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Topic: Ladies in their 40s

Forum: "Middle Age" 40-60(ish) Years Old With Breast Cancer —

Meet others in this age-range who share similar life issues.

Posted on: Jan 13, 2014 02:11PM

YoungTurkNYC wrote:

Hello All,

I just wanted to start a new thread for ladies in their 40s.  Although we are considered "middle aged," many of us are still dealing with issues concerning young women, such as fertility, pre-menopausal status and related treatment decisions, young children at home, being single etc.  Both younger ladies (in their 20s and 30s) and older ladies (60s and above) have been so gracious to include us on their threads, but I thought we could have our own place to meet.  Also, obviously, this is not a thread to exclude anyone due to age. If you share similar concerns or issues (or if you are "near" your 40s), please post.

I will start by introducing myself - I was diagnosed at the age of 40 in October 2012.  I have two young children at home (9 year-old twins), and I still work, and I am very far away from retirement.  I did make the decision to have my ovaries removed due to the fact that I could not take tamoxifen due to a blood clotting issue, and therefore, I was sent to instant menopause.  I look forward to meeting you ladies.

Dx 10/14/2012, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes Dx 10/14/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/24/2012 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Surgery 10/24/2012 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/9/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/28/2013 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 7/8/2013 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 7/15/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 6, 2018 10:41AM CC2016 wrote:

Pebbles: I started a blog when al this started and called it "Young and Otherwise Healthy" since that is all I heard from every single one of my doctors. Two years later it has become "In an abundance of caution we are going to...." being said every visit it seems. It's all to take care of me so, it has to be done.

As to all the comments on the hormonal therapy, I find it very interesting how different care is throughout the nation. I'm in Florida. I started on Tamoxifen since I was pre-menopausal but was told I didn't need to worry about my ovaries and all can be monitored. A few months later I had to switch to another MO who HIGHLY recommended switching to an AI (Anastrozole) and shutting down my ovaries with Zoledex or surgical removal. The AI worked better with the lowest estrogen possible in your body and with the ovaries creating the most while they worked, it made sense. There was a reason that she didn't recommend the Z shot with Tamoxifen, but I just can't remember why now. t did the Z-shot for a few months but then had my ovaries removed last Dec. I had pain in my belly/side and thought it was a reaction to the shot and the removal did alleviate it ... for several months. The pain is now back and no one knows what or why, even with lots of scans, tests and specialist visits. Best guess is that it is the AI. I recently was switched to another AI because I developed the 2% side effect chance of high calcium levels, even with not taking calcium and vitamin d which is also highly recommended, and they can't figure out why on that either. That treat didn't start until a few months after the surgery either. The one I'm on now doesn't have any reports of developing it (hypercalciumia, I think it is called) and so far so good, along with dropping 95% of all diary from my diet I'm now in the normal range, although still on the high side.

Basically, there is no one great pill to take. It is really up to your stats and what your doctor recommends and believes in. I've never had hot flashes on any of these 3 pills but have always have had sore joints and muscles. (For what it's worth, my mom said she never had hot flashes through menopause, so it might be in my genes too.) I'm still on a Bcomplex vitamin since chemo time when neuropathy kicked in. I do notice if I go off that the neuropathy and soreness is worse. Or it could be my imagination. I've been more tired and a bit more "weepy" on this last pill though, which I'm not enjoying, but still doable. I can't blame it all on the pill though, might just be life right now....it's so hard to blame any one part of my life for anything!

Dx at 41, with a perfect gray area diagnosis: CHEK2+ UNK, Oncotype 22, Grade 2/3 Dx 5/26/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/13/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 9/13/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 1/17/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/20/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 12/5/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Dec 7, 2018 10:38PM Palesa2018 wrote:

Hi all, hoping everyone is doing well.

PebblesV, the "young" thing also caught me off guard. So funny. I'm 39.

I was surprised at how emotional and nerve-wrecking the surveillance process is. I recently went for a CT Scan and Bone Scan and baseline with my gynae for endometrium measure , my MO wanted a baseline now that I completed active treatment. Waiting for the scan results was tough, even though I was fresh from treatment. The scans came out ok, big relief. I'm just wondering if it will feel like this every six months when I get checked! My surveillance plan is breast ultrasound, endometrium measure every six months, MRI every two years and seeing MO every 3 months for Zoladex. Anyone doing anything different?

Hopefully it's all just routine going forward.

Take care all.

Dx 6/7/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/12/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/9/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 8/9/2018 Hormonal Therapy 9/12/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 9/16/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 11/4/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 8, 2018 07:08AM Dani444 wrote:

I too get caught off guard with the young comment. I am 46! Don’t feel too young these days.

It really is interesting how much the surveillance process differs. I haven’t made my appointment with my gyno yet but I will be interested in what her opinion is about endometrial monitoring. My MO said no baseline TVU is needed. He said “only for older people” I have a 6 month follow up with my MO and he said we would just check basic labs at that time. My next appt. with my BS will be a 3 month follow up but not sure the schedule going forward for imaging. I imagine it will put me on edge. I have hit a wall emotionally in this last week with starting back to work and starting rads. I don’t want to adjust to this new normal, I want to feel like me again

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 10/24/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 12/6/2018 Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 8, 2018 08:06AM Palesa2018 wrote:

Dani444 I know the feeling all too well. I too have been struggling with adjusting to a new normal. I consciously have to remind myself that it is ok to plan for the future and while I have to be aware of meds, Drs appointments etc. it's ok to live. Everyday I'm doing things that get me back to normal. I had been avoiding jogging, only walking (bmx with implants) and now I've started jogging. I'm full time back at work and carrying on. Most of the day I even forget about cancer. Just too busy. I've developed new eating habits and made some adjustments.

I have set an alarm to remember to take Tamoxifen! One day at a time... all the best

Dx 6/7/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/12/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/9/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 8/9/2018 Hormonal Therapy 9/12/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 9/16/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 11/4/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 8, 2018 12:45PM PebblesV wrote:

So nice to hear others chime in, all of us “young” - I never thought I’d be called young in my 40’s but there you have it.

CC2016 - where is your blog? I’d love to see it! Otherwise healthy is so true too... it’s strange sometimes to think I’m fighting cancer because otherwise I actually feel fine. I hope the latest switch helps with the pain you’ve been having, sending healing vibes.

Palesa2018 - thank you for sharing your surveillance plan and I’ll keep you posted on mine, not there yet as I’m still going through rads. But I’ll be honest, I remember the anxiety with the CT and bone scans the first time and I’m most nervous about the surveillance. It’s so nerve wrecking waiting for results. Right now I feel OK because other scans came back clear, then we formulated a plan of action to fight the current bc and it was one I could get behind, and one I could still feel like me while fighting this. My biggest worry is going through it all again and something comes back worse. Trying not to go there. I’m doing all the treatments and I’ve completely changes up my eating habits to be healthy so should be fine right?

Dani444 - (waving hi from rads thread) - I feel that way too! Actually even though it’s a new normal I think I haven’t accepted that yet and keep thinking how much I can maintain the old normal while going through this instead of calling it a new normal. Except it will be a new normal with me taking tamoxifen everyday and I don’t take anything right now so that will be different. But even though I’ve been working from home and going to rads every week I still feel like it’s some temporary treatment thing in my mind and I haven’t accepted the new normal yet. I’ve completely changed up my nutrition but I’m calling that a focus on health instead of a new normal. I don’t know if it’s a psychological thing to help my mindset on it but the more I can feel like this is still me going through this and maintain my sense of self, the better I am. You’ve seen I’ve been getting through rads pretty well with no side effects. I’m trying to learn all the ways I can avoid side effects on tamoxifen if at all possible, I’m frankly most nervous about that.

RE: check in schedules and imaging, I don’t know mine yet but my ideal frankly is the less the better. I want to give myself a chance to heal and prefer to not have any imaging scans until a year after this all started. But we will see. I do see the oncologist next week after I’m done with rads to discuss tamoxifen and when to start etc. and then my PCP to hopefully establish some baselines more so I can monitor the effects of tamoxifen. I go back into the office the week after next since I’ll be done with rads. Not sure I’m looking forward to that or not - working from home HAS been nice lol! But I’m more productive in the office and miss the interactions with my co-workers a little bit.
Dx 9/7/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 8, 2018 02:52PM - edited Dec 8, 2018 02:53PM by MaddieBrie1

Good afternoon ladies - I was dx earlier this year at 41. I am 42 tomorrow. I found a lump during my menstrual cycle, it didn't go away afterwards. Met with my primary care in April, then off to scanning, MRIs, mammograms, PET/Cats, multiple breast and lymph node biopsies (with distressingly and extraordinarily long waits for lab results), nipple sparing skin sparing umx left with sentinal node dissection, and axillary lymph nodes dissection followed by medical port placement and now into chemo, then in probably April next yr surgery again to remove nipple (not clear margin) and TE replacement w something (not decide yet) and then and then and then.... It's been a crazy wild year. I am hoping 2019 is better. My husband has been my rock. Work has been accommodating. Chemo has been a little scary at times. I'm done 3 of 4 for A/C, and plan to start Taxol (paclitaxel) just after Christmas. We kept my diagnosis quiet from family until late May and early June until we knew more details. I set up a CaringBridge webpage to keep them informed. The support I've gotten from family and friends have been wonderful. I have had 3 family members with breast cancer but no genes with the mutations that are currently known. I have 4 co-workers that have been through variations of breast cancer treatments. I have leaned on their knowledge and support just as I have on many of the ladies (and gents) on this website. Thanks for letting me share part of my journey. MB1


Marathon not a sprint. Dx 4/25/2018, LCIS/ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/35 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 8/7/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 9/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 11/2/2018 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Dec 10, 2018 10:01PM HPFULL wrote:

Hi. I am 45. I was diagnosed a couple months after my 45th Birthday. I am single no kids but I’ve always wanted kids which is probably foolish considering my age at this point, but deep down I had some hope. I have doctors telling me how I will be thrown into menopause and to be honest it breaks my heart a little. My LICAP flap surgery is tomorrow and I have a major cold so maybe that’s why I am a bit more down than normal? The BS and PS both say the surgery is a go with the cold/flu but waiting on the call from Anesthesiologist who has the final say. I am hoping the surgery will happen as scheduled as all this waiting is rough.

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Dec 10, 2018 11:11PM - edited Dec 10, 2018 11:12PM by PebblesV

MADDIEBRIE1 - thank you for sharing your story and so glad you have your husband as your rock, a flexible work situation and a supportive family! It's all about the silver linings and it sounds like you have many.

HPFULL - not foolish at all and completely possible to still have kids at 45. I'm 43 and my husband and I are going through some mild stim IVF (it's much less invasive and less expensive than the full stim IVF) to at least pull some eggs, create some little embryos, and have the option. Another friend of mine is 44 or 45 I think and single and also wants kids, I think she pulled some eggs to always keep that option too.

I was also told about early menopause which could result from chemo and/or hormone therapy like AI's or tamoxifen. Honestly that kind of heightened me wanting kids, as my husband and I were fine before one way or another, but as soon as I was told that option might be off the table, I decided to do everything possible to at least keep that option on the table! There's a lot of this that is about taking our power back, making sure we don't feel helpless in this situation, and that WE make the final decisions for OUR bodies. So here's what I can tell you that will hopefully help:

- My doctors are fine with waiting until we complete some mild stim IVF so I can collect some eggs before I start hormone therapy (tamoxifen). If I needed chemo, the onc was OK with waiting until I did that first. I think if you expressed your desire to have children, your doctors would be OK with waiting until you pull some eggs or something to preserve that option.

- The mild stim IVF is a walk in the park compared to the lumpectomy for the breast cancer.

- A friend told me the story of her friend who discovered she was pregnant around the same time she learned she had breast cancer. AND she delivered the baby, and was pregnant while going through chemo! The first doctor told her to abort the baby, so she sought a second opinion. The second doctor told her that in her second trimester the baby would be protected even if she did chemo, so I think that's what she did. She wrote a book about it here - my friend sent it to me, I haven't read it yet but plan to: http://www.hopefortwo.org/bald-fat-crazy-how-i-bea... - oh and now she is cancer free and with a full family!

- I have heard a lot of stories of women who take tamoxifen for a couple years, take a break, get pregnant, then go back on tamoxifen. One story here: https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/pregnancy-after-br...

Although there's some weird conflicting data - like this one saying tamoxifen results in more birth defects: http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/16/... but this one saying tamoxifen can help stimulate more eggs and embryos: https://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20030107/...


Dx 9/7/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 9/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 11, 2018 04:58AM MaddieBrie1 wrote:

We found out I was pregnant about 2 weeks before surgery, unfortunately, at the last check 8/6 there was no more progress or growth or heart beat. I had umx on 8/7, then a d&c on 8/15. Suckiest August ever.... family doesnt know about any of that part - I can only deal with one crisis at a time and the big C has got to be it.

We also had explored the options of freezing eggs or embryos prior to any tx in mid May, but ultimately had decided that if it was going to happen we wanted to take care of the big C first and leave the rest to a higher power. I do feel cheated a bit. This was our second miscarriage inside of 2 yrs and to have it happen inside the big C diagnosis - it has shaken our faith a bit.

We have a lovely extended family and we can always choose to adopt, foster, baby-sit and do other things to fulfil that part of our lives we didn't realize we were going to miss out on. (and while they are family, we have the furries to lean on as well).

I really do wish that not just the big C but fertility and options for preservation would have made more leaps and strides in this era of scientific progress. (I do science stuff but not fertility or C). I am really left wondering where all the funding goes sometimes.....

(Sorry - apologies in advance, way to political this early in the morning with out caffeine). MB1

Marathon not a sprint. Dx 4/25/2018, LCIS/ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/35 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 8/7/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 9/25/2018 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 11/2/2018 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel)

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