. I do everything I can to lead a healthy life-most of the time!!!

Dx 11/30/2007, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER-/PR- Dx 2/26/2020, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 5/13/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/24/2020 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast

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