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Topic: Waiting for news... how bad is it?

Forum: For Family & Caregivers of Loved Ones With a STAGE IV Diagnosis —

A place where family members, caregivers, and loved ones of people having a Stage IV (metastatic) diagnosis can share, discuss, and support one another through the tough times unique to this diagnosis.

Posted on: May 5, 2018 12:52AM

macbookair2018 wrote:

Hi all,

My mom (46 y/o, no known family history but we will do genetic testing) was diagnosed during a mammogram around a week ago, originally two tumors in the left breast and swollen lymph nodes (stage 2/3 IDC). More testing was done because the doctor was suspicious (this caused TREMENDOUS anxiety already, trust me), and 10 lymph nodes tested positive and the chest area showed tumor as well. I was like okay, that sucks, but there is hope for a cure. These alone would be stage 3c cancer, which is aggressive but has a good 5-year survival rate and some chance of being cured with aggressive HER2-targeted treatment, chemo, and surgery. We got the CT results today and they found a 1.3cm spot on the liver. They didn't say it would be cancerous but given the nature of her cancer (HER2+ ER/PR-, plus she's young), the doctor is suspicious about it and she's probably right. PET scan coming after the weekend, and we will know for sure. I'm terrified waiting for someone to confirm that this is metastatic, stage IV cancer, and even worse that there may be more mets that could show up on the PET scan. We went from a breast cancer which was probably curable with a mastectomy and chemo to most likely terminal, metastatic cancer within a single week. I have no words. I'm young, in college, and have so much more life ahead of me which I always thought my mom would be there for. I can't imagine her not being there when I graduate college, or med school, or when I get married, or when I have kids. I never considered losing my mom so soon; she's always been the healthiest person. I have no idea in the world how to come to terms with this. I can't even be with her most of the time because I'm always at school, which is extremely hard right now as we wait for more and more test results.

Another reason why this is extremely hard for me handle is that I KNOW how bad it can get. I dabbled with some breast cancer proliferation research back in high school (HER2 and Herceptin related, ironically), and there were many posters in the lab regarding metastatic tumors and survival rates. I still remember each and every one of them and it scares the crap out of me. I've also done some shadowing (both radiation oncology and medical oncology, typical pre-med student haha) at a major research hospital (same institution where I go to school), and watched people scream and cry while being told that their metastatic cancer had spread and getting information on their prognoses. Those moments... they're impossible to forget. I never thought it would happen to her but it did. Seeing the things that I have seen... it's incredibly hard to imagine that as a possibility for her.

The stories I've read in this thread are incredibly inspirational to me as seeing people's positivity and hope in these types of situations as well as support for one another. Please tell me, any advice for helping my mom go through this when I'm not even around? Any advice for giving my own self peace of mind while waiting and waiting for scan results?



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May 6, 2018 11:29PM edwards750 wrote:

Oh Anna I am so sorry for your Mom and you.

You can be with your mother albeit not physically by checking on her via phone call or text. It’s not inconsiderate or unfeeling to correspond by text if you have to.

Do you have siblings? If so do they or any other family members live close to your mother? Any friends of her’s you can call? She will need and be appreciative of all the support she can get.

I understand you are in pre-med so you are more savvy about medical terms than we are but BC isn’t a one size, fits all disease. Of course stats are terrifying but one thing all of us here have learned is don’t scare yourself by researching too much because you end up convinced those stats fit you and sometimes they don’t.

While your Mom’s condition seems ominous there are still tests to be done. Also, there are ladies on this forum who were DX with a Stage IV DX multiple years ago. BC research and survival rates have come a long way. No longer is it the immediate death sentence.

So pray for your Mom and be there for her any way you can and above all keep the faith and keep us posted.


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May 6, 2018 11:47PM Egads007 wrote:

Anna, such a horrible time for your mom, you and family. One thing I learned while going through diagnosis is not to assume the worst ( I know it’s hard not to do that). I had the same thing happen to me and it turned out to be a fatty liver, so hang in there and try to be positive. Your mother has so many options and good treatments available to her, so don’t write it all off. You’re all gearing up for the fight, a fight that your mom stands to beat.

The best thing you can do long distance is to keep in constant touch and let her know she has a ‘fight buddy’ in you. That and how much you love her. As a mother myself, my sons fighting spirit is what got me through it all and I think is a great deal to do with why I’m doing so well 4.5 years later!

Vent here on the boards if it becomes overwhelming, we care. Please let us know how things go

"I base all my fashion choices on what doesn't itch" (Gilda Radner) Chemotherapy 3/19/2013 Doxil (doxorubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 8/23/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 10/31/2013 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx IDC, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 8, 2018 04:09PM macbookair2018 wrote:

My dad lives with her so he will be there, but he has his own health problems (kidney failure and dialysis... sigh). I have no siblings, but she has lots of friends and coworkers who will be there for her.

I am trying to be positive, but the truth is, we don't know. The treatments could work for twenty years or two years. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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May 8, 2018 10:01PM edwards750 wrote:

Thing is Anna none of us really know either. Although some of us have early stage BC and the prognosis is supposed to be good there are no guarantees.

I know a number of women on this website whohave defied the odds so there is reason to be positive.

Keep the faith and keep us posted.


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May 8, 2018 10:04PM macbookair2018 wrote:

I realize that, it's just extremely discouraging when the odds are this against you.. strongly not in our favor. It's hard to hope for "defying the odds" rather than being a part of the 85% who are cured.

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