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Topic: Totally stressed out.

Forum: Caring for Someone with Breast cancer —

A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.

Posted on: May 6, 2016 12:41PM

MTroots wrote:

My partner (and I) have had a whirlwind of a last few months. A quick overview: In February, my partner found a lump in her right breast, had her first mammo and then a biopsy. The biopsy came back as DCIS. Oncologist had suspicions and ordered an MRI which showed possibly more. She had a stereotactic biopsy (which was totally traumatic for both of us, by the way) which did show more DCIS but nothing invasive. The surgeon and oncologist told her that they didn't think a lumpectomy would work and she needed to have a mastectomy.

This whole time, no one explained DCIS in any way, so there was a lot of confusion as to why they would recommend a mastectomy for a non-invasive "pre-cancer". The whole experience with that group of doctors was very uncomfortable so we found another surgeon in another town. She was great. She explained that my partner has high grade DCIS which is completely different than everything we've read about DCIS and it NEEDS to be treated. However, she was confident she could do a lumpectomy and some radiation but she wanted to wait for the results of the DNA test to come back. There is no history of cancer on either side of her family, so no one really expected a positive but of course it came back BRCA1 positive. So back to the surgeon who completely changed her tune. No more lumpectomy on the table, in fact the surgeon said she would be surprised if there is not invasive cancer in there now.

Understandably, this is all devastating to my partner as well as me. For two months, we have been continually getting more and more information and each new piece of information changes everything and sends us spiraling back to square one. Anyway, to make a long story short, my partner is now going to have a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy May 23rd. This is so completely different from what she expected/wanted, it is very difficult to swallow. I have been really strong for her up until this last bit of information and the waiting for surgery and processing this whole thing is really taking its toll. I'm filled with anxiety and am having a really hard time working or really thinking about anything else. I know she needs me to be strong and supportive but I feel pretty unstable, scared and emotional.

My mom went through breast cancer a couple years ago and she said that this website was great, so I thought I'd check it out. I guess I just wanted to put my thoughts down and see if anyone has words of support. Thanks for reading.

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May 6, 2016 02:42PM - edited May 6, 2016 02:45PM by Larkspur

MTroots, many of us here have been through some variation of what you describe: information that changes quickly, news that seems to get worse and worse. The image that occurred to me as I went through all the biopsies and diagnoses last year is that it's like exploring an abandoned house at night: hard to see much in front of you, many unexpected obstacles and sudden trap doors.

In some ways, I think the process is harder on the caregiver than on the patient. My husband was calm and reassuring all through the weeks leading up to my surgery (luckily for me, just a lumpectomy) and agreed with me that there was no need for him to accompany me to the hospital: he'd show up later in the day to pick me up. I'd gone out the door when I remembered that I'd left some paperwork behind. I came back in and found him crying on the couch.

It all starts getting better once the surgery's over with and the lab results are in, and your partner and her care team start to put together a treatment plan. Meantime, Xanax and other anti-anxiety meds can help enormously, so there's no need for either of you to tough it out.

Hang in there! I'm sure others will come along to offer similar words of encouragement and empathy. We all get it.

Dx 1/5/2015, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2/10/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/10/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/13/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy
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May 6, 2016 03:27PM Moderators wrote:


We want to welcome you to our community here at BCO. A breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is very difficult to manage, as the patient and as a support person. We know how scary it is, but just know that you're not alone. This community has been a source of great support for many members in your position, and we hope you find the same!

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May 7, 2016 09:19AM MTroots wrote:

Thank you for your kind reply. I keep telling myself that this is temporary and soon life can get back to normal. That helps as does the lorazepam my dr prescribed me.

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