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Topic: BC and Heart Issues?

Forum: Breast Cancer with Another Diagnosis or Comorbidity — Meet others who have breast cancer but also have another health diagnosis/comorbidity such as diabetes, MS, bipolar disorder, HIV or AIDS, Parkinson's Disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Posted on: May 20, 2014 11:51PM - edited Nov 9, 2014 01:41PM by sandra4611

sandra4611 wrote:

Have you experienced heart related issues before or after breast cancer? How has it affected your bc treatment? Did you have or are you scheduled for radiation? Are you worried about how it will affect your heart? Chemo and hormone therapy are contraindicated I've been told. Share your experiences here.

My BC treatment was chosen in an attempt to avoid radiation and reduce the chances of recurrence that could require chemo in the future. I chose BMX although my tumors were small, aggressive, but not yet invasive. Six months before breast cancer, I was diagnosed with a large aneurysm in the ascending aorta of my heart. I was born with a malformed aortic valve  My uncle and grandfather both died from ruptured aortic aneurysms so it's important that I don't damage my heart any further. 

What about you? 

BMX w/ Direct to Implants. Hospital acquired staph infection led to 5 more surgeries over 15 months. Dx 7/18/2013, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/23/2013, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/23/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 9/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/21/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 10/3/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 12/19/2014 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Nov 7, 2014 05:30PM bellywelly wrote:

Just found your post. I had heart surgery - aortic valve replacement for a bicuspid valve - in January this year. In August, mammogram showed cancer in my right breast. I had had a mastectomy on the left 13 year ago which was hormone positive. I am now faced with triple negative cancer. Had had a right mastectomy 3 weeks ago and am waiting to see the medical oncologist and for follow up with chemo and radiation. Was wondering what kind of breast cancers others had and what drugs they used for chemo with others who might have had a heart problem.

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Nov 8, 2014 01:50PM sandra4611 wrote:

Hi Bellywelly,

You must be a nervous wreck right now. Waiting is the worst, isn't it? Interesting that your hormone receptor status has changed. I recently read a post by someone who got the same news but pathology after the second surgery showed the hormone status had not changed after all. What kind of breast cancer do you have this time? If they got big margins and there was no node involvement, maybe you might avoid chemo. Were you on Tamoxifen after your first breast cancer? 13 years ago might as well be 1300 years ago since so much has changed with treatment. I have a friend on another thread who is having radiation on her left side but because of heart issues, is doing a new kind where she lies on a special table on her stomach so her breast hangs down. She coordinates her breathing with the rad rays in order to reduce heart exposure.

How was your recovery from heart surgery? I'm sure not looking forward to it. My aneurysm has not grown in the past year which is good because I'm still having breast surgeries. Just had #5 a month ago and will have #6 in January. (The last one I hope.) Next month is time for another annual cardiac CT and an echocardiogram so fingers crossed, the aneurysm will still be happy and not growing. I've read of more and more surgeons who are finding ways to do heart surgery without so much invasion. How was yours done? I think they will replace my aortic valve too since it is so close to the aneurysm and it doesn't work right anyway.

BMX w/ Direct to Implants. Hospital acquired staph infection led to 5 more surgeries over 15 months. Dx 7/18/2013, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/23/2013, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/23/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 9/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/21/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 10/3/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 12/19/2014 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Nov 9, 2014 01:04PM bellywelly wrote:

I am a nervous wreck. I am usually a pretty strong person but this is knocking me for a loop. Have 2 nodes affected so chemo is where I am headed. Had an echo on Friday to see how well my heart is pumping. The tech wouldn't tell me anything so I have to wait to hear from the oncologist - when I see her. I have had no problem with my heart since surgery so am not expecting any issues now. I didn't do radiation the first time because of my concern with the heart. And the chemo they gave me was CMF which was the weakest because of their concern with the heart. I think this time the chemo will be stronger. Was on tamoxifen for 2 years after the first chemo and that was followed by 9 years of aromasin. I stopped the aromasin when i was getting tired for no known reason - that was the heart telling me it was time for a valve replacement but i didn't know that at the time.

Heart surgery went well. In fact, I need to pinch myself to remind myself that I even had heart surgery. It is big surgery but they do this every day with good results so no need to panic over it. I was out of the hospital in a week and managed to go up to my bedroom - 14 steps up when i got home that day. I hadn't tried it in the hospital!! I told everyone in the operating room that I didn't want to be there, to put me out quickly and do a good job!! They did a good job. Makes sense to have the aortic valve replaced if there is a problem with it and while they are in there.

Have you had chemo? Am curious if others have had chemo with heart conditions and what they were given.

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Nov 9, 2014 01:10PM sandra4611 wrote:

No, no chemo. Doc said it was aggressive but caught early enough that BMX was all I needed. The aneurysm is likely to kill me before cancer does.

BMX w/ Direct to Implants. Hospital acquired staph infection led to 5 more surgeries over 15 months. Dx 7/18/2013, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/23/2013, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/23/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 9/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/21/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 10/3/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 12/19/2014 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Nov 9, 2014 01:15PM WinningSoFar wrote:

I also was diagnosed with ascending aortic aneurysm in 2011 (before chemo) and it was found on one of my pet/ct scans. Also 3.7cm which is too small to be operated on. I've had Abraxane (and Avastin) since, with the aneurysm unchanged. My latest pet/ct scan says I don't have the aneurysm anymore. Not that I believe that. Weird.

Surgery 6/30/1999 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/1999, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 7/29/1999 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/30/2000 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 9/26/2011, IBC, Right, 4cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Targeted Therapy 10/30/2011 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 11/3/2011 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 5/4/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/14/2013 External: Bone Chemotherapy 2/28/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 12/10/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 3/2019, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Targeted Therapy 3/14/2019 Verzenio Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 9, 2014 01:36PM bellywelly wrote:

Good that you didn't need chemo, sandra4611. The aneurysm won't kill you because when the time comes you will have it repaired.

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Nov 9, 2014 01:46PM bellywelly wrote:

Hi Winningsofar. No more aneurysm? Will you have that rechecked since you are unsure of the results? How did it go with the Abraxene and Avastin?

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Nov 9, 2014 02:03PM sandra4611 wrote:

Winning,

How interesting. How the heck can an aneurysm disappear on it's own? You're right. The results of your latest test are weird. Will you keep getting follow ups in cardiology? I would sure insist on it.

Belly,

I'm surprised at how well you recovered from such a tough surgery! My brother had a quad bypass and was never the same afterwards. The recovery was long but the biggest problem was a protracted depression and totally changed personality.

The fact that my aneurysm didn't grow at all in the first year after diagnosis is good, of course. My cardiothoracic surgeon says with my strong family history, he will want to operate if the aneurysm grows to 5cm. He jokes around with me, but is a straight shooter. When I was diagnosed in Feb. 2013, he said he didn't think it would rupture in the next year. I said, "Yes, but what if you're wrong?" He laughed and said, "Well, it doesn't matter 'cause you'll be dead." True enough...and he was right. After repeat testing in January 2014 showed no growth, he said the family history makes him feel surgery is not "if" but "when". I'd prefer to do it NOW, but he said that the chances of complications from open heart surgery were still higher than the chance it would rupture unexpectedly. I'm due for a repeat of the cardiac CT and echo in about 6 - 8 weeks so we'll see what he says this time.

It's kind of like the cancer...I want it OUT 'cause it's probably going to kill me sooner or later otherwise.

BMX w/ Direct to Implants. Hospital acquired staph infection led to 5 more surgeries over 15 months. Dx 7/18/2013, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 8/23/2013, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/23/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 9/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/6/2013 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/21/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 10/3/2014 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 12/19/2014 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Nov 9, 2014 02:23PM WinningSoFar wrote:

I definitely will follow up with my cardiologist on the aneurysm, since I don't believe the pet/ct. I really don't think aneurysms just disappear in 6 months. It's just a function of the pet/ct slicing, or something like that. Either I never had it, or I still have it.

Surgery 6/30/1999 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/1999, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 7/29/1999 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/30/2000 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 9/26/2011, IBC, Right, 4cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Targeted Therapy 10/30/2011 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 11/3/2011 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 5/4/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/14/2013 External: Bone Chemotherapy 2/28/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 12/10/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 3/2019, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Targeted Therapy 3/14/2019 Verzenio Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 9, 2014 02:50PM bellywelly wrote:

Hi Sandra4611,

Yes, some people develop personality changes and depression following heart surgery. I was fortunate not to have that. Recovery was slow - I have no patience and wanted to get back to normal life quickly but I got there in a few months. I too wanted to have the surgery done quickly but they will wait until it is absolutely necessary just because it is big surgery. By the time I had my surgery, it was necessary and they got me in to the hospital quickly. Not much pain at all. Had some cardiac arrhythmias which were controlled with meds. I take a very small dose of the beta blocker at night so my heart doesn't race - I was off them but have been back on since my diagnosis with cancer - it's called stress!! He is watching your aneurysm carefully so you are obviously in good hands. Waiting in this case makes sense. My cancer, on the other hand, needs to be treated NOW.

Wiinningsofar: I love the name you chose. Good on you!! Are you still on chemo? Was this due to a recurrence? I don't know how something can show up and then disappear. Doesn't make any sense. On the other hand, i got one diagnosis after my biopsy and another totally different after surgery. How can they be so different?

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Nov 9, 2014 03:06PM WinningSoFar wrote:

Dear bellywelly (another great name),

Yes, the second time I was on chemo was a local recurrence from the initial diagnosis in 2011. My inframammary lymph nodes were lighting up so back on Abraxane I go and within 3 months, I was NED. Abraxane is a great drug when it works for you. All my bone mets and lymph nodes were 'wiped clean' (I know that's a bit of an exaggeration, but what the heck) by Abraxane. Right now, it's my favorite drug. I took 2 more cycles and then quit. My next scan is in January, so we'll see what's what then.

Yes, the aneurysm change is disturbing, but perhaps a pet/ct from skull to thighs is not the best way to image it. I don't believe the aneurysm is gone at all.

Surgery 6/30/1999 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/1999, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 7/29/1999 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/30/2000 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 9/26/2011, IBC, Right, 4cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Targeted Therapy 10/30/2011 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 11/3/2011 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 5/4/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/14/2013 External: Bone Chemotherapy 2/28/2014 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery 12/10/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 3/2019, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Targeted Therapy 3/14/2019 Verzenio Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 9, 2014 03:59PM bellywelly wrote:

Hi WinningSoFar,

Good to know that abraxane worked so well for you. I have an appointment in 2 weeks with the oncologist (waiting is not fun!) and I haven't a clue as to what drugs she will put me on.

You are winning so far. Keep it up and let me know how the scan goes in January and what has happened to the aneurysm.

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Jan 3, 2018 06:39PM - edited Jan 6, 2018 06:59AM by Gussy

Yesterday I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation - heart rate of 130 and moderate to severe shortness of breath. I spent last night and today in the hospital and feel some better today so was sent home on new meds. I was to have Taxol #3 yesterday but onc doc said no, wisely. It may have been the chemo that tipped the canoe over but we will never know as I'm 78 y/o and the "elderly" are more prone to this problem. I was also married to a wonderful man on Sat. so we have another bump in the road to get over already. The future of the remaining chemo (2 rounds of Taxol) are in limbo but will probably go forward at some point. It seems to never end. I thought I was seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. It is a controllable disease and very common so I guess it will be OK in a while.

P.S. 1/5/18 Had a cardio version yesterday and HR is back to normal as is BP. Miracle of modern medicine. I will have 3rd Taxol treatment on Tues. Not looking forward to it but then only one more to go. I hope it doesn't mess with the HR. Now, if I could just get rid of this gd sinus congestion. Most annoying thing of all and going on since Sept. Ugh. BTW - we've been married six days and have spent four of them either in Dr.s offices or the hospital. What a honeymoon.

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Apr 7, 2018 08:24AM Gussy wrote:

It's now April and the meds have my heart in normal sinus rhythm and I am not so short of breath. However, now have been diagnosed with a large polyp in my lower colon that will need to be removed. This nightmare seems to have no ending that I can see yet. I am 79 years old and never had a serious health issue till now. Hard to deal with when you've never had to deal before.

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Apr 7, 2018 08:27AM Gussy wrote:

Oh, and btw - the chemo that has been a devil to deal with - it never did shrink the tumor. Great, huh.

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Apr 7, 2018 10:57AM bluepearl wrote:

Yes, Gussy, it is quite the road we travel. I had breast cancer twice (no chemo, no rads) and when I was 55, had one atrial fibrillation and another 2 years later...none since...but have recently developed runs of ectopic beats.GP put me on a blood thinner and 30 days later had a big rectal bleed.....now colonoscopy on the 11th.....well..it was my 5 year check up anyways but this hurried it along. Do you have high blood pressure? If you do, see if you can get on an ACE inhibitor or Arbs because they have found it helps to stop atrial fibrillation's electrical remodelling of the heart. Congratulations on finding love again! Even if the honeymoon is in the emergency ward, it is still great to have love on your side! The good honeymoon is coming soon! (((HUGS))))) I am 67.

Dx 1/6/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/12/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Dx 2/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/10/2013 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 3/18/2013
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May 18, 2018 10:06AM FasterPussycat wrote:

Besides breast cancer, I learned yesterday that some time in the past I had a silent heart attack. I didn't know that was a thing.

So, I may or may not get cleared for BMX next week pending nuclear stress test and echocardiogram.

Just in case life does not yet suck enough, an abdominal ultrasound for GI issues turned up a lesion on my liver that needs CT or MRI followup.

Dx 5/1/2018, IDC: Mucinous, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/24/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right

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