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Topic: Mother in Law positive biopsy today

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

Posted on: Jun 24, 2021 08:02PM

andrewf wrote:

Hello,

My mother in law, 75, today received word that her biopsy was positive, IDC, Grade 3 (Nottingham 8), no word yet on hormone receptors histology. I had to provide that info to her husband, and my wife. Its like pushing out a big turd you know has to come out but its not comfortable. I did pretty well.

She palpated a lump Sunday before last, got a ultrasound, lump was a 4B, got it biopsied. It was wider than tall, acoustic enhancement, but microlobulated and somewhat irregular. I'm surprised by the wider-than-tall being a positive. She had a mammogram last November, but has really dense breasts and those are hard to image. It measures 1.9 x 1.1 x 1.9 cm on ultrasound, so its not 'huge' but also not tiny. Biopsy largest sample length was 1cm, for what that's worth.

Anyway, she is a patient at Kaiser and they really seem to have a heck of a good system. Major meeting Monday morning with their team to start a plan, everything is in one building. Meanwhile, her shoulder hurts (almost certainly from mechanical use and arthritis, since it comes and goes with movement) but she is convinced it is bone metastasis.

As her son-in-law (her daughter and I are both only-children) I really jump in to help with things, and we are a close family. I have been asked to be there with her Monday. I'm an engineer and trying to get smart on things as quick as I can. Of course, my track record already stinks...since she swore the lump wasn't there a week before, I told her anything that grows that size so fast has to be full of liquid. Wrong. It either was there and she missed it, or its a fast grower. Or a little of both.

So here we are, I've gotten a lot from reading this forum and appreciate it. Number one thing seems to be...we need information and patience most of all. I'm also keenly aware mistakes get made at various steps...10 years ago I stood in a room as they told her she had 'stage 4 kidney cancer' when in fact it was a kidney oncocytoma, and lung scars from an old bout of pneumonia. I've learned from that alone to be a lot more patient with these processes.

"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 24, 2021 08:32PM - edited Jun 24, 2021 08:42PM by exbrnxgrl

andrewf,

Welcome sounds like an odd word under the circumstances but you've come to a good place. Kudos to you for getting your head around the patience factor. Trust me, you'll save yourself and your family a lot of stress by not only being patient but by understanding that you don't yet have all the necessary details to know what might come next. You will read it here, hundreds of times, that the beginning is the hardest part and that is almost universally true.

My situation is very different from your MIL's, but I have been a Kaiser patient from the start. I have nothing but praise for almost everyone who has cared for me. Everything has been seamless and communication between various doctors, lab, and imaging reports is unparalleled. Every authorized professional can easily access every single visit, test or treatment you've ever had as a Kaiser member. Best of all? No worry over insurance denials! If your doctor orders it, you get it. For the record, I have gone outside the Kaiser system twice for second opinions (self pay). Both second opinions were at Stanford and my Stanford mo completely agreed with my Kaiser mo on the proposed treatment plan. I have metastatic bc and have had it, without progression, for ten years. Although no one knows why, I will certainly give Kaiser a good bit of credit for an unexpectedly good outcome thus far.

We also have a section for family and caregivers of bc patients which might help you as a support person.

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/16

I wish your MIL and family the best. Take care

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 07:06PM AliceBastable wrote:

Welcome, and it's nice you're such a concerned son-in-law. I have some questions, though. You've told us quite a lot about the tumor, but not a thing about the person. Is your mother-in-law in otherwise decent health? Does she have language or cognitive problems that make her need assistance in speaking or understanding at appointments? Do you have her permission to discuss her medical issues with her medical team? Do you have her permission to discuss it here? Close families don't necessarily mean invasive on privacy. Did she ask you to be there, or was it some other family member? As someone who is very close to your mother-in-law's age, I'm always concerned when the family involvement seems... questionably excessive. Good luck to her on the testing.

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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Jun 25, 2021 08:14PM andrewf wrote:

Totally fair questions. I'm always very, very concerned about privacy as a topic and about sticking my nose into business where it doesn't belong! In fact, at work, PII training is an annual thing. My rule in life is basically...dont get involved in business that isnt mine. The fact is, she's asked for the support, and I tend to dive in and get up to speed soon on these things (I'm an engineer) and denying her help would not be the act of a loving family member. I actually go and read medical journal articles and studies and lab info, and try to understand physiology. For instance, my father in law had a major neurological workup where they basically told him his symptoms were consistent with anterior horn cell disease (a.k.a motor neuron disease, aka ALS or a variant) and yet he lacked key symptoms of that, and I asked the neurologist why he had not ordered a lumbar MRI since he did a brain, cervical, and thoracic. He basically paused, said he'd do that, then found nerve compression in that area consistent with FIL's foot drop. I'm left thinking...why did you skip that test?! My own father had a small bowel bleed and I advocated getting him moved to a higher tier hospital where they could better treat his issue. The small bowel remains an elusive area to treat, even now in history.

I"m not a doc, just an extra set of eyes and ears trying to put things together and ask questions. And I'm always upfront with her -- "if you want me to volunteer info, I can, or if you want for me to wait until I'm asked, I can do that, I'm not trying to push in at all." Oh, she'd tell me if it was an issue, there's no doubt about that. The fact is, there are no other family members. MIL is an only child, my wife is an only child, maw-maw died 5 years ago at 92. And FIL is now recovering from major toe surgery, they are both living with us right now since I built an addition with a large first floor bath 12 years ago, basically anticipating such a situation one day. Ideally my wife will be helping out a lot too, they're very close. But it is summer and we have 3 kids (elem and high school age) and though I'm the only one with a full time job I do have the flexibility to help share the burden. She was able to go with her to biopsy.

Your concern is totally legit, these situations no doubt bring out all sorts of issues, personalities, and where problems may be dormant, they come to the surface. Siblings arguing over what to do, people with ulterior motives, or control issues, etc etc. Thankfully, we are really a low-drama family. She is glad I am working on getting more information, and has appreciated the resources from here I have forwarded to her, she simply doesn't have time to spend on here. I guess, most simply, I've lived a life of blessing, I love my wife dearly and her mother is quite close to her, and therefore being help wherever I am able and asked is just something I do.

(I started a thread over on the 'caretaker' section since its probably more appropriate there since I'm not a patient myself. )


"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 08:36PM NorCalS wrote:

Hi Andrewf.

I am also a Kaiser member and I really appreciated the coordination of the oncology, surgical, and radiation team in treating me. It was very easy to get appointments and I was also able to select the doctors I wanted. The nurses and staff have been superb. They are very knowledgeable and caring. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciated the oncology nurses at Kaiser - really great. I also appreciated how quickly test results came back and how easy it was to access the results. When you are being treated for cancer, it is a huge relief to have a patient navigator and have the team efficiently guide you through all the appointments. Hopefully, your family will have a similar experience

Dx 6/17/2019, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/23/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Chemotherapy 4/5/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jun 25, 2021 08:58PM marinochka wrote:

andrewf

I just want to say that your MIL is lucky to have you!

You are so wonderful how you care about her and support her and get into all details.


Dx 11/4/2019, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR- Surgery 12/19/2019
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Jun 26, 2021 12:35AM AliceBastable wrote:

andrewf, that all sounds good. But while you're reading all those articles, PLEASE don't dump too much of what you've read on your mother-in-law unless there is a reason to believe her medical team is inept. My sister is a retired librarian and thinks she's the only person who knows how to do research. It got to the point where my mother would not even tell her when she had a health issue, because my sister would re-diagnose her and argue with her doctors and other caregivers. Mom did not need any kind of assistance, even in her eighties when she got breast cancer, so luckily she wasn't reliant on her physically or mentally. For you, and any concerned family member of a patient: make sure you keep your assistance within the bounds of what is actually helpful to the patient, and don't make it about fulfilling any needs of your own. My Mom has since passed (not from cancer, and she was 97), and my sister is my only family. But I couldn't discuss any of the cancers or other health issues I've had with her because the few times I gave her any information at all, it put her in research mode even when I begged her not to, and she tried to dump all kinds of unwanted data crap on me when I needed the mental energy to process the information I was getting from my doctors. It was exhausting at a time I was already tired. This is just kind of an FYI from someone who's been over-hovered. 🙂

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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