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Topic: The sandwiched patients...

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

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

Posted on: Apr 6, 2021 10:14AM

saltmarsh wrote:

We are the sandwiched group of patients. With responsibilities in two directions. Some of us have kids and/or aging parents, and partners. We aren't kids with cancer, but we are kinda "young" compared to who is expected with breast cancer. Who else is walking this line right now? What have you found are the hardest parts? What about silver linings?

My dad watched my mom die from the same kind of cancer I have. She caught it much later, so hopefully I'll do better than she did. But the look on my dad's face when I told him I had cancer nearly broke me. Trying to homeschool my kid while school is closed, and get my dad and stepmom COVID appointments, and stay on track myself is challenge. And I haven't hit the hard stuff yet, as so many of you have. None of my friends have gone through this. My mom did, but she shut everyone out and didn't share her process. So I wonder what's to come.

Dx 3/8/2021. LCIS, ILC. Surgery 4/19/2021 mastectomy, right
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Apr 6, 2021 10:25AM - edited Apr 6, 2021 10:26AM by illimae

I'm 46 now, diagnosed stage IV from the beginning at 41. I'm in this group but have no children and my parents are doing well on their own, so no issues there. The hardest part has been accepting that I won't have the expected retirement and growing old with my husband. Fortunately, I had great employment benefits and medically retired early. So, now I'm living that life and doing well. It's unlikely that I'll make it to 50 but I am making the best of every day I have.

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Surgery 1/22/2020 Radiation Therapy 2/17/2020 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 7/20/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 12/4/2020 External: Brain Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Targeted Therapy Tukysa (tucatinib) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Apr 6, 2021 10:30AM - edited Apr 6, 2021 10:31AM by moth

dealing with it in 2018 just meant that my standards about many things were lowered. Other than my treatment, most other things only needed a "good enough" standard

My parents live on their own and didn't need much from me, my kids were old enough to manage. (I had homeschooled my kids btw but they were finished by then) I just coasted for 8 months of treatment and then I got back to life as if the break hadn't happened. It was like a reallly bad sabbatical

Figure out what's necessary and what's optional, what you have to do and what you can delegate & be ruthless with cutting things that you hate or that drain you. It will be be finished before you know it.

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/9/2020 External: Chest wall Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/3/2021 External: Bone
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Apr 6, 2021 11:59AM Sadiesservant wrote:

Hi Saltmarsh,

Interesting topic. I was originally diagnosed at 38 and to be honest, at that point I wasn't pulled in 100 directions like I am today. I don't have children so I was able to focus on my treatment and continued to work full time throughout. As moth indicated, you will get through this period of upheaval but you may need to set boundaries and think about what takes priority.

Things are a bit different for me now. I'm just shy of 59 and live with my mother who recently turned 90 and is in declining slowly health. Between work, my house (including trying desperately to downsize the various collections/family stuff), my dog and my mom, I'm finding it all a bit of a challenge. In particular, I worry about my mom if, god forbid, I should go first. I know she would never be able to cope. I also find it a bit tricky managing my mother's angst regarding the aches and pains that come with aging. (Sympathy can sometimes be in short supply when your liver is sending you shots to remind you there is a tumor behaving badly.) And like illimae, I do mourn the fact that retirement is unlikely. I'm scaling back now so perhaps I can take a page from her book and experience it a bit early!

Hope you are able to find some balance Saltmarsh. I know you will find lots of support here on BCO.


Dx 4/2001, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/10 nodes, ER+ Surgery 5/10/2001 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 6/7/2001 CEF Radiation Therapy 12/17/2001 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/20/2001 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2007 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/22/2007 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 1/3/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/27/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 3/28/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 4/20/2017 Ibrance (palbociclib) Dx 10/12/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to other Chemotherapy 10/20/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy 11/15/2017 External: Bone Hormonal Therapy 1/18/2018 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Radiation Therapy 8/2/2018 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 11/5/2018 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 10/9/2019 Verzenio Radiation Therapy 11/3/2020 External: Bone Dx 1/22/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/4/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine) Chemotherapy 10/8/2021 Navelbine (vinorelbine) Chemotherapy 1/7/2022 Halaven (eribulin)
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Dec 16, 2021 10:48AM Katyblu wrote:

I like this topic. I feel too old for the Young with BC category, but too young for a lot of the other discussions. I was first diagnosed at 36 with stage IIIa. NO kids but I am active duty military and I had just returned from a deployment to the Middle East. I was in fantastic shape, at the height of my career, and then suffered the setback of cancer. My husband and I powered through it as best we could. My family is pretty young with my parents in their late 50s and my grandmother in her 70s so I didn't have to worry about them. But shortly after my initial treatment ended my aunt was diagnosed with bile duct cancer at 55 ys old. It is an aggressive cancer in general and unfortunately took my aunt in about 3 years. So my family had to go through that. And then I was diagnosed as stage IV 6 months after my aunt died. So the impact on my family, especially my grandmother, has been tough.

I'm still on active duty with this diagnosis. I'm hoping to make it to retirement in 2024 but we will see. I have a step-daughter but she just started college in September. The biggest impact has been really on my career. I was hoping to do a lot more and to work towards another promotion, but at this point it's all I can do to make it to work 6 hours a day. And my husband and I have put off a lot of our travel desires until retirement so I kind of feel like we've missed out on that. (Well COVID ruined part of it too as we were going to take my step-daughter to Europe for her HS graduation.)

I think the best advice I can offer is to not be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in needing more time or additional hands. At this point right now, you and your health are the most important so live like that. I wish you the best and hope you will lean on us here. The support and understanding I get here make every day a little easier.

Dx 5/3/2017, ILC, Right, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/16/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 6/20/2017 AC + T (Taxotere) Hormonal Therapy 1/20/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 8/19/2021, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 9/10/2021 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 9/10/2021 Ibrance (palbociclib) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Dec 16, 2021 12:57PM sunshinegal wrote:

I'm in this boat. I'm 48 today, with original dx at 36. Today we have a 9yo and 7yo, and my parents are over 80 and in failing health (alzheimers and parkinson's). And I'm the main breadwinner. It's a lot.


Dx 10/7/2010, DCIS, Right, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 3/22/2021, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Dec 23, 2021 03:31PM BlueGreenBaby wrote:

Just turned 40 this year. Very first mammogram. My parents are pretty young and healthy still so I'm not worried about them. I have a 9 year old son with a lot of energy though. It's tough.

Age 40. Wife. Mom to a 9 year old boy Dx 10/27/2021, DCIS, Right, Stage 0 Dx 12/7/2021, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/7/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 12/28/2021 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel

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