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Aug 7, 2019 08:48AM
I know exactly what you are feeling. It is indeed terrifying, especially because there is suddenly so much you have to learn quickly to be able to make decisions. But it can be done. I have literally spent the last three and a half weeks arranging doctors' appointments and MRIs and genetics testing, and reading everything I can to get myself up to speed on what my options are.
This forum is an amazing place to learn about BC and to talk to women in similar situations. Everyone here has an experience that you can learn from and take some comfort from. If it weren't for this forum, I might not have gotten a second BS opinion just a week after my first one, and wouldn't have known that I could have oncoplasty along with my lumpectomy. The first surgeon never even mentioned it, so I wouldn't have even known to search for the term in this forum to learn how other people have experienced it. I also wouldn't have known that there are breast health clinics out there that can see you even before your surgery to help you try to avoid arm stiffness and lymphedema from day one. My first surgeon didn't tell me any of that either. (Clearly I quit my first surgeon and transferred my care to the second one!)
The biggest lesson I've learned so far is to educate myself and then advocate for myself. It is uncomfortable sometimes to have to tell a doctor "I'm going with someone else", but this is too big a deal not to get the best treatment you can from doctors you are comfortable with. It's a lot of work - I am calling it my second job, as I am spending as much time organizing everything for my BC treatment as I am at my regular full-time job. (Luckily my bosses are the best and completely understand!)
So definitely explore this forum in as much detail as you can - most of my questions were already answered somewhere on it. And if you don't easily find an answer to a question, start a new thread and ask it. Even if there are 10 other threads out there about it, the wonderful women on here are happy to answer the question again. They are wonderful.
Diagnosed at 52, right lumpectomy with bilateral oncoplasty, Oncotype score 42
7/15/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)
9/15/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
11/19/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)