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Topic: Crying, scared, blind-sided 50 year old.

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

Posted on: Sep 17, 2021 09:32AM

ritac97 wrote:

3 weeks ago I was healthy. I had recent blood work that showed all my numbers were excellent. And then one morning I woke up with pain in my left breast. I thought I slept on it wrong somehow and waited until the following day to check it. That's when I found a lump. It was going into the weekend but I managed to get an appointment with an OB-GYN Monday morning. He checked the lump and immediately referred me to get a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. They didn't have any appointments available for over 2 weeks but I finally had the tests done 3 days ago. I knew by comments from the people doing the tests that it wasn't good. One mentioned "a lot of excess flesh" in the breast with pain. Another said she wanted to be honest "the ultrasound didn't look good". I was too shook up to ask any questions so I just went home and cried.

I got 2 more referrals for a biopsy and MRI but both couldn't schedule me right away. I have the MRI in a week and the biopsy in 2 weeks. I'm actively trying to get an earlier biopsy appointment. Yesterday I gathered up the courage to call radiology and get more details. I was told on a scale of 1 to 5, I was a 5 meaning cancer likely. I was also told it appeared to have spread to the lymph nodes and that it measured 3.4 cm on the largest side.

Ever since I can't stop crying. I am terrified. I feel like I've just received a death sentence. I just turned 50 years old last month. I didn't think cancer ran in my family because all the relatives on my mother's side never had cancer but I came to find out that my father's sister (my aunt) who we are estranged from, had both breasts removed due to cancer and that my second cousins on his side also had it.

People keep assuring me that everything is okay and that breast cancer treatment has come a long way but mostly that is for early detection. I am usually good about getting annual mammograms but this year I was so overwhelmed with other things that I missed the Feb 2021 appt. I wasn't very concerned because I've read that every 2 years after age 50 is recommended by a lot of doctors.

It appears my best case scenario at this point is stage 3. I won't know for sure until I have the MRI next week. I'm so scared I can't sleep. And when I do, I have nightmares. My grandmother on my mom's side lived into her 90s. I always thought I took after her as I resemble her. Now I am faced with not making it out of my 50s. I would appreciate just talking to people who have been through this. Maybe ones with stage 3 or 4 diagnoses because they can help me prepare for what's to come. Thank you.

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Sep 17, 2021 09:50AM - edited Sep 17, 2021 09:51AM by HomeMom

ritac97 - I get you. Mine didn't just come on, it was there and I ignored it because I had lumpy breasts my entire adult life. I was 54 and hadn't had a mamo in years. I kept putting it off because I was in sales and I allowed that to consume my life for financial reasons. I also have ZERO cancer in my family. My mom is 87 and just has a pacemaker, no other issues. I even took a test online and I had a 98% chance of NEVER having breast cancer

I was so mad at myself, and I still kick myself at times for letting a less than great OBGYN telling me it was just a cyst sway me yet again not to check it out. I was complacent and let it go another 2 years even though the "lump" wasn't going away like a cyst. I was diagnosed in March and didn't think I'd see Christmas!

The advice I would give you is

1. don't google anything and only deal with what is in front of you now - anything else is false evidence appearing real.

2. You're going to be fine. No matter what, the medical community has so many treatments and are adding more each year. There are some awesome studies out there and here there are tons of support from other women in whatever boat you find yourself


My breast surgeon was very positive which helped me greatly get through the treatment phase. I'm 7 years out and am encouraged that I'll see many many more years of no disease.


Here is hoping you have the same


Dx 3/31/2014, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 4/29 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/14/2014 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/5/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/29/2014 AC Chemotherapy 7/24/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Hormonal Therapy 12/14/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 17, 2021 10:12AM obsolete wrote:

Hello Ritac, so very sorry to learn that you may have reason to be here, but hugs and a warm welcome are sent your way.

Please don't fault yourself for not having done this or that, as medicine is imperfect and unpredictable. It's often a crap shoot with hit or miss odds. The diagnosis process was difficult for all of us, so please know that you're not alone.

I had a 3cm BC tumor that was not visible on mammogram, for whatever it's worth.

Please don't read too much into hearsay & backroom casual comments until your medical team has an opportunity to review your diagnostics. During the interim, please try to fit in some nature walks, herbal teas, yoga, stretching, cat naps and warm baths with essential oils to help you relax.

We're all here for you and hope to hear from you again. Gentle hugs...

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Sep 17, 2021 10:24AM - edited Sep 17, 2021 10:30AM by ThreeTree

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.

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Sep 17, 2021 10:26AM ritac97 wrote:

Hi HomeMom, Thank you for sharing your story with me. It helps. I won't know my whole situation until the biopsy and MRI are completed but if I can get a stage 3 diagnosis I'll be happy. Before the diagnosis I was given a test which said I was only slightly more elevated than the average woman to get breast cancer but I had answered that I didn't have breast cancer in my family. On the questionnaire they ask if my parents, siblings or grandparents had the disease but what they should have also asked is about my aunts. With my father's sister getting it, it is equivalent to him getting it. Those tests don't appear to be accurate anyway with you being told you had a 98% chance of not getting it and did.

I also had more risk factors such as being overweight, mostly inactive, high chronic stress for over 7 years, and no children. And then I found out too late that black tea mimics estrogen. I was drinking it daily for years. And that fast food can give you cancer. How can companies not warn people that their food and drink can cause cancer?

And I'm sorry to hear about your OB-GYN dismissing it. Bad doctors are everywhere and it's hard to avoid them. You don't know you have one until it's too late. I agree about not googling info. It really doesn't matter what the odds are because each experience is unique. When I had the lump and was waiting for the mammogram, everyone was telling me not to worry. They told me that they had benign lumps and that breast cancer usually isn't painful, etc. There was no skin changes or nipple discharge. I had a bad feeling though and my intuition is usually correct. Thanks again.

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Sep 17, 2021 10:54AM ritac97 wrote:

Thank you obsolete. And those are some great relaxation ideas. I think I will get myself some essential oils and take a hot bath to start off. Sounds nice.

ThreeTree, no need to apologize for the length of your story, I want to hear everything you have to say. I tend to write long responses myself. Yours being only stage 3 after you experienced physical changes and had some delay in diagnosis, gives me hope. I don't think I would be as panicked if they discovered this on a mammogram but not finding it until it reached a level that caused me pain means that it has advanced pretty far. And everything I've read points to early diagnosis being the key. I want my tests results NOW so I can get into treatment right away but it seems like everything is backed up due to the pandemic and employee shortage. I'm going to keep fighting for appointments and hopefully I can update you all with the findings soon. I don't understand all those cancer terms referring to grades and positives/negatives, etc but I'm sure I will learn about all that soon. I'm happy to have found this website. I have a lot of relatives contacting me with words of support but none have had cancer before and can only offer vague stories of friends who have had it and survived. But it's clear that survival depends on many things. Thanks for sharing with me. I've stopped crying and have some hope.


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Sep 17, 2021 11:02AM ritac97 wrote:

One thing I forgot to ask about is about weight loss. I am about 100 lbs overweight and have read that fat stores estrogen. I had been actively dieting and losing weight prior to the cancer scare (lost 30 lbs). Now I'm wondering if I should continue. If I lose weight, doesn't it release estrogen into my system which will feed the cancer? Or is losing weight preferred at this point? I haven't had much of an appetite since Tuesday and started exercising yesterday but the last thing I want to do is help the cancer spread. Is there any consensus on whether very overweight (obese) women should try to lose weight after being diagnosed?

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Sep 17, 2021 11:28AM Spookiesmom wrote:

I, like a lot of people, was adopted. I have no way of getting my family history. Not that it makes a lot of difference. Cancer is a crap shoot. Yours has been there quite a while. There are a few that spread quickly, most dont. A few more weeks won’t change anything.

Yes, we want it out yesterday. You must realize you will have several diagnostic tests, probably chemo, before surgery You won’t have your final stage until the pathology comes back from surgery. You probably aren’t stage 3, I was. Most never are stage 4 out the gate.

We like to say you don’t have to be brave, you just have to show up.

Weight loss if needed is always a good idea. Your adrenal system makes estrogen in additional to your ovaries. Even if you’ve been through menopause.

Dr Google has a lot of bad information. Avoid it. Keep busy in other ways and keep us posted.

First time IDGgrade 3, stage 3. Second time, found lump myself. That made me stage 4. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Sep 17, 2021 11:37AM ThreeTree wrote:

My understanding is that weight loss is always advisable, unless you are really advanced and needing hospice sort of thing. I was overweight also, but chemo did such a number on me, that I didn't want to eat a lot. I lost about 40 pounds during chemo, so my BMI went from the borderline of "overweight/obese" to the BMI borderline of "normal/overweight". I've managed to keep most of it off (no more wine and cheese and crackers when I get home from work anymore - wink). Lately, I have very slowly put on about 3-4 more pounds, so I'm getting worried, but I now do the daily 30*40 minute walk and am more careful about what and how much I eat. I'd really like to lose 10 more so I'd be solidly in the "normal" BMI category, and not on a borderline. I'm on Letrozole and many say these AI's cause weight gain, so I'm feeling lucky so far that I've managed to keep things down a bit.

Re googling, in spite of the negatives, I will say again, that that is how I found this site and that's how I learned about all the stages and grades, etc. I looked at people's signature/stats and gradually figured it all out. Googling isn't all bad by any means. I think you just need to pace yourself and not just go crazy with it. Reasonable and sensible and definitely consider the sources of what you are seeing online.

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Sep 17, 2021 11:51AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

rita,

This is a scary time as there is still a great deal you don’t know. That big question mark hanging over your head is uncomfortable! A few things to keep in mind:

- Please don’t try to stage yourself. All of the info needed for final staging is not yet available and I believe you are not a doctor, correct? Dr. Google is also not a doctor.

- Yes, certain foods/beverages we consume may be estrogenic. To blame bc on tea drinking or fast food is not valid IMO. No one should be existing on a diet of fast food for myriad reasons but remember, correlation does not equal causation!

- Working on losing weight is great way to do something positive for yourself right now!

Work with the facts that you have about your breast cancer. Don’t try to second guess, play doctor or use Google as you will make yourself crazy over things that might not be pertinent to your situation. BTW, almost all of us are blind sided by a bc diagnosis. 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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Sep 17, 2021 11:57AM - edited Sep 17, 2021 11:58AM by HomeMom

ritac97 - losing weight will do nothing but good things for you both physically and mentally. It's in your best interest to keep your BMI in the normal range, although I hate that BMI thing, it seems a little strict. I'm about 30lbs over what I was when diagnosed, and I was a size 4. My BMI is not ideal and I'm on a diet to lose the 30lbs. I was like 97% and 98% hormone positive, so I'm on hormone blockers for the last 7 years and will be on them for the next 3. The hormone blockers (AI) tend to make it hard to lose weight, and I read that fat releases hormones.

The women are giving you great advice, my one other thing I would say is, it your anxiety is getting the best of you, you might want to see if your docs will write you a script for Xanax. My anxiety was through the roof and they gave me a script of just 6 pills with no refill. I'd go to work and when I came home, I'd pop one and totally relax.

Dx 3/31/2014, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 4/29 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/14/2014 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/5/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/29/2014 AC Chemotherapy 7/24/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/15/2014 Hormonal Therapy 12/14/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 17, 2021 12:23PM Aram wrote:

I am sorry you are here with us. But I am happy you found this group as it has been an amazing source of knowledge and support for me during last 6 months.

My story is very similar to you. I found a lump by chance after being given green light on my ultrasound only 2 months prior. By chance The, the same week I got my diagnosis my, I did a whole set of blood tests with excellent results. Then cancer hits. I was a mess. I couldn't eat or sleep. I would start crying out of nowhere. I couldn't talk to anyone without crying so I stopped telling people, except my close friends, till I got better. And it gets better by time. When you know the whole picture and have a treatment plan in place, it gets better. I still get angry sometimes but much less. And I should add the antidepressants I was prescribed help :). I insisted on getting them because I definitely were showing PTSD symptoms. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Either in chemical or therapy form, whatever that might work better for you. This is a very hard time in your life so allow yourself to be angry and to grief your healthy body.

Dx at 40, BRCA1 Dx 2/5/2021, IDC, Left, 3cm, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 2/5/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 3/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 6/1/2021 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 6/2/2021 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 10/6/2021 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Sep 17, 2021 12:39PM moth wrote:

If there's something concrete you want to do, there's a brand new workbook by an exercise oncologist. it's called Moving Through Cancer. The time before treatment starts is an excellent time to start exercising - get ready, get fit. It improves outcomes for surgery, for chemo, for everything.

https://www.movingthroughcancer.com/

hang in there - things get better once you have a firm diagnosis and a care plan

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/18/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/25/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/8/2020 External Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 12/15/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/2/2021 External: Bone
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Sep 17, 2021 04:01PM AliceBastable wrote:

My mother and my paternal aunt both had breast cancer. My genetic tests showed no connection, so please do not assume. I've seen several places on this site that the genetic predisposition for cancer is a small percent of patients. I found it helpful as I waited for the next rounds of tests and appointments to have fun. It's distracting and builds up good memories in case you do wind up having surgery and treatments, so you won't look back later and just have the dreary medical stuff to remember. The other advice is to not jump ahead of yourself. Wait until you get an official diagnosis, IF you get one. Your brain is treating things you've heard so far like a pinball machine and it's making your stress worse.

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 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 17, 2021 05:35PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Along the lines of what alicebastable said, I believe that only about 15% of diagnosed cases of bc can be attributed to genetic mutations. I have several close relatives who have had breast and gynecological cancers and I belong to an ethnic group that has a greater likelihood of BRCA genes than the general population. I have been tested for over 34 genes mutations and everything has been negative. Family history, for genes that are known to carry mutations, effect a minority. Most of us develop breast cancer for reasons yet to be discovered.

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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Sep 17, 2021 08:03PM ritac97 wrote:

I tried to post these responses earlier but the website blocked me for some reason. I'll try again here.

Spookiesmom, ty for your response. Believe me, this is the most motivated I've ever been in my life to lose weight. I can barely eat. I don't mind starting with chemo but I feel like I should be doing something to fight it right this second. The thought of it being in there, spreading, hour after hour, is terrifying to me. I don't think I've ever been as scared as I am right now. I feel so helpless and the not knowing how bad it is makes it worse. I'm not sure what made you say I probably wasn't stage 3. That would be a dream come true. My lymph nodes were "inconclusive" but one was described as enlarged and irregular. So here's hoping it's only stage 2.

ThreeTree My BMI is way up there right now. What makes it worse is that stress (being the sole caregiver for 2 elderly disabled parents) completely wiped me out and I stopped even trying to keep my weight under control. I gained about 70 lbs over 7 years following my mother's catastrophic stroke that left her permanently paralyzed and bed bound. There was tremendous pressure on me to take care of both my parents due to me being the only one without children so I moved them to a place in my home state and have dealt with it ever since. But most everyone saw the toll it was taking on me. I developed shingles, got stress induced infections and now this. The sad thing is I just recently decided to focus on myself but I guess I did so too late. I dont think I'll have much trouble losing weight at this point because I can barely eat but forcing myself to exercise will be difficult because I feel emotionally and physically drained.

exbrnxgrl I agree I need to stop staging myself. It didn't help with the comments from the medical staff during my visit. It would have been more helpful if they just kept quiet and told me more tests needed to be run. But I guess it's also good to know now so I can make changes. I regret my overindulgence of fast food over the years. I never really learned to cook and it just seemed so easy and convenient. I also ate frozen dinners. So a lot of those chemicals and hormones are probably being stored in my fat cells. I'm eating better now and actually have been eating healthy for a couple months now but the damage was already done.

HomeMom The anti-anxiety meds are a good idea. I have a visit with my primary coming up and I will talk to her about it. I need to be on something. I actually was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and depression before the cancer scare. I haven't been on medication though because the one that I took and worked the best was suppose to be only for short term use. I need to find something though. It can't be healthy to be in a constant state of panic and it causes me to sleep poorly. I think I tried Xanax once before and didn't really like it. I don't remember what my complaint was. But if its approved for long term use I will try it again. As far as weight loss, it will take me a while to shed these 100 lbs and during that time, anything stored in them will be released into my body. Hopefully they will put me on some meds soon that will prevent all the poison from being utilized by the cancer.

Aram Antidepressants may be a better option than anti-anxiety in my case. Or maybe I should take both. I was looking into it before all this so now I definitely need to be on something. I've been told I have PTSD by several people due to the history of taking care of my parents. And like you I've stopped talking to people on the phone. I have many relatives who want to talk and I'm sure they have the best of intentions but I'm such a mess that there's little they could say at this point to make me feel better. I have cancer and it is unknown how bad it is, other than it wasn't detected early and the nurse I talked to on the phone leaned toward stage 3. Nothing anyone can say will make that reality better. None of them have ever had cancer. They are probably as scared for me as I am.

moth Thank you for the exercise link. I'm going check it out. I have a treadmill and full gym here so there's really no excuse except being emotionally spent. But I want to do what I can to increase my odds of surviving this.

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Sep 17, 2021 08:17PM Cancersux2021 wrote:

Hi! In July they called me and said you need to set up an appointment for mammogram, I was like I’ve never had one they said your 45 and I was like okay but I’m busy during the week what’s your latest appointment they had a 615 so I was like fine. Went in did the mammogram, got a letter you have dense breasts need more images this is normal. Went back in early morning did more images then they were like the radiologist looking and wants you to do a ultrasound but this is normal so did that and they said oh there’s something need to do biopsy just to make sure but this is normal so I was pissy being there so long already told the lady can’t do it today went a week later did it. Still this is normal from all of them and first time for me ever having mammogram and never knew anything about breast cancer cause absolutely no one in my family had it! Figured they don’t have my boobs on file so first time seeing them just making sure. I had no pain to lumps just had a Pap smear in June all good. Got a call on Friday July 30th while driving and she told me you have bc. Told her she had the wrong number while almost crashing on the freeway! I haven’t told anyone just my fiancé I had lumpectomy on left boob and lymph nodes removed like 3 to check. They said clear margins and not in lymph nodes so I’m wanting not to do anything else. It’s estrogen positive IDC 1.3thats all I know I see the oncologist next Thursday for initial consult but I don’t want to do anything else. Is it possible just to do more frequent mammograms and see that way. It’s easier for me not having others know cause I can forget it for awhile. Turned 46 in August! 46 Sux so far!!!

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Sep 17, 2021 08:17PM ritac97 wrote:

AliceBastable: If genetics didn't play a role than it's more likely my life choices let me down this path which is unpleasant to think about. I could have done a lot of things differently...kept at a better weight instead of carrying around 50-100 lbs for decades, eaten healthier meals rather than eat out of convenience at fast food and with frozen dinners, exercised every day. All I can do from here is to change my lifestyle completely and hope it saves my life. My husband and I did agree to start living for today rather than being couch potatoes. We went out and had some fun today which we normally don't do. But the scare had been a wake up call to both of us and we vowed not to take life for granted anymore. I agree I need to stop jumping ahead of myself on the diagnosis. It's just the appointments are so far apart that it feels like an eternity. By the time I get my biopsy results, it will be over a month since I had breast pain. And who knows how much longer before I actually receive treatment. Cancer should be treated more quickly than that imo.

exbrnxgrl I always assumed genetics played the biggest role in cancer so that is news to me. It sucks to know that this happened to dumb luck. I've had such a difficult time over the past decade that I really didn't need this. I knew my immune system was shot though when I developed Shingles in my 40s and then had a resurgence of another childhood disease earlier this year. Those should have been wakeup calls for me to slow down and take better care of myself.


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Sep 17, 2021 08:23PM Sunshine99 wrote:

rita, please stop staging yourself. I know it's hard and this is a scary time, but please don't do that to yourself. Staging will happen after a biopsy, and treatment plans vary depending on the staging from Stage 0 to Stage IV. Not every cancer is treated with chemo, so don't jump ahead and try to figure out your treatment plan. It will call come together.

Have courage, my friend!

Carol

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Sep 17, 2021 08:40PM kksmom3 wrote:

Please don't beat yourself up. Cancer is mostly random and it happens. My mom passed from ovarian cancer at 68. At 57, I lost 40 lbs, thinking I wouldn't end up like my mom. Wrong! However, there is no genetic link for me. I had the genetic testing. So, don't stress over your extra weight. We all have stuff we could've done better. it's just a crapshoot, most of the time!

You've got this! It sucks!! We all know! We've got your back, I wish I could hug you, you're in the worst part right now. Don't yet stage yourself. There are a lot of treatments now. It has come a long way.

Dx 8/8/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 17, 2021 08:58PM Cutie wrote:

I am sorry to hear how you are feeling. I remember how I went through the journey when I found out cancer that I never expected in my life because my family has no history and I pay attention what I ate and exercise. But it happened. I was going to see medical staff here and there. It took me about 2 months to get chemo. Get 2nd opinion if you can too. I tried to take turmeric power and honey, had vitamin c, papaya leave tea to control tumor growth. Because I didn't want to get tumor size increased. When I found this website, it was very helpful to get knowledge and people are very kind. Everything will be ok after all treatments. Please try to look for information from this site what to eat and others. After chemo, and biopsy from bilateral mastectomy, it turned out that no cancer cell was observed. Do meditation for mindfulness. You will be ok.

Love,

Cutie

Dx 12/28/2018, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER-/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 17, 2021 09:35PM AliceBastable wrote:

ritac97, You'd be amazed at how many thin, physically fit people get breast and other cancers. Stop trying to blame yourself or even finding a cause. It's not going to help you. If you feel like losing weight because you want to lose weight, that's fine, but don't tie it to breast cancer (IF you have it) because that's starting from a negative reason. You're already needlessly beating yourself up too much.

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 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 17, 2021 09:46PM MinusTwo wrote:

The main risk for getting breast cancer??? You are a woman!!! It is NOT your fault. As others have said, try to find things to do that you enjoy. Or that occupy your mind. Like binge watching TV or walking through a forest. If you can't temper the crying & panic, do reach out to your doc for some short term anxiety meds. Stay away from that fake Dr. Google. It's a hard time until you know your diagnosis for sure FROM YOUR DOCS, but it really does get easier once you have a treatment plan in place.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Sep 17, 2021 10:19PM trinigirl50 wrote:

Just so you know, I am a very slim, fit healthy, always ate well, don't drink alcohol much, never smoked, non stressed out, have loving supportive family, loved my job, type of person.

No family history of cancer. Family on both sides live into their 90s even got 2 x100 plus year old great aunts.

Guess what? I got 6x6x4 size tumour with 20/24 nodes positive NONE of which were seen on either mammograms or Ultrsound scans right up to my positive biopsy.

And 2 years previous to my diagnosis, I had about 5 different doctors tell me the small lump I felt was not cancer (because of all the stuff I mentioned above, and because the lump moved around and did not hurt). Only my gynecologist took me seriously (and of course my swollen looking boob spoke for itself).

So I survived a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, removal of all my lymph nodes, zometa IV for 5 years and 6 years of Letrozole.

I am still here.

Good luck, take your anti anxiety meds and yes, exercise and eat better because at least that is something that you can control, and why not improve your health if you can.

trinigirl50 Dx 3/7/2015, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 20/24 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2015 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/13/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 10/1/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 18, 2021 07:48AM - edited Sep 18, 2021 07:48AM by Juju-mar

ritac97,

I'm so sorry you are here, but we can all relate to how scared you feel. You don't have enough info yet to know what's going to happen. My advise is to distract yourself as much as possible. Try to stay off of Dr Google. Schedule a worry/cry time, then get on with living life. You will get through this! So many women and men are living with and after treatment of BC. Treatments are better tolerated now than years ago. Walk or ride a bike for stress relief. Take care! You can do this!

Julie

Dx 8/27/2020, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 10/26/2020 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/13/2021 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 18, 2021 10:20AM SondraF wrote:

Only about 5% of diagnoses are de novo Stage IV, and many of us who were diagnosed at that point had unusual circumstances - an unknown genetic mutation, young ages below established screening protocols, tumors that originated in hard to palpate locations or didn't manifest at all in the breast. Some were found to be Stage IV at scanning after lower stage treatment had already started and some of us were blindsided by a terminal breast cancer diagnosis after months of complaining about increasingly worse back or hip pain over months. And even then many of us are doing well on current treatments or are significant responders to the point the de novo thread isn't really that active.

Its easy to jump to that conclusion given the "appears to have spread to lymph node" but the breast MRI has been ordered to confirm or deny that suspicion and get a better look at the size. But right now you are at the start of the diagnosis process and over time more pieces of the puzzle will be added - hormone receptor status, nodal infiltration, etc and a plan will come together. We've all started where you are at with the confusion, disbelief, anger, and a real desire to get that tumor out as fast as possible and damnit why can't this process move faster? In three weeks with a plan and actual knowledge you will feel much better, but in the interim just make sure to stay off Google and go do something fun. Trust in the medical process and take care of what you can control which is maybe doing some exercise, looking for ways to reduce stress, or trying some healthy freezer meals so you don't do the takeout thing so often. But certainly stop beating yourself up - there are plenty of people who eat healthy and exercise and who die of a recurrence, and plenty of absolutely obese people who never get cancer at all. You did the right thing in immediately alerting medical professionals and you should pat yourself on the back for that action.

"The closer we come to the negative, to death, the more we blossom" - Montgomery Clift Dx 9/27/2019, IDC, Right, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 11/29/2019 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy 11/29/2019 Femara (letrozole) Surgery Prophylactic ovary removal
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Sep 18, 2021 12:40PM Sunshine99 wrote:

I'm going to keep chiming in here as thoughts come to my mind. I remember when I was diagnosed the first time. I immediately thought, "I'm going to die!" But then I started remembering all the women I knew who had been diagnosed with cancer who were still alive. That was very comforting to me. If you look around at these boards and discussions, you will find women who were diagnosed many years ago and are still with us.

We all get that this is a scary time, but as Sondra and others have said, trust the medical process, do that part you can do, and at all costs, AVOID DR. GOOGLE! He's a meanie who just wants to scare you. I'd have died a long time ago if I believed everything he told me.

AND, while we are on the subject and if I haven't said this already, "thinking positive" isn't going to change your outcome, just as negative thinking didn't give any of us cancer. I know people mean well, but the whole "just be positive" advice really irks me. Maybe it will help me not slap the person who says that to me, but that's a rant for another thread.

If positive thinking helps you feel better, then go for it. I personally like to look on the bright side of things, because it makes me a happier person and hopefully more pleasant to be around. However, we're all wired differently and we all have different ways of coping with stress.

OK, that's enough for this post.

Carol

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Sep 18, 2021 12:44PM - edited Sep 18, 2021 12:47PM by Elle2

ritac97 - You are the lucky one. Why? Because you came to this site at the right time and have all of the pertinent information available to you, as you need it. As others have said, the best thing you can do now is wait for your diagnosis from the doctors. The second thing I would tell you is to take control of your outcome by CHOOSING doctors that you trust. One of the best ways to get thru this is to feel confident in your doctors. Make sure you have a solid team of knowledgeable doctors to work your way through this. If you feel any hesitation about them, start making your concerns known, ask questions and don't hesitate to get second opinions.

As a two-time breast cancer patient, I can't tell you how important this step will be for you. My first diagnosis was 13 years ago. I was a healthy 44 year old, rarely ate fast food, had been a vegetarian for 11 years, in good physical shape, liked to be active, no bc in family history blah, blah, blah. I was diagnosed with bc. I decided I wanted a smart, progressive team of women to get me through it. My surgeon, radiation onc and Medical onc (former bc survivor) were amazing women. I put my trust in them and when I was considered “cured" I lived life with no regrets and no looking back. I had confidence that my doctors did what was best for me.

But there are no guarantees in cancer. After 13 years of Tamoxifen, doctor's visits, state-of-the-art regular mammograms, what was a clear bill of health the year before, turned into bc 12 months later.I did everything right. Except the wine, not gonna lie. (oh, and not gonna completely let it go) once again, I got a stellar team together with my Med onc from the start, and it's amazing how I can put my trust in them, show up, lean back and know that whatever comes, I'm in the best hands. The point is, it doesn't matter WHO you are, or what you do, if you are a women, you can get bc. Period. End of story. AND, if you want to get thru it retaining your sanity, your hope, your happiness and your confidence get a team together you actually enjoy being around (smart, funny, good bedside manner, professional, experienced, ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS WITHOUT RUSHING OR OFFENDING YOU.) Then you will feel much better about taking that Xanax, relaxing in the bath and letting your team do the worrying and the work.

Dx 4/2008, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, ER+, HER2+ Surgery 5/5/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/1/2008 3DCRT: Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/29/2008 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 9/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 9/8/2021 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 10/23/2021 AC + T (Taxotere)
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Sep 18, 2021 12:46PM ritac97 wrote:

SondraF Thank you so much for the info. I feel a lot better after reading it. It's hard not to be terrified when the cancer has reached a stage where there is pain and it can be easily felt. I think I wouldn't have been so concerned if something turned up on a routine mammogram. I'm eating healthy and doing my best to exercise at little each day. I will continue to build up my exercise regimen over time. This website has been incredibly helpful to me and I appreciate everyone on it giving me their stories and sharing info because talking to family members just made me incredibly depressed. It has been a wake-up call to take care of myself better. Today I plan on going out and buying organic vegetables and nuts and will cut out most of the meat from my diet. I will keep eating salmon but no more turkey or chicken because I don't know if it has hormones in it. I'm just doing as much as possible before the biopsy and MRI tell me exactly what I'm dealing with. At that point, I can make adjustments. It's pretty scary that they could give a diagnosis and it turn out to be more severe but you give me hope that all is not over, regardless of stage. I was equally dreading the treatment (radiation, surgery, chemo) but I'm hoping that's not as bad as I fear.

Juju-mar I am staying off of google now except for this website. The "what if's" were taking me to a very dark place. I still want this out of me a.s.a.p. but I gave up trying to get an earlier appointment. The scheduler wasn't answer the phone or returning my calls. I guess they consider 2 weeks acceptable for biopsy. The good news is my MRI is on Wednesday so that will clarify better what's going on. I'm praying for good news.

trinigirl50 I should share your story with my sisters because I'm sure they are thinking to themselves that I got cancer due to my weight. Both of them are fit, always have been, and eat healthy. I still feel some responsibility because it says excess weight, inactivity, eating habits, and stress elevate the risk and I was bad with all of the above for years. But I won't beat myself up over it anymore. I realize I have to face the here and now and get myself in a good position to fight this thing. And as bad as BC is, it stopped the pressure that was put on me to be the only one taking care of my aging and disabled parents. Someone else is going to have to step up now. I need to focus on saving my life! The bad diagnoses from your doctors is absolutely horrible and inexcusable. There are a ton of bad doctors out there and unfortunately you don't know you have one until it's too late. I'm going to involve my PCP in everything because I'm convinced she genuinely cares.

MinusTwo I'm in Las Vegas so there is plenty to keep me occupied! Yesterday my husband and I went downtown and gambled. We RARELY gamble but we both had a great time. Today we are going to shop for nutritious food together and run a few other errands. So I am doing better at keeping busy. I'm doing better today due to what I've read on here and the overwhelming support I've received from my family. No crying. Don't even feel like it. Just ready to begin this new chapter.

AliceBastable I understand. But it is a fact that being obese, and I am OBESE, increases your risk as do the other things I mentioned above. But I get what you all are saying that pointing to a cause is useless because many fat women don't get it and many thin women do, etc. I'm ready to fight this. And maybe my experience will save other women in my family who haven't been diagnosed yet. I bet a lot of them are rushing to get mammograms now. Needless to say, my eating habits have taken a dramatic shift and there's nothing like a cancer scare to motivate me on the weight loss. Who knows, maybe I'll end up living LONGER after all is said and done due to the lifestyle changes.

Cutie I havent had a chance to explore this website yet but I would like to know what foods I should be eating right now to stop the growth of the tumor and/or cancer spread. I googled it on my phone (yes I know I shouldn't have done that) and it gave me a long list which includes raspberries, green tea, asparagus, turmeric, broccoli, arugula, walnuts, horseradish, flaxseed, cabbage, kale, garlic, watercress, brussels sprouts, carrots, salmon, shitake mushrooms, fish eggs, prunes, sweet potatoes, and cherries. Naturally I don't want to be eating only those items especially since I don't like many of them but it's more important to me that I eat the ones with the best cancer fighting powers. If I'm going to eat something nasty, I at least want it to be helping! This morning I'm eating an organic spring mix salad with low fat cottage cheese and black beans with balsamic vinegar dressing. Will have salmon for lunch. But want to include items from this list for dinner since I'll be out grocery shopping today.

kksmom3 I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I can't imagine how hard that must have been on you. My mom had a massive stroke just after turning 65. Woke up a couple days after Christmas and couldn't get up off the floor. Permanently paralyzed with chronic pain. Never went home again. Ended up going to the hospital and then nursing homes and residential care homes and eventually my father moved her and himself to live near me. After a few months I got it to the point where it's reasonably stable, both living in their own home together with a full time live in caregiver. Both my parents have high blood pressure, father has diabetes, bladder cancer, heart disease, and past brain bleeds. I watched my salt intake and monitored my blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol etc. I thought I was doing pretty good until this. I am both eager to know and dreading receiving my diagnosis.

Sunshine99 It's hard not to think the worst after the initial shock wears off. And the slow pace of scheduling, tests, results is excruciating. But I'm trying to focus on other things at this point. I'm reminded of it when my breast starts to hurt but I agree that it's not helpful to think the worst or try to stage it. The best thing for me to do right now is focus on getting healthier. Losing weight, eating right, de-stressing, having fun.

Thanks to all for your advice and help!




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Sep 18, 2021 12:50PM Sunshine99 wrote:

The only consistent risk factor for getting breast cancer is being born. Men can get it, too. There is a whole thread in this forum for Male Breast Cancer. So, if someone asks, "What did you do to get breast cancer?" I can reply, I was BORN!

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Sep 18, 2021 02:39PM Cowgirl13 wrote:

ritac97, I just want to point out another reason for cleaning up your diet--separate from fighting cancer--it can also help your mood immensely and reduce some amount of anxiety. That has been my experience. I don't eat processed food at all, and I just eat healthy food. Protein, veggies, brown rice. Forget any sodas, anything with fake sugar and drink 8 glasses of water. When I keep to this plan, I feel really, really good and a big part of that is that the good eating habit helps my anxiety. As people have said, get a team you feel really good about. I had one and I never worried about whether I had the right treatment because I trusted them. I am out 12 years from my diagnosis and I had an aggressive cancer, triple positive, for which we now have wonderful treatments. You can do this!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the Devil says: 'Oh crap! She's up! Dx 5/28/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/16/2009 Chemotherapy 8/2/2009 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/21/2009 Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)

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