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Topic: Mother-in-law aged 75 just diagnosed

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: Jun 25, 2021 06:53AM

andrewf wrote:

yesterday, my mother-in-law got back positive biopsy results from a breast mass that was a BIRACS 4B, positive for IDC, grade 3.

No word yet on any of the hormone receptors, etc.

Now, despite all the mother-in-law tropes we hear ("i went on a pleasure trip recently....took my mother in law to the airport") we are really a very close-knit family, my wife and I are only-children (and have 3 of our own). I tend to get really involved in helping out with medical issues when needed. My father in law is currently recovering from really major foot surgery, so major in fact they both moved in with us last week so he could use our big first floor full bath (that I built 10 years ago when i did an addition) and have a bed on our first floor.

I'm amazed at how these sorts of thing just dribble out....instead of a big splash ("Grandma had a heart attack and is in the hospital") its like ..... found a breast lump, got an ultrasound....hmm, needs to be biopsied; probably will be ok but lets see, it looks kind of menacing. Oh, positive for breast cancer. But even that is half an answer. How is it driven? How will it be staged? Is her sore shoulder (almost certainly arthritis) a bone metastasis like she is worried about? How will she respond to treatment, how will it affect the quality of life? Will this disease progress to a point to cause her death?

A lot of thoughts, a lot of unknowns, and really a lot will remain unknown. Many people would wish to live to be as old as 75, and yet, when you're accustomed to someone just being there...being healthy, and suddenly they are not, its a bit of cognitive dissonance. And all of this at the same time I know that I am not the sick one, and I want to be helpful but not unwelcomingly so, so I frequently caveat my comments with that. I think I need to ask her if she wants me to volunteer advice, or wants me to wait until asked. These sorts of conversations are good to have early to keep stress out of family relationships, I would think.

Monday at 0830 is a big meeting with all her docs at Kaiser Permanente to get the ball rolling.

"Yeah, yeah, my s#it's f___d up, It has to happen to the best of us, The rich folks suffer like the rest of us, It'll happen to you" - Warren Zevon. Caregiver to my Mother in law and eager student of this topic so we can help her. Dx 6/23/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jun 25, 2021 07:34AM Moderators wrote:

Hi andrewf, and welcome to Breastcancer.org,

We're so very sorry to hear of your mother-in-law's diagnosis, but we're really glad you've joined us here and reached out for support -- we're all here for you both! Your MIL is so lucky to have such a caring son-in-law.

We know it's hard to not immediately jump to the worse-case conclusion, but we just want to remind you that it's very possible the diagnosis is early-stage, treatment not too extensive, and your MIL will recover in a relatively short amount of time and get back to living her life -- and we're sending good thoughts for that outcome! We know it's scary for you all right now, but as you learn more about the diagnosis, and get a treatment plan in place, the better you'll start to feel. Knowledge is power.

Please keep us posted with how her meeting goes on Monday. We're all here to help you sort things out and offer information and advice.

Thinking of you both! Please let us know if there's anything we can do to help.

--The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Jun 25, 2021 08:55AM - edited Jun 25, 2021 08:58AM by exbrnxgrl

andrewf,

I responded on the other thread you started yesterday.

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/5/topics/880244?page=1#idx_1


Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jun 25, 2021 10:39AM andrewf wrote:

Thank you both so much! I figured I'd move my post over here, in the caretaker section.

I'll update the profile here as we know more and come back with questions as I have them.

Most appreciated!

"Yeah, yeah, my s#it's f___d up, It has to happen to the best of us, The rich folks suffer like the rest of us, It'll happen to you" - Warren Zevon. Caregiver to my Mother in law and eager student of this topic so we can help her. Dx 6/23/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jun 25, 2021 01:42PM flashlight wrote:

Hi andrewf, You have to take one day at a time. When you have your meeting there will be more information. Right now you don't have enough facts. I have read where others tape this meeting so they can go back and really listen to what is being said. It is overwhelming. I'm glad your MIL has such a great SIL. I know she knows you are there for her and doesn't have to go through this alone.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Surgery Lumpectomy: Left
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Jun 25, 2021 06:36PM andrewf wrote:

Thank you much. I see you're from Delaware. I went to college there, 20+ years ago now (gulp). We vacation at the beach there annually. I know my MIL will miss it if she can't make the trip this year, depending on her treatment plan.

"Yeah, yeah, my s#it's f___d up, It has to happen to the best of us, The rich folks suffer like the rest of us, It'll happen to you" - Warren Zevon. Caregiver to my Mother in law and eager student of this topic so we can help her. Dx 6/23/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jun 26, 2021 07:45AM Salamandra wrote:

I found the Moose and Doc Canadian breast cancer website very accessible and informative once I had an idea of what to research.

But yeah the main thing at this point is waiting, and accepting that it will be a while before the full picture of the cancer emerges, and even then, the only way to find out how her cancer will impact her life is to live through it. There are so many possible profiles and experiences.

Some helpful things could be:

  • encouraging your MIL to connect with a supportive social worker. Her treatment center may have one or if not, an organization like Sharsheret. Social workers are absolutely wonderful: for having a social emotional outlet beyond family; for finding/getting resources like support groups, exercise programs, financial assistance; navigating the healthcare process; and just generally having someone who has experience with breast cancer patients checking up on you and helping give a sense of perspective. Generally they're not like a therapist, but they can be if that's what a person needs. A first initial intake meeting can help give a sense of how they can be most helpful/supportive.
  • dealing with paperwork. I've heard great things about Kaiser and being all in-house will probably help a lot with making sure that all scans and imaging are where they need to be. But it can't hurt to keep her own file with everything, names, dates, contact info, etc.
Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/18/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/19/2019 Fareston (toremifene)
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Jun 29, 2021 04:50AM andrewf wrote:

Yesterday there were multiple meetings at Kaiser with her various doctors (RO, MO, Surgeon), and I joined by phone after dropping her off. No family members allowed due to COVID polices still. It is what it is. At least now I know what RO and MO are.

Team all sounded very competent and explained things clearly to my MIL. On the negative side, its a grade-3 tumor and is "triple-negative", on the plus side, she is clinically stage 1. No evidence of lymph swelling or any other spread, and size is just under 2cm. Surgery will be on 6 July. Plan is to have breast-conserving surgery ("lumpectomy") and 6 weeks later start adjuvant chemotherapy, followed by radiation to the affected breast. I dont know the exact chemotherapy drug plan...yet. Pathological staging wont be done until after surgery, when they excise sentinel nodes and test them. She seemed a little overwhelmed afterward, but thankfully I was able to catch everything. The MO and Surgeon both examined her physically and found no lymph swellings, and everybody seems to be pretty straightforward that this is on the small side but due to its non-receptor status it needs aggressive follow up with chemotherapy to ensure curative treatment.

MIL was upbeat. At 75, she says "I'd just like another 10 good years, what do you think doc?" I have a sneaking suspicion that 85 year olds say the same thing though! I also pointed out that, as much as I and her daughter and all of us can love and support her, we dont have the direct experience of being through this and she should reach out to others who have walked this road and get their perspective. She said "You've all been so great and so much help." I told her "Hey, its what families do! Also, I need to be up front here, {her name}, if you get chemotherapy induced alopecia, I'm not shaving my head in sympathy with you. I'll do anything you need, but I won't do that" We all had a good chuckle. But she does have an uncertain route of chemotherapy and all its accompanying side-effects and she knows it. I reminded her that unlike someone who finds breast cancer because they perhaps fall and break a bone and have advanced metastatic disease, the focus of her treatment now is 'curative' and she should focus on that.

I guess I need to jump on to the TN topic area and see what other adjuvant therapy is available after the MO and RO are done their part, any ongoing treatments that would ensure this does not return either locally or metastatically in the future. Or is it just a 30 sided dice you roll every year and either it comes up or or it doesn't?

"Yeah, yeah, my s#it's f___d up, It has to happen to the best of us, The rich folks suffer like the rest of us, It'll happen to you" - Warren Zevon. Caregiver to my Mother in law and eager student of this topic so we can help her. Dx 6/23/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jun 29, 2021 08:31PM Cowgirl13 wrote:

Andrew, I just turned 75! And it ain't that old!! Sending positive thoughts.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the Devil says: 'Oh crap! She's up! Dx 5/28/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/17/2009 Chemotherapy 8/3/2009 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/21/2009 Hormonal Therapy 2/23/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 29, 2021 08:40PM Beaverntx wrote:

Andrew, I was diagnosed at 77 and can honestly say the pandemic has had a much greater impact on my life style than BC and its treatment.

Diagnosed at age 77-- Oncotype 17, dealing with this bump in the road of life!!🎆 Dx 1/24/2018, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 1/29/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx 1/30/2018, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0 Radiation Therapy 3/10/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/14/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 6/18/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 30, 2021 01:31PM marinochka wrote:

Andrew, it will be ok with your MIL. I wish her as easy treatment and less SEs!

Dx 11/4/2019, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR- Surgery 12/19/2019
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Jul 6, 2021 07:09AM andrewf wrote:

Her surgery is today. They are sampling sentinel lymph nodes and removing her breast tumor. Then its off to pathology for the "real" look at things, although from what I gathered that won't change her plan for adjuvant follow up treatment.... unless full tumor pathology is different from the samples taken maybe. I guess if her SLNs are clear her outlook is really good, and if they are not clear, it is less so good but that is why adjuvant chemotherapy is done, and radiation too. I suppose once pathological staging is done I should change topics and talk to some folks about types of chemotherapy done and what other follow ups are done to monitor her.

"Yeah, yeah, my s#it's f___d up, It has to happen to the best of us, The rich folks suffer like the rest of us, It'll happen to you" - Warren Zevon. Caregiver to my Mother in law and eager student of this topic so we can help her. Dx 6/23/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jul 6, 2021 08:11AM AliceBastable wrote:

Maybe you need to step back and just breathe a bit? I didn't get this micromanaged about my own cancer!

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 6, 2021 09:47AM PiperKay wrote:

Hi Andrew, thinking of your MIL and the family today! I am also TN, two years out from the end of treatment which included lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. The only thing I would suggest is that you ask the docs about the planned 6 weeks between surgery and the start of chemo. A significant piece of research on the treatment of triple negative disease came out in December 2018 concluding that the earlier chemo is started, the better. In fact, the recommendation is that it begin no more than 30 days out from surgery. Every day after that the effectiveness decreases. Here is a link to the article on this website that talks about this research. https://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/chemo-delay-30-days-plus-worse-for-trip-neg Definitely worth a read and discussing with the care team.

Anne

Dx 11/2018, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 1/17/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 4/24/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jul 9, 2021 04:53AM andrewf wrote:

Thank you for this! This is exactly the type of helpful info I was hoping to source here. Things I can pass along as in "consider discussing this with your doctor."

Her pathology report came back today. IDC, upgraded to Nottingham 9 (grade 3), also some DCIS mixed in. Max tumor dimension ended up being 1.3 cm.

Clear margins, min of 2mm.

And...they took one sentinel node, it was the only one the tracer went to. Negative for any cancer cells.

My read of it is, if you've got to get a pathology report, its pretty good outcome so far. T1cN0M0, she is squarely in stage 1. Again, this is all happening while my FIL is recovering from major foot surgery and temporarily in a wheelchair about 90% of the time, and they both are living in our house temporarily (with our 3 kids, dog, 3 cats). Its actually working out better than many would expect. Oh, and we're all going to the beach tomorrow.

"Yeah, yeah, my s#it's f___d up, It has to happen to the best of us, The rich folks suffer like the rest of us, It'll happen to you" - Warren Zevon. Caregiver to my Mother in law and eager student of this topic so we can help her. Dx 6/23/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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Jul 9, 2021 04:59AM ShetlandPony wrote:

Just by the way, I don't call it micromanaging to be involved and informed. My learning and bringing up questions with doctors has served me well, and also has helped my relative who had bc in important ways. Of course, one must also seek balance, and a family beach trip sounds like a great idea.

2011 Stage I ILC 1.5cm grade1 ITCs sn Lumpectomy,radiation,tamoxifen. 2014 Stage IV ILC mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD
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Jul 9, 2021 01:38PM AliceBastable wrote:

Enjoy the beach!

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes

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