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Topic: Just found out I have breast cancer

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Dec 10, 2008 08:14PM

JustSaying wrote:

I just got the results of a biopsy on my left breast this morning, turns out to be cancer. Radiologist says the tumor is .6 cm, guess that's on the smaller side. I found it myself - it did not turn up on the mammogram I had back in June. I am having an MRI tonight and seeing a surgeon in the Breast Center tomorrow. So things are moving fast and it's too surreal.

I'm 44, in good health, and have 3 sons, youngest is 17 and autistic.

My best friend from Jr High/High School just died a little over a year ago from Breast Cancer. Her husband said she did not go for a test until it was 2 inches in diameter. She was a year younger than me. So of course that's just making me even more paranoid.

I have implants, and I'm wondering if anyone out there has them? I'm thinking they would be removed. I've had them about 10 years. 

So hello everyone and thanks for being here.

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Posts 1 - 26 (26 total)

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Dec 10, 2008 08:26PM smerf wrote:

Welcome to this site, but sorry you have to join us.Ladies here are wonderfully supportive, so I'm glad you found us.

You're right in that your tumor is small, and that is good news. Waiting can be the hardest part according to most of us here. I was lucky enough to have very quick consultations, like you. I'm sorry you lost your best friend, but please don't let that scare you. I know, easy to say, not so easy to do....but you have found yours much earlier, and that is a good thing.

I don't have implants, so I can't address that from experience. I do know some people who have been treated with them in place, and some not. Each of us is different, and your doctor will give you your options. I had a partial mastectomy, sometimes called a lumpectomy, and then had my other side reduced to match after all my treatments were done. That was almost three years ago, and I'm doing very well. You will be too! Hang in there, and come back often to talk with us. We will all be thinking of you, and wishing you the best!

Hugs, Pat

Dx 2/13/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 10, 2008 08:28PM snowyday wrote:

I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis.  I don't have implants but if you look on the search box on the top right and enter implants and breast cancer you should find more information.  I'm so sorry I have two sons they are older but took my cancer really hard at first, they are much calmer now about it, good luck and keep in touch, If I find any information I will pm you.  Big hugs, Snowy.

PN Dx 5/24/2007, ILC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Dec 10, 2008 08:36PM snowyday wrote:

There were 1830 posts on implants and cancer, but alot of them are for after cancer, but if you read through them you'll find your answers. Good luck. 

PN Dx 5/24/2007, ILC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Dec 10, 2008 09:10PM JustSaying wrote:

Thanks smerf, it is good to have others who have gone through this. I know that my friend was the exception and not the rule, but still. She was so young and healthy. This is all such bullshit.

 I honestly would not mind getting the implants taken out. I had them put in because my breasts were really like empty drooping sacs after breastfeeding, and I could not even look at them. The surgeon removed a lot of excess skin too. But I imagine I'd still have even more excess skin once they removed them. But they can probably get rid of that all at the same time. Though like you said, it would be nice if they matched.

In fact my husband wondered this morning when I told him about the diagnosis if it was possible that getting the implants could have caused the cancer. Hmmm.

Thanks snowyday for the info, I'm going to go search on that now.

Dx 12/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 10, 2008 09:29PM vision4utoo wrote:

Justsaying:  Hello, I too am sorry that you have to join us, yet there is many good things to come from this, course I am usually always optimistic.

 My particular Breast Cancer is hormone driven.  Did the doctor begin to give you any details?  There are at least 6 differing types of Breast cancer and then the stages, etc.  - .6 is small, sounds like you caught it early.

 Most insurances pay for reconstruction, so if they take those out, you may be able to have new ones put back in - just depends on your individual situation, diagnosis.

My ex hubby lost his fiance to Breast cancer in 2002 and I just lost a friend to pancreatic cancer - So initial diagnosis can be frightening - so many of us are surviving this a lifetime.

 Get the details of Stage, type of Cancer (DCIS, IDC, ILC, IBC, mets, etc.) that will help you find the information specific to you much easier on this site.

 I have two girls, 17 and 11.  We are handling really well.

 Be well & Happy Holidays!

Dx 6/19/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 10, 2008 09:48PM GryffinSong wrote:

Hello and welcome to the board. I was recently diagnosed too, and I'm glad for you that your lump is small. Wishing you the best of luck and hugs through this process.

bmx, no recon - December 16, 2008, AC/T, rads Dx 11/4/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 3/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 10, 2008 09:55PM Rocktobermom wrote:

You should not feel bad about your implants....tell your hubby that the implants did not cause the breast cancer.

You should feel GREAT that the tumor is very, very small.  Your preliminary pathology report will probably come back and tell you that you are stage 1 ... you will get your final stage after your surgery to remove the tumor. 

You'll have time to talk to your doctor and a plastic surgeon as to whether or not to have your implants out ... Hang in there and pretty soon you will be counting your survivor years!

When life hands you a lemon, ask for some tequila and salt to go with it!
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Dec 10, 2008 10:10PM JustSaying wrote:

Thanks vision4utoo. I am still confused as to when I will get the staging. Will they at least know part of it after the MRI, or can they only say once they have removed the tumor and gotten the pathology report done? It seems like they would have to know at least something more than just its approximate size in order to make surgical decisions, for example, partial mastectomy, lumpectomy, etc. All very confusing. I've been trying to read through the info on the ACS site but it's a lot to process right now.

I don't think I want new implants back in. I just want these out of the way.

Rocktobermom - have you heard that implants can't cause breast cancer? I am curious. It would be so ironic to find out that my vanity brought about something as nightmarish as this.

GryffinSong - thanks and best of luck to you too. My "real life" friends are being super nice. I feel very lucky to have them and everyone here too.

Dx 12/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 10, 2008 10:20PM Rocktobermom wrote:

Hi ... I just wanted to answer your staging process ...  the biopsy of the piece of the tumor will yield a preliminary pathology report ... after your surgery, when the whole tumor is out, you will get another biopsy which is going to give your final pathology report.  

I think its safe to say that implants don't cause cancer ... many of us who had mastectomies are now "wearing" implants ... they wouldn't put them in if they thought that ...

When life hands you a lemon, ask for some tequila and salt to go with it!
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Dec 10, 2008 10:32PM hollyann wrote:

HI Just...Welcom to our club!......My tumor was 1.6 cm altogether counting the biopsy tissue and then the mastectomy ( I had Bilat with TRAM reconstructions).......My tumor wasn't found on mammo  it was found on MRI...My sister was diagnosed (dx) just 5 months before me with a 1 and a half inch tumor......She is over 2 yrs out and still in remission....I am almost 2 yrs out and still in remission.......Sounds as if you have a stage 1 bc....That is good news....I had a bilat mast so I wouldn't have to do rads or chemo......Good luck to you....Hugs!...Lucy

Hugs and Love....Lucy Dx 1-15-07 IDC stage 1b grade 1, 1.6 cm.....Also DCIS grade 3, both in left breast Dx 1/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 12, 2008 12:59AM Rocktobermom wrote:

You didn't do chemo, Holly? I was a 1.7cm and no nodes ... mast and chemo and herceptin!

When life hands you a lemon, ask for some tequila and salt to go with it!
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Dec 12, 2008 02:52PM JustSaying wrote:

I got my pathology report from the biopsy and I am Estrogen and Progesterone receptor positive. They had to send the sample somewhere else for FISH testing to determine the HER 2 status. There was no microscopic vascular or lymphatic invasion seen. I guess that's no guarantee that it has not gone into the lymphatic or vascular system, since it was only a small sample. It was grade 3, and it appears to be lobular and not ductal. It is about .6cm x.8cm in size so assuming no lymph invastion it would be stage 1, at least that's how I understood it.

I just had the MRI last night which was a lot worse than I thought, I got a little panicky but made it through ok.

 Also saw the plastic surgeon yesterday who works with the other docs on the team and he recommended getting replacement implants at the time of the lumpectomy. If you just remove them, there is this hard capsule left, and if you do not remove the capsule, apparently you'll go nuts with fluid collecting in there and sloshing around. 

 So I'm waiting for the MRI results, hoping it did not find a whole bunch of other bad stuff in there.

 Talking to the surgeon it sounded like I may or may not get chemo. That's the oncologist's area, and I guess you don't know the whole story until they get the lump and sentinel node out.

If I wind up needing a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy, I think it's more likely that I would not need chemo but not sure. Anyone know about this? I am pre-menopausal so it seems like if they do the lumpectomy I probably will need chemo in addition to radiaton? 

Dx 12/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 12, 2008 04:59PM , edited Dec 12, 2008 05:08PM by ddlatt

dear justsaying,

when i was diagnosed 10/3/08, i didn't know the first thing about cancer, much less ER this, PR that, HER2 whatever!  in only 1.5 months after that, i had ultrasound, core-needle biopsy, MRI, and double mastectomy 11/20/08. my surgery was extremely easy and recovery has been a breeze. but i think it's because i was in great shape physically before surgery, and also because of the books i read (hours and hours of reading), questions i asked, and how fortunate i was to speak with many other women going through the same thing.  

PLEASE get yourself a copy of www.amazon.com/Dr-Susan-Loves-... Susan Love's Breast Book. this will tell you everything you need to know about everything. get the latest copy, which might be 2005 - so that means the chemo info is sometimes outdated, but she explains everything so incredibly well about breast cancer, oncology, radiation, details about surgery and recovery, etc.  it's an invaluable book and is always given to breast cancer patients at the hospital i went to in reno. 

also, i found these websites absolutely life saving in terms of info, discussion, support:

community.breastcancer.org/ - fantastic forums to learn so much and ask questions from women who are experiencing breast cancer, treatment, and recovery

www.cancer.org/docroot/lrn/lrn... - American Cancer Society website

ww5.komen.org/ - Susan B.Komen for the Cure website

www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/br... - Medline website with photos of women with lumpectomies and mastectomies

be sure to see the documentary www.crazysexycancer.com/ "Crazy Sexy Cancer" and then check out the website http://my.crazysexylife.com/ 

I can suggest many, many more sites if you want me to list them. They have saved my life during my experience.  I also joined a support group at the hospital, and immediately got a nurse navigator (INVALUABLE!!) and dietitian, which are free services at our hospital. 

if you read the Susan Love book, you will understand everything that's so confusing at first - when do they stage? how do they grade the tumor?  why is chemo necessary? when is radiation necessary? why is tamoxifen given to pre-menopausal women after chemo?

please e-mail me if you want to connect off-forum - deborah.lattimore@gmail.com

I've blogged my experience at www.ddlatt.blogspot.com/and published photos of my experience and my mastectomy at flickr.com/photos/oceanbornstu... i'm a professional photographer (www.deborahlattimore.com), and my form of therapy is to document what i've been going through. it was such a shock to be diagnosed. i had never been sick a day in my life, not even with flu.  but i wouldn't trade this experience for anything - it's amazing how many wonderful women i have met and how much my heart has been opened.

re: chemo.  chemo is used to kill any possible cancer cells that may have gone in your bloodstream, whether you have lumpectomy or mastectomy. during my double mastectomy surgery, it was determined that my lymph nodes were negative (sentinel lymph node biopsy), but i still have to have chemo. my tumor was grade 3, which means it is a very aggressive cancer, so that's another reason to have chemo. 

re: radiation. radiation is a local treatment, meaning it affects the area where you had cancer, not the entire body. if after surgery it is determined your surgeon got clear margins, you may not need radiation. what i have found is that no two radiation oncologists agree on anything. i've had one that said i needed 36 treatments, and i've had one that said i need no radiation. 

my advice would be to always get second (and third) opinons about everything!  that has been the best thing i did for myself.  it allowed me to see all sides of different recommendations, and after research and discussion, i was better educated and could make the best decision for myself. i am having three opinions for my chemo treatment, three opinions about radiation, and also the consensus of the tumor board at my hospital. see if your case is going before the tumor board - that's very important information, if your hospital has one.

DX age 54. IDC. Stage 1, 1.2cm tumor 1 millimeter from chest wall. Had ultrasound, MRI, core-needle biopsy. Sentinel node biopsy (nodes clear) and double mastectomy 11/20/08, no reconstruction. AC/ Taxol, 35 tomotherapy radiation treatments. Dx 10/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 13, 2008 07:00PM ddlatt wrote:

justsaying  - here is a great New York Times article for you: http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/breast-cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier

DX age 54. IDC. Stage 1, 1.2cm tumor 1 millimeter from chest wall. Had ultrasound, MRI, core-needle biopsy. Sentinel node biopsy (nodes clear) and double mastectomy 11/20/08, no reconstruction. AC/ Taxol, 35 tomotherapy radiation treatments. Dx 10/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 13, 2008 08:55PM roxy42 wrote:

Hi I'm 43 and 17 months out and doing well.I did 6 months of kemo and 3 surgerys and radiation,and now i'm on arimidex.I have three kids my 6 year old daughter has Autism,So some days are rough,but i get through it.....godbless roxy

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Dec 13, 2008 09:40PM mmingo777 wrote:

Sorry to hear you have joined Club BC.  What I will tell you is that I have been through it twice and I'm a survivor and so will you be. It's not easy, but with support of family and friends you will get through it a little easier. I wish I had known about this site when I went through it the first time.  I will you what a good friend of mine, who also went through it, told me. There are three places you can draw strength from; your physical being, your spiritual being and your emotional being.  When you are in the throws of it (chemo, radiation,etc), assess where the strength might come from each day and go there. In other words, when you feel physically weak and emotionally strong, focus your mind on your emotions, or when you feel emotionally weak, but physically strong, go for a little walk.  The spiritual is where I would go when both physical and emotion were weak, on these days, I would read the bible and hum old church songs. Truley, when I felt like a freak(bald from head to toe)  or was so sick I couldn't get out of bed, this regiment helped both me and my husband cope. Remember; this is a temporary state, not what you will be known for.  Going through this made me take charge of my medical care and become informed.  God Bless you.  Terry

mmingo777
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Dec 14, 2008 02:31PM JustSaying wrote:

ddlatt: Thank you so much for your lengthy and very helpful reply. I went out yesterday and bought the Susan Love book, plus a few others that looked good. I too have never been a sick person and I am pretty athletic - lots of long distance cycling and more recently I've taken running back up again since a bunch of my friends talked me into it! Anyhow that stuff is going to have to be put aside for a while - though I need to find out more about how much exercise is advisable during the different treatments. I know I'll probably just be a wreck a lot of the time and not up to doing any kind of exercise. I still want to check out your site. I almost wish I could have no reconstruction, however I already have saline implants and according to the plastic surgeon, it's a much more traumatic and painful surgery to have them removed than it would be to just replace them during the lumpectomy or mastectomy (not sure which one yet). This is because there is a hard capsule that's formed around them, and if they are removed, the capsules also must be removed. That's what makes it so much more painful. Anyhow that's the least of my worries.

Mine is also grade 3, though I'm hoping I remain stage 1 - size wise it is still stage 1 but I know I have to wait for the pathology after the surgery to know for sure. So I suppose I likely will wind up with chemo. I am going to do some serious reading and get way up to speed on everything as you have done. Thanks for the advice on 2nd/3rd opinions. I need to see what my hospital offers. It is Newton Wellesely Hospital and they are associated with Dana Farber, so there may be some options there.

roxy42: I have a 17 year old son with Autism and when I told him he asked me who would be able to take care of him if I'm not here. Oh my god. Sorry but autistics have NO tact!!! I'm currently reading a great novel called "The Speed of Dark" which is written in the 1st person perspective of a 20-something autistic man, set about 20 years in the future. Very good for getting inside the head of an autistic person.

mmingo777: Thanks for the great advice. I can relate to that. But God forbid, what do you do if all 3 areas are weak? I guess take a Xanax??? I go from hopeful one second to sure I am going to die the next.

Dx 12/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 15, 2008 04:30AM , edited Dec 15, 2008 04:31AM by momonjava

Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth about exercise.  No need to totally put it aside, especially since you seem to really love getting out there.  Try to do as much as you can and regard it as being just as important as the other treatments you'll be receiving.  I truly believe that exercise is so helpful both physically and psychologically.  I went back to running a week after my lumpectomy (really slow, with an elastic binder wrapped around my torso) and I think that was the main reason why I had no fatigue at all through rads.  I work in a cardiopulmonary rehab unit and we have a cancer recovery program where we emphasize exercise (along with nutrition, stress management, etc).  Most folks do tell us that it makes a substantial difference.  

I linked to this thread through your response to my thread.  Even though this bc business is brand new and no doubt has more or less blindsided you (as it did all of us when first diagnosed), you took the time to reach out to me when I needed it. That is just so cool.  Thank you so much and don't forget there is lots of hope and support here.

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Dec 15, 2008 07:27AM ddlatt wrote:

dear justsaying, i'm so glad the info was useful.  so many women have helped me; i want to help others when i can!  i know many, many women who are taking chemo and who do NOT feel terrible or feel like a wreck. they are exercising and working and enjoying their families and staying on top of everything with diet and getting enough sleep and meditation or whatever they need to do. please don't assume you'll be a wreck. you sound like one of these kind of women - you will exercise because you love it and you know it's an important part of healing. i've been told that even if we're experiencing extreme fatigue from chemo and/or radiation, it's very important to keep exercising.

great news that your hospital is associated with dana-farber. one of the best places in the country for breast cancer treatment!

stay in touch! 

DX age 54. IDC. Stage 1, 1.2cm tumor 1 millimeter from chest wall. Had ultrasound, MRI, core-needle biopsy. Sentinel node biopsy (nodes clear) and double mastectomy 11/20/08, no reconstruction. AC/ Taxol, 35 tomotherapy radiation treatments. Dx 10/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 15, 2008 09:31AM Diana63 wrote:

Hi Justsaying, I had to post because I also have an adult autistic son, he is 24 years old and is pretty high functioning. He can read but cant do some normal simple everyday tasks like tie his shoes or cook for himself. I understand about the can you take care of me part, my daughter just recently went off on my son. I was hospitalized for heart problems (decompensated heart failier), he asked her what will happen to him if I died. She got all upset with him and went into a long rant about he shouldn't worry about himself all of the time. I was so angry with her, of course he is worried about himself. I am the one that takes care of him everyday, and have been his whole life. He was so helpful during chemo, getting me things and watching me sleep.

I talked to him and told him that daddy and his hard headed sister would make sure that he was OK if something happened to me. It seemed to help a little I hope he understood what I told him ,as you know its hard to tell what they take in and what they don't take in. Anyway I wanted to post to you about my son and tell you I know what you are going through in that department. I hope all goes well and that you don't need chemo.   Laughing

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Dx 10/6/2007, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 15, 2008 02:28PM hollyann wrote:

Rocktobermom...I didn't do chemo because I am Her2 Neg and also my onco score was 17...I had no nodes involved.....Plus the Bilat mast was done to avoid chemo........Hugs to you mom.......Lucy

Hugs and Love....Lucy Dx 1-15-07 IDC stage 1b grade 1, 1.6 cm.....Also DCIS grade 3, both in left breast Dx 1/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 22, 2008 11:50PM djsuz wrote:

Justsaying I am sorry about your results.

I thought I would add something as you mention your 17 year old son having Autism and lacking tact.

I too have Autism and my tact is pretty bad especially in traumatic situtations. From my perspective, whenever I hear bad news I usually begin by putting my foot in my mouth, then I disappear into my shell until I have a valid reason to come back out again. It is different for guys and gals though. Guys tend to be more tactless because they lack the social skills a gal has had to develop throughout life.

Hang in there for yourself and your family. Words are not important, sometimes the silence says the most. (This is my opinion anyway for what it's worth)

I am thinking about you this evening and sending well wishes your way.

Suzanne

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Dec 23, 2008 09:08PM mawhinney wrote:

I keep notebooks around my house and jot down questions when I think of them.  I've even gotten up in the middle of the night to jot down questions!  I make lists for each doctor I see - radilogist, oncologist, surgeon, plastic surgeon.  Before each appointment I refine my questions and take the list along with a pen into the appointment.  I like having the list just in case I get nervous and forget something.  I also read everything I can find feeling that the better informed I am, the better decisions I can make.  See if you can find a support group as I find it is comforting to be around others that understand what you are going through.  Support groups are also great sources of information about local doctors, treatments, supplies, etc.

Dx 5/18/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 23, 2008 09:21PM Harley44 wrote:

If implants caused cancer, then the drs. wouldn't recommend them to be used for my breast reconstruction, after my bi-lateral mastectomy. 

Don't worry, dear.  You didn't do anything to cause your cancer.

I'll be thinking of you.  Sending HUGS your way!

Harley

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Dec 24, 2008 06:34PM JustSaying wrote:

djsuz - It is always extremely interesting to hear the perspective of someone who is autistic such as yourself. There are not a lot of autistic people who can express themselves as you can. My son has no desire to express himself in that way - but maybe as he gets older he will. He's really a good kid and he does all that he can to help me.

 mawhinney - I know what you mean about forgetting questions! I have been writing them down. 

Harley44 - yes I found this out by putting the question right to my doc - also read the answer in the Susan Love book. So at least I don't have to feel bad about that...

Dx 12/10/2008, ILC, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 25, 2008 07:40PM kamico3 wrote:

JustSaying-  I just had a second opinion with Dr. Burstein at Dana Farber and it was very well worth it. It only took me about a week and a half to get the appointment and I found it tremendously helpful. I first met with a third year fellow there, who was also very knowledgeable and I liked her a lot, then she brought Dr. Burstein in and they both talked to me for quite a while. I had been leaning in the direction of thinking I should have chemo (my oncologist basically said it was up to me), but after talking to them, I will not be having chemo because they convinced me that it doesn't make sense in my case. I would highly recommend getting a second opinion there.

Dx 9/11/08, IDC, 1 cm,Stage 1, grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, oncotype 19