Topic: Apparently I Am "Just Diagnosed." :(

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

Posted on: Jan 13, 2021 12:34PM - edited Nov 11, 2021 09:58PM by lw422

Posted on: Jan 13, 2021 12:34PM - edited Nov 11, 2021 09:58PM by lw422

lw422 wrote:

Hello everyone. Here I am, terrified and confused like most of you were when you got "The News No One Wants To Hear." I had what appeared to be a light pink bruise on my right breast the week before Christmas and wasn't concerned. Watched it for a week or so to see if it would go away and decided to Google. Bad idea, but at least it prompted me to see my PCP right away. (Note that I have no peau-de-orange, no heat in the breast, no 1/3 of breast turning red, no lump, no hardness, no itching, no other apparent symptoms other than breast is slightly swollen and a light pink "bruise".)

My doctor took one look and said I needed to have a mammo/sono and I scheduled them as soon as I could. Luckily for me, I live 25 miles from MD Anderson in Houston, so that's where I spent my day yesterday. I had a diagnostic mammogram w/tomo (whatever that means), a sonogram, and two biopsies...needle biopsy to lymph node and core biopsy to the largest mass in my breast with clip placement. I will have followup MRI and skin punch biopsies next week (hopefully) and meet with my "team."

There are no results back from the core biopsy yet but the lymph node was positive for cancer so I'm pretty sure I know what the core biopsy will say. Naturally my biggest fear is IBC, so even though I'm holding it together so far, an IBC diagnosis will be devastating (not that any BC diagnosis isn't devastating, but IBC... UGH.)

Here's a little blurb from My Chart sonogram test results:

Right breast:
There is right breast global skin thickening, correlating with mammography. A dominant area of right breast skin thickening is seen at 3 o'clock position and correlates with an area of erythema. Skin thickening measures 0.5 cm maximally. There is no sonographic correlation for mammographic asymmetry in the anterior central breast.

There are multiple subcentimeter masses in the upper outer quadrant. This appears to correlate with the mammographic finding of asymmetry in the lateral breast. The largest mass is irregular and hypoechoic with angular margins at 10 o'clock position, 12 cm from the nipple measuring 0.9 x 0.6 x 0.5 cm. This mass was targeted for core biopsy and clip placement today.

Right nodal basins:
There is one malignant-appearing right axillary level I lymph node measuring 1.9 x 1.3 x 1.2 cm with replacement of the fatty hilum. This correlates with the mammogram finding of an abnormal-appearing lymph node. This lymph node was targeted for fine-needle aspiration and clip placement.

There is no right axillary level II, axillary level III, or internal mammary lymphadenopathy. There is no suspicious-appearing lymph node in the right supraclavicular region.

ACR BI-RADS Category: 5: Highly suggestive of malignancy.
Skin punch biopsy is recommended for right breast erythema.
Breast MRI is recommended.

Since I don't have the details of what type of cancer I have yet, I'll just put this here and move to the appropriate section once I know for certain what I am facing. I have been reading this forum for about a month but had nothing to contribute except a bunch of angst-filled questions, so I mainly read to see if others had already asked them. Nice to meet you all and I wish the best for all of us.
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Apr 6, 2021 06:16PM lw422 wrote:

Astrid!! :love: Hello there; I was wondering where you have been lately. Hope all is well with you, and as always, thanks for your unflagging positivity.

Thanks for the wig compliments; I've bought two styles and wonder if they'll ever get worn. I also bought some bangs on a headband (do you call them "fringe?") For some reason scarves and hats look a little better with a bit of hair showing.

I had Taxol #8 today and so far, so good. I was tired and sleepy when I got home so took a 2-hour nap. Naps are good! For the most part my dark days are few and far between, but if a scan is scheduled I go off the deep end with "what ifs". Thanks again for your words of support; they really comfort me.

Take care and keep in touch!

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Apr 6, 2021 09:57PM krose53 wrote:

My hair was always my best feature. Long and thick but losing it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I too, find everything on my head annoying. Hats give me a headache and wigs are just awful and itchy. I bought a wig before I lost all my hair and I never wore it, not even once. The day after I shaved my head, I went out to lunch and shopping completely commando. I decided I was uncomfortable enough with chemo and everything else going on and I wasn't going to add the annoyance of a wig to it. The only time I wore a hat, was a knitted beanie when it was cold out. It was actually kind of freeing. I didn't care if people stared at me. Most of the time I forgot I was bald and didn't even noticed people looking at me. Hang in there. It all gets much better. I'm 3 years out next month and my hair is long and looks better than ever. You'll be in my thoughts.

Dx 11/16/2017, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/27/2017 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right) Chemotherapy 1/22/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2018
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Apr 6, 2021 11:49PM lw422 wrote:

Krose53--what a nice post; thanks. I know it's silly... I hardly ever even leave my house since I no longer work. I just can't stand to see myself in the mirror or in the Ring doorbell videos when I walk outside. Pathetic, really. With all the other crap to deal with, losing hair has to sink me emotionally.

I hope you are doing well; three years out is a great milestone! I wish you many, many more years.

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Apr 8, 2021 10:07PM lw422 wrote:

I forgot to add that at this week's chemo, I heard "the bell" rung TWICE. I was too far away to see the ringers but there was a lot of clapping and whooping for both of them.

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May 14, 2021 12:15PM lw422 wrote:

Just an update to my progress. This week was my last Taxol and I had an ultrasound of my cancerous breast to see how I'm responding to chemo. I got good news; the SO claimed I have had "excellent" response with decreased tumor and lymph node size. Redness from IBC is almost totally gone.

I met with the breast surgeon to discuss upcoming mastectomy and my options for having a plastic surgeon make the closure to get the "aesthetic flat closure" I want since I'm not interested in reconstruction. I found that the plastic surgeon is also able to perform the LYMPHA procedure that will connect lymph channels to blood vessels after the lymph nodes are removed. I hope that this will help prevent lymphedema in the future. I won't be having surgery until August, so I'll be meeting with the plastic surgeon to discuss these options in the near future.

Next week I begin the AC chemo, which I'm dreading but hopefully it won't be as bad as I imagine. So onward we go! Hard to believe this started 4 months ago; it seems like a lifetime.

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May 14, 2021 03:12PM beesy_the_other_one wrote:

Congrats on finishing Taxol, LW, and it's great to hear of your great response thus far! It's particularly exciting that the PS can do the LYMPHA procedure! Just yesterday I had a tooth extracted (related to chemo--long story, but the quack endodontist left part of a tool in my root and while I was not on chemo, the root canal seemed to be effective but as soon as my immune system was depressed, infection started). That tooth has had two root canals now and it's just been a money pit, so I'll be getting an implant. The periodontist who did the extraction told me he couldn't place the IV and BP cuff on the same arm. I told him the left arm was not going to be used--he could use my leg for BP and right arm for IV. He argued with me, dismissing my concern about lymphedema completely, almost like a schoolyard bully. I was literally prepared to get up and walk out, but he acquiesced, begrudgingly. He honestly did a fantastic job--it's healing beautifully, but I'm not going back to a bully. I've already found another periodontist. Hopefully you won't have to deal with this because of the LYMPHA procedure!

1997: Phyllodes, R breast. 2018: IDC, L breast. TCHP, BMX, Radiation, Nerlynx. Dx 8/20/2018, IDC, Left, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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May 14, 2021 07:03PM lw422 wrote:

Beesy--I'm glad you got the dental work complete, but what an ass that periodontist is. I'm glad you're finding a new one that hopefully will listen to you.

I'm happy that there is a LYMPHA specialist at MDA, but one concern I have is that I will have radiation after the surgery. I'm wondering what the effect of rads will be on the LYMPHA connections so I will have plenty of questions for the plastic surgeon. Ugh, always something to worry about but I am so hopeful that I don't ever have to deal with lymphedema.

Hey Jana. How are you these days? Yep, I'm dreading AC but whatever it takes! This is 2021, The Year of Dread. :amazed: I hope things are going well for you.

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Jun 4, 2021 04:21AM Helen67 wrote:

Hi Astrid,

Thank you for this wonderful reply.

I was not able to see any replies until today, hence why i did not post any.

I had a very good lumpectomy experience at an amazing hospital and for the first couple of months was in a lovely place of peace.

The past month of radiation treatment has been a bit harder and i do not have the same connection with my radiation doctor.

I was pleased to make the decision to leave my position at a community health center and use the month of low radiation treatment to build my private practice. Which i have been able to do.

I have had some wonderful friends around and have taken part in a beautiful angel healing which was delightful.

It's interesting how our mood can shift as we traverse this journey and I have to ensure that i come back to that place of faith.

I have found some time to do some fun stuff.

And need to do more of that.

Thank you again, your post means a lot.


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Jun 4, 2021 04:34AM Helen67 wrote:

Hi Rose,

Sending a great big hug.

There may be some things you might be able to do that will be pleasing to your eye.

It really can be overwhelming and shocking can't it?!

I do think it is important that we have a therapist or nurse specialist we can speak about this stuff with to help us get through the shock and grief that are very normal. Sending you such a big collossal hug again. Trusting things will get better. Helen xxxx

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Jun 4, 2021 10:20AM lw422 wrote:

Hello again, Helen. I'm glad to hear that your treatment is going well. Take care and keep us informed!

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