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Jun 19, 2019 01:07PM
Hi Akan - I'm sorry your wife has joined the "club". :( I'm glad you are here in an effort to help her on this journey. This community is such a great place for support.
I was 41 when dxd. If my genetics had come back positive, I was planning on a BILMX. Thankfully, I was negative, like your wife. I have dense breasts but larger chest than she does. Every decision is so difficult and so very personal. The thing I can say that helped me was to see a Plastic Surgeon for the pre op appt, go over the options, talk with my Oncology Surgeon, just basically go through all the appts and make a pros/cons list. Like your wife, I wanted it out asap, but I also knew that whatever decision I made I would be living with for the rest of my life so I needed to slow down just a bit to ensure I wouldn't regret anything down the road.
I ended up choosing Lumpectomy for 2 main reasons. I'm used to having a larger chest and I was scared at how much of myself, my sexuality, my "me" that I would lose without having them. Also, because having a BIMX did not increase my overall survival vs a Lumpectomy. Thirdly, my OS said the 3 cm mass would not cause much change in size in my L breast compared to my R. I bordered on C/D cups, so much more to work with. I think if I had had a smaller chest size, removing that much of mass, larger than a golfball, would have been more obvious, therefore requiring more surgery in the future to balance them out etc and might have influenced my decision more.
I have healed pretty well from the surgery itself and I think in a few years the scars will be nearly non-existent. I did require RADs because of this, and in hindsight, I sometimes wish I had chosen MX for a number of reasons.
1) Skipping Rads I would not have developed Breast Lymphedema that I will have to manage/treat the rest of my life, also I would not have developed Fibrosis, a broken rib, and been dxd with Costochondritis. Not having that constant pain from these SEs would not remind me so often of cancer IMO. (that being said - I'm a "zebra" with a Spoonie Life and everything weird that can happen ie rare SEs etc happens to me)
2) I worry about recurrence.....alot. I think if I had opted for the MX I would have less to worry about, but then again, my cousin had a BLMX, was fine for 14 years, and then last year, diagnosed with a local recurrence between her implant and skin. So, IDK.
3) I'm younger and have many years of life ahead, and many more years for cancer to possibly reappear. I wish I had fully understood that before surgery. Again, removing breast tissue is not a guarantee nor increase survival, but there is something to be said for mental health and anxiety levels as well. I'm told that gets easier to deal with as the years come and go, but this first year has been tough, mentally.
Ok, sorry to have blathered on, hopefully something in there helps your wife a bit with her process. My journey has been bumpy, from my reading here, it's not the norm or the majority, that being said I'm around if your wife has questions or the like. Keep us posted on what the next few weeks bring.
"Spoonie" who entered BC World @ 41. DXd w/MS & Thyroid Cancer @42. Treatment: LX/SLNB/RADs. Plan A: 5mg Tamox = 0 QOL. Plan B: OS/AI = Rare allergy to OS meds. Plan C: Only option left, Diet & Exercise. PS: Not a dr, just a Googler.
7/20/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
8/29/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel
8/30/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2
9/30/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
3/29/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
7/1/2019 Zoladex (goserelin)