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Sep 17, 2021 10:24AM
Sep 17, 2021 10:30AM
ritac97 - You are braver and doing better than I did! I ignored a breast change, because I thought it was an old fibroadenoma from when I was 19 (I was 66 at the time) acting up again, as for decades I was always told that any concerns I had in that area were old scar tissue and nerve damage. I also thought some of the changes in that area were from aging and "sagging", etc. It finally got to a point where I thought I just had to show it to someone (I had been lax with the mammograms and routine doctors appts because most I'd seen had retired, and then my parents were getting ill, dying, etc., and I had been very healthy until then. I actually went to a walk-in clinic because I was so scared and so did not want to hear anything bad, that I was sure that If I made an appointment for some future date, I would cancel it or not show up because of the fear and being so scared. One morning I realized I was in a good enough "head space" that I could actually go somewhere and show my problem to someone, and the only place I could do that spur of the moment, was a walk-in clinic. On my drive there, I almost turned around and went back home more than once.
Sure enough, the walk-in clinic doctor took one look at my breast and said she was sure it was breast cancer. She then had me sit in the exam room while she went into the office and went crazy trying to get me some immediate appointments with a breast surgeon up in a city that is a little far for me to go routinely. It was apparently difficult for her, as the surgeon was taking a week off, everyone was booked, etc. She got some appointments made and came in to give me the info. While she had been busy with that, I was totally freaking out in the exam room and thinking of every way possible I could excuse myself and just leave. A medical asst came in and told me how sorry she was, asked if I was OK, if she could get me some water, etc. and I was just freaking out in my head thinking, "What are you all doing! This is crazy. I just want to get out of here! You don't understand my story about the old fibroadenoma, etc.!" I just wanted to be left alone and to go home. Nonetheless, I politely took the info about the appointments from the doctor, and then just raced to my car and sat there for a few minutes wondering if what she had said could really be true, as I had convinced myself that whatever it was, and although it appeared to be growing and would probably have to be removed, it must be benign.
All I wanted to do was go home and my usual have my usual evening by myself (I was divorced many years ago and have been self-supporting ever since.) I thought about how I "had no time for this" "have to work", etc. and was angry and resentful that now I had to think about this, so I tried to put it out of my mind and I cancelled all the appointments the dr had made for me, knowing they had all gone out of their ways to make this happen for me as soon as possible. I used the excuse that they were all too far away being in the next city north of me, etc. I could never forget though, but it was 3 more months before I did anything about it again. At that time, I began having chest pains that I thought might be a heart attack (turned out to be costochondritis/chest muscle problem), so went to my nearest ER. I told them that as long as I was there with the chest pains, I also had this breast problem and could they take a look and render an opinion. They did an exam of the breast and an ultrasound and told me I should see a surgeon asap, but did not render a final diagnosis. That time I did schedule and keep the appt with the surgeon and he did the biopsy.
The pathology said stage III, grade 2 IDC, so I was scheduled right away for chemo, then surgery, then radiation. Now I take an aromatase inhibitor.
Sorry for the length, but you are doing far better than I did, so pat yourself on the back. Many will tell you to stay off google. I have mixed feelings about it. Some of the stuff you read can send you into a tail spin, but some is also very helpful. I would have never found this site if I hadn't googled. I still go back and forth and some days I just don't, but many days I still do. I'm 68 now, and about 3 years out from the initial ordeal, being told it was cancer, etc. It was 3 years ago that I went to the ER with the chest pains. The neoadjuvant chemo shrunk the tumor down to something more like a stage II and so far, so good. I have unpleasant side effects from the aromatase inhibitor, but so far no further spread of the cancer. It's a big crap shoot on some levels, but there are also things you can do, so hang in there, don't freak yourself out. Wait for the final pathology before deciding that you know what stage it is. There are other things at play too, e.g. grade, estrogen receptor status, etc. Until you get a final pathology, you won't really know what you are looking at.
Also, there is a lot of treatment out there for whatever you wind up with. It may not be pleasant - this is no picnic believe me, but most of it is doable in one way or another, or there are some options and alternatives for the things you might not find doable.
I'd say more, but this so way too long already. Hold on to your hat, take it one day at a time, there is much to be hopeful about and you will deal with all of this much more clearly and calmly once you get more info and a treatment plan in place. There are many here who can offer help and assistance, so do come here when you feel the need.